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10 April 2017 | | | |

Criminal Mining: Interview with Saúl Baños, lawyer member of the Dialogue Table against Mining in El Salvador

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As reported by Real World Radio, El Salvador gave an example at world level at the end of March by banning metal mining in all its territory. Lawyer Saúl Baños assesses this victory and remembers the martyrs who died fighting against mining in El Salvador.

This is the final stretch of a decade of struggles and actions by different organizations which faced direct threats against communities and environmental groups that denounced the effects on their populations, the murder of leaders of the protest, and the appeal by mining companies to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICISID), a World Bank body, to coerce authorities.

This is what lawyer and environmental activist Saúl Baños said in an interview with Real World Radio.

Baños said that the communities warned about the presence of mining companies and started to organize the popular resistance, and therefore "environmental activists were murdered, and these murders are still unpunished", said Saúl.

In 2015 there was a nationwide survey conducted by the Jesuit University of El Salvador, which concluded that 80 per cent of the people reject this mining activity, he said.

In addition, the lawyer, who publicly advocates against mining in many Salvadoran media, demanded the immediate withdrawal of company Oceana Gold (Pacific Rim), and its subsidiaries.

"They have no purpose in El Salvador", said Saúl. And he added that the different Pacific Rim foundations heavily lobbied local and national authorities, something which eventually did not succeed due to the awareness raised on the people by local organizations.

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