Environmentalist and communicator from the Siria Valley, Honduras denounces threats (GOLDCORP related)

Environmentalist and communicator from the Siria Valley, Honduras denounces threats

Monday, February 17, 2014

Translated from the original posted by Honduran journalist Dina Meza on February 14, 2014 in facebook:

Carlos Amador, an environmentalist and communicator from the Siria Valley in Honduras, is denouncing that over the last few months he has been watched and followed by unknown individuals using vehicles with tinted windows and without license plates. He attributes this situation to the work he does in the area in defence of the environment and through exercising his freedom of expression through local radio and television programs.

Amador is a well-known environmentalist and member of the Siria Valley Environmental Committee that has spoken out against environmental contamination and deforestation due to mining and logging. This struggle has brought with it legal persecution.

On July 5th [2011], operating under an arrest warrant from the Public Ministry, Amador together with Marlon Hernández from the Siria Valley Environmental Committee were temporarily detained by local police and given a prison sentence with substitute measures such that they had to sign in every 15 days at the court house. 15 other people had to follow the same procedure. All were accused of having obstructed a forestry management plan in the community of Tepalitos, in the municipality of El Porvenir, illegally granted in 2009.

Ten months ago, Channel 14 opened in the community of El Porvenir where Amador directs the program “In Contact with the News”, which is broadcast Monday to Friday from 7 to 8pm. The program covers environmental issues in the Siria Valley, including information that a new mining company will initiate operations in three communities of the Siria Valley.

Being followed since November 2013

The environmentalist is afraid for his life, given that since last November motorcyclists have been following him every time he goes to Tegucigalpa to carry out different errands and to meet with other environmentalists. “A black motorcycle has followed me on four occasions,” he stated with worry.

But the watching and following is also happening in his own community, near the school where he works as a teacher, as well as around the television station where he broadcasts his program, as well as a radio program called, “The Direct Line with the People”, broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays, during which the local environmental struggle is regularly discussed and the opening of new mining operations rejected.

He mentioned that on January 15th of this year, a man arrived at his school and said that he had come because he was interested in  sponsoring children. He noted, “What is disconcerting about this case is that he drove one of the two cars that were parked outside during his television show. I realized this when I noticed that he was driving a grey vehicle without licence plates and with tinted windows, similar to the other vehicle [he had seen it with] that is white with a double cabin.”

Mining operations have brought along serious consequences for the health of residents in the Siria Valely who have been suffering since Entre Mares, S.A. de C.V. puts its mine into operation. Entre Mares, S.A. de C.V. is a subsidiary of Canadian company Goldcorp.

The environmentalist movement of the Siria Valley, with support from Dr. Juan Almendares Bonilla, a doctor, physiologist, investigator, past Rector of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) and member of Friends of the Earth International made nationally and internationally known on November 2, 2011, their concerns over the impacts of environmental contamination on the residents of the Siria Valley in the department of Francisco Morazán, where Goldcorp operated until about 2008.

Concentrations of lead have been found in a number of people analyzed that are above acceptable levels according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards. The mining company began operating in Honduras in 2000 and closed its mine in 2008, however, despite serious reported impacts on the health of residents in the municipalities of Cedros, San Ignacio, and El Porvenir, all located in the Siria Valley, to date, the company has not compensated those affected who continue to live with the consequences that are believed to be linked to environmental contamination.

Not another Entre Mares

The tireless struggle of Carlos Amador in defence of the environment is what makes him run risks. He says, “I don’t want another Entre Mares because it has left us with serious consequences in the Siria Valley.”

Since 2011, residents of several local communities have noted that agricultural equipment for tilling the soil would arrive and then leave covered up with tarpaulins. Later on they realized that in the community of El Suyatal, in the municipality of Cedros that a mining concession had been granted without prior community consultation.

In addition to this situation in the Siria Valley, environmentalists in Santa Barbara have been struggling as part of the Santa Barbara Environmental Movement for which they have also suffered persecution and threats.

In Nueva Esperanza near the town of Tela, in the department of Atlántida, two members of the Honduras Accompaniment Project (PROAH), Daniel Langmeier and Orlane Vidal were abducted [for several hours at gunpoint in July 2013]. PROAH is an organization that works to prevent or deescalate high risk situations in which the lives of human rights defenders in Honduras are at risk.

The company Minerales Victoria has been operating in this area. The company’s project started up in the community without adequate prior consultation and against their will. Armed guards regularly intimidate the community, threatening those who refuse to sell their lands to Lenir Pérez, as well as others who have organized to peacefully oppose mining.

The Indigenous Lenca people who are part of the Honduran Council of Popular and Indigenous Council (COPINH by its initials in Spanish) have undertaken an ongoing struggle to demand that development of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project stop for having violated their territory, privatized their water through concessions, including the Gualcarque River and its tributaries for more than 20 years, and for destroying cultural and economic heritage that also means displacement and loss of their inalienable human rights to water, and violation of Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

This overall situation has gotten worse with the coup d’etat in 2009 that gave way to the granting of national territory in concessions to mining companies and transnational hydroelectric firms in association with national companies and individuals who have a lot of economic and political power in Honduras.

Original in Spanish in facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dina.meza.73

This translation from:


Posted in Conflict and Repression, Environment and Health, Goldcorp, Local and Indigenous Rights | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

BCCLA Files Complaint Against RCMP and CSIS For Spying on Enbridge Pipeline Opponents (BCCLA)

News Release from BCCLA

Posted February 6, 2014

VANCOUVER – The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed two complaints today against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The complaints allege that the two agencies illegally monitored and spied on the peaceful and democratic activities of community groups and First Nations opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. These groups include ForestEthics Advocacy, Dogwood Initiative, LeadNow.ca, the Idle No More movement, and others.

The BCCLA alleges that the RCMP and CSIS interfered with the freedoms of expression, assembly and association protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by gathering intelligence about citizens opposed to the Enbridge project through a range of sources. The complaints also claim that the spying activities potentially included illegal searches of private information. The complaint against CSIS further alleges that the spy agency broke the law by gathering information on the peaceful and democratic activities of Canadians, which it is banned by law from doing. The documents released made clear that none of the groups under surveillance posed any threat to the National Energy Board hearings or public safety.

“It’s against the law and the constitution for police and spy agencies to spy on the lawful activities of people who are just speaking out and getting involved in their communities. That’s why we have filed these complaints,” said Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “This is bigger than an environmental debate – it’s a question of fundamental human rights. There are plenty of undemocratic countries where governments spy on people that they don’t agree with. That’s not supposed to happen in Canada, and when it does, it can frighten people away from expressing themselves and participating in democratic debate.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, who attended one of the meetings that was spied upon, stated: “I was shocked and disgusted to learn that the police and the National Energy Board colluded to keep track of First Nations people who are simply speaking out, including those who participate in Idle No More. This is the kind of thing we’d expect to see in a police state, and it’s a violation of our freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.”

See more information, and read the full News Release on the BCCLA website

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Mining Justice Alliance Statement on the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID)

The new CIIEID institute, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and housed at UBC, SFU and EPDM, raises many concerns. Mining and resource extraction is unavoidably a highly impactful industry: water and land are damaged to extract and process mineral resources, and people living on the land, and depending on its water and soil for their survival, are displaced. Extractive companies are disproportionately based in Canada (some 75% of the global industry), from which base they operate globally, because this situation is beneficial to them: Canadian corporate and tax laws and the Canadian Government superintend the transfer of profits to these corporations, while simultaneously transferring the attendant social and environmental costs to the communities affected by extraction.

The Canadian government already extends a substantial amount of corporate welfare to the extractive industries, using public funds to aid the foreign activities of already wealthy private corporations. CIDA’s activities in particular have a history of maintaining uneven development and colonial exploitation: Canadian-based companies benefit and host communities and nations suffer depletion and social and environmental degradation.

CIIEID will be more of the same, if not an outright expansion of these already unjust practices. Universities are being used for their cultural and especially intellectual capital: if corporate advocacy comes from a university-based institute it has the appearance of rigorous and disinterested scholarship, rather than the biased assistance of the private accumulation of wealth that it actually is.

CIDA has suggested that the new Institute “will help developing countries reap the benefit of their natural resources, and also benefit Canadian companies in fair, transparent, and foreseeable regulation in the extractive sector.” These interests are squarely at odds, and the statement obfuscates who really benefits from such advocacy. The Institute has also been described as “a partnership between the Federal government, the private sector, and Canadian civil-society organizations.” Once again, this is not a level playing field, and such partnerships almost always promote and protect private profits at the public expense.

Furthermore, an extractive industries institute whose advisory council and strategic partners include numerous industry representatives has little hope of reflecting anything other than industry interests.

Finally, we believe that the institute will negatively impact academic freedom: the current government of Canada has shown a consistent pattern of vetting and often muzzling the reports of researchers working under its umbrella organizations. How can the values of academic freedom be maintained when private corporations, who profit from the Institute’s activities, and the government agencies which advocate on their behalf, oversee those same activities? We can only conclude that this is nothing more than another nail in the “public” university’s coffin.

Where once concerns were raised about a “military-industrial complex” finding a base of operations in public universities, we now see the development of what might be called a “resource-industrial complex” taking up residence in these same institutions.

Mining Justice Alliance (MJA), organizing in support of the social justice concerns of communities directly affected by the extractive industry, joins UBC and SFU students in calling for an Institute free of corporate involvement; directly responsive and accountable to communities impacted by extractive projects; including a majority of representatives of affected communities and civil society in its leadership and decision-making positions; and respectful of indigenous communities right to free, prior, and informed consent. Failing this, we call upon the universities in question to reject the CIIEID.

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Central American Declaration on Extractive Model. Pronunciamiento : Ante la Avanzada del Modelo Extractivista

Organizations from across Central America gathered in Nicaragua this month to work together in facing extractive industry advancement.   Spanish below.





As organizations who work in defense of life and the integrity of the central American territory, we have gathered in a Regional Meeting called “Experiences and Perspectives from Social Struggles Facing Mineral Mining Exploitation”,  held in Managua, Nicaragua and appealing to national and international public opinion:



We declare:


That the extractive industries of transnational capital, complicit with governments and the international financial system, are currently in a process of invasive and destructive expansion in our region, utilizing manipulative and coercive strategies including the eviction of residents from their lands, the displacement of populations, negative environmental effects, national and international social conflicts, provoking the tearing of the social fabric, the loss of identity and the violation of fundamental human rights, principally the right to water, and the free self-determination of communities.
Multinational corporations dedicated to the extraction of natural non-renewable resources are advancing and imposing their model of development through the use of lies, threats, as well as the “purchase of consciousness” and political will.
The rights of Indigenous and tribal peoples are being systematically violated by the fact that internal laws and international conventions, such as the Convention 169 of the OIT (International Labour Organization) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, have been rendered worthless.
The Central American region is an environmentally vulnerable region, with a high population population density that is growing.  Extractive activities are contributing to the acceleration of loss of natural resources that are essential for life.
Central America is a region that aspires to peace. It is a region with environmental, cultural, and, social wealth, as well as ample opportunities for sustainable development, independent of the extractive industries that threaten the life of the Central American population.


For these reasons we demand:

From the Governments:

a)    To create and implement development policies that favour the needs of the citizens, with respect for fundamental economic, social and human rights – above all, the right to life, to a healthy environment, and to water.
b)   To respect for the decisions of peoples and communities that have declared, via community consultation and other mechanisms of democratic popular expression (traditional and non-traditional), their opposition to the extractive industry in Central America.
c)    To implement processes of integration for the actualization of the agreements and conventions designed to preserve our natural resources and avoid social-environmental conflicts
d)   To guarantee the physical safety of those who openly and peacefully protest in defense of life and our natural resources.
e)    To objectively value and comply with the Convention 169 of the ILO and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We are calling on the general population, civil society organizations, churches, social movements, and the international community to unite and join in the work of defending life and the search for economic alternatives that can sustain us without destroying human and environmental wealth in our region.

No to the extractive industry in Central America.
MANAGUA, NICARAGUA December 5 2013

El Salvador: International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador

Honduras: National Netowrk of Communities Affected by Mining, Siria Valley Environmental Committee, National Coalition of Environmental Networks in Honduras.

Nicaragua: The ‘Save Santo Domingo Movement’ Strategic Group of Matagalpa, Catholic Church of Rancho Grande – Matagalpa, Associaltion of Municipal Development – Camoapa, Communities of Santa Pancha and Mina El Limón

Las organizaciones que trabajamos en defensa de la vida y la integridad del territorio centroamericano, nos hemos reunido en el Encuentro Regional: “Experiencias y perspectivas de luchas sociales ante la explotación minera de metales”, realizado en Managua, Nicaragua, a la opinión pública nacional e internacional:


Que las industrias extractivas de capital transnacional en complicidad con los gobiernos y el sistema financiero internacional, están en un proceso de expansión destructivo e invasor de nuestra región utilizando estrategias coercitivas y manipuladoras, el cual provoca el despojo de tierras, desplazamiento de poblaciones, impactos negativos al medio ambiente, conflictos socio ambientales nacionales e internacionales, provocando el rompimiento del tejido social, la perdida de la identidad y la violación a los derechos humanos fundamentales, principalmente el derecho al agua y la libre determinación de los pueblos.

Que corporaciones multinacionales dedicadas a la extracción de recursos naturales no renovables avanzan e imponen su modelo de desarrollo mediante mentiras, amenazas, compra de conciencias y voluntad política.

Los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y tribales están siendo sistemáticamente violados al no hacer valer las leyes internas y los convenios internacionales, como el Convenio 169 de la OIT, y la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas Sobre los Derechos de Los Pueblos Indígenas.

La región centroamericana es un territorio ambientalmente vulnerable, con alta densidad poblacional en crecimiento, por lo que las actividades extractivas contribuyen a acelerar la pérdida de los bienes naturales esénciales para la vida. Centroamérica es una región que aspira a la paz, tiene una riqueza natural, cultural y social con altas capacidades para desarrollarse de manera sostenible, independientemente de todas las industrias extractivas que atentan contra la vida de su población. Por las consideraciones anteriores demandamos:

A los Gobiernos:

a) Crear e implementar políticas de desarrollo que favorezcan a las necesidades de sus ciudadanos y ciudadanas, bajo un marco de respeto de los derechos humanos fundamentales, económicos y sociales sobre todo el derecho a la vida, a un ambiente saludable y al agua.

b) El respeto a las decisiones de los pueblos y comunidades que se han pronunciado por medio de consultas comunitarias, y otros mecanismos de expresión democrática popular, tradicionales y no tradicionales en contra de la industria extractiva en Centroamérica.

c) Implementar procesos de integración donde se promuevan y cumplan los tratados y convenios de protección de nuestros bienes naturales compartidos para evitar la generación de conflictos socio- ambientales.

d) Garantizar la integridad física de quienes se manifiesten abierta y pacíficamente en defensa de la vida y de nuestros bienes naturales.

e) Hacer valer de forma objetiva el Convenio 169 de la OIT, y la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas Sobre Derechos de Pueblos Indígenas. Hacemos un llamado a la población en general, organizaciones de sociedad civil, iglesias, movimientos sociales, y la comunidad internacional, a unirse en el trabajo de defensa de la vida y la búsqueda de alternativas económicas que aporten sin destruir los bienes humanos y naturales de nuestra región.

No a la industria extractiva en Centroamérica MANAGUA, NICARAGUA 5 DE DICIEMBRE DE 2013

El Salvador: International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador

Honduras: Red Nacional de Comunidades afectadas por la Minería en Honduras Comité Valle de Siria Coalición Nacional de Redes Ambientales de Honduras

Nicaragua: Movimiento Salvemos Santo Domingo Grupo Estratégico de Matagalpa Iglesia Católica de Rancho Grande – Matagalpa Asociación de Desarrollo Municipal – Camoapa Comunidades de Santa Pancha y Mina El Limón – León

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Oct 27 & Oct 29: New Film ‘DEFENSORA’ Premieres in Vancouver

“Defensora is a deeply moving testimony to incredible courage in the face of wanton brutality and a shining tribute to the human search for justice.” (Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians)

TORONTO, ON — 6kidsProductions and Girl Edge Films, in partnership with Rights Action, announces the lineup of premiere screenings of Defensora in Ontario, the Maritimes and British Columbia, October 26- November 1/2013.

Defensora Vancouver Poster

                        DEFENSORA documents the historic and on-going land and community defense struggles of Mayan Q’eqchi communities in eastern Guatemala, and their struggle for justice and remedy in Canadian courts against the nickel mining company Hudbay Minerals.
Winner of the International John Basham Award, at the 2013 Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, Defensora follows the story of sisters Maria and Angelica Choc, who lead a Mayan Q’eqchi resistance in Guatemala to reclaim ancestral lands and seek justice in Canada for the murder of Angelica’s husband, the shooting-paralyzing of German Choc Chub and the gang rapes of 11 Mayan women.

Set along the shores of Lake Izabal, where tensions run high against a backdrop and history of violence, intimidation and forced evictions, the stakes are high for the Mayan Q’eqchi people who risk their lives to protect their lands, speak the truth and seek justice in Canadian courts, and for Hudbay Minerals that continues to deny their allegations.

“Defensora is a timely documentary that provides candid insights into the brave struggles of Angélica, German and other Maya Q’eqchi’ women and men in El Estor, Guatemala who, faced with the grave harm that Canadian mining operations have brought about, are on the frontline of the battle for justice in Canadian courts.” (Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada)


Sunday October 27 in Vancouver, at Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre, Rm. 1900 SFU Harbour Centre at 7 pm. Sponsored by: Mining Justice Alliance, Media Democracy – CounterCulture, and SFU Institute for the Humanities. Features a Q&A session with Producer/Director Rachel Schmidt, Grahame Russell, Rights Action, and Lix Lopex, member of the Maya community and Mining Justice Alliance.

Tuesday October 29 at UBC (Point Grey Campus), Norm Theatre, Student Union Building (SUB) at 3pm. Sponsored by: UBC Latin American Studies Program, Mining Justice Alliance, and Not From My Campus. Features a Q&A session with Producer/Director Rachel Schmidt, Grahame Russell of Rights Action, and student members of Not From My Campus.

Watch Defensora’s preview trailer:



Defensora on facebook: www.facebook.com/Defensora

Download the Vancouver-SFU/Downtown Oct 27 screening poster to share: Defensora Vancouver Poster

Download the UBC-Point Grey Oct 29 screening poster to share: DefensoraUBC Poster-29OCT


October 26 in Toronto, Defensora premieres at OISE Auditorium at 7 pm. Sponsored by: Rights Action and Science for Peace. A panel presentation hosted by Rights Action will follow. Guests include Angelica Choc, Producer/Director Rachel Schmidt, Klippensteins Barristers and Solicitors, and actress and activist Tantoo Cardinal.

In the Maritimes, screenings are sponsored by the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network and will feature special guest Angelica Choc.

Maritimes Dates and locations include:

October 27 in Halifax, Dalhousie Law School at 7 pm

October 28 in Antigonish, Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre at 7 pm

October 30 in Tatamagouche, Tatamagouche Centre at 7 pm

November 1 in Fredericton, Cinema Politica, Conserver House at 7 pm

In British Columbia screening dates and locations include:

October 27 in Vancouver, at Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre, Rm. 1900 SFU Harbour Centre at 7 pm. Sponsored by: Mining Justice Alliance, Media Democracy – CounterCulture, and SFU Institute for the Humanities. Features a Q&A session with Producer/Director Rachel Schmidt and Grahame Russell, Rights Action.

October 28 in Prince George, at the Canfor Theatre, Rm 6-213 University of Northern British Columbia at 7 pm. Sponsored by: UNBC Geography Program, Prince George Development and Peace,UNBC Guatemala Research Group, and UNBC Department of First Nations Studies. Features a Q&A session with Producer/Director Rachel Schmidt, Grahame Russell, Rights Action and Dr. Catherine Nolin, Associate Professor of Geography UNBC.

Tuesday October 29 at UBC (Point Grey Campus), Norm Theatre, Student Union Building (SUB) at 3pm. Sponsored by: UBC Latin American Studies Program, Mining Justice Alliance, and Not From My Campus. Features a Q&A session with Producer/Director Rachel Schmidt, Grahame Russell, Rights Action, and student members of Not From My Campus.

October 30 in Victoria, at University of Victoria, David Strong Building, Rm C103 at 7 pm. Sponsored by: UVic Social Justice Studies (SJS) and Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC). Features a Q&A session with Producer/Director Rachel Schmidt and Grahame Russell, Rights Action.

November 1 in Castlegar, at Brilliant Cultural Centre at 7 pm. Sponsored by: Kootenay Region of the United Nations Branch (KRUNA), Sustainable Mining Alliance of the Kootenays (SMAK), Nelson Amnesty International, Nelson Development and Peace, Nelson Chapter of the Council of Canadians and CMAW Carpenters Local 2300. Features a Q&A session with Producer/Director Rachel Schmidt, Grahame Russell, Rights Action and local activists.

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Wed Aug 21st: Stand in Solidarity with the Tahltan people against open pit coal

Photo from facebook call

Photo from facebook call

From the call to action:

This Wednesday August 21 at 12:15 at Hornby and Robson (downtown Vancouver) there will be a gathering in solidarity to support the Tahltan people against Fortune Minerals.

Currently the Tahltan have a protest camp in the Sacred Headwaters where they are working on stopping the development of Fortune Minerals planned open pit coal mine.

Recently the Tahltan Elders served eviction notices to Fortune Minerals. However, they did not leave and are trespassing on Tahltan territory.

The Tahltan fought Shell for ten years from fracking the Headwaters before and now we must show our solidarity in stopping Fortune Minerals from creating an open pit coal mine in Tahltan territory.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1402475773303413/

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Thurs Jun 20, 2013: Alert Fortuna Silver Shareholders to the high cost of ignoring human rights!

At the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of Fortuna Silver Mines Inc.

Thursday, June 20, 2013, 9 AM

Oceanview Suite 4, Pan Pacific Hotel, 999 Canada Place (old convention centre)


Bernado Vasquez Sanchez

Bernardo Vasquez Sanchez, leading opponent of Fortuna Silver’s Mine in San Jose del Progreso, Mexico, assassinated March 15, 2012

Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver is operating the Cuzcatlán Silver Mine in the Ocotlán Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico against the wishes of many local residents who are concerned about the depletion and contamination of scarce water resources. Fortuna’s mine has sown deep divisions in neighbouring communities and since 2010, several opponents to the mine have been ambushed and shot.

People in Ocotlán are appealing to Vancouverites to support them in their struggle to get Fortuna to withdraw from their territories.

Join us in warning Fortuna Silver’s shareholders of the high costs of ignoring human rights violations at their Cuzcatlán mine!!

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