If you’ve been reading my blog regularly, you’ve probably guessed that I’m not a big fan of corporations and global capitalism. I have many reasons for this stance. My cousin and his girlfriend, who currently live in El Salvador, have just given me another reason. They explained it on their blog here:
The short version is this. A major Canadian corporation is seeking to start a large mining operation in El Salvador. Many of the locals are protesting because they’re aware of how mines have devastated communities and the environment in many places throughout Latin America. Leading them is the Cabanas Environmental Committee (CAC). The CAC seeks to keep people informed via radio, distributing literature, and other means. However, it is dangerous work, as the corporate agents, working with some local mayors, use violence to shut them down. Below is a dispatch from one radio station:
Dear Friends, i am very sorry to report the following:
On June 2, in the city of Ilobasco, Cabañas, thirty year-old Juan Francisco Duran Ayala was putting up flyers and banners that asked for the approval of a law against metal mining and for the Canadian mining company Pacific Rim to leave Cabañas as part of a Cabañas Environmental Committee (CAC) campaign. The CAC reports that the mayor of Ilobasco, José Maria Dimas Castellano, ordered members of the municipal police to remove the banners and intimidate the activists that were hanging them. The next day Juan Francisco left for his classes at the Technological University in San Salvador and was not heard from again.
Yesterday we received word that Juan Francisco Duran Ayala’s body was located and today there has been a positive identification of his body. The Coroner says he died from a bullet in the head.
This murder comes 2 years after the kidnapping and murder of anti-mining activist Marcelo Rivera, and the murders of 2 other CAC activists, Ramiro Rivera y Dora Alica Sorto.
Reports like these, which are largely ignored in the United States, give the lie to the idea that global capitalism is a peaceful, voluntary system. Major corporations use violence all the time to get what they want. This is just one incident among a great many that could be cited in Central America alone.
Fortunately there are ways to fight back. My cousin is encouraging people to e-mail the Attorney General and investigate these murders. You can find details in the post that I linked to above. Please help out with this good cause.