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Protect El Salvador community from mining company's abuse

This petition had 42,066 supporters

My name is Héctor Antonio Garcia Berrios. In 2009, my friends Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera, and Dora Serrano were brutally murdered. All three of them, like me, are activists who oppose the building of a massive mine in our community in Cabañas, El Salvador, by the international mining company OceanaGold. I'm asking you to stand with our community in the face of this threat.

El Salvador is facing a clean water crisis - more than 90% of the surface water in our country is contaminated. Mining has made this crisis worse: last year, near a mine in eastern El Salvador, the San Sebastian River was found to contain nine times more cyanide and one thousand times more iron than is safe for human consumption. We do not want these poisons polluting our water and our land, and making it harder for us to feed our families. That’s why we’re dedicated to fighting this fight – and why we’re risking our lives to stand up for our rights. We urgently need your support to protect our community.

Thankfully, our government - democratically elected by people across El Salvador - has not granted OceanaGold a mining permit, because the company has not come close to meeting the basic environmental and social safeguards required by our laws. But OceanaGold has stooped to a new low: they are suing the citizens of El Salvador for $301 million in an obscure World Bank court for the theoretical future profits they might have earned from the mine. 40% of our country lives in poverty, but OceanaGold wants taxpayers to pay them hundreds of millions of dollars – just for choosing our own future.

Over the last five years, my wife Zenayda and I have received death threats, anonymous notes, threatening phone calls in the middle of the night, armed robberies of important case records, and even a raid in the early morning hours by unknown assailants, where they drugged us and stole the evidence linking the mining company with local elected officials – all because we exercised our rights to stand against this mine. This is bullying at its worst.

But we have the power to stand up for our rights! Right now a three-person panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC is deciding whether the citizens of El Salvador will be forced to pay $301 million to OceanaGold, simply for choosing not to have a dangerous mine in our backyard.

Please join us and tell the members of the World Bank Tribunal: Stand up to OceanaGold, side with the people of El Salvador.


Héctor Berrios.

Movimiento Unificado Francisco Sanchez-1932
La Mesa Coalition

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