The human rights cost of Canadian extractive industries in Central America - Canada public speaking tour
March 19-28, 2017
Since the 1990s, the governments of Central America have been encouraged to adapt a model of economic development based on the exploitation of raw materials - extractivism - which has become the main source of investment for the region. This model has been coupled with the imposition of macroeconomic policies that encourage direct foreign investment through the elimination of customs tariffs, flexible exchange rates, privatization of state assets, and deregulation of labor, education and environmental laws.
These policies have encouraged an aggressive pattern of appropriation of natural resources by multinational corporations - many of which are Canadian. The mining industry alone accounts for a total of 1,118 concessions in the region and occupies a land area of 70% in Honduras, almost 30% in Guatemala, 10.05% in Nicaragua, and 10% in El Salvador.
Most mining projects face opposition from affected communities organized through social movements, civil society and other institutions that question the anti-democratic way in which licenses are awarded, the absence of prior and informed consultation and the impacts these projects cause on the environment, people’s health and social stability. Widespread opposition to these projects has unleashed waves of violent repression and persecution of environmental advocates by security forces in complicity with multinational companies, resulting in the gross violations of human rights. The environment of continued pressure from multinational corporations has forced affected populations to re-think their organizing strategies and realign local alliances to defend their territories.
This tour will raise awareness about the impacts of Canadian extractive projects in Central America through the testimonies of front line activists who are leading successful campaigns to defend their territory from corporate incursion. The Speakers. The Events. The Press Kit. The Sponsors.
Association for Development (CRIPDES) - El Salvador
Bernardo began as rural youth activist in 995 and has been involved with many community organizing processes including the struggle against sugar cane plantations in the Lower Lempa delta. As the president of CRIPDES, he has led the resistance against mining projects in El Salvador in the region of Chalatenango and has travelled through North America, South America and Europe building support for communities affected by mining. Mr Belloso has also led a successful campaign of local referenda to declare municipalities in northern El Salvador as territories free of mining. He is a member of the National Roundtable Against Mining in El Salvador, The October 12 Popular Resistance Movement, the Central American Democratic Coalition and others.
We have a right to determine our own development path.
Javier Mejía Castro, Humboldt Institute - Nicaragua
Javier is an Economist currently working at Humboldt Centre, an environmental NGO, as Coordinator of Natural Resources Management Area with focus on renewable energy, mining and water issues. He facilitates legal and technical processes to support communities affected by extractive industries in Nicaragua, strengthening the leadership of social movements and promoting
spaces for dialogue, advocacy and lobbying before government institutions. He has supported consultation processes and law reforms aimed to the defense and protection of autonomous territories and their population. As a coordinator in Centro Humboldt, Mr. Mejia has led research teams dedicated to analyze the social and environmental impacts of the mining activity.
Megaprojects do not resolve the energy problem, and cause social and environmental damage.”
Aleisar Arana Morales,
Xinca Parliament - Guatemala
Aleisar Is the president of the Xinca Parliament, composed of 13 organizations and 20 communities located along the southern region of Guatemala with a population of more than ½ million people. He is a farmer and member of the Xinka community of Quezada in Jutiapa, Guatemala. As president of the Xinca Parliament, Aleisar has led successful community consultation processes that have resulted in 98% of the population rejecting extractive projects. He has also led a permanent mobilization campaigns to defend their territory from the encroachment of multinational companies.
Companies are talking behind our backs with the government, negotiating away our land without our consent.
Yanira Cortez Estevez, El Salvador
Yanira is a lawyer with a Masters degree in Human Rights & Education for Peace from the University of El Salvador. She has completed postgraduate studies in Law, Politics and Criminology, specializing in Criminal Law from the University of Salamanca, Spain, a Master’s degree in International Protection in Human Rights from the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, and specialized courses in Human Rights and Natural Resource Rights. From October 2004 to September 2016, she was the Deputy Attorney for the Defense of the Environment at the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office and worked on issues related to defense of water, extractive industries and environmental conflicts. She is currently a judge for the Latin American Water Tribunal, working on human rights and the environment.
The Press Kit
Association for the Development of El Salvador (CRIPDES)
University of Western Ontario - Organizing Equality international conference
Americas Policy Group/CCIC.
Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking The Silence Network
Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
The United Church of Canada
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL)
Public Service Alliance of Canada Social Justice Fund
Unifor- Social justice fund
United for Mining Justice
Amnesty International Canada
Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)
Kairos: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
From March 21-26 this tour will raise awareness about the impacts of Canadian extractive projects in four countries (El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua) in the Central America region through the testimonies of front line activists who are leading successful campaigns to defend their territory from corporate incursion. Read and download the press kit here.
From pages 1-3, read the full itinerary and bios.
Beginning at page 4, read the Briefing Paper: The Impact of Canadian Mining in Central America By The Association for the Development of El Salvador - CRIPDES.
On page 7, read an overview of four case studies of Canadian-operated mining companies in Central America.
Additional resources and information begin at page 13.
Amanda Grzyb: 519-902-3614 or