arlier this year, Recinos Sorto reported that her husband was receiving death threats and that unidentified men had come looking for him at their home. Oscar Menjívar, the man accused of shooting Rivera in August, had previously attacked Rodríguez with a small machete. Menjívar's neighbours report that he was one of Pacific Rim Mining's paid “promoters”. According to Rodríguez, “It is Pacific Rim who is responsible for this, because Oscar and I were great friends before they arrived. They are the source of all of this.”
The ongoing violence in Cabañas, including assaults, attempted kidnappings, and death threats, seems to be centred around the controversial presence of Pacific Rim Mining in the region, with prominent anti-mining leaders coming under attack. Pacific Rim ceased activity at the El Dorado site after local protests forced the company out and the Salvadoran government subsequently denied extraction permits. President Funes also stated his opposition to the project during his presidential campaign earlier this year and University of Central America polls show that over 62% of the population opposes gold mining.
In response, Pacific Rim opened an investor-state arbitration case against the Salvadoran government in April under the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA (Pacific Rim filed the suit through a recently acquired subsidiary, Pac Rim Cayman, based in Reno, Nevada.) According to Pacific Rim CEO Thomas Shrake, the company is seeking “hundreds of millions” of dollars in the arbitration, which is scheduled to begin in early 2010.
In November, Pacific Rim received notice from the New York Stock Exchange that it is in danger of being delisted after posting net losses for five straight years; the company then announced that it will seek to generate CDN $2.36 million by selling shares of stock to finance its legal case against the Salvadoran government. The company does not have any other mining projects in operation.
Contact: Alexis Stoumbelis, CISPES (978) 394-0425
What You Can Do:
Please see "Urgent Action: Threats and Violence Against Community Leaders in Cabañas, El Salvador"
for addresses of the relevant authorities to write to expressing your
outrage that this has been permitted to happen, your concern for the
safety of community activists in Cabañas, and urging that immediate
steps be taken to investigate these murders, asaults, and threats, and
to prevent more.
Canadian Mining in Latin America: Paramilitaries, Assassinations, and Impunity (from Upsidedownworld.org, December 28, 2009)
El Salvador: Company Promoters Shred Social Fabric of Communities (from Upsidedownworld.org, November 18, 2008)
and the following two articles:
written by Jason Wallach on Upsidedownworld.org
Sunday, 27 December 2009
days after heavily armed men took the life of a respected anti-mining
activist in Cabañas, El Salvador, another prominent community leader
has been assassinated.
Catherine McLeod-Seltzer, Chairman Pacific Rim
McLeod-Seltzer has enjoyed a broad and successful career in the mining
industry, including co-founding and/or directing numerous successful
mining ventures such as Arequipa Resources, Francisco Gold, Miramar
Mining, Peru Copper, Bear Creek Mining, Stornoway Diamonds, and
Kinross. Catherine brings an extensive knowledge of mining finance and
public relations as well as her exceptional reputation and network of
industry contacts to Pacific Rim's Board of Directors.
On December 26 at 3:30 pm Dora “Alicia” Recinos
Sorto, 32, was killed as she returned from doing laundry at the river
near her home in Cantón Trinidad, in the municipality of Sensuntepeque,
Cabañas. “Alicia,” as she was known to friends, was carrying one of her
children in her arms as she was shot dead. The child was shot in the
foot and is receiving medical care.
Since 2005, many Cabañas
residents like Recinos Sorto have been involved in a fierce battle over
whether the US/Canadian Pacific Rim Mining Company can re-open the
shuttered El Dorado gold mine.
Thomas C. Shrake, President and CEO, Director
President and CEO of Pacific Rim, Tom Shrake oversees Pacific Rim's
technical programs and project acquisitions, and implements the
Company's objectives and strategies. Tom is a veteran explorationist
and mine-finder, holding senior positions in the past with Gibraltar
Mines and Placer Dome amongst others. Tom has numerous ore deposit
discoveries to his credit, including the Lomas Bayas and Fortuna de
Cobre deposits in Chile. Tom has his finger on the pulse of the mining
industry and his market savvy is a strong balance to his technical
Late last year, outgoing President Tony
Saca responded to local pressure and negated Pacific Rim’s permit
applications for gold extraction. Activists are concerned that
re-starting the mine will threaten local water supplies and ruin their
ability to grow crops. Supporters—mostly Pacific Rim employees and
their families—see the revival of the mine as a source of job creation
and economic development.
Alicia Recinos Sorto together with her
husband, José Santos Rodriguez, were active members of the Cabañas
William Myckatyn, Lead Director
Bill Myckatyn is the
co-founder of Quadra Mining Ltd. and the former President of Dayton
Mining Corporation (a predecessor company of Pacific Rim). Amongst his
previous career roles, Bill was the President and CEO of Gibraltar
Mines, and stewarded the company's $550 million CAD takeover by Westmin
Resources in 1996. Bill is a mining engineer with extensive technical
and management experience in mining development and operations.
Santos Rodriguez holds a position on the CEC
Board and was attacked with a machete for his anti-mining views in May
2008. According to Hector Berríos of MUFRAS-32, the now-deceased Alicia
recently told fellow CEC activists that armed men showed up at the
couple’s home looking for her husband. She said that he had not been
present at the time.
Recino Sorto’s murder has further shaken
Cabañas, a region which was already reeling from the Dec. 20 killing of
the Vice President of the Cabañas Environmental Committee (CEC), Ramiro
Rivera. Rivera had been the target of a previous attacks and was under
police protection at the time of his murder.
Anthony Petrina, Director
Now retired, Tony Petrina has
a wealth of experience in the mining industry. His 32-year career with
Placer Dome included the roles of President, Vice-Chairman and CEO. Mr.
Petrina was also a Director of Arequipa Resources and his expertise was
integral in helping the company manage the takeover by Barrick.
The police presence,
however, did not deter the hitmen, who rode up to the side of the
Rivera’s pick-up as he drove and shot him repeatedly in the head and
chest. A passenger in Rivera’s pick-up was killed and a teen girl was
injured. According to elfaro.net, a fourth passenger escaped by running
into the woods.
Information for this report was taken from a
report by Hector Berríos, MUFRAS-32, previous UDW reports, and the
recent Salvadoran press.
David Fagin, Director
David Fagin lends his extensive
experience in mining and finance to Pacific Rim's Board as the Chair of
the Audit Committee. David is the former COO of Homestake Mining
Company and is currently a director of a number of mining and
exploration companies, and of various mutual funds of the T. Rowe Price
Second opponent to Pacific Rim slain this week
by Moira Peters on Mediacoop.ca
December 27, 2009
two years ago, he lost two fingers because he opposed a Canadian-owned
gold mine in Cantina Trinidad, El Salvador. Yesterday, Jose Santos
Rodriguez lost his wife, some say for the same reason.
Alicia Sorto Recinos, 32, was shot and killed yesterday at 3:30 pm when
she was returning home from doing laundry in a nearby river. She was
eight months pregnant. Her son, who was accompanying her, was shot in
Santos Rodriguez is a farmer and active member of the
Environmental Committee of Cabañas (CAC), a citizen group in opposition
to Pacific Rim's proposed El Dorado gold mine. In April, 2008, he was
attacked by Oscar Menjivar, a neighbour who had relationships with
local mayors who supported the mine. In the attack, Menjivar cut off
two of Santos Rodriguez' fingers with a machete.
According to a
press release by Movimiento Unificado Francisco Sánchez-1932
(MUFRAS-32), Sorto Recinos had recently informed MUFRAS-32 that men
with rifles had come to her house, looking for her husband. He was not
home at the time.
The assassination of Sorto Recinos is the
second murder this week of an opponent to Pacific Rim's proposed El
Dorado mine, and the latest in a string of assassinations of civilian
opponents to Canadian mining projects in Latin America.
Ramiro Rivera Gomez was shot and killed on December 20, in spite of 24-hour police protection.
says the community is most alarmed by the lack of police investigation
into these crimes. There have been no arrests for Rivera Gomez'
assassination, and the community sees only "the most serious lack of
will in discovering the causes of these murders," according to the