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Intimidation, defamation and fear: Goldcorp in Guatemala

posted by dawn Geography: Latin America Guatemala Topics: Mining

March 9, 2007

Intimidation, defamation and fear: Goldcorp in Guatemala

Vancouver based Goldcorp lodged a formal complaint today against Madre Selva, a Guatemalan ecologist collective, as well as against Flaviano Bianchini, an Italian biologist who carried out water quality studies near Goldcorp's Marlin mine in Guatemala. Bianchini's study found high levels of heavy metals, and the findings were released by Alvaro Ramazzini, the Bishop of San Marcos.

Goldcorp claims that according to studies by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, there is no contamination at the site of the highly contested Marlin Mine. (good background summary here, by Ben Witte).

This formal complaint by the company comes just after a March 7 article by Lawrence Williams on mineweb.net titled Environmental fascism – Mining facing misinformation and downright lies from anti-mining NGOs.

Williams states that:

"The [anti-mining] NGOs, like terrorists, do not seem to abide by the rules of the game. They do need to be brought to account in some way or other, because misinformation and lies once promulgated in the media tend to be considered as fact by the general public – even though they may be withdrawn at some stage in the future. The question is haow [sic] can the industry achieve this. The debate continues."

In an interview with Vancouver Coop radio this morning, Dr. Catherine Coumans from Mining Watch Canada noted that this kind of statement is "irresponsible... and especially dangerous for people working on the ground where there is resistance to mining."

In the words of Guatemalan activist Mario Godinez, "the complaint lodged by the [Goldcorp] against Madre Selva is more than intimidation, with the objective of putting fear into upcoming Consultas [community based referendums] and processes of resistance that are happening in diverse ways all over the country... this formal complaint... represents nothing more and nothing less than a faithful reflection of the HUGE FEARS that gold mining companies have..." (note: my rapid translation -d).

Intimidation and defamation are common tactics used by mining companies, and as has already been proven in the case of the Marlin Project, standing up against Canadian corporations can be a deadly and dangerous thing to do.

*if you have a second, send a note to Goldcorp's board & ask them why they've filed a complaint against Madre Selva & Bianchini. directors@Goldcorp.com *

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