19 de julio de 2012 | Entrevistas | Tribunal Internacional Popular de Salud - Guatemala | Anti-neoliberalismo | Derechos humanos | Industrias extractivas
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Clinical analyses made to Honduran residents of Valle de Siria, in Francisco Morazán department, where Canadian mining corporation operates, showed that many people have high levels of heavy metals such as arsenic and lead in their blood.
In El Pedernal, over 50% of the population is ill. In Palo Ralo the situation is similar. Activist Reina Gamero of the Environmental Committee of Valle de Siria exposed this at the International People’s Health Tribunal held last weekend in San Miguel Ixtahuacán municipality, Guatemala.
The clinical analyses to the residents of Valle de Siria were carried out in Colombia, at the request of the Honduran government under pressure of local social organizations.
The (non binding) Health Tribunal exposed Goldcorp’s abuses in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. In Valle de Siria, where San Martin mine is located, the company failed to comply with the “safety standards for the community and the employees”, said Gamero. Some Goldcorp former employees also had health problems.
One of the saddest cases is precisely that of a former worker of the company who used to burn cyanide containers. He has leukemia now and has not received any compensation from the company even though he was poisoned and became ill during his period working there, said Gamero. Goldcorp “just fired him”, she said.
The activist emphasized that the group would rather not have so many reasons to expose Goldcorp. These reasons exist because several communities have become ill and we are not proud of that. “It is painful, we wish people were not ill in our communities, but they are”, said Gamero, who would love to see her country’s government take into account the ruling of the Health Tribunal “for the well-being of our peoples”.
The jury of the Tribunal, made up by internationally renowned people specialized in different fields, demanded Goldcorp to suspend all its operations in Central America and to guarantee that the negative impacts caused in Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras will not happen again.
The judges also demanded the states “to comply with and to enforce the national legislation regarding international conventions, in particular the rules of respect of prior, free and informed consent”.
* Interview by Grace García, of COECOCEIBA – Friends of the Earth Costa Rica.
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