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The Goldman Environmental Prize: Francisco Pineda, El Salvador

Author: The Goldman Environmental Prize, Published on: 1 April 2011

Living under the constant threat of assassination, Francisco Pineda courageously led a citizens’ movement that stopped a gold mine from destroying El Salvador’s dwindling water resources and the livelihoods of rural communities throughout the country...In 2002, Canadian mining giant Pacific Rim began the exploration phase for a gold and silver mine in Cabañas...Pineda...and his neighbors...set in motion a people’s movement that would succeed in halting the mine, but would have deadly consequences for many involved...In 2009, three of Pineda’s colleagues were assassinated...Due in large part to Pineda’s leadership, the Salvadoran government has not granted Pacific Rim the necessary extraction permit...[However] Pacific Rim has initiated a $100 million lawsuit under CAFTA claiming that El Salvador is in violation of the agreement for halting the company’s plans. This lawsuit calls into question the sovereignty of individual nations that are party to agreements like CAFTA and their rights to decide for themselves how to administer development projects. [Includes video clip on Pineda’s story]

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Related companies: Pacific Rim Mining