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El Salvador Anti-Mining Delegation, "El Salvador Free of Mining": International observer delegation: community consultations in El Salvador
El Salvador
September, Monday 15 / 2014
September, Monday 22 / 2014

Since 2005 communities and organizations grouped under the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining in El Salvador, La Mesa, have fiercely opposed attempts by foreign corporations to obtain mineral exploitation licenses to begin industrial scale gold mining. As the national government has failed to guarantee a permanent mining ban, mining affected regions are seeking to assert local autonomy through a process of community consultations that will gauge the desire of local communities in to live in territories free of mining.

This delegation aims to bring international presence to observe community consultations in the department of Chalatenango, El Salvador. Participants in the delegation are expected to:

Observe and verify community consultations on mining led by local organizations in the Chalatenango region of El Salvador.

Become familiar and gain an overall understanding of the impacts of large scale mining operations in El Salvador and the different dimensions of the anti-mining struggle.

Engage in knowledge exchange sessions with national and international environmental activists and members of local communities affected by mining.

Increase long term solidarity with communities leading struggles against extractive industries in El Salvador.


The introduction of mining projects in El Salvador has been met with a public consensus that the country's fragile environment is not able to sustain industrial scale extractive projects. The size of country`s territory, over-population, high vulnerability to natural disasters, the precarious condition of water resources, and unmitigated amounts of toxic waste already contaminating the natural environment are factors that have contributed to sway public opinion against mining. Public opinion polls have shown that over 60 percent of the population is opposed to mining.

Widespread opposition to mining has made it possible to halt the implementation of mineral exploitation projects so far. However, many challenges remain to ensure that the mining industry is prevented from increasing environmental vulnerability in the country. The Ministry of Economy through the Direction of Mining and Hydrocarbons maintains 29 active exploration licenses, and applications for over 60 exploration projects are currently in process. A law to prohibit mining has been introduced by civil society organizations at the legislative assembly but the government has failed to discuss it, maintaining only a de facto moratorium without legislative backing. Despite of the fact that that two mining companies have sued El Salvador for over 400 million dollars under the ICSID, an international trade tribunal housed at the World Bank, El Salvador has continued to sign trade agreements that contain investor-state clauses that give corporations the right to profit over public interest, and to sue in foreign courts if their rights to profit are interfered with.

The failure of the current government to approve a mining ban has required civil society organizations to sustain a permanent campaign to ensure mining companies seeking licenses to extract resources are held back and to maintain public pressure for a law that ultimately prohibits mining. Organized under National Roundtable against Mining in El Salvador, civil society organizations have led a national campaign against mining and have supported local communities to develop creative strategies to resist the presence of mining.

The communities most affected by the introduction of mining projects in the country are the northern farming communities of the departments of Santa Ana, Chalatenango, Cabañas, Morazán and La union. All these communities have already felt the presence of mining companies in their territories and have developed organized resistance to extractive projects according to their particular circumstances.

Delegation fee: $700. Delegation fee covers housing, meals, in country transportation, translation and the entire program from airport pick up to drop off. 

International Flight: $500-$900***

***International flight is to be purchased by each delegate individually

How to Participate

This is a general call for participants that may come from any region and any background and that may be interested in learning about El Salvador, although the focus is on involving individuals who are connected to related struggles internationally, such as the anti-fracking struggle, and Tar Sands pipeline struggle, the First Nations environmental rights struggle, and others.

If you are interested in participating or have questions, please contact: or 805-669-VIVA
The deadline to sign up is August 11, 2014.

If you are interested in participating but are concerned about financial barriers, please do not hesitate to contact us. Some scholarships are available, especially to individuals involved in local environmental and anti-extraction industry work.

Recent Delegations

Accompanying Communities in Resistance
Republic of Honduras
August, Monday 11 / 2014
August, Wednesday 20 / 2014

Witness for Peace Southwest, US-El Salvador Sister Cities and School of the Americas Watch will be hosting a trip to Honduras, from August 11th to the 20th.

This delegation aims to continue the spirit of international solidarity between Honduras and the United States, and in this case with several Salvadorans that will be on the delegation as well. This triangular model of solidarity allows us all to learn from each other and support each other in the struggle against injustice in Honduras.

This delegation program will include:

  • Qualified on the ground trip leaders experienced in leading delegations in Honduras.
  • A visit to the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa to meet with youth resistance organizations, the LBGQT movement, members of the Honduran congress and to advocate with the new US Ambassador to Honduras.
  • Travel to the beautiful mountainous region of Intibuca where the Lenca indigenous peoples have existed for centuries. We will stay 1-2 nights with the Lenca community of Rio Blanco where the community has been actively defending their river from being privatized and sold off to a private hydroelectric damn company.
  • We will visit the Northern cities of San Pedro Sula and El Progreso to learn about the plight of journalists in Honduras, where more journalists have been assassinated than any other country of the world.
  • Witness the beautiful northern Caribbean coast to hear from the Afro-Honduran Garifuna peoples as they fight to keep their lands from international tourism developers.
  • Spend 3-4 nights staying with campesino communities of the Aguan Valley where campesino organizations are fighting for land rights. Hear testimonies of resistance from campesino leaders and families as they go up against multi-million dollar agro-business companies dominating the landscape with African Palm oil production.

Deadline to apply: August 1

Delegation Price: $950 not including airfare (includes all in-country transport, most meals, lodging, preparation materials and translation services). **Some scholarships available**
Apply online here:
For more information and for an application, please contact Tanya at:, or Cori at: Call 805-669-VIVA (8482)

Past Delegations

Honduras, Guatemala
January, Sunday 1 / 2012
January, Saturday 14 / 2012

<p> Sponsored by <strong>Rights Action</strong>, join <strong>Annie Bird (Rights Action co-director)</strong>. For information: <strong><a href=""></a>, 202-680-3002</strong></p>

January, Friday 6 / 2012
January, Sunday 15 / 2012

Sponsored by Alliance for Global Justice, Join AfGJ Coordinator Chuck Kaufman, Karen Spring (long-time Honduras human rights accompanier with Rights Action) and Tanya Kerssen (food policy analyst from Food First). For an application, send an email to

March, Saturday 10 / 2012
March, Saturday 17 / 2012

Sponsored by Rights Action. With Grahame Russell (Rights Action co-director). For complete information Rights Action, 860-352-2448