I’d like to thank James Munson and the Yukon News for the article published Friday, April 3 in the Lifestyles section about my activist work in Guatemala.
However, there are a couple of items I’d like to correct.
First, the photo caption states I travelled to Honduras; although the film was about Goldcorp’s mining activities and subsequent human and environmental harms in Honduras, I have only travelled to Guatemala and seen the devastating effects from Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine in the communities in Guatemala.
Second, the woman who had the courage to stand up to Goldcorp’s underhanded invasion of her property and cut the power to the Marlin Mine lives in Guatemala and isn’t elderly. She (and the seven other women who stood with her) is still living in fear of the capture order and has had to remain in hiding.
I just returned from a visit to the communities and met with her; the division in the community is becoming more apparent. She has had her water cut off and is feeling isolated and depressed from the constant pressure.
I also observed another community exercising its right to consultation; there was a community meeting and vote held on whether they want the Marlin Mine in their area. I witnessed community democracy in action; the members voted against having the mine on their lands.
Finally, I need to correct the interpretation that the reporter put to my words regarding my working with and for Yukon First Nations. I believe in the inherent right of First Nations to self-government, and the way towards that through the land claims agreements. I am also inspired by what First Nations are doing in regards to managing their lands and resources, etc. and want to continue assisting with that where and when I can.
The comment in the article was referring to the fact that we have these agreements which gave life to managing the Yukon’s resources through boards and committees, such as the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, but then the Yukon government has the ability to completely ignore the recommendations of the board and do what it wants anyway.
I would like to thank Suat Tuzlak and Peter Beker for providing the community venue to hold events such as the Alpine Bakery film night where information can be shared on different topics.
I’d like to also thank Larry Bagnell for educating himself about the activities of Canadian-owned Goldcorp in Guatemala and attending the film and talk and providing an update on what his office and the federal government is doing to ensure that Canadian companies are operating in a responsible manner in other parts of the world. He explained the Canadian Pension Plan (which is a huge investor in Goldcorp) is currently reviewing its investment criteria and how it relates to human rights, etc.
People may not realize that, as pension plan contributors, they are also implicated. I encourage everyone to write the Canada Pension Plan, local and federal politicians, and company representatives to voice your concerns about Goldcorp in particular and the way investments are handled in general.