A leader in the movement opposed to re-opening the El Dorado goldmine in El Salvador is in stable condition after being shot eight times in the back and legs Aug. 13. Doctors at San Salvador’s Rosales Hospital said it was “miraculous” that Ramiro Rivera survived the attack, which occurred in front of his home. Rivera identified one of two assailants, who was detained by police in Cabañas.
Ramiro Rivera is president of the local Community Development Association (ADESCO) of Nueva Trinidad, Cabañas department. In 2005, as exploration permits were offered to the US-Canadian Pacific Rim Mining Corporation, the community found that it was in the crosshairs of a proposed gold mine. As the company began to drill deep holes to estimate the quality of gold deposits, residents noticed their wells were drying up. Some wells were poisoned by unknown chemicals, leading in some cases to stillborn calves and dead livestock.
Rivera was elected to lead the group after residents accused the previous ADESCO board of receiving hush money from Pacific Rim representatives. When Rivera took the helm, he organized three road blockades near Nueva Trinidad that prevented exploratory equipment from being transported into remote areas. Rivera has previously reported threats against his life that he said were based on his opposition to the goldmine. (Upside Down World, Aug. 13)