Open Letter to World Bank Officials on Pacific Rim-El Salvador Case


Pacific Rim is suing El Salvador for up to hundreds of millions of dollars under the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement for not approving a mining license. Since Canada isn't part of this agreement, Pacific Rim opened a subsidiary in Reno, Nevada. SIGN-ON to this letter: Please send the name or your organization and country to Manuel Perez-Rocha of the Institute for Policy Studies, [email protected]. To: Robert Zoellick, President, World Bank Meg Kinnear, Secretary-General, ICSID V.V. Veeder, Tribunal president Brigitte Stern, Tribunal member Guido Santiago Tawil, Tribunal member From: Civil society organizations The signers of this petition represent civil society organizations.  We are writing out of solidarity with the communities of El Salvador that have been working through the democratic process to prevent a proposed cyanide-leach gold mining project, over well-founded fears that it threatens to poison the local community’s environment as well as the country’s most important river and source of water. Rather than complying with the environmental permitting process of El Salvador, Pacific Rim launched an attack under the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). They are demanding compensation from the government of El Salvador that could rise to hundreds of millions of dollars.  In an abuse of process designed to attract jurisdiction under DR-CAFTA, Pacific Rim moved its subsidiary from the Cayman Islands to Nevada in the United States.  The case will be decided by a tribunal at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), associated with the World Bank. Pacific Rim is using ICSID and the investor-state rules in a free trade agreement to subvert a democratic nationwide debate over mining and sustainability in El Salvador.  These matters should not be decided by an ICSID arbitration tribunal. In the course of Pacific Rim’s intervention in the political affairs of El Salvador, four anti-mining activists have been murdered in the project area. We stand with these communities and the government of El Salvador in their demand that their domestic governance processes and national sovereignty be respected, and thus that this case be dismissed.  We stand on the side of democracy. Sincerely, International networks:

  1. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
  2. Amigos de la Tierra América Latina y el Caribe (ATALC)
  3. Convergencia de Movimientos de los Pueblos de las Américas
  4. International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM)
  5. International Forum on Globalization
  6. Jubileo Sur / Americas
  7. Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo Extractivo Minero (M4)
  8. People's Health Movement
  9. People's Health Movement in EuropeUnited States:
  10. AFL - CIO
  11. Alliance for Global Justice
  12. American Federation of Teachers
  13. American Jewish World Service
  14. Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM)
  15. Brazilian Inmigrant Center
  16. Brooklyn for Peace
  17. Campaign for Labor Rights
  18. Casa El Salvador
  19. CEIG Boulder-Communities Engaged in Global Justice
  20. Center for International and Environmental Law
  21. Chicago Religous Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)
  22. Citizens Trade Campaign
  23. Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
  24. Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
  25. Communications Workers of America (CWA)
  26. Community Service Organization (CSO)

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Salvadorans, solidarity groups and faith partners gather in September 2023 to decry human rights abuses in El Salvador and continued U.S. support (photo: CISPES)