What: Protest and rally outside World Bank tribunal
When: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 12 PM EST
Where: World Bank Building / Murrow Park, 1818 H St NW, Washington DC
Who: AFL-CIO; United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); United Steelworkers (USW); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM); Teamsters Union; Sierra Club; Friends of the Earth (FOE); others
Washington DC – On Thursday, Institute for Policy Studies Director John Cavanagh will join labor unions, local Salvadorans, and others to call for justice for El Salvador and fair U.S. trade policy at a rally in front of the World Bank building. The group will seek to deliver a letter to the World Bank tribunal signed by more than 100 international civil society groups to personnel working with the tribunal. Groups signed on so far include the AFL-CIO; United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); United Steelworkers (USW); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM); and Teamsters Union.
The event is permitted for Murrow Park, just outside the World Bank building. Participants will have an 18-foot tall, inflatable “fat cat” puppet, representing the Pacific Rim gold mining company, as well as colorful signs and banners.
Pacific Rim, a Canadian company, is seeking to exploit gold reserves in El Salvador by opening a mine that could poison the water supply for more than half the nation’s population. They set up a subsidiary in the United States in order to file a lawsuit under the U.S. Central America Free Trade Agreement against the government of El Salvador, which has not approved a permit to mine the gold. In the course of the dispute over these natural resources, four anti-mining activists have been killed.
The case will be decided soon by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a little-known international arbitration tribunal housed in the World Bank. A victory for Pacific Rim would send signals to any global corporation that it can override national environmental or labor rights regulations by opening a subsidiary in the United States – a windfall never imagined by even the most ardent free traders.