All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

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John Ahni Schertow
November 15, 2008

All That Glitters Isn’t Gold – A Story of Exploitation and Resistance” is an hour-long documentary about the San Martin open-pit gold mine in the Siria Valley of Honduras, and the efforts of local indigenous communities to shut it down.

Operating since 1998, the San Martin Mine has been a disastrous burden for the local population. More than fifty percent suffer from skin disorders and numerous internal health issues due to the consumption and use of local water. A significant percentage of children suffer from chronic illness and have no means of diagnosis or treatment.

The mine, which is now owned by Vancouver-based Goldcorp, has had a similar effect on the local economy, which is traditionally based on agriculture and cattle. As a 2006 open letter states, many people simply can’t make ends meet anymore, leading them to immigrate to the United States, breaking apart their families and community life.

In response to all of this, what has essentially become a way of life — the communities have done everything in their power to shut down the mine. Unfortunately, they have been met with little more than cynicism, harassment, military violence assassinations, and perverse claims that the mine is a model of healthy development.

The San Martin is nearing closure today (almost all the gold is gone), which means it won’t be long before the community will see the end of this ten-year-long molestation, and begin returning to their own way of life. Nevertheless, the damage has been done. The communities may never be the same again.

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