Here is part of an e-mail I received this week. It is ad for a job with MiningWatch Canada to keep an eye on mining in Guatemala. The salary is $58,000 a year with four weeks leave. If I were able to speak Spanish, I would apply. Seems like a pure sinecure. Afterall there is only one mine in Guatemala, the Marlin Mines, and that has been written about to death. Plus supposedly it is “closed” down because of NGOs. OK there is a planned silver mine near Guatemala City and it will be much more fun to ply the entertainment districts of the city after work than to chug the long road to El Salitre while avoiding the traffic of the drug and coyote transporters.
Conversely a few days later, I saw a job for $US 20,000 to do much the same working for a group called Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA). This appears to be a USA group based in Oakland (presuambly California–not a nice place to be sure, but one where I would have thought there were many opportunities for home-focus social action.) In what follows, I post both ads. They are both fascinating to see. But exhausting to comtemplate: just how many people are competing in the NGO community to outdo each other in attacking mines in Guatemala?
My theory is that there is a bigger conspiracy at work here. Maybe somebody is trying to oust Goldcorp so they (this other shadow group) can take over the mine and its profits? If you think this is far-fetched, read on.
What I find kind of disturbing about the ad put out by MiningWatch is the emphasis on ” Coordinating solidarity campaigns in support of communities affected by mining. ” Let us face facts: MiningWatch is not the leader in coordinating the folk around the Marlin Mine. Other groups including the Catholic Church are way ahead of MiningWatch. Then there are the drug traffickers who would prefer a nice quite route for material transport.
Is this ad the start of a major battle between MiningWatch and the currently entrenched interest groups. Is this the start of a take-over bid by MiningWatch to grab front position in organizing protest, flower-power sit-ins, and badly-written reports blaming the mine for everything? They are going to have to compete with NISGUA.
If nothing else, this ad highlights how the NGOs operate in a competitive environment to grab the opportunity to protest. Where do they get their money from? I mean $58,000 a year is not a trivial sum to spend to watch two inoperative mines. Then the cost of travel must be added in. Somehow there is more than $150,000 a year set aside for MiningWatch to watch two inoperative mines. I do hope we Canadian taxpayers are not paying for this wasted effort. But I will take you on a bet we are contributing. Maybe the mining industry should protest.
Any rate I have to take the grandkids to the Suspension Bridge, so here I sign off and leave you to think about this amazing offer. Here it is:
Do you want to be an integral part of a dynamic and creative coalition working for social justice, human rights and the environment, with great opportunities for learning?
MiningWatch Canada is a coalition of twenty environmental, social justice, Aboriginal and labour organizations that works to support communities affected by mining, do research on issues pertaining to mining, environment, and health, and advocate for accountable mining practices. Our mandate extends to mining in Canada and by Canadian mining companies operating internationally.
As indicated in the job title, the successful candidate will be responsible for coordinating MiningWatch’s work on Latin America, with particular emphasis on Guatemala.
The Latin America Program Coordinator’s responsibilities are chiefly:
* Networking and building relationships with community groups, organisations, and individual experts and activists throughout Latin America;
* Coordinating solidarity campaigns in support of communities affected by mining throughout Latin America with Canadian and international organisations and experts;
* Coordinating the campaign to support communities affected by mining in Guatemala;
* Researching and analysing mining companies, mining projects, and environmental and social impacts;
* Promoting responsible mining policies with the media, the public, investors, and government decision-makers, including public participation and Indigenous Peoples’ rights;
* Working with others in the field to advocate for the improvement and enforcement of laws and regulations to protect the environment, workers, and communities;
* Building relationships with funders and support institutions;
* Working as part of a co-management team.
* The successful candidate will have a solid understanding of the social, economic, and political context of mining in Latin America and familiarity with the policy context in Canada; will have demonstrated in previous work experiences, a commitment to social justice, the environment, and human, Aboriginal, and labour rights; and will have affinity with the mandate and philosophy of MiningWatch Canada. S/he will also have a demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and will be fluent in English and Spanish. French ability will be an asset but not a requirement.
Preference will be given to candidates who have:
* Relevant post-secondary education;
* Relevant work experience, especially with non-governmental organizations;
* Experience working with Indigenous communities and grassroots organisations;
* Technical knowledge of different aspects of mining and its impacts;
* Experience working in different parts of the developing world;
* Communication skills including research and analysis, writing, media work, public presentations, web, and e-mail;
* Organising and people skills including strategic thinking and campaigning, building movements and coalitions, facilitation and shared leadership, chairing meetings, and working with groups;
* Institutional skills including project management, relating to foundations and other funders, financial development and management, and Board support.
Then today, 27 July 2010, I saw this advert for another person to manage resistance to mining in Guatemala:
The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) links people in the US and Guatemala in the grassroots global struggles for justice, human rights, and respect for the Earth.
In addition to our direct human rights work in Guatemala, NISGUA staff organize various campaigns responding to current events, speaking tours in the US, and produce timely analysis on key issues. The Mining Program, a part of our Trade and Globalization Program, works with our Guatemalan partners and other Northern allies to end mining in Guatemala. NISGUA has offices in Oakland and Guatemala City.
To learn more about NISGUA go to http://www.nisgua.org.
The US Mining Program Organizer is a new position that will work from our Oakland office. We seek an enthusiastic organizer to join our team to develop a national organizing campaign against mining in Guatemala utilizing strategic networking, on-line activism, and cross-issue participation in broader movements for human rights in Central America, environmental justice, indigenous and immigrant rights, social justice, and corporate accountability.
1. Together with staff team, develop specific education and action campaigns targeting global mining operations in Guatemala
2. Build on NISGUA’s base of Central American solidarity activists by partnering with environmental justice groups, and anti-mining groups, and organizations with common struggles
3. Support the work of Guatmalan partners actively fighting mining in their communities
4. Work with international anti-mining coalition and help push forward common efforts to develop anti-mining strategy for work with Congress, Guatemalan embassy, and the United Nations
5. Develop media contacts and relationships within the US
6. Respond to threats to Guatemalan anti-mining activists through grassroots and legislative organizing
7. Utilize social networking tools and the internet for widespread education about mining in Guatemala
8. Represent NISGUA at relevant conferences and meetings
9. Work for indigenous rights to Free, Prior, Informed Consent
10. Be an active member of NISGUA equipo — staff team — and support collective work
Compensation will be $20,000 a year for half time position with fully paid health, dental and leave benefits. Flexible schedule. Based in downtown Oakland.