It sounds almost too good to be true, but Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is circulating a letter in Congress asking Guatemalan President Colom to do what the Organization of American States has already ordered him to do and which he has thus far failed to do: to suspend operations at the Marlin Mine in the highlands of western Guatemala. The local communities have been opposed to the mine from the beginning, since they were never properly consulted and because open pit gold mining is ultimately quite destructive, especially for subsistence farming communities like these.
Through Oxfam America, you can send a letter to your representative in Congress, asking that he or she become educated about the issue and to vote accordingly. Quite frankly, this can’t be reduced to a partisan issue. We all claim to support basic human rights. And allowing people to decide for themselves whether outsiders can take over their land using dynamite and cyanide doesn’t seem that radical to me (does it to you?). This is a great first step in backing up those claims with what is admittedly very minimal action.
I urge you to learn more about this issue. This magazine feature story, if I may say so myself, is a good place to start. For those more visually oriented, check out this multimedia piece from Allan Lissner, who provided the photos for the article I wrote.