Beacon Press: The Water Defenders
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The Water Defenders

How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed

Authors: Robin Broad, John Cavanagh

The David and Goliath story of ordinary people in El Salvador who rallied together with international allies to prevent a global mining corporation from poisoning the country’s main water source

In a time when countless communities are resisting powerful corporations—from Flint, Michigan, to the Standing Rock Reservation, to Didipio, Philippines, to the Gualcarque River in Honduras—The Water Defenders presents the inspirational story of a community that took on Big Gold at seemingly insurmountable odds and won two historic victories.

In the early 2000s, many people in El Salvador were at first excited by the prospect of jobs, progress, and prosperity that the Pacific Rim mining company promised. However, farmer Vidalina Morales and brothers Marcelo and Miguel Rivera soon discovered that the river system that supplies water to the majority of Salvadorans was in danger of catastrophic contamination. With a group of unlikely allies, both local and global, they committed to stop the corporation and the destruction of their home.

Based on over a decade of research and their own role as international allies of the community groups in El Salvador, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh unspool this untold story, replete with corporate greed; a transnational lawsuit at a secretive World Bank tribunal in Washington, DC; violent threats; murders; and, surprisingly, victory. The husband-and-wife duo immerses the reader in the lives of the Salvadoran villagers, the journeys of the local activists who sought the truth about the effects of gold mining on the environment, and the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the corporate mining executives. The Water Defenders demands that we examine our assumptions about progress and prosperity, while providing valuable lessons for other communities and allies fighting against destructive corporations in the United States and across the world.
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“It is rare, in the world of corporate power, to have a story where David beats Goliath. And rarer still to have one that reads like a fast-paced thriller. The brave activists who Robin Broad and John Cavanagh write about stopped a giant mining company from ripping up the landscape to find gold. But in telling the story of how that happened, the authors have found a narrative gold of their own.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost and Rebel Cinderella

The Water Defenders

ISBN: 978-080702902-2
Publication Date: 3/23/2021
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $27.95
Format: Cloth
Not Yet Published
Will Ship On: March 2021
(Backorder policy)