SAN SEBASTIAN, El Salvador — Vasita Escobar is certain that chemicals from the abandoned gold mine upriver from her house are slowly killing her family.
“This company that has destroyed life, wanted to keep going,” said Escobar, in reference to Commerce Group Corp., a Wisconsin-based outfit that stopped mining for gold in San Sebastian in 2006 after permit difficulties. “My kids never get better—they’re always skinny. They always breathe the river water, they play in there. When I see my kids suffering, I know others’ are too.”