The New Conquistadors
Starting in the early 16th Century, Spanish explorers arrived in Central and South America in search of gold, silver and spices. While the term "Spanish Conquistadors" references an era of great Spanish power and influence, for the indigenous people living in the lands the Conquistadors reached, it was considered a time of exploitation, disease and oppression.
Five hundred years later, there are some - particularly in the indigenous communities of Latin America - who are seeing this as new era of economic conquest, one with significant environmental and social consequences. This time, the new "conquerors" are Canadian mining companies.
These "new conquistadors" have generated enormous wealth for Canada and the countries in which they do business. Canadian mining companies often have "sustainable development" programs that provide a range of opportunities for locals and attempt to offset the negative environmental effects of mining. However, the economic, environmental and social changes these mines bring to rural communities have generated considerable debate in Latin America. This project is intended as a catalyst for discussion.
"The New Conquistadors" is a collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a nonprofit journalism organization committed to funding under-reported subjects of international interest. The Pulitzer Center is "a bold initiative, in keeping with its deep ties to the family whose name for more than a century has been a watchword for journalistic independence, integrity, and courage."
Find out more about the organization here:http://pulitzercenter.org/about-us
The interactive map found on this site has been provided by MICLA, the McGill University-based research group investigating Canadian mining in Latin America.
Find out more about MICLA here: http://www.micla.ca