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These days, the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras becomes the global mining capital, hosting the event “Honduras Open for Business”, which gathers more than 400 mining companies around the world. This has been denounced by local communities and Mesoamerican articulations that reject this industry as an auction of the country and subjugation of its sovereignty.
Such is the analysis by the assembly of Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC), meeting these days in Asunción, Paraguay with a report by the renowned Honduran doctor and environmentalist Juan Almendares Bonilla, a member of this environmental federation.
The business event was orchestrated with a high budget by the Trade and Investment Council of Mining and Quarrying Industry (Comicoin) of Honduras, and started on August 12nd, 2015. The organization spokesman acknowledged in statements to local media that “there were legal difficulties in the country, but there is an existing law with the judicial context that was approved, so there’s a chance to create investment.”
The reading by environmentalist Almendares is quite the opposite: he states that in the region and inside Honduras —in Valle de Siria, for instance— there is wide evidence of the health consequences for communities, as well as the poisoning of land and freshwater sources. And he noted that this mining business conclave, joined to the impulse of areas favored by corporations, known as “model cities” without environmental or labor laws, are a sign of the weak democracy in his country.
The doctor and environmentalist explained Real World Radio the significance of this global mining conclave that takes place in San Pedro Sula, the main city in the country, and he noted the need for a joint rejection of what this means at a symbolic and concrete level.
ATALC is working on a statement rejecting this gathering as well as expressing solidarity with the mining resistance in Honduras and Mesoamerica that will be sent to the Honduran delegations across the continent.
Recently, during the visit of a delegation from the Organization of American States (OAS) in Honduras, members of Lenca and Garifuna indigenous organizations occupied the headquarters of this agency to draw attention to the situation of displacement they experience in their territories.
“The same industries that have provoked disasters in the country have ended the forest and affected the health of humans and animals; they’ve created evil laws through bribes, although they’ve never paid compensation to the affected communities,” Almendares said.
Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (ATI) ya tiene una delegación en Ginebra, Suiza, para dar muestras a una nueva sesión regular del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas (ONU), que va del 6 al 23 de junio, del respaldo popular a las negociaciones del tratado vinculante sobre transnacionales y derechos humanos, que se negocia en ese marco multilateral.
Esta edición de nuestro programa semanal abre con la flamante coordinadora general del COPINH, Berta Zúñiga Cáceres, con quien profundizamos en las luchas de ese movimiento indígena, el caso legal por el asesinato de su madre, Berta, y las principales preocupaciones.
La presión en el marco de Naciones Unidas (ONU) a favor de los principios rectores sobre empresas y derechos humanos es muy grande, reconoció la presidenta de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (ATI), Karin Nansen. Pero esos principios no funcionan en los hechos y nunca lo harán, aseguró, por su carácter voluntario, que no obliga a las corporaciones a respetarlos.
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