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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.
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
En Argentina un joven está desaparecido por la represión estatal a una protesta mapuche; en Guatemala indígenas denuncian la violación del Convenio 169 de la OIT. Viajamos también a Costa Rica, Honduras y Venezuela, por otras demandas y agresiones a los pueblos.
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