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Real World Radio interviewed Salvador Zuñiga, leader of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). He said that several Honduran communities are suffering increasing displacement and harsh repression since the coup d’état in June 2009.
Real World Radio receives reports of human rights violations in Honduras almost every day. The many atrocities that happen in the country’s local communities have intensified under Porfirio Lobo’s administration, the successor of Roberto Micheletti’s dictatorship.
Real World Radio interviewed Zuñiga at the 6th Mesoamerican Meeting of the Latin American Network Against Dams and for Rivers, their Communities and Water (Redlar), held from September 22 to 25 in Tres Equis de Turrialba community, Costa Rica. Representatives of social organizations of the region participated in the event.
Zuñiga spoke with Real World Radio’s correspondent in Costa Rica, Henry Picado. He said that the displacement and repression of Honduran communities intensified after the coup d’état that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya, and under Lobo’s administration.
The leader also said that his country is undergoing hard times as a result of the capitalist system’s voracious exploitation of natural resources, water, mining, forests. After the coup d’état private companies were authorized to build dams on rivers, violating the indigenous and peasant rights.
There are currently 73 rivers where the exploitation of private corporations has been authorized in Honduras and 60 dam construction projects. The main one in Platano river, called Patuca III, with Chinese funds. The dam aims to generate 600 megawatts. Zuñiga mentioned that the project “is a threat for the Pech, Misquitos and Garifuna peoples that will be displaced. Besides, 40% of the country’s forests has been granted to mining exploitation”, said the activist.
About the militarization in Honduras, he warned that the project to build US military bases in Honduran territory is still underway.
Lastly, Zuñiga said that from September 30 to October 3 there will be a Continental Meeting against Militarization in Colon department. The aim is to express solidarity with the people of Aguan, to expose the human rights violations in the area and to begin new actions against militarization. Radio Progreso of Honduras said that during the land conflict in Aguan, where peasants have been fighting for their right to land, 50 leaders have been murdered, and these crimes remain unpunished amid the crude militarization of the dictatorial regime.
* Member of COECOCEIBA – Friends of the Earth Costa Rica.
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