Regional News

Environmental activists are being killed in Honduras over their opposition to mining

The Conversation

Giada Ferrucci

Screen Shot 2021 05 11 at 15.57.04Two men shot Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo to death in his home in Tocoa, Honduras, one night in October 2020. Morazán was an environmental activist and one of 32 people criminalized by the Honduran government for defending the Guapinol River against the environmental impacts of a new iron oxide mine in the Carlos Escaleras National Park.

So far, at least eight people who have opposed the mine have been killed, putting its owner, Inversiones Los Pinares, at the centre of a deadly environmental conflict in the mineral-rich Bajo Aguán region. Local communities are concerned about the mine’s potential ecological damage. In their attempts to defend their territories, local leaders have been surveilled, threatened, injured and imprisoned, and some, like Morazán, have been killed.

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Honduran justice denies defenders of the Guapinol river to wait for their trial in freedom

 CRITERIO

Tegucigalpa. - Eight environmental defenders of the Atlantic zone of Honduras have been in prison for 15 months due to their opposition to a mining project which is plagued with irregularities. This Saturday, the judge Zoe Guifarro, of the Sectional Court of First Instance in Tocoa, department of Colón, ruled out the review of the measures requested by the legal representatives of the defenders. The judge decided that the defenders will not be able to defend themselves in freedom after she reviewed the measures requested by the defending legal team.

A group of human rights defense lawyers had waited since Friday that the judge would finally release the defenders of the San Pedro and Guapinol rivers, located in the municipality of Tocoa, in the department of Colón. The defenders are opposed to a mining concession for the exploitation of iron oxide of 200 hectares within the boundaries of the Carlos Escaleras National Park.

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Puno: An indefinite strike announced due to mining contamination in the Coata River

Wayka

Arsenic and mercury were found in the bodies of people in the districts near the Coata river basin, in the Puno region, which is being contaminated by mining tailings. Local leaders claim that the State has failed to protect their health.

The Unified Defense Front (Frente de Defensa Unificado) against the contamination of the Coata River basin announced that they will go on indefinite strike this Monday, November 9. At a press conference, leaders expressed demands for the Government to take urgent measures in the five affected districts.

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Canadian corporate greed on display in Mexico mining dispute

Jen Moore | Canadian Dimension

As gold prices soar to record levels, the Los Filos gold mine in Mexico, one of the country’s largest, has sat idle since early September after its owner, Vancouver-based Equinox Gold, failed to uphold its agreement with the nearby community of Carrizalillo, a small town of about 3,000 people. Equinox blames the community for the shutdown, but in reality, the company and its executives have no one to blame but themselves.

On September 3, the community assembly of Carrizalillo set up camp outside the mine, which is principally located on their lands, after their representatives tried for months to appeal to company management to correct breaches of their social-cooperation agreement. Instead of receiving a constructive response, they faced disrespect, ridicule, and discrimination from the manager designated to respond to their concerns.

The community first sought resolution through written correspondence and meetings. In a July 31 letter, the community appealed directly to the Los Filos general manager and explained that their efforts to address grievances with the manager assigned to them “always end with incomplete responses or without resolution and with arrogant acts and insults that extend to acts of discrimination and lack of respect.” They requested that the general manager be assigned to them instead. But he was dismissed that very week. Subsequently, communication with and trust in the company began rapidly eroding.

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The hidden connection between a US steel company and the controversial Los Pinares mine in Honduras

Jennifer Avila y Danielle Mackey | Univision

An environmental conflict marked by violence is raging in Guapinol, Honduras, where local inhabitants resist an iron oxide mine in a national park. 

GUAPINOLDiscreetly and without public announcement, the largest steel producer in the United States, the Nucor Corporation, spent at least four years associated with an iron mine in Honduras under fire for its presumed persecution of social leaders who are protesting the ecological damage the mine may cause in protected land, according to documents obtained through a cross-border journalism collaboration between Contracorriente, the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP) and the Univision Investigative Unit.

Nucor, a publicly traded company coddled by President Donald Trump, partnered in 2015 with the prominent Honduran businessman Lenir Pérez and his wife Ana Isabel Facussé, owners of Inversiones Los Pinares -- a company that is waging battle against the residents of a town called Guapinol, who oppose the company's planned mine in the Carlos Escaleras National Park, in the northern part of this Central American nation. The conflict has left a wake of people dead, injured and imprisoned.

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Thousands of Salvadorans endure COVID-19 without running water to wash their hands

Global Voices

agua3 800x435One of the most essential aspects of COVID-19 prevention is regularly washing your hands; however, hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans are facing COVID-19 without reliable access to water. According to the United Nations, more than 600,000 people did not have access to any type of drinking water and sanitation services in 2016 and more than one million people only had access to deficient water services. According to news reports, this situation has possibly worsened due to the pandemic.

Rosa Amelia Mendoza, a 45-year-old mother of three who resides in Colonia Altavista, a municipality about 15 kilometers from downtown San Salvador, has not had any running water in her house since the pandemic started back in March 2020. In fact, she hasn't had any tap water consistently in her home for over two years. On a phone call with Global Voices she said:

“I am afraid for my family, everyone recommends that you wash your hands regularly, just to make sure the virus doesn't get to you. But how can you do that if there is no water to do it with? There is no river or well nearby that we can go carry water, and we don't have the means to pay a water truck regularly. I am not working right now.”

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