PBI-Honduras accompanies communities protesting mining in Montaña de Botaderos Carlos Escaleras Mejía National Park
On August 19, PBI-Honduras tweeted:
“[We] recently accompanied communities in the departments of Colón and Olancho. They raised their voices to warn about the impacts of mining in their territories. They remembered that: 1.- No project is above life.”
On Facebook they added:
“Among other things, people from the communities remembered that:
- – No project is above life and no project should be driven without the approval of those inhabiting the territories
- – Botaderos National Park depend on basic water sources for life
- – No licences should be granted to projects involving environmental destruction
“34 sources of water that feed several municipalities depend on the Botaderos National Park, affecting more than 45 thousand inhabitants of our communities… ”
PBI-Honduras further notes: “The first rally occurred on the outside of Miamiente [the Secretariat of Natural Resources and Environment] and subsequently on the lower floor of Congress.”
On August 16, Criterio.hn reported:
““For water and for life, not mining!”, was the demand of the leaders of five municipalities in northeastern Honduras who arrived at the Secretariat of Natural Resources, Environment and Mines (Serna) in Tegucigalpa, to demand a stop to open-pit mining and the protection of the Montaña de Botaderos National Park, Carlos Escaleras.
They traveled between 243 and 374 kilometers from the municipalities of Sabá, Bonito Oriental and Tocoa in the department of Colón; and Gualaco and San Estebán in Olancho, to tell the central government that their municipalities are united by the defense of the Montaña de Botaderos National Park.
Orbin Hernández, one of the eight defenders of Guapinol released after an arbitrary imprisonment of 914 days, told Criterio.hn that the union of the five municipalities for the defense of the national park is an encouraging action because it shows that they never invented, never lied and are right to claim the protection of the protected area.
The water defender remarked that the visit to the Serna and the National Congress is precisely because the socio-environmental problem in Guapinol was generated by politicians in Tegucigalpa, so they demand a review of the concession that is damaging the San Pedro and Guapinol Rivers, as well as reviewing the illegalities committed during the presidency of Porfirio Lobo Sosa in the Executive Branch and Juan Orlando Hernández in the Legislative Power.
The secretary of the Municipal Committee in Defense of common and public goods of Tocoa, Dalila Santiago [said] “We are here in Serna demanding the immediate cancellation of the mega project Inversiones Los Pinares and Ecotek, which has been located in the core area of the Montaña de Botaderos National Park, Carlos Escaleras, and the iron oxide pelletizing plant is located approximately one hundred meters from the Guapinol River and this causes a great impact on the lives of the population. The most affected communities are Guapinol, Ceibita, Cayo Campo and Nueva Lempira.”
After finishing the meeting in Serna, the inhabitants of the municipalities of Sabá, Bonito Oriental and Tocoa in the department of Colón; and Gualaco and San Estebán in Olancho, moved to the basement of the National Congress to demand an answer to why the buffer zone of the national park was expanded at the expense of the core area through legislative decree 252-2013, opening the doors to mining in the protected area.
In addition to Inversiones Los Pinares and Inversiones Ecotek in Tocoa, the residents denounced environmental destruction, water pollution and violence by the mining companies JAMART in Gualaco, San Esteban and Bonito Oriental, as well as Canteras y Más in Sabá, which exposed “they develop an illegal extractive activity, with vices of nullity due to corruption in the core area and buffer zone of the Montaña de Botaderos National Park, Carlos Escaleras Mejía”.”
The full article can be read at: Defensores del Parque Nacional Carlos Escaleras llegan a la SERNA a exigir su Protección.