PBI-Honduras accompanies COPINH at trial of former soldier accused in the attempted murder of Allan Garcia at protest against dam
On January 17, PBI-Honduras tweeted:
“PBI accompanies COPINH at the trial of former Petty Officer Kevin Saravia for the attempted murder of Allan García. We are concerned about the levels of violence faced by Río Blanco, which continues to demand the cancellation of the concession on the Gualcarque River.”
PBI-Honduras also posted on Facebook:
“Last week we accompanied Copinh Honduras in the Court of Letters of La Esperanza during the oral and public trial against former Deputy Officer of the Armed Forces Kevin Saravia, for attempted murder against Allan Garcia, son of defender Lenca murdered Tomás Garcia.
The hearings will continue on January 26 and 27 at the Siguatepeque Sentencing Court. From PBI we expect that the facts will be clarified and judged in an impartial and transparent manner.
COPINH continues to claim the cancellation of the concession on the Gualcarque River.
We show concern about the high levels of violence faced by the Rio Blanco community for their advocacy work.”
Criterio.hn has reported:
“In the western department of Intibucá, in the municipality of La Esperanza, the trial against noncommissioned officer Kevin Yasser Saravia Ortiz accused of attempted homicide against Allan Evey García began on Friday [January 13].
The events occurred during a mobilization against the imposition of the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project in the community of Río Blanco in 2013.
In the same incident, Allan’s father, Tomás García, a Lenca leader and member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Copinh), was murdered, who along with his son and the Lenca people were protesting outside the campus of the company Desarrollos Energéticos S. A. (DESA), which was guarded by members of the Engineers Battalion of the Honduran Armed Forces.
(On July 15, 2013, Tomas García was shot dead by the Honduran Army as he participated in a peaceful protest in Achotal, Río Blanco, in the department of Intibucá, against the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam.)
Prior to the start of the trial at 10:00 A.M., the population demonstrated in the streets of La Esperanza to demand justice for the serious injuries suffered by Allan García, the role played by the Armed Forces in the repression of the Lenca people and against the power groups that continue trying to implement a project that the population repudiates.”
COPINH has demanded:
1-The State of Honduras must prosecute and convict Kevin Saravia and investigate his superiors for their responsibility in the attempted murder of Allan García and the murder of our comrade Tomás García for the defense of the rights of the indigenous community of Río Blanco.
2-The State of Honduras must make substantive progress in the fulfillment of the rights of the Lenca people and the memory of the national heroine Berta Cáceres by immediately canceling the illegal and illegitimate concession on the Gualcarque River, the origin of the waves of violence, persecution and death suffered by our organization.
3-We call on the national and international community to be observers of this trial and guarantee the fulfillment of the rights of the victims.
We continue to follow this case.
COPINH opposition to Canadian dam on Lenca territory
At this time, we also recall COPINH’s opposition to a dam built by Canadian companies on Lenca territory without free, prior and informed consent.
On January 30, 2015, COPINH issued this condemnation of the Canjel dam and named “HYDROSYS (Canada)” along with the Canadian transnational Blue Energy.
On March 4, 2016, Telesur reported: “Two years after the [Rio Blanco] community set up a road blockade [in April 2013] to resist the foreign-backed Agua Zarca dam project on the Gualcarque River, Caceres and her fellow activists found out that Blue Energy planned to build a dam on another local waterway, the Canjel River.”
That article adds: “The community was never consulted about the project and COPINH publicly opposed the dam.”
On April 28, 2016, less than two months after Caceres was murdered, this media release stated: “CIMA+, one the largest Canadian consulting engineering firms, has recently merged with Hydrosys Consultants Inc., a firm specializing in engineering services for hydropower and hydraulic structures.”