These reports are particularly worrying in light of the current criminalization of members of the Siria Valley Environmental Committee and community members of El Porvenir and El Suyatal working to protect vital remaining forests and watersheds in their communities which also happened to be concessioned to transnational mining companies – reportedly Canadian companies. An urgent action was emitted for the accused last Friday by the Honduras Accompaniment Project. The first group of the accused have their initial hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, August 2nd.
Original article in Spanish can be found here.
Friday, 29 July 2011
The Civic Alliance for Democracy unmasks a murky process underway in Honduran Congress.
In an open letter along with other organizations from Honduras and Central America, the Civic Alliance for Democracy (Alianza Cívica por la Democracia – ACD – in Spanish) holds responsible Congress representatives Donaldo Reyes Avelar, Rolando Dubón Bueso and Valentín Suarez for their complacency in sponsoring legislation behind the backs of the Honduran population and in collusion with transnational mining interests (particularly Canadian mining companies) and unmasking a murky process which is currently underway in the National Congress.
The text of the letter follows:
The Civic Alliance for Democracy (ACD), along with other organizations and environmental activists from Honduras and Central America, declare the following in light of the events surrounding the process for the enactment of a new Mining Law:
1. The Mining Commission of the National Congress, presided over by Donaldo Reyes Avelar, has failed to comply with the commitments made with civil society organizations to work together to reach a consensus on the new legislation and have in stead invited individuals and a sector of environmental organizations who do not represent the interests of the Honduran people who, along with representatives of mining companies, will design mechanisms for the exploitation of mineral resources.
2. We suspect that agreements that were achieved with previous governments – with respect to binding consultations prior to the approval of any project; the elimination of the legal concept of “expropriation by force”; 13 unconstitutional articles; and the total prohibition of open pit metal mining and the use of toxic substances such as cyanide – are not being considered fairly or in the sense in which we had requested.
3. We demand the elimination of fiscal protections and propose that, according to agreements reached previously with mining companies, they pay an additional 43% of their respective taxes, in addition to the new 5% security tax. We also demand the expansion of areas ineligible for mining activity in Honduras.
From this platform of struggle for the respect for sovereignty over resources that belong to the Honduran people, we inform that:
a) Because of the nature of the process, we do not recognize the agreements arranged to date among congress representatives, mining company representatives, and pseudo-environmental organization representatives. We do not trust those who until now have proven to act in the interest of our country’s dominant groups.
b) We want to clearly establish that WE ARE NOT EXCUSING OURSELVES FROM THE CONGRESS’ MINING COMMISSION – A SPACE FOR DIALOGUE THAT WE HAD ESTABLISHED AND FROM WHICH WE HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED. The attitude on the part of parliamentarians demonstrates the total lack of transparancy that politicians resort to in order to hand over our rich natural heritage on a platter.
For these reasons, the Honduran people will make use of their right to protest against this law. We hold responsible Congress representatives Donaldo Reyes Avelar, Rolando Dubón Bueso and Valentín Suarez for playing the role of “sell-outs” by sponsoring this legislation behind the backs of the Honduran people and in collusion with the interests of transnational mining companies, particularly Canadian mining companies.
From the offices for Pastoral Outreach and Catholic Charities, Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, July 23, 2011.
Monseigneur Luis Alfonso Santos Villeda
President of the Civic Alliance for Democracy (ACD)