“The National Commission for Human Rights has calculated that there is a violent death every 74 minutes in this small nation of about eight million people. It has the highest murder rate in the world per capita.
But the bullet that killed Tomás Garcia came from an army officer, and was intended for killing the people who oppose construction of the Agua Zarca Dam in Honduras. Tomás – a Lenca indigenous leader active on local and national indigenous councils, as well as the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) – was killed while walking with his son and many other community members to continue the blockade of the project construction site. The army has been protecting the interests of Honduran dam owner Desarrollo Energético Sociedad Anónima (DESA) and Chinese dam builder Sinohydro – the largest dam builder in the world – not the interests and rights of citizens of the communities who would suffer the effects of the dam. Sinohydro is expected to follow its own safeguard policies, including respecting the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples. But those policies rarely seem to leave the paper.
Lenca communities impacted by the 25-MW-dam’s construction have been blocking the access roads to the dam’s facilities since April 1, 2013. But the story starts in September 2010, when 41 hydrolectric dam concessions were granted – by the regime that ousted President Manual Zelaya Rosales – without any consultations with the people who would lose their lands, culture and as we now see, their lives.”
Read more: International Rivers