Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Tomas Garcia, a leader of the indigenous Lenca community in Honduras has been murdered.  Garcia died from a bullet fired by a member of the Honduran armed forces.  His son Allan was severly wounded.  Radio Resistencia reports:

Allan García, 17 year-old Lenca boy, was checked in to the Santa Barbara hospital this Monday at 1:00pm, injured by the Honduran military in the community of Río Blanco, Intibucá. The medical diagnosis is that a high-caliber bullet went through his thorax and that he requires urgent medical intervention. He was sent via emergency transfer this afternoon to Hospital Mario Rivas in San Pedro Sula. In the same attack, his father —Tomás García Domínguez, Lenca community organizer—was murdered around noon, also by the army which is guarding the DESA Company of the Chinese state firm SYNOHIDRO, which plans to build a dam on the Gualcarque River against the will of the indigenous community.

The dam being built by the Chinese firm is widely opposed by the indigenous people in the area.  Honduran Culture and Politics tells us: 

That company, SYNOHIDRO, is well known as the contractor for controversial dams proposed on the Patuca River in Olancho, in eastern Honduras, expected to cause major environmental damage in the Rio Platano Biosphere, and protested by indigenous people in eastern Honduras as prejudicial to their livelihoods.

This company, representing global capital in this situation,  has paid little regard to the desires of the people of the region.  As SOA Watch has stated:

In clear violation of ILO Convention 169 on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Lenca community of Rio Blanco was not consulted on whether they wanted this project or not. And when the Municipal Mayor finally did hold a town hall meeting about the project, he got up and left the meeting when the community voted against the project, refusing to sign the acta in an attempt to invalidate the meeting.

Well, sometimes the multitude decides consulted or not they have something to say.  The indigenous people of Honduras have been battling the Empire over this dam ever since the idea came along. 

The fight of the Lenca people is part of a much larger struggle against the seizure of indigenous lands by international capital and its state representatives that started over 500 years ago, and continues to this day.  
Berta Caceres, Director of the Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), who was himself arrested protesting the site in May says on Indian Country Today:

There is a displacement of the population that has traditionally lived on those lands, practically an eviction...DESA [of Honduras] and SINOHYDRO (a transnational Chinese hydroelectric project builder) have exerted brutal pressure against the communities, with maneuvers such as co-opting leaders and the offering of bribes, and on the other hand repression, systematic harassment, and the occupation of the territory by the army, the police and security guards and gang members.

The Rio Blanco case is very important and emblematic  because it is a struggle against a very strong transnational power such as SINOHYDRO and it represents the opening of the doors to big capital for the creation of mega projects through the Law of Special Regimes or better known as the Law of Model Cities that gave a chance to not only this transnational, but to large investments in the north.

Because of these facts, it's important to fight against the Agua Zarca project which is the beginning of the plunder and eviction through the Model City projects which is a laboratory for what is being executed in Honduras, within what is perversely known as the Transpacific Treaty.

The Company and the State blame the indigenous for the death.  El Heraldo writes:

Their story goes that "owing to the violent intervention of the demonstrators of COPINH Tomás García died, and Allan García Domínguez also was injured", leaving a bizarre impression that it was the protesters, not the military, who resorted to firing on the crowd.

How many times have we heard such nosnsense, whereby those killed by the Empire are at fault for being killed by the Empire.  The Empire, of course, is never responsible and the multitudes are just resisting whatever, I guess, becasue they have nothing better to do.

The following is from Intercontinental Cry.

Honduran Army Kills Indigenous Leader of COPINH Who Resisted Dam in Rio Blanco

BY  • JUL 16, 2013

Photo: Alan García, Tomas’s son, shows the injuries inflicted by the Army (COPINH)
On Monday July 15th, while the Lenca community of Rio Blanco, in Honduras, marked 106 days of resistance to the building of Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, the Army indiscriminately shot at the demonstrators killing one of the leaders of the resistance, Tomas Garcia, and seriously injuring his son (photo).

Tomas was a Lenca indigenous leader who was part of his community’s Indigenous and Auxiliary Council and of the National Council of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).

The Honduran activist was shot dead while he was walking with other community members to the project’s facilities owned by Desa and Sinohydro companies, while his son, who was seriously injured by a high-calibre bullet, is in hospital and his life is in danger, Berta Caceres, leader of COPINH, told Real World Radio.

Berta described the act as “a desperate and criminal reaction” by the companies that want to build a dam on River Gualcaeque, seriously affecting the communities living there. The Honduran army supports the companies, said Berta, and they even pay for the transportation and maintenance of troops deployed by the Honduran government in Tegucigalpa in Rio Blanco.

On Monday night, COPINH reported of more military troops being deployed in Zacapa, Santa Barbara, and there were fears of new shootings against civilians during the wake of the murdered indigenous leader.

“The community is outraged. We are in great sorrow, also because we believe we have to continue our struggle”, said Berta during a phone interview. “As the elections approach (in November) they want to teach COPINH a lesson”, she explained and said the community decided to continue occupying the access to the dam.

A few hours after the incidents, COPINH had reported that since Friday 12, top executives of the company Desarrollo Energético Sociedad Anónima (DESA)- which is in charge of the project together with the original group Sinohydro – travelled to meet with local hitmen, who are responsible for direct threats against several members of the indigenous council, including Tomas Garcia.

Before they started shooting at civilians, the military made no attempt to talk with the activists, said Berta.

The leader of COPINH was illegally arrested in May and submitted to a trial for purportedly having an illegal weapon, something that the court could not prove and the case was finally dismissed.

The leader highlighted that in the new cases of repression against residents of the community of Rio Blanco, we urgently need international solidarity to report the civic and military authorities and both companies for murder.

“We are aware that we are confronted with an impunity strategy in a context that seems to be worsening”, said Berta. She said the communities’ determination to defend their territory is strengthened in these situations of state and private violence.

In fact, river Gualcarque is considered an essential part of the Lenca spirituality and the communities are confronting the business projects as a tribute to their culture’s symbolic figure: Lempira.

“We continue fighting, we are not afraid, we will not be prey to fear and we will continue this peaceful but strong battle for life”, she concluded.

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