“Without fear, we defend your life, my life, and our common home.”
“Defendemos sin miedo tu vida, la mía, y nuestra casa común.”
Not long ago, a small community in rural Honduras declared itself mine-free and hydroelectric-free. Villagers were fed up with “development” projects that ruined the environment, caused devastating illnesses, and cut off their water supply.
However, that democratic decision hasn’t stopped one greedy company from illegally beginning to construct a power plant on the local river. In an act of resistance, the villagers have decided to block the road to the river until the company changes its mind. Today, I went with Radio Progreso, a social justice ministry of the Honduran Jesuits, to visit the protesters and record their story.
(“We want water for life!”)
After introducing ourselves to everyone present, we sat down with some of the community’s leaders for a recorded conversation about the conflict with the power company. Despite horrible threats, they are firm in their commitment to protect the local water supply.
(Filming the round table)
(More filming, now with the beautiful natural backdrop)
(The encampment that blocks the road)
At the encampment, the protesting villagers eat, sleep, and–above all–block the road. Their presence is constant because they know that the company would take advantage of any blip in their commitment.
Following the recording of the round table discussion, we went down to see the river.
(The beautiful river the community hopes to protect)
Initially, the power company destroyed this part of the mountain for easier access to the river. The trees are gone, weakening the soil. When the rains come, the soil will flow into the river and make it undrinkable. Apparently, the company considers this destruction a “mistake.” Even if it were a “mistake,” they should not have been there in the first place!
(The tree-less mountain)
(The Catholic Church’s solidarity: a Claretian, a Jesuit, and me)
On the left in the picture above, a local Claretian priest has shown support for the community’s cause. He claims that Pope Francis has encouraged the Church to be actively involved in the preservation of our common habitat.
(The stunning landscape of the community, a landscape that lumber companies are destroying)
(After the filming, the trip to the river, and some time for fellowship, we went to the local parish to have some coffee.)
You can check out Radio Progreso’s Youtube page for more information about our visit, the protest, and other social justice concerns in Honduras.
Best wishes in Christ,
David J.W. Inczauskis, S.J.