Maya Q’eqchi’ fishermen faced deadly state repression last year for their opposition to transnational nickel mining and lake pollution in El Estor, Guatemala. Now they are confronting criminal charges for their protest. The court case highlights the ongoing environmental and human rights crisis in a country where corporate power regularly meets indigenous resistance. “Just for defending our rights as Maya Q’eqchi’, we’ve been criminalized,” fishers' union leader Cristóbal Pop told Toward Freedom.
Source: The Intercept
IT WAS THE middle of the night when they broke down the door. The children, aged 3 and 6, and their parents were all fast asleep in their home in Pimienta, a town 18 miles south of San Pedro Sula, in northwestern Honduras.
“They arrived at three in the morning,” said the mother of two whose home was raided. U.S.-trained and supported special forces agents, known as TIGRES, as well as criminal investigation officers searched the family home, flipping over the beds and ripping pillows apart while she and her children watched. Her partner had already been handcuffed and taken outside.
Hondurans are demanding justice for the protesters and bystanders killed in the ongoing crackdown on opposition protests by the US-backed government of Honduras. Two months after general elections were marred by widespread reports of fraud, and one month after the US government stood by the contested results, repression and militarization continue unabated. Protests are ongoing against a government many Hondurans see as illegitimate and authoritarian.
Nighttime road blockades have been springing up in neighborhoods around the Honduran capital as opposition alliance supporters continue to protest electoral fraud. “They want to impose a president on us,” protester Angélica Medrano told Toward Freedom. “We don’t want a dictator. We want a country at peace, a free country, and to elect the president that we elected, for whom we voted, because that’s our right.”
The crisis in Honduras is escalating. More than two weeks after general elections, the country is still without a president-elect. Nationwide marches, highway blockades, and neighborhood and community rallies continue to pop up around the country. As evidence of electoral fraud mounts, so does attention to the US role in the crisis.
El Salvador is now the first country in the world with an all-out ban on the mining of gold, silver, and other metals. The country’s legislative assembly passed a bill to that effect last week, on March 29.