Honduras: Lenca communities on ‘maximum alert’

Lenca indigenous communities of San Francisco de Opalaca municipality, in Intibucá department, Honduras, have declared a state of “maximum alert,” pledging to resist development projects planned for their territory. Especially named is a new hydro-electric complex to be built on the Río Gualcarque by the private company Ríos Power SA (RIPOSA). Last month, when newly elected municipal president Socorro Sánchez took office, hundreds of Lenca campesinos, organized by the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), gathered at the cabildo (town hall) to demand that he adhere to the mandate of the indigenous communities and take a stance against the hydro project, which they say represents a privatization of local water resources.

The Lenca communities are also demanding the municipality take a stance against the new mining law now pending in the National Assembly, which fails to include measures demanded by COPINH and its ecologist allies, including a prohibition on mineral projects in protected areas, clear limits on the length of concession contracts, and provisions for community consent. (El Heraldo, March 2; La Tribuna, Feb. 18; COPINH via Kaos en La Red, Feb. 14)