The Fake Concerns of a President Who Plunders His Country
Honduran President Hernandez’s is preying on his country’s natural resources for his own profit, at the cost of future generations.
“How much money will be enough to satisfy the desire for profit, putting at risk our children and grandchildren’s future?” “Colleagues, there is no plan B for saving the Earth; this is the time, we need to act now,” said Juan Orlando Hernández, President of Honduras, in his speech during the Climate Change Summit in Paris, France, in early December 2015.
- Honduras has one of the world’s highest murder rates. It is also one of the most dangerous countries to practice journalism, ranking 129th out of 180 in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index. Journalists are regularly threatened, attacked, and killed for their work. The Honduran government fails to punish those who use violence against reporters, essentially granting them impunity. This space will be dedicated to examining the lack of protection for Honduran journalists exercising their profession. Topics will include the use of state-sponsored advertising as a mechanism to reward or punish publications, and censorship and self-censorship as hindrances to democratic progress.
- Born in Cofradía, Honduras, Dina Meza has been recognized by PEN International, Amnesty International, Index on Censorship and Reporters without Borders for her work as a journalist and human rights advocate. Currently, Dina is the driving force behind the creation of Honduras PEN Centre. In 2013, she wrote “Reign of Terror,” an in-depth report on threats to Honduran journalists for Index on Censorship’s magazine. In 2014, she was named one of Reporters Without Borders’ “100 Heroes and Heroines of Information.”
A person who was ill-informed about the reality in Honduras would say “What a good President Honduras has,” but do not be fooled. There is a significant gap between what is said and what is done: within the country things are different, and the future of our children and grandchildren is offered to the highest international bidder as if it were a commodity.
The future of the people of his country matters little to President Hernández. What interests him are fistfuls of money at the expense of devastating the environment. It is clear that his children and grandchildren will have their future assured, the rest have the ability to resist the plundering.
According to a study on mining in Central America, carried out between 2007 and 2012 and published in July 2015, there are more than 800 potential mining projects – as well as those already in existence – making up 35 percent of the national territory. Where there are mining projects there is death. Populations affected by opencast mining suffer serious consequences. They do not want to give them Plan B, but Plan M: misery and death.
Not to mention the hydroelectric projects that have been established in the country and those that will be very shortly. Hydroelectric companies have been granted access to a 30 year leonine concession to set up mainly on indigenous lands, where they leave them without water. This is in violation of indigenous peoples’ ancestral rights, and brings about assassinations of their leaders.
Nothing to do with the international discourse on respect for human rights, his eagerness is to attract resources, not to protect the land like Hernández claimed, but to satisfy selfish business interests.
The disregard for life is crucial for those who have decided to defend their territories and the situation is getting more critical each day.
I believe that it is important to compare the reality with the rhetoric and examine a demagogic and monetarist discourse which wishes to be seen as a lifeline for avoiding the impact of climate change.
The life of Hondurans is worthless in the government agenda under Hernández’s control. On the contrary, every day that passes under the current government sees greater plundering.
Entrenching himself in a discourse lacking in truth is customary for Hernández who asks for money and asks for money abroad in order to fill the pockets of those in power. His actions are no longer anything new; he was in the National Congress previously as President and here he made a killing from natural resources.
Faced with such audacity, all that remains is the unity of all the Honduran people. The solidarity of the international community is vital for removing the demagoguery and promoting a direct fight to protect our children and grandchildren from those who are robbing them of their future.
I wonder who believed his speech full of lies, who of those that listened to him did not think for a minute about coming to the country to see the reality first-hand. Hernández spread his message through whatever media was available to him.
All that remains is for us to protect ourselves and to protect the generations who are already moving towards a scenario of solidarity.
If we do not act now, misery, desolation and death will be the inseparable companions of those children and grandchildren who are of no consequence to the President. The task is for those who join together to defend themselves against the outrage and demand compliance with the law.