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Monday, March 27, 2017
Honduras: thousands march to save environment
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 More than 10,000 people took part in the 'March For Life' - a demonstration in Tegucigalpa last Thursday, to protest against the destruction of the Honduran forests. Father Abdrés Tamayo, parish priest of Salamá, told the crowds: "We can no longer tolerate illegal forestry, the auctioning of timber by the state, the destruction of biodiversity in the south, the open mines in the Siria valley and throughout the country, or water contamination. We cannot remain immobile while the natural resources are handed over to those who are only able to turn them into money, destruction and death." The demonstration included many elderly people and children, who had arrived in Tegucigalpa from all over the country for the second 'March for Life' . The procession gathered in La Merced Square in the heart of the capital, where the bishop of Olancho, Monsignor Mauro Muldoom, presided over an act of ecumenical worship. Afterwards Jorge Varela, president of the Honduran committee for the defence of the flora and fauna in the Gulf of Fonseca, denounced the destruction of the ecosystem in the bay due to intensive lobster farming. Then Fr Tamayo, founder of the Olancho Environmental Movement (MAO), who has long been on the 'black list' of timber merchants operating in the north of the country, said: "corruption, which produces misery, injustice, which causes anxiety, the short-sightedness of a voracious political class that deceives the population every four years, uses it and abuses it, are responsible for the current crisis". The initiative has received support from international figures including the ex governor of Maryland and daughter of Robert Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, the former US ambassador in Salvador Robert White and Paula Palmer, director of 'Global Response', a non-governmental organisation engaged in protecting the environment. Fr Tamayo rejected the invitation from President Ricardo Maduro, who last year preferred not to meet with him, telling a local broadcaster that "the most important thing is not to meet with me but to listen to our demands to save the forest". The organisers of the march called on the government to order an immediate end to the exploitation of the forests by illegal timber merchants, to respect international accords declaring 'the biosphere 'world heritage', to honour the environmental and employment laws established by the International Labour Organisation for workers in the 'maquiladoras', factories with a high level of exploitation and miserable wages, which produce goods destined for the US market. According to the Honduran Caritas, over 100.000 hectares of forest 'disappear' each year due to indiscriminate clearance, fires, agriculture and intensive cattle rearing: a genuine environmental scourge underway particularly in areas where multinationals are engaged in logging for the United States, Canadian, Caribbean and European markets, and in mineral extraction. Source: MISNA
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