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Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:27 AM

One Year of Resistance in Rio Blanco

One Year of Resistance in Rio Blanco

Despite U.S.-backed violence against them, indigenous communities are fighting back as multinational corporations encroach on their lands.

By Beverly Bell, April 1, 2014.

This article is a joint publication of Foreign Policy In Focus, NACLA, and TheNation.com.

“Screw the company trying to take our river, and the government. If I die, I’m going to die defending life.” So said María Santos Dominguez, a member of the Indigenous Council of the Lenca community of Rio Blanco, Honduras.

April 1 marks one year since the Rio Blanco community began a human barricade that has so far stopped a corporation from constructing a dam that would privatize and destroy the sacred Gualcarque River. Adults and children have successfully blocked the road to the river with their bodies, a stick-and-wire fence, and a trench. Only one of many communities fighting dams across Honduras, the families of Rio Blanco stand out for their tenacity and for the violence unleashed upon them.

The Honduran-owned, internationally backed DESA Corporation has teamed up with U.S.-funded Honduran soldiers and police, private guards, and paid assassins to try to break the opposition. Throughout the past year, they have killed, shot, maimed, kidnapped, and threatened the residents of Rio Blanco. The head of DESA, David Castillo, is a West Point graduate. He also served as former assistant to the director of military intelligence and maintains close ties to the Honduran Armed Forces.

María Santos Dominguez’s prediction that she would die defending life almost came true. On March 5, seven people attacked her as she was on her way home from cooking food at the local school. They assaulted her with machetes, rocks, and sticks. When her husband, Roque Dominguez, heard that she was surrounded, he and their 12-year-old son Paulo ran to the scene. The men brutalized them as well. They brought a machete down on the child’s head, deeply slashing his face, cutting his ear in half, and fracturing his skull. Dominguez’s hand was severely injured, and he also suffered cuts to the face. (Friends of the Earth has organized a petition to urge the Honduran government to investigate, which you can sign here).

More:
http://fpif.org/one-year-resistance-rio-blanco/

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