For the families of eight water protectors in Honduras, there will be no holiday season this year. They will continue to fight for the freedom of their loved ones who have each been jailed for up to two years for participating in a struggle to keep iron ore mining out of the headwaters of the rivers they depend on.
“It is the start of a new stage of struggle, a stage of unity and we are not going to stay at home,” said Juana Zúniga, the wife of one of the eight imprisoned water protectors, during a December 21 press conference, “The joy of spending Christmas with family has been taken away from us, but we will nonetheless continue fighting. We will continue struggling for the freedom of our compañeros.”
These members of the Municipal Committee in Defense of the Public Commons of Tocoa in northern Honduras were illegally jailed for defending the Carlos Escaleras National Park and the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers against the threat of a mining project owned by Honduran company Inversiones Los Pinares. In October 2019, recognizing the importance of their struggle, the Institute for Policy Studies awarded the Committee with the international Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights award.
Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, José Abelino Cedillo, Orbin Naún Hernández, Kelvin Alejandro Romero, Arnol Javier Aleman, Ewer Alexander Cedillo, and Daniel Márquez have spent 15 months in preventive detention since September 2019. Another Committee member, Jeremías Martínez Díaz, has been in the same situation for two years, since December 2018.
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