Honduras: Patuca River Dams Threaten Indigenous Survival

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The Moskitia is the largest, most biodiverse expanse of tropical wilderness north of the Amazon Basin – and the Indigenous Peoples who live there are determined to keep it that way. Unfortunately, no greater threat exists to the natural wealth hidden in the “Mesoamerican Biological Corridor” than the gigantic, transnational Patuca II, IIA, and III Dams.

Lower Patuca River Bamboo By Jack Eidt

La Moskitia’s threats emanate from several U.S.-funded “Honduran” military bases installed to fight the U.S.’s Drug War, they also enforce development projects including the three dams planned for the Patuca, continued oil exploration, expansion of cattle ranching and large-scale logging, the ill-advised “green” capitalism of USAID-funded carbon credit projects resulting from the continuation of the 2009 coup d’etat.

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The Moskitia is the largest, most biodiverse expanse of tropical wilderness north of the Amazon Basin – and the Indigenous Peoples who live there are determined to keep it that way. Unfortunately, no greater threat exists to the natural wealth hidden in the “Mesoamerican Biological Corridor” than the gigantic, transnational Patuca II, IIA, and III Dams.

For thousands of years, Indigenous people have plied their dugout canoes up and down the Patuca River, the central artery of Honduras’ vast Moskitia lowland rainforest.  On its rich floodplain they grow cocoa, oranges, rice, beans, plantains, cassava, and other crops for subsistence and sale, and its fish provide a vital source of protein.

La Moskitia, Honduras, Patuca III, Miskito Indians

The river winds through the Caribbean lowlands and numerous Miskitu villages before reaching the rainforests and mountains of the interior…where Patuca III is being constructed.

“The river is our life,” says Lorenzo Tinglas, president of the Tawahka people’s governing council on the website Cultural Survival.org. “Any threat to the Patuca is a threat to four Indigenous Peoples—the Tawahka, Pech, Miskitu, and Garifuna—and we will fight to the death to protect it.”

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Jack Eidt

About Jack Eidt

Writer, urban theorist, and environmental advocate, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion - Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com.