Honduran community activist Gilberto Flores and Jenni Petullo of Rights Action spoke about the history and current political situation in Honduras on April 13 at the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz.
Privatization of public services, the building of mega-dams, deforestation, and harmful mining practices, as well as human rights abuses are among the challenges facing Honduran communities. Flores and Petullo discussed how these problems fit within the context of corporate globalization, international financial institutions, and multilateral trade agreements.
Gilberto Flores is a community activist from the municipality of Gualaco in Olancho, Honduras. He is a member of the Environmentalist Movement of Olancho (MAO), which fights against deforestation, repression and impunity, and of the regional Pastoral Social of the Catholic Church, which has been involved with on-going struggles against poverty and in favor of community controlled development. Gilberto is also a member of CEPAVEG, a community-based organization in Gualaco and La Venta, which was created to oppose the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Babilonia River in the region. As a result of his outspoken activism, Gilberto, along with many others, has been harassed and intimidated by local authorities and other individuals suspected to be linked to the logging industry. Gilberto’s name was circulated on a `death list` which included an activist assassinated in 2001.
Jenni Petullo is an anti-corporate globalization activist and popular educator living in Arcata, CA. She recently returned from a 6-month trip to Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua where she researched and documented the affects of neoliberal policies in collaboration with Rights Action.