AMERICA/HONDURAS - The Bishop of Choluteca: 5000 people are forced to put their lives at risk in mines every day

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Choluteca (Agenzia Fides) - After the death of 8 of the 11 miners, who were buried in the collapse of the Cuculmeca mine in San Juan Arriba, in the municipality of El Corpus, Choluteca (Honduras), on July 2, the Bishop of Choluteca, His Exc. Mgr. Guy Charbonneau, has denounced the situation of poverty in which most of the people in this area of the country live, forced to risk their lives to survive.
"For the Church, the main causes of the tragedy concerning miners is scandalous poverty and marginalization in which these people live", said the Bishop during a meeting with reporters in which he presented his statement on the matter. According to information sent to Fides Agency, the Bishop pointed out that only in the municipality of El Corpus, about 5,000 people have jobs linked to the mines, from which they draw sustenance for their families. "We are talking about small-scale artisanal miners – he said – who because of hunger are forced, to climb down the bowels of the earth everyday in search of their daily bread, without modern equipment to protect their health and their lives".
Mgr. Charbonneau said that "this work is carried out in semi-slavery conditions, and it is a profound affront to the human dignity of men, women and children". The Bishop expressed the pain of the diocese for the death of eight people and added: "We are powerless in the face of the suffering of our people. And we publicly express our solidarity with the people engaged in the mining sector, as well as with the miners’ families and of those eight men who died".
Mgr. Guy Charbonneau after complaining once again about "the situation of the people in the region of El Corpus, due to the deplorable neglect and indifference of the local and central authorities, without seeking just, sustainable, legal, social and environmental solutions", asked the National Congress to change the new law on artisanal mines, in order to ensure workers protection and safety. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 23/07/2014)