This morning we met with a local mayor who claimed that he was unjustly accused of supporting mining with the subsequent pollution of the river. However, he did agree that the military infringed on his authority. In addition, the presence of the military discouraged business investments.
We held a press conference where we presented our findings, especially as they relate to the militarization and mining. Media was acknowledged for its bravery especially as many reporters are targeted.
I believe some good came from our presence and providing a forum for the concerns of those affected by the militarization and pollution of their river. Many local people courageously put themselves at risk by speaking up.
Tomorrow we meet with the UN High Commission on Human Rights followed by a meeting with officials at the US Embassy. Again the focus will be on militarization, threats to the environment with the concomitant displacement of people, and root causes of immigration.
Lawrence E. Couch serves as the director and lobbyist for the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.