All Floresmira Lopez wanted was for her late father to rest in peace.
She did not expect to be on the frontline resisting the global rush for natural resources that often priorities profit over people and the planet.
Yet this is what happened when a mining company starting digging up bodies in her community’s cemetery to access gold deposits below the graves.
Floresmira (59) lives in Azacualpa, Honduras which is right beside the country’s largest open-cast mine, the San Andreas mine. Operated by a Canadian company, Aura Minerals, huge quantities of gold have been extracted since the 1980s. There is still more gold to be extracted, and even the dead were not going to stand in the way of the goldminers.
That’s until Floresmira and other community members won a landmark legal action in Honduras’ highest court to stop the exhumations. It represents the courage and perseverance of the community against powerful big business.
Last year, I met Floresmira (59) in Azacualpa. We sat on a small veranda outside her home as her grandchildren played close by. She told me about her father who passed away 8 years ago. “He was tender, he was a lovely man,” she said.
Her father’s remains lie in the cemetery, which is at the top of a hill near Floresmira’s home. It was cordoned off when I visited. I could see flowers on some graves and tombs but it was obvious that the bodies in others had been exhumed.