Much is being written about the crisis of unaccompanied child and adolescent migrants in the US. I have written about this in a recent post here, and I just translated a statement on the crisis by the bishops of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and the US which you can read here.
In the midst of this “crisis” in the US about the increasing number of unaccompanied minors entering from Central America, I doubt that many have heard about the miners in Choluteca, Honduras.
Artisanal mining is a way that some people seek to extract gold or other ores from the earth in very simple ways.
But this mining has brought very tragic consequences in southeastern Honduras. A gold mine collapsed and eleven men were trapped about 80 meters underground. Three were rescued but now efforts to find the other eight have been suspended.
- Brayan Escalante (18) rescued
- Bayron Maradiaga (19) –rescued
- Nehemías Méndez (25) - rescued
- Olvin Anduray (20)
- Santos Emilio Núñez (42)
- Wilmer Ramírez (22)
- Arony Zepeda (23)
- Florentino Anduray (25)
- Edwin Martínez (17)
- Óscar Javier Fúnez Gúnera (18)
- Santos Felipe López (40)
Note that four of the miners were under 21 years of age and all but four were under 25.
These mostly young men sought this dangerous way of earning a living because they found nothing else available in their area. One news report cited an 18 year old who had been studying to be a teacher. He lives alone with his grandmother and went to mine because of a small debt he has. He was making 4 dollars a day making piñatas – but that was not enough.
The tragedy of the situation is reflected in a communiqué on the crisis by Monseñor Guido Charbonneau, the bishop of Choluteca. My translation is here.
Poverty has pushed many to crime or migration. But these resisted and tried to eke out a living in a most dangerous way.
What will be done? What can be done?
According to Latino Daily News:
President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s administration said in a statement Wednesday that it will support efforts aimed at reviving the region’s agricultural sector, including coffee farming, so people will not have to depend on unregulated mining for their livelihoods.Too little, I believe; too late for the eight miners who have died.
In the meantime, people will leave for the North seeking a way out of poverty and violence.