Requesting support from PR-Diaspora Organizations, Environmental Organizations, and Individuals in the protection and wellbeing of environmental defenders in Puerto Rico
July 07 2018
The specific case of intimidation and attacks against environmental defenders in the struggle against AES Corp. and its continued production of toxic coal-ash in Puerto Rico.
On July 1, 2018, environmental organizations and defenders from Humacao, Patillas, Arroyo, Guayama, Salinas, Peñuelas, Toa Baja, the San Juan metropolitan area, and the Puerto Rican Diaspora, met at the Peñuelas anti-toxic coal ash protest site to discuss the current situation and status of toxic-coal ash in Puerto Rico. The outdoor meeting took place between 1:00 and 5:00pm. That same night the campsite where the meeting took place was burned down. The contents of the site included a tent made of recycled wood and zinc planks, chairs, couches, a meeting table, and assorted tables for refreshments. It is located at the edge of road PR-385 in Peñuelas. The contents of the site were burned to the ground. This is now the second time that the campsite has been burned down. This previously happened on August 19, 2017. These acts of intimidation are meant to instill fear in environmental defenders, some of who also deal with instances of harassment for their opposition to AES’s production of toxic-coal ash in Puerto Rico.
We, the undersigned, are requesting that PR-Diaspora organizations, environmental organizations, and individuals, please contact senators, representatives, mayors, and family members on the island to call for: 1. condemnation of such violent acts intended to uphold AES Corp. business goals by trying to silence community demands for government action to address health and environmental effects of coal power generation; 2. the protection of environmental defenders; and 3. that violent acts against protestors and protests sites be investigated to the full extent of the law.
Significantly, if Puerto Rico is to rid itself of toxic-coal ashes which continue to be produced and are currently piled into a toxic-coal ash mountain left uncovered and exposed to the elements in the grounds of the AES coal-plant in Guayama, PR—said plant must cease its operations. Individuals, communities, and ecosystems adjacent to this plant are in great peril of health and environmental harm.
Comité Por-Salud, Desarrollo y Ambiente de Tallaboa-Encarnación (Peñuelas)
Comunidad Guayamesa Unidos por tu Salud
Alianza Comunitaria Ambientalista del Sureste (ACASE)
Toabajeños en Defensa del Ambiente