Wednesday, July 10, 2013

3000 families evicted again.....Sula Valley

July 10th - Today La Voz de los de Abajo and Radios Populares of Chicago visited the campesinos and campesinas  of the ADCP/CNTC (Progreso Association for Campesino Development and the National Center for Rural Workers) near Progreso, Yoro. We were joined by members of the Permanent Human Rights Observatory of the Aguan. 

All across this part of the Sula Valley green fields of sugar cane and other crops stretch out for acres.
 On July 1st, 3000 families were forcibly evicted by soldiers, police and private security guards from lands claimed by AZUNOSA sugar company. The crops that were planted were ready to be harvested when 2000 acres of corn, yucca, banana and other crops were destroyed by heavy machinery. Men, women and children were chased and threatened. 143 members of the campesinos group were detained and charged and there are at least 9 arrest warrants issued for community leaders including the Progreso region's General Secretary of the CNTC.  Community members explained that the National Agrarian Institute (INA) had already expropriated more than 1000 acres of AZUNOSA land because the company owned at least five times the legal limit of land according to Honduran law. Also, its original concession for the land expired at least 10 years ago anyway. At the time of the eviction no order of eviction had been presented to the campesinos as required by Honduran law. 
The campesinos originally recuperated the land in 2012 after it was expropriated and thus eligible for land reform. The campesinos had begun to work the land to grow crops in order to feed their families, yet this was the 4th time they have been evicted. The last eviction occurred on June 20th. This land recuperation is one of three important land struggles in the Valley including MOCSAM and another group.  During our visit we saw Honduran army soldiers, and AZUNOSA private guards apparently patrolling together on the AZUNOSA land to "protect" it from  from the campesinos. Meanwhile the campesino families have taken refuge on nearby land owned by the INA, livinng under tarps and with little food, but determined to continue their struggle.
The campesinos requested that the international community be made aware of these gross human rights abuses and pressure the Honduran government to end the evictions and repression and to cancel all arrest orders and prosecutions. 

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