Monday, August 27, 2012

URGENT ALERT in Solidarity with Garifunas in Vallecito, Honduras! Paramilitary groups armed to the teeth threaten Garifuna communities and could perpetuate a massacre.

In the region of Vallecito (Limon in the province of Colon) 6 Garifuna farming cooperatives have launched a land recuperation this week. See the statement below from OFRANEH with urgent actions to be taken right away.

 There is also an ongoing support petition for Garifuna land rights on line. To sign the petition electronically click on this link:

From Triunfo de la Cruz to Vallecito and beyond, the Garifuna communities face threats and violence as the developers for mega-tourism projects in Tela Bay and Trujillo and the agri-business oligarchs like Miguel Facusse try to drive them off of their ancestral lands. La Voz de los de Abajo has visited these communities in permanent resistance (see blog entries from our delegations  and supports the self-determination of the Garifuna people.  This is the link to a previous Honduras Resists post on Vallecito;postID=8294882332289463531 Articulo en español sigue despues del ingles

URGENT ALERT in Solidarity with Garifunas in Vallecito, Honduras!

Paramilitary groups armed to the teeth threaten Garifuna communities and could perpetuate a massacre.


Six Garifuna cooperatives that have recovered lands, such that they possess titles of full dominion in the community of ICOTEA, Vallecito, Colon department, (Honduras) lands that have been invaded by latinos in collusion with Miguel Facusse,(the largest landholder in Honduras) with the complicity of Cesar Ham, minister of the National Agrarian Institute (INA), are experiencing at this moment the threat of paramilitaries mobilized on motorcycles and 4 x 4 vehicles with heavy weapons of war who could massacre the peaceful Garifuna inhabitants who are resisting the displacement from their ancestral territories of which they have legal ownership title.
We urge the national and international community and in particular organizations that defend human rights to send messages to the Honduran government, to stop what could be a new blood bath.  We ask the national and international media to collaborate in disseminating this urgent news.
We hold the current regime of landlords and military led by Porfirio Lobo Sosa for whatever happens to the Garifuna people organized with OFRANEH.
Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña), OFRANEH
Civic Council of Popular Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares de Honduras) COPINH
Agricultural Missions, Inc (AMI)
Send messages of denunciation of this imminent threat to the following (in English or Spanish):
-Presidente de Honduras, Sr. Porfirio Lobo Sosa:
-Minister of Ethnicities (Ministro de las Etnias), Sr. Luis Green:
-Attorney General of the Republic (Fiscalía General de la Republica), Sr. Luis Alberto Rubí:,
-Minister of the National Agrarian Institute (Ministro del Instituto Nacional Agrario), Sr. Cesar Ham:,
-Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Ministra de Justicia y Derechos Humanos),  Sra. Ana Pineda:,
-President of the Supreme Court (Presidente de la Corte Suprema), Sr. Jorge Rivera Avilés:

The Garifuna People Reoccupy Lands That Have Been Usurped in Vallecito (Limon)

The Garifuna people have suffered heavy territorial pressure. These pressures are caused by corporations, politicians, and the military who make up the real political power of Honduras and who have been seizing power for decades.
Through 6 Associative Collectives the Garifunas have accomplished the titling of 1600 manzanas (4.3 square miles) of land in Vallecito, Limon, Colon, since the year 1997. Since then the invaders have begun to try to take over that territory. Miguel Facusse planted 100 hectares (0.4 square miles) of African palm in the Ruguma Collective, one of the six associative collectives. By the end of 1999, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in favor of the Garifuna, invalidating the claims of the “palm of death.” Facusse in 1993 took over Punta Farallones, adjacent to and belonging to the community of Limon.
Beginning in 2005, people associated with organized crime have imposed a reign of terror in the corridor of Limon - Punta Piedras, forcing the Garifuna that are located in Vallecito to minimize their presence and activities on the land belonging to the collectives. Subsequently, foreigners appeared who were allotted 900 hectares (3.5 square miles) of the 1600 (6.2 square miles) INA (National Agrarian Institute) recognized as belonging to the Garifuna people.
In July 2010, the OFRANEH signed a written agreement with INA officials to achieve the remediation of the associative collectives. However the invaders refused entry to members of INA and the Public Ministry.
The proposed installation of the Model City in the strip between the Bay of Trujillo and the Sico River, has sparked a resurgence of territorial pressure on the Garifuna communities; The Lobo administration has not consulted the Garifuna people about its pretensions to deliver our territory to investors and foreign companies in order to create an independent state.
Vallecito is for our people a territiorial reserve to build food security, hence the importance of recuperating the land of the associative collectives, where we have dreamed of also building the future Garifuna University.

Today hundreds of Garifuna from different communities called together by Iseri Lidawamari and OFRANEH are creating a presence in Vallecito, Limon, to reoccupy the territory that belonged to us historically, and is legally titled by the INA to the Garifuna people through the 6 Associative Collectives: Ruguma, Saway, Saway Sufritiñu, Walumugu, Satuye, Sinduru Free.
We urge solidarity, both nationally and internationally!
We do not seek violence; we do not want repression
We struggle for life, food sovereignty, cultural identity and national sovereignty.
Baruada, Satuye, Bandiemu, Walumugu, Lombardo Lacayo are present in this struggle.
Vallecito, Limon, Colon, August 26, 2012

Honduran Black Fraternal Organization
Calle 19, # 130.
Alvarado Neighborhood
La Ceiba, Atlantida,
telefax: 504-24432492
email: /

Alerta: garífunas  en vallecito amenazados

Alrededor de 200 garífunas reunidos en Vallecito, Limón,  con el
propósito de recuperar tierras ancestrales, que han sido usurpadas en
los últimos  años por foráneos;  se han visto el día de hoy acosados por bandas de hombres portando armas de alto calibre, algunos de ellos provenientes de la comunidad de Icoteas.

Las especulaciones inmobilarias alrededor de la supuesta "ciudad modelo"
sumado a la ingobernabilidad existente en la costa norte de Honduras,han producido un ambiente de violencia, situación que nos hace temer por a vida de los y las garífunas en Vallecito

Exigimos al Estado de Honduras el reconocimiento  del  territorio
titulado a las empresas asociativas garífunas y la integridad física de
las personas que se encuentran en Vallecito.
 Favor enviar notas de solidaridad a:

> Sr. Cesar Ham
> Ministro del INA
> ,
> Abogado Luis Rubi
> ,
> Fiscal General
> Sr. Luis Green
> Ministro de las Etnias
> Sra. Ana Pineda
> Minister of Justice
> ,

Organizacion Fraternal Negra Hondureña
Calle 19, #130.
Barrio Alvarado
La Ceiba, Atlantida,
telefax: 504-24432492

Thursday, August 2, 2012

José Isabel "Chavelo" Morales Sentenced to Twenty Years

Chavelo Morales, political prisoner and campesino activist, member of the Guadalupe Carney community in the Aguan Valley was sentenced to 20 years in prison on July 24 without he or his lawyers being notified that the sentencing was scheduled. Chavelo has been in  prison since 2008, he was convicted despite a lack of any evidence against him, of homicide related to a confrontation that occurred after private armed guards attacked the Guadalupe Carney community in August, 2008. He was held for nearly 3 years without sentencing which also kept him in legal limbo since no appeal of the conviction could be filed until sentencing. More than 30 campesinos from the community have open arrest warrants related to the 2008 events based on no evidence other than their residence in the community. One of the campesinos, Genaro Reyes, was arrested last month by police in Tocoa and is awaiting court procedures under house arrest. The harshness of Chavelo's sentence and the continued pressure on community members reflects the fact that Chavelo and the community of Guadalupe Carney are   symbols of the organized campesinos in Aguan. The big landowners and agro-oligarchs have used all their influence to keep Chavelo imprisoned to limit his access to legal remedies and to intimidate community members. 
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