Garifuna of Honduras Planning to Reclaim Land: History and Defense of Vallecito Campaign

The text below was written by OFRANEH, Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras, and translated by Stephen Bartlett of Agriculatural Missions.

The Garifuna people arrived 215 years ago on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, after having been driven out of the island of San Vicente in the Lesser Antilles by the British. Today we live in 47 communities located mostly in deltas, estuaries, coastal strips and coastal hills.



The text below was w
ritten by OFRANEH, Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras, and translated by Stephen Bartlett of Agriculatural Missions
 
The Garifuna people arrived 215 years ago on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, after having been driven out of the island of San Vicente in the Lesser Antilles by the British.  Today we live in 47 communities located mostly in deltas, estuaries, coastal strips and coastal hills.
 
The Garifuna people is among the peoples of bitter cassava, originating in the Orinoco River (of South America) from where some of our ancestors come and which up until today are Matrilineal cultures, where agriculture is undertaken by the women.  
 
At the end  of the 20th century an offensive began by the national elite associated with transnational capitalists, to take over the beaches where we live.  At the same time the Honduran State turned a large portion of our ancestral territories into protected areas, to the point that more than half of our former lands are within reserves or their buffer areas.  
 
Since the coup d’etat of 2009, the territorial pressures have intensified, under the “Law of Special Regions for Development” (RED) or the “Model Cities,” which is the most harmful as it proposes the creation of a quasi independent zone within the national territory of Honduras, from the Bay of Trujillo to the Sico river, occupying 24 Garifuna communities considered the cultural sanctuary of our people.  
 
The Garifuna territory of Vallecito has been envied by politicians and businessmen for the construction of a fiscal paradise which would be the economic epicenter for the “Model City.”  The 30 square kilometers owned by six cooperative Garifuna companies are being proposed to be auctioned to foreign investors interested in the implementation of the RED.  
 
Vallecito is surrounded by African Palm plantations, remaining one of the few humid areas not yet penetrated by the agro-fuel frontier.  Up to the present time Vallecito is an area of organic agricultural production centered on the cultivation of bitter cassava, used in the production of casabe (cassava bread), the basic staple of our diet.   
 
The defense of Vallecito is based on the re-affirmatiion of our ancestral Garifuna culture, in addition to being a frontal opposition to one of the most perverted neo-colonial projects of the 21st century.  

Leave a Reply

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>