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Alas, poor Honduras — too far from God, too close to the U.S. State Department

10 January 2010

Hermano Juancito asks “What Is Happening?

… On Friday 600 families were forcibly removed from their lands in Bajo Aguán, in Colón, in northern Honduras. As their crops and shacks were destroyed by 300 members of the Armed Forces and the National Police, the people fled and one news source reported that they fled through the palm plantations in the area and were hunted down by the government forces.

It appears that the people had been working with the government, before the coup, to legalize their claim to the land. But three rich landowners who had rented the land years ago and now wanted it again are believed to be behind this violence.

The other event is also in northern Honduras.The Garifunas are Hondurans on the coast of Afro-Caribbean ancestry who maintain their culture. On Wednesday a small Garifuna-run radio station in Triunfo de la Cruz was burnt and its equipment plundered. The radio supported the efforts of the Garifuna to protect their ancestral lands against efforts to appropriate it by business, political and foreign interests. I’m not sure if this is why the station was destroyed, but it’s probably related.

The issue is land.

I think at least part of the answer lies with what has happened before, and the U.S. State Department’s willingness to disregardLatin American opinion, basic human decency and — Brother John would say, God’s law (“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it”) in favor of “restoring” so-called stability (meaning the same old repression that has existed for centuries but had a chance of being changed until the U.S. backed the coup).

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