PBI-Honduras accompanies the National Union of Rural Workers (CNTC) as it helps reclaim land and food sovereignty

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On March 13, PBI-Honduras tweeted:

“#PBI accompanies CNTC [National Union of Rural Workers] Progreso on a visit to the 17 de Junio peasant base, which is in the process of recovering land and developing community projects. We highlight the work of the CNTC in defence of land and food sovereignty.”

On Facebook, PBI-Honduras adds:

“For 2 years, the base has been in the process of reclaiming land and is developing community projects, which include the expansion and recovery of crops, collective gardens, fish farms and irrigation systems, among others.”

It’s possible the community was named after a key date.

Rebelion has noted: “On 17 June 2009, at a meeting with a thousand peasants from Bajo Aguán in the town of Tocoa, [Honduran president Manuel] Zelaya dropped a bombshell on the country’s political business sector: he promised to remediate the lands of landowners and hand over any surpluses that were outside the law, along with other idle land, to some 100,000 peasants claiming arable land.”

Significantly, the article adds: “Eleven days after that promise, on Sunday 28 June of the same year, the army, after conspiring with the country’s economic elite and the majority in Congress, dragged Zelaya out of his house in the middle of the night and put him on a plane to Costa Rica. There the ousted president arrived in exile.”

Land inequality in Honduras

PBI-Honduras has stated: “Despite being one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources, Honduras has high levels of inequality in land ownership and there has been a considerable increase in extractive projects in the country.”

In May 2000,  FIAN reported: “According to the official 1993 statistics on agriculture more than 126,000 peasant families have neither access to land nor a secure place of employment. This figure represents 27% of the rural population. If we add to this group the 80,000 peasant families (at least), who own less than 1 hectare of land, we are confronted with the disturbing figure of more than 200,000 families, or 44% of the rural population who have either no or very limited access to land. These families live in extreme conditions and form the core of that group of the rural community who suffer from extreme poverty.”

And last year, Reuters provided this overview of the inequality in land ownership: “Less than 5% of Honduras’ landowners, government figures show, control 60% of the fertile terrain, including many monocultures of palm and other export crops.”

Andrés León, an anthropologist at the University of Costa Rica, says: “The Aguán is a region of rampant poverty and misery surrounded by a crop that makes millions in profits.”

 The Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project has accompanied the National Union of Rural Workers (CNTC) since May 2018.

The CNTC is affiliated with the Unified Confederation of Honduran Workers (CUTH) which in turn is affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), along with 150+ labour organizations including the Canadian Labour Congress.

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