PBI-Honduras visits OFRANEH in Vallecito where the Garifuna have reclaimed their ancestral lands

Published by Brent Patterson on

Share This Page

PBI-Honduras has posted on Facebook:

“Last week we visited OFRANEH-Garifuna/Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras and the community of Vallecito. The Garifuna people have waged a peaceful struggle to reclaim these ancestral lands that had fallen into the hands of drug trafficking.

Currently, Vallecito is a recovered territory, under the control and sovereignty of the Garifuna people, which offers an alternative to life and food sovereignty, but which is still in dispute for its geostrategic position for the passage of illicit substances.

From PBI we observe with concern the threats, harassment and use of violence against the community.”

The Garífuna are people of Indigenous Arawak and Black African ancestry; they speak Garífuna and Vincentian Creole.

In November 2023, the Human Rights and Business Award Foundation explained:

Early morning on September 19, 2023, at least four unknown and heavily armed men reportedly entered the community of Vallecito, Colón, and surrounded the house of Miriam Miranda.

Members of Miriam’s security team demanded that the strangers identify themselves, but they fled the scene. The strangers were heard to say that next time they would come to ‘finish the deal’.

On 21 September the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Honduras issued a statement expressing its concern about the risk faced by Miriam, and the lack of review of the Honduran government’s protection measures for her, particularly after the past threats she had received.

Photo: Miriam Miranda, General Coordinator of OFRANEH.

The OHCHR noted that the Honduran government’s Technical Committee of the Protection Mechanism had failed to hold its session scheduled for 20 September to review Miranda’s protection plan because three of the four Honduran governmental authorities/agencies that make up that committee did not attend.

The OHCHR called on the Government of Honduras to strengthen its commitment and its measures to protect human rights defenders at risk. In a statement issued on 20 September condemning the attack on Miriam, the Honduras Solidarity Network of North America said: ‘For many years, the list of attacks on Miriam has grown to be quite extensive, while the list of those punished for such attacks is non-existent.’

The statement called for: an end to impunity – bringing to justice all perpetrators of attacks on Garifuna human rights defenders; Miriam to be provided with additional forms of protection; the Honduran state to implement Inter-American Court of Human Rights rulings calling for an end to violations of Garifuna land rights and cultural rights, and restoration of stolen lands.

OFRANEH reports that all the above violations and threats are due to the process of illegal occupation of Garífuna territories by third parties that operate with the support of the Honduran state.

That article also notes: “In Vallecito, Colón, OFRANEH has organized the largest food sovereignty program in Honduras. More than 100 hectares of coconut have been planted to provide food for Garífuna communities. The program includes a facility for producing coconut oil and derivatives.”

Canadian financing

We also take particular note of Miriam’s comment: “We’re under threat from gated retirement communities with U.S. and Canadian financing, as well as mining and hydroelectric projects, including projects with development bank financing.”

In this regard, the article highlights: “Much Garífuna communal land has been acquired by real estate companies, particularly Canadian firms. In 2007 Randy Jorgensen’s development company Life Vision Properties began acquiring land outside Trujillo to develop a cruise ship terminal and gated retirement home properties for North Americans.”

We continue to follow this.

Share This Page


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *