July 1, 2012
IN HONDURAS, THE CONFISCATION AND STEALING OF THE GARIFUNA LANDS BY THE POWERFUL AND THE WEALTHY IS AN INJUSTICE THAT REQUIRES US TO ACT NOW.
Dear Friends and Colleagues of Agricultural Missions:
Our decades-long partner Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) requests support for an upcoming campaign to recover nearly 2,500 acres of land titled to six Garifuna cooperatives 18 years ago. Since that time 86% of those lands have been invaded by non-Garifuna persons, among them the most powerful economic families of Honduras. The campaign seeks to force the Honduran government to recognize the titles of this land, clearing away illegal secondary (fraudulent) titles, and subsequently to establish a national Training Center for the Garifuna people in the heart of those lands. This land recovery effort comes in a context of multiple land occupations and agrarian reform efforts undertaken by farmer and indigenous organizations across Honduras that have been opposed with governmental and paramilitary violence since the Coup d´Etat of 2009. OFRANEH has been a strong ally and movement building partner of a broad alliance of farmer and indigenous organizations across Honduras, has along with the Civic Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH) and others co-founded human rights observatories in Bajo Aguan and in indigenous territories of Honduras.
The six Garifuna cooperative organizations, Saway, Kuguma, Walumugu, Saway Sufritiñu, Sinduru Free and Satuye, recently held an assembly and collectively decided to work to recover this land holding that is the largest contiguous land holding of the Garifuna people. Central to this plan will be a month-long Re-Occupation of the lands in late July by at least 700 Garifuna persons and their allies. Associated to this will be a variety of educational and advocacy activities designed to apply political pressures to political figures of the national agrarian reform institute (INA) and related government institutions to make good on past promises and to recognize the land titles and apply Honduran laws.
Agricultural Missions extends an invitation to you to join us in our efforts to confront this injustice against the indigenous people of Honduras by supporting this movement of peoples of the land. You can do so now by providing a financial contribution to the land occupation campaign, including support for legal accompaniment. You may also travel to Honduras and participate as a human rights observer present with the Garifuna people in struggle. In the long term, you can also support the continuing education on the context of Honduras here in the US.
Our goal is for AMI to raise $5,000 (of a total budget of $28,000) to support various aspects of this struggle including the legal accompaniment and communications and messaging during and after the planned Land Recovery campaign. Other national and international partners are also being mobilized to support this effort.
Will you, your organization or agency, be part of this effort? We look forward to partnering with you to support this important grassroots effort of the people to reverse land grabbing and restore a measure of justice and autonomy to a noble people who have survived for 219 years on the Caribbean coast of Central America.
Please let us know, even if only to send a message of moral support to our sisters and brothers of OFRANEH. Checks made out to Agricultural Missions (with the word Garifuna in memo line) can be sent to AMI, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 810, New York, NY 10115 or you can go to our website and contribute using Paypal: www.agriculturalmissions.org
For more information please contact Stephen Bartlett, Coordinator for Education and Advocacy/Latin America Liaison for Agricultural Missions: firstname.lastname@example.org 502 896 9171 in home/office in Louisville, KY
Thanks for your time and we look forward to hearing from you.
Stephen Bartlett and Winston Carroo