Afro descendant communites threatened by "Model Cities" issue ALERT

Honduras: Threats of Repression from Organizers of the state sponsored Sumit of Afrodescendants and Garifuna People

Published August 16, 2011 by Ofraneh  

The Summit of Afro descendants promoted by the State of Honduras and international financial and cooperation organisms, in addition to being exclusive since its initiation, has also adopted a framework of repression by announcing a “security plan” with the intention of discouraging the Forum on the Usurpation of Territories in Africa and Latin America organized by the Alliance on the 2-14th.

According to news sources, a “security plan” exists “with the objective of neutralizing any boycott of the state event” by creating rumors that during the days of the Summit (August 18-21, 2011) La Ceiba will be militarized for which preparations are underway on the part of the Security Ministry and the Armed Forces of Honduras. It seems that Mr. Celeo Alvarez has decided to shield himself behind the clubs and tear gas bombs that are used against his own people.

It is interesting to observe the reaction of Mr. Alvarez Casildo, director of the non-governmental organization ODECO, in relation to the Summit which from the very beginning has excluded the participation of the Garifuna communities, limiting it only to professionals and foreign delegations.

The threats against the Garifuna people by ODECO came in response to the July 9th Funda Declaration in which community leaders and presidents of the patronatos issued a statement condemning the expulsion of Garifuna communities from their territories which has worsened since the coup d’état and in particular since the Law on Special Regions for Development (RED) was passed – also known as Model Cities – threatening the eviction of Garifuna communities from Bahia de Trujillo to the Río Sico.

The Funda Declaration completely repudiates Model Cities and pressures from groups linked to organized crime.  Despite the territorial crisis, organizations participating in the Summit have been totally silent regarding the current expulsion of Garifuna peoples such as the announced eviction of the Garifuna communities of Punta Gorda, Roatan where they intervened only at the last minute after homes had been destroyed.

The extreme violence of Honduras today stands in contrast to the official discourse of the administration of Mr. Pepe Lobo who spared no words in his meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, Steven Harper, in demonstrating his commitment to “respect the dignity of people, the common good, solidarity and participatory democracy.

However, the current government of Christian humanism continues to act in a secretive manner, restricting information and promoting the RED at an accelerated pace, a law that in no way safeguards the common good, the integrity of people and much less participatory democracy.  We alert the authorities national and international human rights organizations and call for an end to the threats against the Garifuna communities that will mobilize for the Forum on the Usurpation of Territories in Africa and Latin America, August 17-20th, 2011 and hold ODECO and the government of Pepe Lobo responsible for any attack or repression against the Garifuna people who mobilize toward the city of La Ceiba, exercising their rights to freedom of movement and expression, especially in framework of the supposed International Year of Afro descendants declared by the United Nations.

Alliance of Black Organizations, 214 – OFRANEH

La Ceiba, Atlántida  August 15, 2011