Friday, August 26th, 2011
Alert! Demonization and Repression of the Campesino Movement of Lower Aguan.
The news published today in the La Prensa newspaper under the title The ‘Commander’ has 300 men under its orders in Aguan, is part of a campaign aimed at creating a war scenario in Honduras with the intention of strengthening the plantation model based on the accumulation of lands and exploitation of the workforce, and which produces enormous profits for a small group of business owners in palm oil production.
The agrarian conflict in Honduras has become extremely polarized following the Agriculture Modernization Law of 1992, which made it possible to exceed existing limits for land possession, and resulting in the creation of enormous plantations concentrated in the hands of Miguel Facussé (known as the “palm oil death farmer”), Reynaldo Canales and René Morales Carazo.
In Honduras there are currently more than 600 hundred thousand landless families, and there is no agricultural strategy from the State to solve this serious social issue.
The crisis in Lower Aguan emerges as a consequence of the plantation model, in existence in Honduras since the beginning of the 20th century when the banana companies appropriated the country’s rich fertile valleys. In the 21st century, the biofuel boom has repeated the exploitation patterns of the past, with the aggravating factor that this time millions of people are being dispossessed of their lands.
Militarization under the auspices of the Xatruch II Coordinated Operations Force, and the presence of paramilitary forces growing with impunity throughout the region, combined with the reinvigoration campaign by media affiliated with the Interamerican Press Society (SIP, in Spanish) denouncing the presence of guerrilla groups, makes us fear a military aggression against our campesino settlements in Lower Aguan, especially the ones located on its the left bank of the river.
The news about the presence of the Commander and the 300 armed men emerged from the fertile imagination of journalists and intelligence organizations, and brings discredit to the Armed Forces and the Minister of Security, who came to exercise strict control over the area, particularly since the beginning of the Porfirio Lobo administration, with its Colombian advisers in “Democratic Security”.
The violent expulsion that took place in the Rigores settlement, in which 114 houses, the local church and school were destroyed, is a clear sign of the attitude being adopted by the palm oil “death farmers,” their hired assassins and the states’ repressive forces.
We, the members of the campesino movement of the Left Bank of the Lower Aguan Valley, fear for the integrity of our lives and settlements, in view of the wave of repression aimed at pleasing the power elite who blame the situation in the Aguan for the disappearance of investments from the foreign and national capital in the country, and arguing there is no protection for private property.
This is an Emergency Situation – in order to prevent a massacre in Lower Aguan, please help by sending letters to the Honduran authorities with the following requests:
- Respect for the human rights of the campesinos and campesinas of the following settlements: Aurora, Concepción, Rigores, Marañones, La Confianza, Lempira, Movimiento de Orica and MARCA.
- Put an end to the harassment policy being implemented in the Lower Aguan.
- A state strategy to find a solution to the serious agrarian problem in the country that affects the Honduran campesino population.
- The immediate demilitarization of the area and controlling of the paramilitary groups that took over the area.
Please send your letters to:
Mr. Porfirio Lobo Sosa
President of Honduras
Tel: (504) 2221-4545
Mr. Oscar Alvarez
Minister of Security
Teléfonos: (504) 2220-4298 and (504) 2220-4299
Fax: (504) 2220-1711
Mr. Juan Orlando Hernandez
President of the National Congress
Barrio La Hoya, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Teléfonos: (504) 2220-0188 (504) 2220-4031 (504) 2220-4790 (504) 2220-4831 (504) 2220-4864 (504) 2220-4865 (504) 2220-5500 (504) 2220-5500
Ms. Ana Pineda
Minister of Human Rights
Ms. Sandra Ponce
Special Prosecutor for Human Rights
National Front of Popular Resistence Front of the Department of Colón
The Rigores Campesino Movement
The Orica Campesino Movement
The Authentic Self-Vindicating Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MARCA)
Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán – Left Bank MUCA MI