DSA joins voices around the world in solidarity with the Garifuna people in Honduras, calling for the return of their leaders and community members unharmed.
Several weeks ago, four Garifuna community members of Triunfo de la Cruz, including the leader of the elected council, Snider Centano, were kidnapped by armed men, and there has been no word of them since. They are members of the council’s land committee.
OFRANEH, the Organizacion Fraternal Negra Hondurena states, “The wave of violence against the Garifuna people is part of the expulsion strategy. You took them alive, we want them back alive.”
The Garifuna are descendants of escaped slaves and indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. Since the 2009 coup, they have been in a mass struggle of resistance against the ongoing takeover of their lands for the profits of developers and corporations. The violent land seizures also claimed the life of environmental and indigenous rights defender Berta Cáceres in a brutal assassination in 2016.
Along the Atlantic Coast of Honduras, where the Garifuna have engaged in sustainable farming and fish and practiced stewardship of the land, as all over the world, capitalists have unleashed ecological disaster and violent destruction of communities.
State violence and criminalization of the Garifuna people has further escalated with the fraudulent re-election of the President of Honduras, US-backed Juan Orlando Fernandez in 2017. The racist terror against the Black and Indigenous of Honduras has extended to the treatment here in the US of the refugee caravans fleeing that violence for the past several years.
DSA recognizes our responsibility due to the US government, military and corporate elite’s longtime and continuing intervention and culpability in Honduras on the side of dictatorship, exploitation and repression. OFRANEH leader Miriam Miranda has pointed out that Honduras is ruled by a “mafia” who treat the country as their personal property. These gangsters are directly connected to the gangsters controlling our White House. Miranda has pointed out all the deaths in Honduras, but said we must talk of life and fight for life.We believe the fight for socialism is the fight for life.
We recommend that chapters in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans and New York engage in solidarity efforts with Garifuna communities living in those cities. Over 100,000 Garifuna people live in NYC, with about 300,000 nationwide. We also recommend chapters hold a roundtable with local Garifuna activists on ongoing efforts to support this transnational struggle as well as any local efforts. We furthermore recommend a Town Hall on Honduran current events with local Garifuna activists presenting the situation to general membership. We certainly recommend all chapters to share this statement with general membership.
In addition to educational programming and relationship building, we recommend garnering support around the themes behind a nationwide bill HR.1945, known as the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act. Although expected not to move anywhere inside the current Senate, it presents the opportunity to organize our members and coalition partners around prohibiting U.S. assistance to the police or military of Honduras. Defunding the police is an international demand!
If you wish to get more involved, email [email protected]
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