In Honduras, the Garifunas fight against the greed of hotel groups

El Triunfo de la Cruz (Honduras) (AFP) - Paradise palm-fringed beaches on the Caribbean coast of Honduras are coveted by international hotel groups with government backing, but their plans meet fierce opposition from the community garifuna who sees his ancestral way of life threatened.

In Triunfo de la Cruz, a stone's throw from the small tourist town of Puerto de Tela (about 220 km north of the capital Tegucigalpa), some 10,000 Garifunas, descendants of African slaves shipwrecked in the 17th century, mixed with the indigenous Caribbean, live fishing and agriculture.

"Here, we are fighting to the death" against "those who want to steal our land," warns Santos Centeno, a fisherman from Triunfo de la Cruz.

The Garifunas had a first success by obtaining the termination of the Las Villas hotel project, supported by Spanish investors.

The opposition is now focusing on a project to extend the Indura Beach & Golf Resort hotel complex in Tornabé, marketed by the American group Hilton under the premium establishment brand Curio Collection.

According to Edgardo Benedit, a community leader, the Garifunas of Triunfo de la Cruz have lived in perpetual anguish for decades as the government, the municipality of Tela and investors seem determined to continue their tourism projects.

On the white sand beaches bordering the Caribbean Sea with waters ranging from turquoise to navy blue, tension escalated on July 18, when four members of the community were kidnapped by men dressed in police uniforms.

The chairman of the Land Defense Committee and the three other men have not reappeared since then, and the community sees the hand of the government ...or drug traffickers recruited for the occasion.

Posted Date: 2020-08-31

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