NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Honduras' Banana Coast: Ripe for Development?


    Garifuna communities and developers battle over mega-tourism projects -   October 3, 14
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


    Amongst "independent" media the only one which (so far) has served only insight and versatility. - Håkan
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Afro-descendant Hondurans are struggling against mega-tourism projects that threaten their way of life.

    The Garifuna people, who live on the north coast of Honduras, are fighting against the construction of the Los Micos Beach and Golf Resort, a development project featuring 750 acres of beach houses and a hotel.

    Los Micos is financed by the Honduran government and 43 of the country's richest investors. Developments like these have accelerated since the 2009 military coup, and President Pepe Lobo has declared Honduras "open for business."

    The World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other international organizations have said that tourism is the key to lifting the Garifuna communities out of poverty.

    But some Hondurans disagree.

    “These interests aren't going to divide us now, and we aren't going to let what has happened to many towns happen to us,” said Alfredo Lopez, a community leader fighting against mega tourism projects, who also runs a radio station in the small town of Triunfo de la Cruz.  “They have disappeared. They don't know who they are. They have lost their language. We know what's at stake here, and that's why we are in resistance.”

    Transcript

    Honduras' Banana Coast: Ripe for Development?KAELYN FORDE, TRNN: The virgin beaches of Honduras are where Central America meets the Caribbean. Once the banana republic, it is now in the sights of developers who want to turn it into the next Cancun.

    But the north coast is also home to the Garifuna people, Afro-descendant Hondurans long ignored by authorities but now facing off against developers.

    I went to meet Alfredo Lopez, a community leader fighting against mega tourism projects. He runs the radio station in the small town of Triunfo de la Cruz.

    ALFREDO LOPEZ, FRATERNAL BLACK ORGANIZATION OF HONDURAS (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): The Honduran government has never, ever won a case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

    FORDE: Through his work at the radio station, Alfredo hopes to educate the community about the dangers facing it. And this is what he's talking about: Los Micos Beach and Golf Resort, 750 acres of beach houses and a hotel, all built within a natural reserve, the kind of development Alfredo says threatens their way of life.

    LOPEZ: The work they are offering is to earn 200 lempiras a day, when the minimum wage here is 550 lempiras a day. How are they going to say that this project is going to help our economic situation when 200 lempiras is what my son eats in one sitting at breakfast?

    Los Micos is financed by the Honduran government and 43 of the country's richest investors. Developments like these have accelerated since the 2009 military coup, and President Pepe Lobo has declared Honduras "open for business."

    FORDE, TRIUNFO DE LA CRUZ, HONDURAS: Tourism is the third largest industry in Honduras, after maquilas, low-wage factories that make clothing for export to the United States, and remittances, money that Hondurans send home to their families. The World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other international organizations have said that tourism is the key to lifting these Garifuna communities out of poverty. But many here disagree.

    Alfredo's colleagues at the radio station showed me where thugs had tried to burn it down after the 2009 military coup. And Alfredo himself spent six years in jail on false drug charges.

    LOPEZ: I was in jail, and they came and they offered me money, a blank check where I could write any amount, if I would just write a letter telling the community to accept the project.

    FORDE: Andrea Valerio is a community leader in Tornabe, where Los Micos is being built. The project has provided some jobs, but she fears that once the resort is complete, there will be less opportunities for Garifuna.

    ANDREA VALERIO, COMMUNITY LEADER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): We have a small window in which we can go and prepare ourselves for future jobs on the project. But if we are not ready, if we are not prepared, it's going to be difficult for our people to find work on the project.

    FORDE: A few hours' drive along the shore in the old banana port of Trujillo, Randy Jorgensen is hoping to sell a piece of paradise to North Americans.

    RANDY JORGENSEN, BANANA COAST DEVELOPER: So right where you see the change in the line of the sea wall will be where our pier goes out.

    FORDE: He's calling his multimillion-dollar project the Banana Coast. It will include beach houses and a deep-sea cruise port like this one in nearby Roatan.

    JORGENSEN: So we're trying to theme it to bring back life to the banana booms. And so this whole region from Belize to Panama [incompr.] were all banana republics at one time, and the banana companies kind of controlled the governments.

    FORDE: Jorgensen made his fortune in the Canadian porn business. Garifuna communities say he and other developers obtained the land illegally, buying individuals out when the title is a collective one.

    JORGENSEN: The concerns that the Garifuna have is because at one time, you know, they had title to a large tract of land--and they still do--in the area. You know, whether they agree with what their leaders did in the past or what particular deal created that property to become public property or privately held property outside of the community, you know, is a debate that they need to have amongst themselves. And it shouldn't be bringing other landowners, and particularly third- or fourth-generation landowners into that. If there was corruption 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, the past is the past and there's really nothing we can do about it now.

    FORDE: But for Alfredo, it's about more than what's being signed away.

    LOPEZ: These interests aren't going to divide us now, and we aren't going to let what has happened to many towns happen to us. They have disappeared. They don't know who they are. They have lost their language. We know what's at stake here, and that's why we are in resistance.

    FORDE: The Banana Coast resort is scheduled to open within the next year. But along the coast, the fight to keep similar projects from other Garifuna communities is far from over.

    Reporting from the north coast of Honduras for The Real News Network, I'm Kaelyn Forde.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    X: Malcolm's Final Years
    Baltimore's Harbor-Front Development at the Expense of City Infrastructure and Schools
    Walmart Minimum Wage Hike to $10 Still Below 1968 Levels
    Winter in the Ruins of Gaza (2/2)
    Clinton Dynasty Revisited
    How Progressive Agendas Came to Dominate Chicago Alderman Races
    Public Policy and Blaming Poor Black Communities For Their Own Poverty
    Winter in the Ruins of Gaza (1/2)
    Netanyahu on a Destructive Path
    HSBC Offshore Tax-Evading Scandal Widening
    The Class That Ruled Egypt Under Mubarak Remains in Power
    Nurses Unite to Stop TPP Fast Track
    Is FCC Approval of Net Neutrality a Real Win for Consumers?
    What Happened to Making Steel in Baltimore? - Mark Reutter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    Nader: Canadian Anti-Terrorism Bill Follows America's Lead
    Why the $655 Million Verdict Against the PA is Not A Victory for Human Rights
    Unions Fight Controversial Charter School Expansion Bill
    Venezuelan Gov. Releases Audio of Coup Plotters
    The Greek Debt and the German Acquiescence
    Maryland Police Reform Advocates and Opponents Speak Out Prior to Hearing
    Baltimore College Fights To Keep Accreditation Status
    An Irish-Style Banking Inquiry into the 2008 Financial Crisis
    What Role Can Social Media Play in Supporting Protests Against Egypt's Military Regime?
    Greece Now Positioned to Negotiate a New Loan Agreement
    Chicago Mayor Emmanuel Forced Into Historic Runoff
    Guardian UK Exposes Horrific Abuses at Police 'Black Sites'
    Greek Reform Proposal Preserves Privatization Commitments, Ignores Debt Restructuring
    The Modern History of the Greek Debt Crisis
    Iran's Intent is the Real Issue, Says Former IAEA Inspector
    Bill O'Reilly May Have Covered-Up a Massacre

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting