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Home About Us Equipo Sur Stories of Honduras Walking for Dignity in Honduras, Step by Step
Walking for Dignity in Honduras, Step by Step PDF Print E-mail
On Monday, February 25th, we set off early from El Progreso, a town in northern Honduras, in a caravan en route to Honduras’ major highway where hundreds gathered to begin a 120-mile walk to the nation’s capital. As we prepared to set off on the “Walk for Dignity and Sovereignty: Step by Step,” Fr. Ismael Moreno, a Jesuit priest who spoke at the SOA vigil this past November, reminded everyone of the walk’s demands:

“Why do we offer this Walk for Dignity and Sovereignty Step by Step? We know there are three major demands that unite us all and that around these there are also many other demands. We walk for the repeal of the new mining law. We walk for the repeal of the model cities law. And we walk for the freedom of our compañero Jose Isabel Morales, who has struggled for the right to land.”

Members of numerous Honduran organizations gathered to walk, including many campesinos from the Bajo Aguan region, who have faced intense repression, murders, and evictions in their struggle for land. Jose Isabel Morales, a member of the Campesino Movement of the Aguan, has been unjustly imprisoned for over 4 years and in demanding his freedom the walkers are also demanding the right to stand up for their land without being criminalized, arrested, and jailed. Campesinos from the Aguan also told of how they now face another threat to their natural resources in the new mining law as there are several proposed mines in the area. Similarly, the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice was represented by members from many communities in the northern part of Honduras who are also facing threats to their land and water by the new mining law.

Another group of walkers set off from La Esperanza, in the western mountains of Honduras. Here, in Indigenous Lenca territory, members of the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) began walking en route to Siguatepeque, where the two groups would join forces. Lenca communities throughout western Honduras are struggling against mining projects, hydroelectric dams, and other megaprojects that are often imposed on their communities without consultation.

Another organization that joined in the walk is the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), which represents Garifuna communities along Honduras’ northern coast who have also have led a long struggle to protect their land and natural resources. Part of the proposed sites for ‘model cities’ or ‘Special Development Regions’ -- pieces of land that will be given away to corporations to run by their own rules without being subject to national laws– is anticipated to be Garifuna territory. In October, the Honduran Supreme Court declared the model cities legislation passed by the Honduran Congress to be unconstitutional. However, in December the Congress fired 4 Supreme Court justices and in January passed legislation establishing model cities once again.

As we walked under the hot sun, sweating and tired after hours of walking, many of the walkers shared why they were there. Not all could walk for the entire two weeks, but came for what they could. Others were there for the entire walk, determined to stand up for Honduras’ future. Cristina*, a single mother with six children who works in a banana packing plant explained that she was walking for her children’s future, for a future in which they would have clean water and land on which to live.

Add your support for one of the demands of the walk, freedom for Jose Isabel Morales, by signing the petition here.

*name changed to protect privacy

 

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