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Home About Us Equipo Sur Stories of Honduras Armed Security Guards Evict Campesinos
Armed Security Guards Evict Campesinos PDF Print E-mail

Recently, I visited with small farmers from the San Miguel Campesino Movement (MOCSAM) who have been attempting to recuperate land on which to grow their crops and support their families. As one woman explained, “We don’t have anywhere to live… This land is ours. It belonged to our ancestors.”

Indeed, it does appear that the land should be theirs. The campesinos (peasant farmers) explained to me that the National Agrarian Institute (INA), which issues land titles, had analyzed their claim and publicly expropriated the land from the Honduran Sugar Company for the campesinos. This happened on May 4, 2012 and the land was to benefit more than 6,000 people. However, with Honduras’ dysfunctional government in which money and power seem to matter more than the rule of law, this did not materialize. Instead, the Honduran government made an agreement with the Honduran Sugar Company for it to keep using the land.

This leaves the campesinos out of land, despite the fact that even INA had acknowledged their claim to it. With the government failing them, the campesinos decided to recuperate the land themselves by occupying it. They have been evicted several times.

On Sunday, February 24, 2012, at 11 am, they once again recuperated this land. As one man explained, “We are hungry and need land to work.” They set up branches covered with plastic tarps under which to sleep and organized security committees to keep watch in shifts while the others slept.

The next day, they reported that at least 40 security guards, armed with high caliber weapons, from the Honduran Sugar Company came to evict them. Nevertheless, the campesinos of MOCSAM continue in their struggle – because many of them have no other options for survival. They continue to call for this land despite the evictions and criminalization they face. 180 members of MOCSAM have legal proceedings against them and 15 have arrest warrants and have to live never knowing when they might be arrested.

 

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