Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 10:56 GMT

Chronology for Black Karibs in Honduras

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Black Karibs in Honduras, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3894c.html [accessed 23 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Mar 19, 1992 Honduras passed a bill in its Congress which ended its process of agrarian reform, begun in the early 1960s. This bill was aimed at downsizing the Institute of National Agriculture (Instituto Nacional Agrario - INA). Indians protested this new legislation because they claimed that over 200,000 Indians remained homeless and landless.
Dec 1992 The ILO convention on indigenous and tribal groups was presented to the Honduran government for ratification. This provides for employment and labor protection for minorities. International environmental groups lobbied the Honduran government for ratification of this convention.
Jan 28, 1993 The Honduran government announced a $500 million social compensation program to offset the hardships of peasants affected by the March 1990 economic adjustment program. The program included road repair, new schools, hospitals, and health care centers. This program was aimed at Garifuna and indigenous regions.
Mar 1993 Mayor Felipe Ortega of Trujillo granted land from private landowners to the Garifuna. The mayor was arrested by police and students and teachers staged protests in response to his arrest. Due to the protests, the mayor was freed, but the land was not granted to the Garifuna. The international environmental organization (Rainforest Action Network) was reportedly holding protests in Garifuna inhabited areas of Honduras in response to the construction of 4,000 houses near the Los Laureles Dam.
Aug 1993 Punta Rock, a type of Garifuna music, was celebrated during a religious festival in the Garifuna region. This music, which originated in Honduras, was spreading in popularity to other regions of Latin America.
Oct 26, 1993 The CONPAH (Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras), the U.N. Development Program, and OFRANE (the Black Fraternal Organization) again lobbied the Honduran government, under President Callejas to ratify the ILO Convention.
Jul 20, 1995 The Committee of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPIN), which included the Garifuna, Lenca, Tolupane, Misquito, Pech, and Tawahka ethnic groups, completed its third march from the mountain regions to Tegucigalpa to sign the second broad accord in which the government promised to build roads, bridges, health-care centers, and schools in indigenous areas. The government also promised to issue property titles for indigenous peoples' lands. The leader of the group also called for a hunger strike to push the government to comply with similar accords signed earlier. (Inter Press Service 7/31/95)
Dec 13 - 15, 1995 The Organizacion Negra Centroamericana (Oneca), an organization of blacks across central America, which formed in late November with a Garifuna from Honduras as its president, held its first summit. They promised to work towards respect for their entitlement to traditional territories (on the model of Nicaragua's autonomous Atlantic coast region), official recognition of their right to bilingual education (in English or Garifuna as well as Spanish), greater representation in elective posts, and an end to job discrimination. (Latin American Newsletters 12/21/95)
Apr 15, 1997 Garifunas celebrated the 200th anniversary of their arrival in Honduras with music and dancing, and by calling on the government to end discrimination and to protect their land rights. (Inter Press Service 4/15/97)
May 11, 1997 Jesus Alvarez Rochez, a Garifuna trying to obtain land deeds for the community of Triunfo de la Cruz before developers took the beach land, was shot and killed. A series of other indigenous people fighting for land rights had been killed in the previous months. Human rights groups later claimed that there was a deliberate attempt to destroy the ethnic groups. (Latin American Newsletters 6/10/97 and Inter Press Service 9/5/97)
Jun 8, 1998 The government announced it was planning to amend Article 107 of the Honduran constitution, which had previously forbidden the purchase of coastal lands by foreigners. The Garifuna feared this would bring increasing development and ruination of their culture. (Inter Press Service 6/8/98)
Oct 1998 Hurricane Mitch stalled over Honduras, wiping out entire communities. In addition to the death and destruction, the hurricane posed an additional threat to the Garifuna, who feared that the destruction of their homes would weaken their already tenuous claims to the land. (New York Newsday 3/8/99)
Nov 30, 1998 During a special night session, Congress voted to repeal Article 107 of the Constitution. (Institute for Public Affairs 1/10/00)
Jan 25, 1999 Several hundred Indians and Garifunas - led by former foreign minister Fernando Martinez - protested outside congress against a proposed constitutional amendment that they feared would deprive them of their traditional communal lands by allowing foreigners to buy coastal properties. (Latin American Newsletters 2/23/99)
Oct 12, 1999 A group of 5,000 indigenous and black people demonstrated outside the presidential palace on Columbus Day to block the sale of coastal land to foreigners, to gain the right to titles for their land, to secure the release of imprisoned peasant activists, and to demand the solution of about a dozen murders of indigenous people reputedly killed by landowners. Police broke up the demonstration using tear gas, batons, and rubber bullets, injuring at least six. (Inter Press Service 10/12/99)

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