Honduran Garifuna Culture Threatened by Coup

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The New America Media (an outlet for ethnic news) writes about how the Honduran de facto coup government under Roberto Micheletti “plans to eliminate the Honduran Garifuna people and culture.” We have not been able to confirm this report, which, if true, would indeed jeopardize the cultural survival of the Garifuna. New America Media reports that Micheletti “has rescinded the Manuel Zelaya authorization to teach in the Garifuna language in school and to teach the language itself. All scholarships to Garifuna students have been eliminated.”

Moreover, Micheletti’s regime has taken over the Garifuna built and operated hospital in the coastal town of Iriona, a project that had been fully supported by ousted President Zelaya. Its staff—made up of Garifuna doctors and nurses trained in Cuba, Honduras, and the United States, has been fired. According to the article its founder, Dr. Luther Castillo Harry, who had been targeted for assassination, is now being sought and risks arrest and imprisonment.

The Garifuna community, As Caribbean Net News reports, is urging “all Garifuna people throughout Central America and the world to file a complaint with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, the United States, other countries and international agencies to condemn this outrageous act.” They are calling on “all Garifuna associations throughout the world, such as the National Garifuna Council in Belize, The United Garifuna Association Inc. in the United States, GAHFU in Los Angeles, Garifuna Coalition USA Inc. and all the other Garinagu associations in the respective countries where Garinagu people reside, to speak out against this injustice.”

In the United States, Bill Camp, executive secretary of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, is preparing a resolution for the AFL-CIO National Convention in Pittsburgh Sept. 14-17 “to embargo all trade with the U.S.-supported de facto coup government in Honduras. This is the most efficient and effective way to prevent the genocide of the Garifuna, to return democratically elected President Manual Zelaya to Honduras, punish Roberto Micheletti and the coup government and rescue the United States from its support of the Honduran coup government.” They are urging other groups to “begin now to boycott all Honduran products such as coffee, fruit etc.”

You can see the New America Media report at http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=9bf0fc2b744767885a293093a23f7e3c

For the Caribbean Net News article go to http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-18314–6-6–.html

The photo above is by my favorite news photographer, Patrick Farrell for the Miami Herald.

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