“We do not accept the murder of Black indigenous Garifuna people are left unpunished”.
This quote by the Latin American news network Telesur, is from the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras(OFRANEH), which issued a statement last Sunday as part of the protests it is leading against the murder of a prominent Garifuna leader.
Ricardo Arnaul, leader of the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz was murdered last week after a series of death threats against him. He was a prominent member of the land Defence Committee which has been waging a campaign over the intrusion on Garifuna land.
The most prominent campaign is ongoing over the Playa Escondido Beach Resort, a tourism company which has been established on Garifuna land, blocking access to the traditional Garifuna cemetery. Since 2015, the Inter American Court of Human Rights has ordered the company to return the land to the Triunfo community but it has not complied with the order.
In the face of Garifuna protests, repression against the protesters and the Garifuna community has intensified.
Five of the Garifuna leaders were reported as having “disappeared” in 2020. However this has not deterred the Garifuna people who have appealed for international support.
“We will not stop fighting for the right to our territory which maintains our identity and cultural heritage”, they have insisted.
The Garifuna people in Honduras are the descendants of the Garifuna people exiled from St Vincent after the British took full control of that island in 1795.