NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF AFRO-HONDURANORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITIES DECLARATION
The Garifuna and Afro-Honduran Communities of the following: Río Esteban, San Antonio,Corozal, Sangrelaya, Cayo East End, Cayo Cochino, Punta Gorda, Cristales and Río Negro,Ciriboya, San Juan, Monte Pobre, Cusuna, Tocamacho, Batalla, Nueva Go, Nueva Armenia, LaEnsenada, Río Tinto, Sambo Creek, Triunfo de la Cruz, Colonia Alfonso Lacayo, Limón, SantaRosa de Aguan, Guadalupe, El Porvenir, La Rosita, Plaplaya, Masca, La Ceiba, Cayo Venadoand Tegucigalpa;As well as the following organizations: The Río Esteban Fisherman’s Association, Wafaluma, Club Lagrimas de Corozal, OPROMEP of Punta Gorda, ECOSALUD, MALA POLIA, CEINCOT, Garífuna Cultural Center of Honduras, Water Council of Corozal, No Vale DanceClub, Youth of Masca, Crab Club of Nueva Armenia, Town Board of Nueva Armenia, TownBoard of Cayo Venado, Primero de Enero Dance Club of Nueva Armenia, WachariOrganization, Town Board of La Rosita, Critic’s Club of Corozal, Cinco Cinco Club of LaCeiba, Garífuna Catholic Pastoral Ministry, Town Board of La Ensenada, Town Board ofTriunfo de la Cruz, Town Board of Río Tinto, Town Board of Monte Pobre and the Town Boardof Nueva Go;
Attending the convocation of the Organization of Ethnic Community Development (ODECO), inorder to hold the National Afro-Honduran Assembly to analyze the political situation of thecountry and define the role of the Afro-Honduran communities and organizations in the solutionof the crisis that confronts the Republic of Honduras;Gathered together in the Satuye Cultural Center and thanking God and the Ancestors for thisimportant occasion in the life of Afro-Honduran communities and organizations;DECLARE the following to the Honduran people and the national and internationalcommunity:Honduras is currently facing a diversity of opinions, created by the interests of the oligarchyfrom the political and economic class of the country. This situation keeps a good portion of theHonduran population polarized, confrontational, and divided, and could have negative effects forthe entire population, particularly our Afro-Honduran communities. The main victims of the
resulting social, economic and political instability are and will be the historically marginalized, excluded, and poor sectors, which comprise more than 70% of Hondurans.The Afro-Honduran Communities and Organizations expectantly await the developments of thecountry’s recent situation; which for the international community and the deposed President is acoup d’état, and for the de facto Government is a constitutional succession.For the Garifuna and Afro-Honduran communities in general, Honduras continues to be anexclusive society, characterized by increases in unemployment and in the cost of the basic foodbasket for an average family, as well as by lack of opportunity, increases in delinquency, thesystematic expropriation of our land and territories, strong drug trafficking interference, the lackof proportional community representation in the public life of the country, and the lack ofguidance with regards to the different economic, human, technical, and scientific resourcesavailable to encourage and promote the integral development of Afro-Honduran communitiesand populations.The Afro-Honduran community represents approximately 10 percent of the Honduran population, located especially in the five departments of the Atlantic Coastline. Without a doubt,it will be one of the sectors hardest hit by the effects of the deteriorating economic situation arising from the political crisis. Faced with this situation, we recommend savings, strongorganization of neighborhoods and communities, cultivation of food that can be quickly harvested, and mutual assistance and solidarity.The lands and territories of the Garifuna communities of Honduras must be guaranteed, respecting definitive property titles, as well as their ancestral possessions and the provision oflegal security and technical, scientific, economic, and financial assistance in order to executeproductive projects that generate employment opportunities and personal and collective growth. We reiterate our condemnation of the coup d’état carried out on June 28 against the deposedGovernment as well as the disrespect and constant violation of existing laws and the rule of lawagainst citizens that think and act contrary to the wishes and dogma proclaimed by the dominantpolitical and economic classes, which legislate, control, and punish at will and at the cost oflegally established institutions.The examples are numerous; not one political conflict has been resolved in a way that did notinclude dialogue and political negotiation. Many countries have sacrificed hundreds of thousandsof lives and have not been able to resolve their differences. They finally had to turn to politicaldialogue to overcome their differences.We declare that we are absolutely against the interference of other governments in our internalaffairs, appealing to the principle of the free, self-determination of our peoples. Likewise, weadvocate for full respect of the freedom of expression and human rights of all people that livetogether in our national territory.We consider it of vital importance that educators return to the classrooms, so that we cannormalize classes in all educational centers. The Garifuna community has one of the lowestpercentages of students in formal education, especially at the secondary and university levels. The absence of quality education deepens social debt and ignorance, widens the gap betweenrich and poor, and impairs future generations—condemning them to social, economic, scientific,political, technical, human, and environmental setbacks.
3We would like to see in-depth reforms to the Electoral Law and Law of Political Organizationsin order to make separate elections possible for mayors, representatives, and the President of theRepublic and create more flexibility for the participation of independent candidates and politicalcoalitions and alliances. Said reforms must also take into account the proportional andrepresentative participation of Afro-Hondurans and Indigenous Peoples in the different Statepowers and political parties.The participation of our Afro-Honduran communities and organizations within the GRANDEMERGENCY NATIONAL DIALOGUE, as well as the creation of an observatory to monitorthe advances of the accords it recommends, must be guaranteed. Said observatory should haverepresentation from the Afro-Honduran and other populations that constitute Honduras, with thehope that said dialogue culminates into the necessary NATIONAL PLAN aimed to correctpersistent inequities and to strengthen identity and democracy so they are inclusive of all sectorsand populations.We commit ourselves to promoting and participating in the alliances and social initiatives thathave the objective of reaching consensus to strengthen democracy and the development of thepeople. It is urgent to guarantee freedom of expression and personal security for all citizens and avoidrepression and other violations of human rights. It is also urgent to coordinate efforts to prevent areturn to the fearful, reactionary, and dark, lost decade of the 1980s and guarantee the rights andliberties reflected in the Constitution of the Republic and International Agreements.In order to overcome political disagreements, POLITICAL DIALOGUE is the only way;irrefutably, Afro-Honduran communities and organizations must be present, participate in, andhave a voice in the dialogues that seek to reconcile the Honduran family.This social and political shock presents an obligation to talk of peace and democracy. In unison,voices repeating and promoting peace and democracy are being heard. However, peace and democracy will not be a reality while there is hunger, unemployment, injustice, persistent andrampant corruption, and no in-depth political and economic reforms to make education,healthcare, and well-being possible for all Honduran people. If the dominant political and economic class does not understand this reality, it will beimpossible to consolidate peace and democracy.Declared in La Ceiba, Atlántida, July 14, 2009