Garifuna resistance in Vallecito against land grabbing for palm oil plantations and drug trade, Honduras


The indigenous Garifuna communities living on the northeastern coasts of Honduras are threatened by eviction, displacement, intimidation and criminal violence due to the high rates of expansion of oil palm plantations. Violence is scaling up in the region as numerous gangs associated to organized crime serve the economic interests of palm oil businessmen and drug smugglers. Vallecito has recently turned into a main target for palm oil and drug trade interests, directly affecting the Garifuna communities living there, that are now struggling for their land and the survival of their people.

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Basic Data
NameGarifuna resistance in Vallecito against land grabbing for palm oil plantations and drug trade, Honduras
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesPalm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)980
Level of Investment (in USD)100,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationhundreds
Start Date1997
Company Names or State EnterprisesDinant Corporation from Honduras
Relevant government actorsInstituto Nacional Agrario INA
International and Financial InstitutionsCorporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de la Infraestructura (CIFI)
Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE)
Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board (CDM Executive Board)
Corporación financiera Internacional (CFI)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersOrganización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH

Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares y Indigenas de Honduras, COPINH

Agricultural Missions, Inc (AMI)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Landgrabbing already happened and still happens among the Garifuna communities for allowing palm oil plantations to expand.
Sources and Materials

Indigenous people's long struggle to defend their rights in the Americas
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Expanding palm oil empires in the name of ‘green energy’ and 'sustainable development'
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Deadly Conflict Over Honduran Palm Oil Plantations Spotlights CEO
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On Those Misguided World Bank Loans
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IFC Response to CAO Audit of Investment in Corporación Dinant
[click to view]

Cocaine: the new face of deforestation in Central America
[click to view]

Pueblo garífuna sigue en resistencia en Vallecito, Colón
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El Instituto Nacional Agrario y el saqueo del territorio garífuna
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Cocaine from South America to the United States
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OFRANEH | La defensa del territorio de Vallecito, Colon
[click to view]

Media Links

Garinagu Falla - Vallecito, Tierra, fuego y tambores
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Honduras Estado fallido: Vallecito territorio ancestral garifuna
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Encuentro de Solidaridad por la reivindicación de los Derechos Territoriales del Pueblo Garifuna
[click to view]

Other Documents

African palm plantation in Limón
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African palm plantation in Limón
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Cocaine trafficking routes in Honduras Violence is scaling up in Limón municipality, Colón department
[click to view]

Garifuna women at work
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National Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) coordinator Miriam Miranda On July 2014 Miriam Miranda has been kidnapped by heavily-armed men in Vallecito.
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INA map In 1997 the INA granted title deeds on 980 hectares of land in Vallecito to six Garifuna cooperatives (Ruguma, Saway, Saway Sufritiñu, Walumugu, Satuye y Sinduru Free).
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSara Pinzani, A Sud / CDCA, [email protected]
Last update12/01/2015