Honduras: four campesinos wounded in land dispute

Four campesinos were wounded, two with bullets, on Jan. 27 when police and private security guards attacked members of the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MUCA) at the RĂ­o Aguán in Trujillo municipality, near La Ceiba in northern Honduras. Antonio Estrada was shot in his left eye, and Rosendo Reyes was hit in the leg; both were hospitalized in La Ceiba. The incident occurred the day Porfirio (“Pepe”) Lobo Sosa of the National Party began his four-year presidential term.”

The MUCA members were trying to reoccupy land which they had been forced to leave in January. On Jan. 8 police arrested 30 campesinos while trying to remove them from land they were occupying. Some 150 police agents and 100 soldiers returned on Jan. 14 to remove the campesinos. The land has been the subject of a dispute between MUCA and three landowners, Miguel FacussĂ©, RenĂ© Morales and Reinaldo Canales, since 2006. MUCA charges that the landowners acquired the land illegally, since the National Agrarian Institute (INA) didn’t authorize the sale, and that they are violating the agrarian reform law by not using the land productively.

In a press conference on Jan. 13, Francisco Funes, INA director in the government of former JosĂ© Manuel (“Mel”) Zelaya Rosales (2006-2010), said that the power of big landowners and repression against campesinos had increased since the military coup against Zelaya on June 28, 2009. (Adital, Jan. 29 from MUCA, Jan. 27; Vos el Soberano, Feb. 14)

One of the landowners, Miguel Facussé, is the uncle of former president Carlos Flores Facussé (1998-2002) of the Liberal Party, the owner of the daily La Tribuna and a strong supporter of the coup.

See our last post on Honduras

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 14

MUCA