Two campesinos were shot dead on Jan. 11 in the Lower Aguán Valley in the northern Honduran department of Colón as they were walking out of an estate which they and other campesinos had been occupying for two months. A long-standing conflict between campesino groups and large landowners in the area has resulted in the deaths of some 80 campesinos since the groups began occupying estates in December 2009 to dramatize their demands for land. According to Wilfredo Paz Zúniga, spokesperson for the Permanent Human Rights Monitoring Center for the Aguán, the victims were José Luis Reyes and Antonio Manuel Pérez. He said unidentified people shot them at close range from a moving automobile.
The Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MUCA), one of the main campesino groups in the region, identified the campesinos as Luis Antonio Ramos Reyes, originally from the Tepusteca de Olanchito Yoro community, and Manuel Antonio Pérez, originally from Remolino on the Aguán river’s left bank. MUCA said the two men were members of another group, the Campesino Movement for the Recovery of the Aguán (MOCRA), whose 600 families began occupying estates on July 20, 2012. According to Paz, the campesinos had been occupying land claimed by the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH); MUCA said the land was owned by UNAH’s Atlantic Coast Regional University Center (CURLA), which had abandoned it. (AFP, Jan. 12, via Terra.com; Anncol, Colombia, Jan. 13, via Rebelión, Spain)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 13.