The Afro-indigenous Garífuna people of the Northern coast of Honduras and the small-farming communities of the fertile Honduran valley of Bajo Aguán have put out urgent calls for international solidarity. Both are communities struggling, mainly through on-going land occupations, to reclaim land taken from them through illegal or suspect means by developers.
Please take a few minutes to take action to help our Garifuna brothers and sisters on the coast of Honduras working to reclaim their land, which for them is their life. OFRANEH, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, has organized the peaceful occupation. Send an email (see text you can copy into email below) or make a call (Spanish speakers). Learn more about the on-going Afro-indigenous Garifuna's Land Reclamation Campaign.
Housing activist Reyneld Sanon is beginning a tour to key cities in the United States. The tour will raise awareness about Under Tents, the international campaign for housing rights in Haiti. The campaign is a joint initiative of Haitian grassroots groups and more than 30 international organizations that are demanding a solution for Haiti’s homeless.
Thirty-four people, including children and pregnant women, have been arrested and twenty-five more have gone missing in the heart of the land struggle in Bajo Aguán. The Permanent International Human Rights Observatory of Bajo Aguán put out an urgent request for international support on September 10, specifically asking for our help through calls and emails to the Honduran military, police, and government. They are also asking for on-the-ground accompaniment from international human rights observers.
Learn more about the land struggle in Bajo Aguán here from leader, Consuelo Castilla.
Like so many New Orleanians since Katrina, Haitians are fighting to have housing recognized as a basic right. Since the massive 2010 earthquake devastated their country, there has been NO large-scale housing plan to shelter the nearly half a million people who remain displaced and homeless. Displaced people, Haitian grassroots organizations, and international allies have launched a campaign called Under Tents, demanding public or affordable housing. International solidarity will be vital to their success!
By Beverly Bell
September 5, 2012
Beverly Bell interviews Leslie Thatcher, content relations editor at Truthout, one of a number of independent, non-commercial news sites that offer an alternative to corporate-controlled media. In a world where corporations are considered persons and a few individuals are funding the lion’s share of the presidential elections, independent media is critical to keeping citizens informed and motivated defenders of democracy.
By Beverly Bell
August 29, 2012
As a native and resident of New Orleans who has spent three decades in and out of Haiti, and as director of an organization with offices in both places, this has been a harrowing week. The two locales sit squarely in Hurricane Isaac’s path. We don’t know yet how New Orleans will weather the giant storm. The official death toll in Haiti was 24, but many more will surely die from secondary effects of cholera or, for those who have lost their slim margins of sustenance, hunger.
August 28, 2012
Introduction by Beverly Bell and Lauren Elliott
In what many indigenous people call a “second coming of Columbus,” globalization and its twin offspring of resource exploitation and mega development threaten the survival of indigenous and small-farming communities all over our world. But as widespread as the threat is the response by organized peoples. The strategies for stopping the destruction of their land, claiming their rights to it, and protecting their way of life are diverse - land occupations, protests, and legal claims. Though movements are challenged at every step and are still on the defensive, victories in their own communities dot the world map. Meanwhile, they are gathering strength through cross-border alliances.
Lolis Eric Elie
Interviewed by Beverly Bell
August 28, 2012
Tomorrow, seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina dodged New Orleans, the city will be venturing out to assess Hurricane Isaac’s overnight imprint on its neighborhoods. Yet parts of the city – especially low-income, African-American parts – are still damaged from the flood that followed the 2005 storm, when more than 50 levees broke and filled New Orleans with killing waters.
Below, writer Lolis Eric Elie speaks to the connections between his native New Orleans and Haiti, which did not escape Hurricane Isaac. Officially, 24 people died when the hurricane passed through on Saturday, though the numbers of those who will die from secondary effects such as hunger and cholera will never be counted. Elie’s discussion, however, focuses on an earlier disaster in Haiti, the epic 7.0 earthquake of January 12, 2010.
Press release from Accuracy.org
AP reports at least eight deaths from tropical storm Issac in Haiti. Over 30 groups working on Haiti have set up the Under Tents campaign in working to ensure housing.
The groups state that many of Haiti’s problems are not “natural disasters,” but are the result of policies that become increasingly glaring as Haiti faces more storms this season. Among the groups in the campaign: