Last update:
2023-01-06

Tourism Development on Garifuna Lands along the Bay of Trujillo, Honduras

Canadian real estate developers have been trying to turn the Bay of Trujillo into a hotspot for tourism. However, the lands acquired for their developments have been communal lands of the area’s Afro-indigenous Garifuna communities.



Description:

Canadian developers have acquired Garifuna communal lands belonging to the communities of Cristales, Rio Negro, San Antonio and Guadalupe. The conflict dates back to 2007 when Randy Jorgenson, through his development company Life Vision Properties, began acquiring land outside Trujillo to develop into a cruise ship terminal and retirement home properties for North Americans. From the outset, the communities, with the support of OFRANEH (the primary Garifuna rights organization in Honduras) opposed these land acquisitions and developments. In 2008, the community of Guadalupe filed legal complaints with the Fiscalía Especial de Etnias y Patrimonio Cultural (FEEPC) for illegal sale of community land; however, the complaints have been unsuccessful.[1]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Tourism Development on Garifuna Lands along the Bay of Trujillo, Honduras
Country:Honduras
State or province:Colón
Location of conflict:Trujillo & Santa Fe
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Life Vision Properties states that they have 1,500 acres under development. Total area under development by all three companies is unknown.

Project area:607
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2007
Company names or state enterprises:Life Vision Properties from Canada - Illegitimate acquisition of collectively titled afro-indigenous (Garifuna) lands
Carivida from Canada - Illegitimate acquisition of collectively titled afro-indigenous (Garifuna) lands
NJOI Beach Residences from Canada - Illegitimate acquisition of collectively titled afro-indigenous (Garifuna) lands
Bienes y Raíces Juca SRL (JUCA) from Canada - Seeking to develop on Garifuna community land, criminalization of Garifuna land defenders
Relevant government actors:In 2016, judge Fredy Cenen Caballero of the Court of Trujillo accredited Carivida's title to land within the community lands of Guadalupe, despite the community's protests legal complaints. Source: https://ofraneh.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/justicia-en-honduras-sobreseimiento-a-medeline-david-y-ratificacion-de-propiedad-a-la-mafia-canadiense-del-rey-del-porno/

In 2021, Trujillo Court Judge Camilo Peralta blocked human rights organizations from observing a hearing of Garifuna land defenders, and later ruled to uphold charges of usurpation, damages, threats, and forced displacement. Source: https://www.solidaritycollective.org/post/the-criminalization-of-marianela-and-jennifer-sol%C3%B3rzano
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:EJOS:
- Land Defense Committee of Cristales and Rio Negro
- Fraternal Garifuna, Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH): https://ofraneh.wordpress.com/
SUPPORTERS:
- Honduras Solidarity Network: http://www.hondurassolidarity.org/
- Rights Action: https://rightsaction.org/
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Women
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Garifuna
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:The affected communities have requested that the illegal titles, lying within their designated community lands, be canceled and the land returned to them.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:No, environmental justice has not been served as the tourism development continues without respect for Garifuna land rights. The lands in question have not been returned.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] MacNeill, T. (2020) Indigenous food sovereignty in a captured state: the Garifuna in Honduras. Third World Quarterly. 41 (9), 1537–1555. doi:10.1080/01436597.2020.1768840.
[click to view]

[1] Galdamez, Jose. 29 May 2017. “Hay una mafia canadiense que se ha apoderado de nuestra tierra”. Radio Progreso.
[click to view]

[3] Paley, Dawn. 4 November 2010. "Snowbirds Gone Wild! Canadian retirees and locals clash in Honduras." This Magazine.
[click to view]

[4] OFRANEH, 14 December 2011. "Comunidad Garifuna de Trujillo Demanda al Rey del Porno Canadiense." Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña.
[click to view]

[5] Instituto Nacional de Conservación y Desarrollo Forestal, Áreas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre. 27 June 2019. "Títulos de propiedad a favor de organizaciones indígenas" (Geospatial dataset). Datos Abiertos del Gobierno de Honduras.
[click to view]

[6] McCurdy, Paul. 30 May 2021. "How Trujillo, Honduras Is Developing Into A Tourist Destination To Contend With." centralamerica.com.
[click to view]

[7] Cuffe, Sandra. 5 December 2014. "‘Little Canada’ displacing Afro-Indigenous communities in Honduras: Canadian investor Randy Jorgensen blames concerns on ‘extremist factions'." Ricochet.
[click to view]

[8] Meiselas, Susan. 8 August 2018. "Last Resort." Pulizter Center.
[click to view]

[9] 8 February 2017. "One land defender's story of repression, criminalization and arrest: Young Garifuna woman arrested for reclaiming ancestral land." Aqui Abajo.
[click to view]

[10] Cuffe, Sandra. 6 December 2015. "The Struggle Continues: Garifuna Land Defender Shot in Honduras." Intercontinental Cry.
[click to view]

[11] Rights Action. 9 August 2017. "Canadian Businessman Patrick Forseth (of the Carivida Villas company) Files Criminal Charges Against Miriam Miranda (OFRANEH) and other Indigenous Garifuna Leaders." Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.
[click to view]

[12] Padilla, Cesario. 30 November 2015. Caso atentado contra dirigente garífuna: DNIC rechazó la denuncia aduciendo que el afectado se disparó nueve veces a sí mismo. Pasos de Animal Grande.
[click to view]

[13] Trucchi, G. 16 March 2021. Más persecución contra pueblo garífuna. Red Latinoamericana de la Unión Internacional de Trabajadores de la Alimentación (Rel UITA).
[click to view]

[14] Lira, A. (2021) The Criminalization of Marianela and Jennifer Solórzano. Solidarity Collective.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Curtis Tripp, Landesa
Last update06/01/2023
Conflict ID:6138
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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