On December 8th, campesinos of the Aguán Farmworkers Unification Movement (MUCA) occupied two land plots in Colón, Honduras in an effort to recuperate land illegally obtained by Miguel Facusse, a large land-owner, a major supporter of the coup d’etat and part of the country’s oligarchy.
Now on their 13th day, over 650 campesinos and their families remain camped out at the two plots of land in the municipalities of Tocoa and Trujillo in the department of Colón in northeastern Honduras.
Through various acts of resistance since their lands were illegally taken from the members of MUCA in the ‘90s, the campesino movement gained momentum during President Zelaya’s terms when Zelaya himself signed an agreement with MUCA to clarify the land transactions that had caused the land conflict. (For more history, see article by Sandra Cuffe: http://hondurassolidarity.wordpress.com/)
Exactly 9 days later on June 28th, the coup d’etat was carried out by the Honduran oligarchy and spported by the military, reversing the gains that MUCA had made under the Zelaya administration.
This is why MUCA distinguishes themselves not only as a well established campesino movement but also as part of the national resistance movement against the coup where the land occupation were planned as a way to “resist the consequences of the coup d’etat” particularly how the coup has affected their struggle for land.
According to MUCA leader, who asked not to be identified “We have been accompanying the Resistance movement since the 28th – we did not participate in the elections and we did not vote. We are thankful of the support we received from Zelaya who supported the poor in the country.”
REPRESSION AND INTIMIDATION AS THE OCCUPATIONS CONTINUE
Since both groups began the land occupations, both have received various threats from the private security guards of the company owned by Miguel Facusse and the local military and police.
“We have seen heightened military presence around the area where we are located. Security guards of Facusse and Canales are infiltrating our movement to obtain information, give us false information and make us scared. They are creating a psychological war against us – they want to intimidate us.”
On December 16, the 8th day of the recuperation action, two men, Osman Alexis Ulloa Flores and Mario Rene Ayala were illegally detained by police as they were leaving the occupation site. Although they were freed late in the following day, the illegal detention was an act of intimidation by local police.
One MUCA leader has reported that a pick up truck without license plates is periodically parked outside his house. As well as days after the occupation, local police along with company managers showed up and began taking pictures of participants, “trying to identify the leaders of the movement.”
Since the coup, the country has been heavily militarized and control remains in the hands of the oligarchy, including Miguel Facusse who was once called “the owner of Colón” by a local journalist for all the land he owns in the region and his influence on the local authorities.
“They [the oligarchy] are taking advantage of the situation in the country under the coup regime because there are no repercussions against people like them. They make the decisions and do what they want in the country”