Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2020. 5:44 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The National Garifuna Council (NGC) is drawing attention to recent incidents of violence and discrimination against Garinagu in neighboring Honduras.
Community leader Edwin “Balvo” Fernandez Saravia, 37, was murdered in front of his family in May by three armed and hooded men who were demanding the key to the village community center, which had been closed due to COVID-19, according to Being Garifuna.
Separately, four men – Aparicio Mejia Garcia, Joel Martinez Alvarez, Esnahider Centeno Tomas, and a fourth unnamed individual – were kidnapped and apparently disappeared, and the lagoon which provided water supply to the Garifuna Community of Santa Rosa, Aguan, was poisoned.
“NGC condemns these acts and stand in solidarity with our Garinagu brothers and sisters in Honduras. NGC pledges its full support, will work with all the Garifuna communities, local and international stakeholders to see the peaceful resolution of these incidents, and any other acts of violence. NGC advocates for an end to the blatant discrimination and systematic destruction of our people and all other indigenous peoples and tribes in the region and beyond,” the statement says.
Approximately 43 thousand Garinagu live in Honduras as opposed to 15 thousand in Belize.
It was from Honduras’ north coast and Roatan that the first Garinagu came to Belize, first in 1802 and then the larger migration in 1823 that Belize still commemorates as Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19.
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