Honduras: Demonstration for protecting mangroves against shrimp farming

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At daybreak on 7 November, under the leadership of the NGO, CODDEFFAGOLF and of REDMANGLAR (the Mangrove Network), over 2,000 fisherfolk and peasants abandoned their humble dwellings in the coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca, internationally known as "Ramsar Site 1000," to launch a mobilisation in protest over the destruction of the mangrove forests, lagoons, marshes and other wetlands that host a wide biodiversity, and are their source of food and income. They were also protesting against the loss of access to their traditional fishing sites, the continuous harassment by the wardens of the shrimp farms, the impunity with which 12 fishermen have been murdered, the lack of interest on the part of the government in resolving the situation and, among other reasons, the attempts to adapt the Aquaculture Law to the interests of the large shrimp companies.

On reaching Tegucigalpa, the capital city, they were joined by other social groups supporting CODDEFFAGOLF / REDMANGLAR, and protesting against privatisation policies, the FTAA, the Plan Puebla Panama and in favour of women's participation.

The ranks of this supportive march covered half a kilometre and drew the attention of the entire press, the broadcasting and television media, which is a success in itself.

Contrary to other previous mobilisations that CODDEFFAGOLF has carried out, the objective of the march was to call the attention of countries and peoples who are large shrimp-consumers, such as the United States, Spain and Japan and also of the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and other international organisations that finance shrimp aquaculture, ignoring the negative impact it causes on the world environment and on the societies of the South.

This resolution was taken, considering that both the President of the Republic, who is also a shrimp farmer and his coreligionist, the President of the National Congress, are aware of the situation and do not endeavour to find a solution. Therefore, it was decided to ignore them and to address the root of the problem directly.

As usual, the Shrimp Farmers Association (Asociación de Camaroneros - ANDAH), before, during and after the demonstration, has devoted itself to discrediting CODDEFFAGOLF and, above all, its Executive Director, Jorge Varela, with a more intensive campaign in the local coastal media.

On this occasion, the mobilisation took place peacefully, as CODDEFFAGOLF / REDMANGLAR convinced the civil authorities and the police that the mobilisation was peaceful and that they should not provoke the demonstrators as they had done at a previous demonstration where various people were hurt and injured.

CODDEFFAGOLF's struggle to save the wetlands of Ramsar Site 1000 continues.

Article sent by: CODDEFFAGOLF, 11/11/2002,