San Pedro Sula, Honduras, On Tuesday four men armed with assault rifles entered the house of the leader of the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (Ofraneh), Miriam Miranda.
Ofraneh denounced in its social networks the attack against the privacy of the defender of the territory that took place early in the morning in the community of Vallecito, Colon, in the Atlantic area of Honduras.
According to Miranda’s security the individuals are not from or connected to the Garifuna people. The four have been detained by the security team.
The action endangered the integrity of Miranda, who has frequently led protests against the injustices that continue to affect the Garífuna people. Through social networks she has maintained a critical voice in opposition to various power groups.
Miranda has denounced the genocidal plan of the land of the Garifuna people orchestrated from different corporate interests. She has also pointed out that the State itself is is a part of the extermination of native peoples. In a communique Ofraneh characterized today’s attack as ” part of a genocidal plan against the Garífuna people”,
The plan denounced by the organization is being executed “through threats, assassinations… forced disappearances that continue to increase the high levels of impunity and racism”.
In an interview with Reportar Sin Miedo, Miranda denounced that Xiomara Castro’s own government is under the control of “mafias”. Although Honduras has new political leaders, Miranda said that nothing has changed in the protection of the rights of ancestral communities.
“No one can say anything because today the criminals, the mafias that control this country, are in Garífuna territory. The fact that there is a new government does not mean that they have stopped this mafia that has controlled this country,” she said.
Ofraneh is demanding that the Honduran State guarantee the right to life and security of Miriam Miranda and give her all the conditions to continue defending the territory and the life of the Garífuna people.
Between attacks and protests
The attack against the leader takes place while the Technical Committee of the Protection Mechanism is visiting this area of the country.
While the attack took place in Colón, a group of fishermen from several Garífuna communities arrived at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in La Ceiba to denounce that for days they have received death threats and abuses of authority from members of the Honduran Navy.
The Honduran Navy has been consistently and openly hostile to Garifuna communities and fishermen including interfering with their right to fish at all and harassing them in their homes.
Other Guapinol organizations have come together to denounce the attack on Mirian Miranda and their communities, including Guapinol Resiste who demand an end to the threats against the people of Honduras for defending their territories.
“From Guapinol we denounce the criminal attack against Miriam Miranda, general coordinator of Ofraneh, and we demand justice for her and the Garifuna people. Solidarity.
Bufete Justicia para los Pueblos has also repudiated the attempted criminal attack against Mirian Miranda. “We demand an immediate investigation and her integral protection”.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Defense Center (CDM) expressed solidarity with Miranda. “From the CDM we stand in solidarity with comrade Miriam Miranda. We demand an immediate investigation by the Honduran State to find the perpetrators of this act”.
The lawyer and human rights defender, Claudia Herrmannsdörfer, said that every week there are attacks against a human rights defender. “Today it was Miriam Miranda’s turn, we demand a guarantee for her safety and her life!”.
Meanwhile, the daughter of Berta Cáceres, Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, stated, “We repudiate the violence and persecution against the Garífuna people. We urge structural measures for the protection of the integrity of this people who fight for their territory! Enough!”.
For its part, Amnesty International roundly condemned the attack against the Garifuna leader.
“The situation of defenders in Honduras is very serious. The government of Xiomara Castro must take all necessary measures to protect them and the Public Prosecutor’s Office must investigate the attacks without delay”.
Also the Secretary of the Presidency, Rodolfo Pastor, spoke about the event. “We condemn the violence perpetrated against compañera Míriam Miranda and the community she worthily represents. The protection mechanism has been activated to guarantee her integrity, her rights”.
In 2022, Honduras recorded Global Witness 14 territory defenders killed. To date, in 2023 alone, Honduras adds at least nine murders of defenders of land, environment and territory.
As Miranda’s partner in struggle, Rony Castillo, expressed in his networks: “Basta al genocidio garífuna”.