The Last Rebels of the Caribbean

March 26, 2008

Tela Bay and its environs is the center of the Honduran Garifuna world, with some 36 communities dotted along an impressive 80km sandy shore. The largest of them, Triunfo de la Cruz, population 800 families, is a quiet, unassuming village that now finds itself on the front line of the conflict. The first thing the visitor may notice about the Triunfo de la Cruz beachfront is what is lacking. Unusual for a paradise vista like this – a sweeping sun-drenched bay with lush sands and majestic palms. There is no line of beachfront hotels, no bars, no reclining tourists in bikinis sipping margaritas, no uniformed attendants sweeping up the ocean debris. Instead there is a group of hardy fishermen dragging their small old boats from the sea, there are gaggles of raggedy children playing games and and there is an intriguing, languorous feel to the place. It’s a though nothing has changed much here on the beach at Triunfo de la Cruz for a couple of centuries, and people like it that way.

From “The Last Rebels of the Caribbean” by Ramor Ryan

Unfortunately the Garifuna are having to fight to keep it that way. Government, developers and multinational interests are trying very hard to transform this area into economically productive tourism ventures. The means of doing this include the illegal privatisation of communal land, coercion and the murder of local leaders.

I’m hoping the Garifuna succeed. I’ve visited the North Coast and can’t wait to return- but I won’t be staying in a big resort.

edit:  I knew I’d read about this before.  Check out La Gringa’s blog for more background, and passionate comments from a Garifuna student.



One Response to “The Last Rebels of the Caribbean”


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