Punta Gorda Land Dispute

May 1st, 2011
by -

[private]

Babi Antonio Castillo in front of his house almost demolished on April 9

Babi Antonio Castillo in front of his house almost demolished on April 9

The Garifuna Community is running short of land and the shortage translates into land invasions and illegal home building. In the early morning hours of April 9, around 60 Cobras, a special Honduran police unit, descended on the community to tear down 13 homes and relocate their inhabitants on what is a 38 acre property in the hills of Western Punta Gorda.

The property belonged at one point to Teodoro Castro, then Rex Gough and was taken over by BANFAA bank before it went out of business. It now belongs to AVISA, a Honduran government agency.

One of the people on the property is Babi Antonio Castillo, 32, who says that he has been living on the land for five years. “We lost our home in [Hurricane] Mitch so we relocated here,” said Castillo.

During the Cobra intervention three houses have been destroyed, one completely and two others had their roofs taken down. Around 4 pm, a telephone call from President Pepe Lobo had put an end to the forced relocations. “The president had promised us to buy out the land and build [additional] 15 houses here,” said Tito Leiva, a Garifuna community organizer. [/private]

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