"Lower Aguan River Valley, the Clamor for Land": Film on Displacement and Repressions in Honduras

In his film "Bajo Aguán: Cry for Land", journalist Giorgio Trucchi shows the dangers to which small-scale farmers in the fertile region of Bajo Aguán in the North of Honduras are exposed. Large parts of the area that were supposed to be distributed to small-scale farmers and their families under the agrarian reform got into the hands of the owners of large estates. The film shows that oil palms are now cultivated as monocultures to produce agrofuels. It also shows what kind of repressions small-scale farmers who lay claims on the land are subjected to, including illegal arrests, abduction and even murder, the militarisation of the region and criminalisation of resistance, but also food insecurity, labour conditions close to slavery kind of exploitation, the prohibition of unionisation, or sexual assaults against women. The people affected complain that the perpetrators of human rights violations are not being prosecuted.

"The film is just one example of what happens when in Central America sugar cane, eucalyptus or oil palms are cultivated on a large scale. All these monocultures require a lot of land which is under the control of the owners of large estates", says Trucchi. The consequence is increasing poverty. The oil from the oil palms and the sugar cane mainly serve to produce agrofuels. Major development banks fund such projects. With the abolition of customs on agrofuels and the European Union's decision to increase the percentage of biofuels, there is reason for concern that the pressure on small scale farmers and the displacement of the local population will continue to increase.

Documentary "Bajo Aguán: Grito por la tierra" (with English subtitles: "Lower Aguan river valley, the clamor for land"), by Giorgio Trucchi, Rel-UITA. Director: Ernest Cañada, Alba Sud, Managua


(TW 74, March 2014)