Message from Rafael Alegría, Honduran leader of the Vía Campesina
By Sara Mersha
October 15th, 2012
On May 1 of this year, my colleague Saulo Araujo (Program Coordinator for Latin America) and I spent the day with Rafael Alegría, a leader of the Vía Campesina based in Honduras. The video below offers some of his reflections.
Rafael’s message is clear:
Agrarian reform and food sovereignty is a struggle today throughout the entire world. In Honduras, we are driving this struggle with landless peasants, with women, and with youth, reclaiming the land that big businesses and capitalists have captured, and that many of these big businesses have done in an illegal way. This April 17th, on the Vía Campesina’s Global Day of Struggle, in Honduras 3,000 peasant families took back 12,000 hectares (almost 30,000 acres) of land…In Honduras we live in a situation of extreme poverty, of hunger, of social exclusion, and the reality of not having land is like not having a country… We are moving forward, thanks to international solidarity…And there is no doubt, we will advance in the struggle against poverty.
Rafael’s powerful words come through with even more poignancy today. He has since received increasingly severe death threats, forcing him to enter a safe house to protect his life. The threats Rafael faces are part of a broader pattern of brutal repression against peasant movements in Honduras today, repression that stems from land-grabbing elites and a coup-installed government that has received support from the United States.
Yet even with these overwhelming challenges, Honduran peasant movements continue to gain strength and momentum. We witnessed profound unity and clarity of vision in Honduras during our visit in May – and since. Rafael (and those working with him) offers a humbling example of the power, courage, and resilience of the human spirit. Grassroots International is inspired and proud to accompany Rafael and the Vía Campesina in the struggle for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and human rights in Honduras and around the world. Please join us in taking action to support Rafael and other peasant human rights defenders in Honduras.