Afro-Hondurans and the Coup
An estimated 2% of Honduras’s population is “black.” The actual number of Hondurans of African descent is much larger, but classified as “mestizo.” Most of the country’s Afro-Honduran population resides on the Caribbean coast and was originally brought there as slaves or indentured servants, though the difference is not really worth mentioning. Of this group is a population called the Garifunas, descendants of an Afro-Caribbean population that revolted against British authorities on the island of St. Vincent and was forcibly moved to Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras during the eighteenth century, much in the vein of the Haitian slave revolt.
Though the Garifunas have special constitutional rights, including ownership of ancestral lands, Afro-Hondurans still suffer from poverty and a major lack of work. Like Afro-Mexicans, they rely mainly on fishing and agriculture, both of which are at threat from declining fish supplies and from encroaching development on their natural resources. They’re trying to hold on to their identity, but pressure to assimilate and move to bigger cities to find jobs is great.
They’re the biggest minority group in Honduras, but there’s not much information about them out there. But they are there, protesting the displacement of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya — who, when elected, promised them he would address their concerns — and fighting for their own rights. An assembly of Afro-Honduran organizations is currently taking place in La Ceiba, Honduras to find their own way forward.