Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. Condemns Racism and Racial Discrimination in Honduras
New York, (April 7, 2019) – The Garifuna USA Coalition, Inc., a non-profit, non-partisan, 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization based in New York City, hereby declares its solidarity with the Honduran Congresswomen Dr. Johana Bermúdez and Dr. Norma Edinora Brooks, publicly condemning the intolerable racist, discriminatory and hateful comments against Afro-descendants. We demand that President Juan Orlando Hernández put an end to the nineteenth-century Honduran racist ideology, in compliance with the Public Policy Against Racism and Racial Discrimination for the Integral Development of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples.
Under the framework of the implementation of the Human Rights Council, held in the City of Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, September 21, 2018, the Vice Minister of Development and Social Inclusion said "The Secretary of Development and Social Inclusion presented for approval the Public Policy against racism and discrimination, this instrument will change the history of the country, but above all, the life of these ethnic groups will be transformed. "
For his part, President Juan Orlando Hernández reiterated "The new times and social dynamics have taught us that social inclusion is a fundamental element and that is why our Government has not ceased for just a moment to correct the historical barricades that like a stone on the road have prevented us from moving forward ".
These historic barricades, include the nineteenth-century Honduran on 19th century racist ideology, which placed Africans at the bottom of the racial hierarchy. People of African descent were seen as an impediment to national development, and their presence had to be minimized. Blacks, according to Honduran thinkers of the era, were “retarded ethnic elements” and represented “a problem for the purity for the ‘Honduran race. "Unbelievably, similar comments have been published recently, referring to Representative Bermúdez, on social networks and were disseminated in the chamber of the National Congress of Honduras against Dr. Norma Edinora Brooks.
Last January, members of the Special Health Commission of the National Congress of Honduras, Denis Castro Bobadilla of the Honduran Patriotic Alliance (APH) and Mario Noé Villafranca, of the Democratic Unification (UD), disseminated by different means , a letter signed by the members, who areboth doctors.
In the letter addressed to the Secretary of the Chamber chaired by Tomás Zambrano, they say: "We express our dissatisfaction with the positions taken by Dr. Norma Edinora Brooks as secretary of the Health Commission of the Legislative Chamber and that, to date, her work has not been efficient."
"That is why, in a meeting of the commission at the end of January, it was unanimously agreed that another congress member should be assigned to hold the position." That letter and the attacks on congresswoman Bermúdez are reflections of the nineteenth-century Honduran racist ideology that contradict the words of President Juan Orlando Hernández and therefore we call his attention to these facts.
"We totally reject the intolerable hateful, discriminatory and racist comments against congresswomen Bermúdez and Brooks, and we publicly demand that President Juan Orlando Hernández, the Secretariat of Development and Social Inclusion (SEDIS), the Human Rights Secretariat (SEDH), the National Institute of Women (INAM), the National Congress (CN), the Secretariat of General Coordination of Government Affairs (SCGG) " and the Directorate of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples (DINAFROH), enforce the Public Policy against Racism and Racial Discrimination for the Integral Development of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples and their commitment to the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to promote and encourage universal and effective respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction reasons of race, sex, language or religion, said José Francisco Ávila, president of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. in New York City.
The nineteenth-century Honduran racist ideology was practiced during the appointment of the first people of African descent to the Consulate General of Honduras in New York. In 1994, President Carlos Roberto Reina Idiáquez, appointed Mr. Jose Velásquez as Consul General of Honduras, in New York. Shortly after taking office, an avalanche of conspiracies and protests came upon him, which within a few months managed to remove him from office.
In 2002 it was announced that President Ricardo Maduro would possibly appoint an Afro-descendant to the Consulate of Honduras in New York, immediately the voices of protest and discontent showed their ugly heads. Eventually, Antonieta Máximo, was appointed Consul General and Lic. Zoe Laboriel Marín, Vice Consul General of Honduras in New York. Once again there was an avalanche of conspiracies and protests, which managed to remove them from office.
We have to call ourselves to reflect on this singular phenomenon, to ask ourselves: what happens, why things happen, what are the underlying reasons? These reasons or motivations can be many, among which we dare to mention the following:
1. Racist and discriminatory attitude of certain sectors of Honduran society.
2. Lack of understanding about the concept of integration and equal opportunities to hold public positions, with the participation of all Honduran citizens, representatives of the mosaicor of races and cultures that form the Honduran nationality.
As a non-partisan organization that defends the rights of the Garifuna and Afro-descendant Peoples, we are committed to continue the untiring struggle towards the construction of a Honduras free of racism and racial discrimination, where all persons feel capable of realizing their dreams and to live with well-being and freedom.
We reiterate our solidarity with the Congresswomen Dr. Johana Bermúdez, Dr. Norma Edinora Brooks and the Afrodescendant Caucus of the National Congress of Honduras. They have our trustworthy support so that they can exercise their functions with absolute tranquility with efficiency and honesty, for the benefit of all Honduran people.
We will remain vigilant attitude so that president of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández, does not cease for a moment to correct the historical barricades like the nineteenth-century Honduran racist ideology that prevented us from moving forward and that he ensures compliance with the Public Policy against Racism and Racial Discrimination for the Integral Development of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples. We urge the Garifuna and Afro-descendant People to publicly condemn the intolerable racist, discriminatory and hateful comments against Afro-descendants.