Tegucigalpa Coming back from a visit with our friends at the women’s coffee cooperative in Marcala having both taken important steps forward in our emerging relationship as well as enjoyed their hospitality with a great experience on staying and meeting on the mountains, we drove back along the three hour construction site that marks entering the capitol city. In the suburbs we wound our way back up the cobbled,slippery roads to a hillside marked every 20 or 30 yards with rubble or holes or whatever. It turned out talking to the families who still lived there that these were their home sites until only months previously. They called the area Manzanales.
In the rain we walked with many of the women. There had been 125 families that lived on this hillside. We were working with close to 40 of them who were still trying to hold on some way or another. The problem confounded most logic. These were families that had title to the land and in many cases had lived there for 20 years or more. Suddenly on the very day of “golpe” coup 2 years ago, a bulldozer showed up and began plowing under their houses. A judge had decided that he wanted the property, so was simply taking it. Higher above the hillside we could see the new expressway still being built. The judge wanted the property for himself for a quick sale for a lucrative access ramp to the new highway.
This all sounds unbelievable, but we saw the shacks people had constructed with what was left of their houses. We saw the US-AID tarps some had been given. We visited with people. We brushed away the security guards hired by the judge who tried to prevent us from walking around the land with our members. We heard the stories of harassment from these same guards and the “bombs” that had hurt even small children.
The period of martial law and extralegal, undemocratic repression had left scars everywhere and this land with the lost footprint of houses, sturdy dwellings was almost symbolic of them.
The group was going through legal appeals, but all they knew is that they had to keep fighting with ACORN Honduras. They had no idea whether they had any chance to win.