Interview with Wendy Cruz on the challenges for the advance of Agrarian Reform

27 April 2016: Struggles and proposals are the main element on the agenda of popular organizations of Honduras given the adverse situation experienced in the country. During the International Conference on Agrarian Reform, Real World Radio interviewed Wendy Cruz of La Via Campesina Honduras.

About the possibilities and conditions for agrarian reform in the critical Honduran context, Wendy made reference to the Bill on Integral Agrarian Reform with Gender Equality submitted to Parliament by Rafael Alegría, MP of the Libertad y Refundación Party and member of La Via Campesina International, a tool against neoliberal policies installed in the country since the coup d´ Etat of 2009.

“For us, women, it is key to have a new agrarian reform law due to the crisis experienced in the country: currently, over 80% of peasant women (2 million) do not have access to land”, said the peasant leader.

The struggle for Agrarian Reform, according to Wendy, is based on the processes of recovery of lands of indigenous, peasant and afro-descendant communities and organizations “that are owned by large landowners and many times unused”. The response by the State has been in favor of the oligarchy “resulting in evictions, destruction of production, houses, displacements and grabbing of natural resources such as water, through large-scale mining and hydroelectric dams”.

Threats and active solidarity

“The situation of criminalization in the country in these moments is extremely serious. There are over five thousand peasants prosecuted. There have been multiple murders: in 2014, 4 members of La Via Campesina were murdered; this year, as everyone knows, Berta Caceres was murdered, an activist for the defense of water and the territory, and this is a widespread situation. Over 200 people have died in the struggle for land and territory since 2009”, said Wendy.

About which agribusinesses are threatening the livelihoods and lives of rural populations in Honduras, the leader made reference to monoculture plantations: “Africa palm oil, pineapple, GM maize for agrofuels”. The deaths themselves are linked to agribusiness, as well as mining and hydroelectric dams. “Everything is related to the defense of natural resources in the country, such as the land and territory”.

About the situation in Latin America with setbacks against progressive governments, Wendy said: “All the advances achieved are under attack. We can´t remain isolated (…), this prompts us to question how we are building power. These are important challenges, but we need to face them”.

Real World Radio