Thursday, May 12, 2011

Historic Moment in Labuga

Alvaro Colom Caballeros, the current President of Guatemala, was here in Labuga yesterday, on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 to literally sit at the table to dialog with Garífuna representatives. Arriving with the President was Sergio Ivan Contreras de Leon, who sat at the table with representatives of the Garífuna people to discuss issues like land rights for the Garífuna people and land invasions by other groups of the Garífuna-owned lands.  Contreras de Leon works in the Ministry of Land Affairs as the Undersecretary of Agricultural Policy. 

We were able to review a video clip of Mr. Sergio Contreras today, where he committed the government of Alvaro Colom to continue a dialogue with the Garífuna people regarding their land issues. As a representative of this government he told us: “You need to get organized by creating a database with all the information you can accumulate regarding land belonging to the Garífuna people.” He continued by saying  that he hoped to return by the end of this month, no later than the first week of next month with a team to start the process of investigations.

Bad weather conditions on the day before the president of Guatemala was to arrive in Labuga made it a risk factor for him to visit the Garífuna Temple at Milinda.  Nevertheless, arrangements were made at the last minute for him to visit the Garífuna Temple we call Yuscaran, about a mile or so from the center of town. It was about 10:00am on Wednesday, May 11 that history was made by Alvaro Colon and a group of spiritual leaders of the Garífuna communities of Labuga and Puerto Barrios. It is the first time in our history that a spiritual Garífuna ceremony is ever held in the honor of a President of the Republic.

The high point of the evening was a dinner for the President and his cabinet along with a delegation of Garífuna representatives at Gotay’s Place. Mariano Gotay is a Garífuna who has brought back a very important ingredient to a Garífuna Dish, if you are interested to find out, please stay in touch.

Au le
Lubara Huya

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