Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Honduras grants Miskito Indians more land titles

AP, TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras

The Honduran government announced on Thursday that it has granted title to more than 655,000 hectares along the country’s border with Nicaragua and the Caribbean coast to the Miskito Indian communities that inhabit the area.

The land lies in Honduras’ northeastern corner, an area known as the Cape of Gracias A Dios. The government already awarded Miskito Indians title to an additional 107,000 hectares over the last year.

Honduras National Agrarian Institute executive director Reynaldo Vega said the Miskitos can use the land titles to defend the area’s natural resources. He said mining, gas, oil and lumber companies wanting to work in that area would have to deal with the Miskitos as owners of the land.

“This will allow them to defend themselves against third parties who illegally make use of the area’s natural resources,” Vega said. “Foreign companies that operate in the area will have to talk first to the Miskito community.”

Norvin Goff, president of the Miskito community group MASTA, said: “It’s not a question of negotiating with companies, but rather one of guaranteeing the rights of the people.”

The titles are to be handed over to the five Miskito communities.

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