Last update:
2021-10-11

La Grecia Sugar Mill in Marcovia, Choluteca, Honduras

On April 2, 2020, La Grecia violently evicted peasant farmers living on 20ha of government land set aside for their subsistence. Woman leader Iris Argentina Álvarez was murdered during the raid.


Description:

The Honduran sugar industry began toward the end of the 19th century. In the present day, there are 8 sugar mills in the country across 80,000ha, one of which is Azucarera La Grecia in Choluteca. La Grecia´s sugar production is associated with environmental damages such as soil, air, and water pollution, soil erosion, excessive pesticide and fertilizer use leading to biodiversity loss, air pollution, and more. Consequently, youths, the elderly, and adults alike have died from poor working conditions, cardiovascular diseases, bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary emphysema, and more. The thick smoke from burning during processing also frequently disrupts air traffic. However, because the sugar industry contributes so much to the economy, the government has very little political incentive to enforce environmental and human rights regulations [8].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:La Grecia Sugar Mill in Marcovia, Choluteca, Honduras
Country:Honduras
State or province:Choluteca
Location of conflict:Aldea de Monjarás
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Specific commodities:Sugar
Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

La Grecia has a milling capacity of 8,000 tons of sugar cane per day, harvesting more than 12,690 hectares of sugar cane [9].

Project area:12,690
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2017
Company names or state enterprises:Azucarera La Grecia from Honduras - owner
Relevant government actors:Police Investigation Directorate
Asociación de Productores de Azúcar de Honduras (APAH),
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:National Human Rights Commission, Red de Ambientalistas del Sur, Ecumenical Action for Human Rights, Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders, Southern Social Environmental Movement (MASSVIDA), Platform of Human Rights Defenders of the South, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Honduran Protection Mechanism for human rights defenders, Journalists and Social Communicators and Justice Operators, Association for Participative Citizenship (ACI Participa), Cerro Escondido.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactscardiovascular diseases, bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary emphysema
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (undecided)
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:La Grecia still continues with complete impunity for its violent, illegal evictions and environmental violations.
Sources & Materials

[1] Land Portal. Iris Argentina Álvarez: Campesina hondureña asesinada por lucha de tierra en el sur (2020)
[click to view]

[5] FIDH. Honduras: A un año del asesinato de Iris Argentina, la defensa de la tierra sigue siendo atacada (2021)
[click to view]

[2] Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. Iris Argentina Álvarez (2020)
[click to view]

[8] Criterio. Azúcar: Dulce al paladar, amarga para el ambiente (2017)
[click to view]

[3] DW. Honduras: ONU condena asesinato de dirigente campesina (2020)
[click to view]

[6] PAG. Responsabilizan a seguridad de azucarera del asesinato de una defensora de la tierra (Davila 2020)
[click to view]

[7] Criterio. Denuncian persecución contra campesinos cooperativistas de Marcovia, Choluteca (2020)
[click to view]

[9] APAH. Sugar mills
[click to view]

[4] Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras. Defender killed by security agents in violent, illegal eviction (2020)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Dalena Tran, ICTA-UAB, [email protected]
Last update11/10/2021
Comments
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