Honduras: Garifuna Communities Take Legal Action Against Canada's 'Porn King'

by January 11, 2012
 

Leaders from two Garifuna communities are taking a Canadian citizen to court over several fraudulent land sales along the north coast of Honduras. The Garifuna say that Randy Roy Jorgensen, president of the Canadian pornographic video store chain Adults Only Video, is now in possession of several contracts that were obtained illegally.

Jorgensen, who wants to build several tourism projects in the area--including gated communities, an ocean-front commercial center and a cruise ship dock--insists that he's done nothing wrong. That may very well be true; however, for the past twenty years, the Garifuna have held communal title to their ancestral lands. Communally-owned land cannot be lawfully purchased or appropriated in individualized plots.

In light of this fact, the Garifuna communities along with OFRANEH (the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras) are asking the courts to nullify the contracts.

Article cross-posted from Honduras: Human Rights

Garifuna Communities of Trujillo Take Legal Action Against Canadian Porn King

On Monday, December 13th, leaders from the communities of Cristales and Río Negro, part of the Municipality of Trujillo, accompanied by OFRANEH, presented a lawsuit to render null and void various fraudulent contracts for sales of community lands held by Canadian Randy Roy Jorgensen.

The majority of these transactions were carried out under pressure, offering derisible sums of money to victims in exchange for their homes in the neighbourhood known as Río Negro, where the Canadian intends to build a pier for Panamex cruise-ships under the name Banana Coast.

In addition to the fraud carried out against the inhabitants of Río Negro, adjacent lands belonging to the Garífuna community of Cristales, southwest of the City of Trujillo, have also been affected. These lands are known as “Campamento,” and were also subject to fraudulent land sales favouring Randy Jorgensen.

Presence of the Garífuna People in Trujillo Bay

Garífuna people arrived to the island of Roatán, Honduras on April 12, 1797 following expulsion from the island of St. Vincent by the British, after having fought two consecutive wars in defense of the island, which was the last bastion of the Carib people (Kalinagu and Garinagu) in the Lesser Antilles.

The city of Trujillo was founded in 1524 and was later uninhabited between 1643 until shortly before the arrival of our people to Honduras.  In 1901, then president Manuel Bonilla granted to the “dark” people of the neighbourhoods of Cristales and Río Negro, on the perimeter of the city, five thousand hectares of land southwest of the lands of Cristales and two thousand hectares in the vicinity of the Guaimoreto Laguna.

It was in 2007 that local intermediaries participated in illegal purchases on the part of the Porno King and in this way initiated the expulsion of the Garífuna from Trujillo Bay, a situation that our people have had to face in many areas of the territory we have peacefully and permanently occupied over the last two centuries.

The Porno King also acquired lands in the Garífuna communities of Santa Fe, San Antonio and Gualadulupe, acts that were denounced to the Ministry of the Attorney General before the 2009 coup d’état, without any intervention by the appropriate authorities to halt these illegal acts.

The Porno King and his Banana Coast

In 1904 the US writer O’Henry spent some time in Trujillo, where he wrote his book Cabbages and Kings, which takes place in the fictitious port of Coralio, based on the real port city of Trujillo. In the novel, O’Henry coined the term “banana republic,” which he used to describe Honduras.

One century later, the Porn King appeared in Trujillo, appropriating the lands of the Garífuna people in order to build an empire under the name “Banana Coast.” His acquisition methods and the current political climate of the country differ little from the colonialist techniques employed by the banana companies and the situation in Honduras at the turn of the twentieth century.

Jorgenson, in the midst of the political tragedy in Honduras in 2009, managed to quickly obtain environmental licenses to build in an area declared as a buffer zone for the Capiro and Calentura National Park (Parque Nacional Capiro y Calentura) and built villas on the  iron-bearing hillsides facing the Caribbean Sea.

The Porno King has received a huge amount of support from Mr. Ramón Lobo Soso, the brother of President Porfirio Lobo, which has allowed him to cut through any red tape and avoid the opposition mounted by Garífuna communities against the pressure upon them and dispossession of their lands. On June 21 of this year, Jorgenson received a ‘special award’ from Lobo during a ministerial cabinet session in Trujillo.

The Canadian received financing from the Canadian Shield Fund, the controversial mining company Barrick Gold, and the company  Canadian Oil and Gas, which provided funds to  'event', 'outbound-article', 'http://lifevisionproperties.wordpress.com/', 'Life Vision Properties');" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Life Vision Properties, the company under which  the Porno King hides his name.

From the Banana Coast to Charter Cities

The coup d’état has allowed a series of neoliberal laws to be passed  that are serving to reverse the scant progress gained over the last half century: the flexibilization of the labour market, the overprotection of foreign investment, and the most degrading form of neocolonialism:  Charter (or Model) Cities.

US economist Paul Romer, preaching his gospel of charter cities, led the Madagascan government, under the now-deposed Ravalomanana, into the abyss at the beginning of 2009, with the announcement that two charter cities would be established on this African island.  The Malagasy people revolted, resulting in the overthrow of Ravalomanana.  In Honduras the story has played out in reverse.  There was a coup d’état to support the neoliberal offensive, culminating in constitutional reform surrendering part of the national territory to foreign capital.

The shrewd Canadian businessman who, at one point, was reported in Honduras for pedophilia, has now, in the climate of powerlessness and lack of justice prevailing in the country, become one of the major promoters of the Charter City.  The Lobo administration is withholding the information on the planned location of the charter city, which will include Trujillo for certain, and it will apparently extend along the coast from the Bay of Trujillo to Río Sico, right where the haven of Garífuna culture is located.

The disappearance of the Río Negro community (Trujillo) and the expulsion of the Garífuna people from Honduras
The Canadians seem intent on driving our people out of Honduras, and we have the sad case of Trujillo Bay as an example, only this time it will be right along the coast.

When the Honduran Congress held a special session in the city of Gracias, Lempira, with the aim of passing the statute providing for REDs (Regiones Especiales para el Desarrollo – Special Development Regions, or Charter Cities), the Canadian senator Gerry St Germain was present, along with several potential investors from that country.

The ease with which Jorgenson achieved his objective in Río Negro – a community which has almost entirely disappeared – and the way in which the current administration has sold out to foreign capital, we can safely say are a consequence of the coup d’état as well as of the deterioration in the respect for human rights, an indicator of Honduran failed state.

Unfortunately, the history of our country is plagued with leaders and politicians who have made themselves rich at the expense of national sovereignty.  It so happens that it was exactly a century after the invasion of Honduras by Sam Zemurray and his sidekick Manuel Bonilla (January 1911) that the National Congress passed the legislation adopting Charter Cities (January 2011).

The Garífuna authorities of Cristales and Río Negro, in presenting the Porn King and his local henchmen with a lawsuit, are taking a step towards regaining what has been lost.  It remains to be seen whether there is justice in Honduras, or whether the only result, as usual, will be the physical disappearance of the plaintiffs.

La Ceiba, Atlantida, 14 December 2011

OFRANEH   (Black Fraternal Organisation of Honduras)

OFRANEH
Organizacion Fraternal Negra Hondureña
Calle 19, #130.
Barrio Alvarado
La Ceiba, Atlantida,
Honduras
telefax: 504-24432492

email: garifuna@ofraneh.org / ofraneh@yahoo.com
http://www.ofraneh.org
http://www.ofraneh.wordpress.com

SOURCE: Original Spanish version of this statement by the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), Garifuna Communities of Trujillo Take Legal Action Against Canadian Porn King can be found on the OFRANEH blog at http://ofraneh.wordpress.com/.

What You Can Do
Courtesy of Rights Action, here's a short list of contacts to send letters of concern.

Life Vision Properties
3998 Chesswood Drive
Toronto, Ontario, M3J 2W6
Tel: 416-635-0613
Fax: 416-635-0616
info@lifevisionproperties.com

Randy Jorgensen
Life Vision Development
Tel (Toronto): 416-805-7443
Tel (Honduras): 504-9967-6005
randy@aov.ca, info@aov.ca
(These email addresses use the Adults Only Video domain name.)

Fast Track Group (Partnered with Life Visions Properties)
Cathy Bernier
Fast Track to Paradise (Fast Track Group)
Client Relations (Life Visions)
Director of Customer Relations
Tel: 1(780) 418-3427
Fax: 1(780) 459-7581
info@fastracktocashflow.com
(see promotion of the "Paradise Properties": http://www.fasttracktocashflow.com/newsletter/E-Track_September2009.shtml)

Cathy McLarney
Customer Service Construction
Coordinator
Tel (Canada): 905-251-4366
Tel (Honduras): 504-9647-2517
cathy@jaguarcon.com

Global Destinations Development (Involved in building cruise ship dock on Garifuna land, Rio Negro, Trujillo)
Miami, Florida, USA
info@globaldd.com

Looey Tremblay (Real Estate office selling 'New Palm Beach' lots in Ontario, Canada, part of land 'development' in Trujillo)
Re/Max Twin City Realty Inc.
901 Victoria St. N
Kitchener, ON N2B C3, Canada
Office: 519-579-4110
looey@looey.com
(Real Estate office selling 'New Palm Beach' lots to Canadians as part of land 'development' project in Trujillo)

 

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