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Former Garifuna Mayor Now Political Prisoner in Honduras In Need of Medical Supervision

Omar Suazo a four-time elected Mayor and President of the Sambo Creek town governing body is still imprisoned and need of medical supervision. Suazo has been incarcerated since May 8,2017. He was accused of murder because a bystander killed the gangster who was on top of him, stabbing him. He is one of a number of Garifuna leaders the state wants to criminalize.

He was admitted to the Atlántida regional hospital in La Ceiba at the end of October, but released back to his jail on the 30th, even though he needs close medical supervision. He been diagnosed with tuberculosis, pneumonia and menengitis.

An eco-activist and singer in the Garifuna tradition, Omar "Babakle" Suazo during the early hours of Monday May 8th, was assaulted by a group of special agents and thrown to the ground face down while one stabbed him four times in the back and another tried to strangle him. The attackers were shouting genocidal slogans, "Death to the Garifuna." An onlooker opened fire, killing the man stabbing Suazo and wounding at least one other. Regular police then arrived and arrested Omar Suazo for murder. He has been in jail ever since, in a private cell which may not shield him from additional attempts on his life.

As a mayor Suazo restored order to a town that had fallen in the hands of reactionaries. he built a town hall. He obtained donations for the health center and the school system and he promoted sports and cultural activities. Today, his town is considered the center of Garifuna culture and is visited by many people.

Throughout Sambo Creek and neighboring communities, it is widely believed this assault happened because Omar Suazo and his team were very effective at preventing dams from being built in the Sambo Creek area. As a result citizens from Sambo and the surrounding towns came to his defense at the evidentiary hearing. His most recent victory a week before the assault meant the end of the latest attempt by the government of Honduras and JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, to build a dam that would have had a devastating impact on the local environment. The Japanese Agency was ready to put up 27 million dollars to build this dam. People in the circles around this Japanese agency offered Suazo a $50,000 payment over a year ago to surrender the sovereignty of the land. More than the beads used to purchase Manhattan, but still an insult. The very morning of Omar Suazo's arrest, the government began the illegal deforestation of the banks of the Cuyamel river where the dam was supposed to be built, one of a number of indicators that the Honduran government was coordinating the attack with other activities.

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