Land disputes are at the root of much of the state-sponsored violence in Honduras. There are many tracts of land that campesino families were given under previous programs of agrarian reform, but private landholders and companies still challenge the land titles.
In Yoro, 700 campesino families recently experienced firsthand the crushing violence of the state in its support of private companies. Azucarera del Norte SA (Azunosa) filed a civil lawsuit against the peasant organizations in the Guanchías sector, but no legal resolution has been determined. Instead, more than 100 police officers arrived on August 9 with tanks and other armored vehicles to force the campesino families to leave within two hours. They evicted about 3,000 people, united in at least 30 cooperatives. Crops and homes were burned in this egregious act of illegal state violence. Just the day before, the campesino organizations had signed an agreement with the Honduran Institute of Agricultural Marketing (IHMA) to sell their corn. But on August 9, police burned about 865 acres of corn, which would have yielded approximately 626,000 pounds of the essential grain in a nation the United Nations declared has 4.9 million suffering from moderate to mild food insecurity.
Recently, the government of President Xiomara Castro installed the Commission for Agrarian Security and Access to Land (Comisión de Seguridad Agraria y Acceso a la Tierra). Although the Commission has the objective of settling disputes over land titles, violent evictions have increased since its inception.