By Glenn A. Chambers
On the flip of the 20 th century, Honduras witnessed the growth of its banana and the advance of the United Fruit corporation and conventional Fruit into multinational enterprises with major political and fiscal impression in Latin the USA and the Caribbean. those businesses relied seriously on an imported hard work strength, hundreds of thousands of West Indian employees, whose arrival in Honduras instantly sparked anti-black and anti-immigrant sentiment through the state. Glenn A. Chambers examines the West Indian immigrant group in Honduras in the course of the improvement of the country's fruit undefined, revealing that West Indians fought to take care of their identities as staff, Protestants, blacks, and English audio system in the course of well known Latin American nationalistic notions of mestizaje, or mixed-race id. West Indians lived as outsiders in Honduran society due to the various racially stimulated tasks of the Honduran executive that outlined appropriate immigration as "white only." As Chambers exhibits, one accidental, even though possibly predictable, outcome of this political stance was once the emergence of a truly outlined and separate West Indian enclave that proved to be opposed towards local Hondurans. This clash eventually resulted in animosity among English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Hondurans, in addition to among West Indians and non-West Indian peoples of African descent. An all-inclusive Afro-Honduran identification by no means emerged in Honduras, Chambers finds. really, black identification built via West Indians' tradition, language, and historical past. Chambers strikes past remedies of West Indian hard work as an adjunct to U.S. capitalist pursuits to discover the ethnic and racial dynamic of the interactions of the West Indian neighborhood with locals. In Race, country, and West Indian Immigration to Honduras, 1890-1940, Chambers demonstrates the significance of racial id in Honduran society as a complete and divulges the jobs that tradition, language, ethnicity, and background performed within the institution of nearby identities in the broader African diaspora.
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Extra resources for Race, Nation, and West Indian Immigration to Honduras, 1890-1940
A Mobile, Alabama, banana merchant of Russian Jew- Fruit Companies on the North Coast of Honduras, 1905–1954 t H e H o n D U R A n lIB eR Al R eF o R M s 29 ish immigrant origins, Zemurray began his career by buying bananas in railroad cart loads and selling them to local dealers. Later he moved to New Orleans and contracted himself out to the United Fruit Company to sell bananas that had ripened aboard ship and needed to be disposed of quickly in order to avoid a total loss. Eventually in 1910, Zemurray and his partner, Ashbell Hubbard, raised enough money to purchase 5,000 acres of plantation land in Honduras near the Cuyamel River, marking the beginning of the Cuyamel Fruit Company.
At no point in Honduran history were immigration policies liberal toward people of African descent. West Indians entered Honduras as employees of the banana companies and were thrust into an environment in which issues of race and immigration were at the forefront of political debate. The experiences of the West Indian workers were directly tied to the dominance of the banana industry in the political and economic affairs of the country. LiBer aLism and the ideoLogy of r aCe Honduran perceptions of race during the liberal reform period and the subsequent expansion of the banana industry, particularly as they relate to the Afro-descended populations, share many similarities to larger political and intellectual movements in Latin America centered on the implementation of a “modern, scientific” approach to nation building.
West Indians and their descendants were never the intended beneficiaries of liberal policies. There was no reason for reformers to believe that fruit companies would not favor local Honduran labor. Such was the case in most instances. However, West Indians in the early days of the foreign-dominated industry did receive considerable advantages in terms of higher-quality and often higher-paying jobs, and a better overall quality of life that most Hondurans were not afforded. Mario Posas has documented extensively that most Hondurans were not granted such advancements in the banana zones without protest through strikes and other forms of collective resistance, a reality West Indians never experienced.