Miskito Human Rights Defender Dies

The leader of the Miskito Indians, Nathan Pravia, who fought on behalf of the native peoples of Honduras, died Saturday in Tegucigalpa following a breakdown in his health, family members said. He was 62.

Pravia, a native of Puerto Lempira in Gracias a Dios province on the Nicaraguan border, dedicated many years of his life to the cause of his country’s Miskito communities, traditionally all but forgotten by the government.

As a defender of human rights, he led several battles to gain the Miskitos of Honduras access to the land.

He also reported on and condemned the plight of Miskito divers who earn their living catching lobsters, many of whom have been left paraplegic or have died from injuries incurred during their labors deep in Caribbean waters.

On several occasions he slammed in the local press the rampant drug trafficking going on in the La Mosquitia region, chiefly involving cocaine from South American countries.

Pravia was president of the Honduras Native Peoples Confederation and a delegate for his country to indigenous organizations in Latin America and Central America.

In the cultural realm he leaves a collection of articles and other notes on Miskito culture that will soon be published, his daughter Yuwan, a student of journalism at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, said.

The president of the Community Ethnic Development Organization, or Odeco, Celeo Alvarez, lamented Pravia’s passing and praised his struggles on behalf of Indian peoples and their rights.

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