The Garifuna, an Afro-indigenous ethnic group, have inhabited eastern Honduras since the late 18th century, collectively owning and conserving large tracts of Honduras’s rich coastal ecosystems.In recent decades both their way of life and their ancestral lands have been increasingly threatened by the relentless encroachment of powerful private interests in Honduras’s burgeoning tourism and biofuel industries.The Garifuna have been mounting a resistance, aided in part by a network of community radio stations.In addition to serving up traditional music and shows on health and nutrition, domestic violence, substance abuse, and other topics, the stations have helped raise the profile of people struggling to protect indigenous lands and ways of life and serve as a strong means of mobilization, according to local activists. LA CEIBA, Honduras — In the small, sky-blue studio at the Faluma Bimetu community radio station, 32-year-old Cesar Benedict reaches for the controls and slowly fades out the fast percussive rhythms and flighty guitar of a well-known Garifuna praise song. He leans his considerable bulk closer to the microphone and delivers a clipped message about the threat of deforestation and global warming in Honduras. Then he adeptly fades the track back in. Located in the rural village of Triunfo de la Cruz, in Honduras’s Atlántida department along the country’s palm-fringed northern Caribbean coast, Faluma Bimetu broadcasts the plight of the Garifuna people. The station’s name means “sweet coconut” in the distinctive Garifuna language. The Garifuna are a unique Afro-indigenous ethnic group descended from mutinous West African slaves and indigenous Carib and Arawak groups that dispersed across parts of South America and the Caribbean. The Garifuna have inhabited this part of Honduras since the late 18thcentury, collectively owning and conserving large tracts of Honduras’s rich coastal ecosystems and sustaining themselves on subsistence agriculture and small-scale fishing. In recent decades, however, both their way of life and their ancestral lands have been increasingly threatened by the relentless encroachment of powerful private interests in Honduras’s burgeoning tourism and biofuel industries. According to reports from organizations including Global Witness and Amnesty International, Garifuna communities along the Honduran coast have routinely faced threats, harassment and gross human rights violations. Faluma Bimetu was set up in 1997 in response to the murder of three local land activists. Cesar Benedict looks out to sea in Triunfo de la Cruz. Image by Christopher Clark for Mongabay. Benedict was born here in Triunfo de la Cruz. When he was just 11 years old, he decided it was time to “join the social struggle,” as he puts it, to help protect the Garifuna’s land and culture against what he saw as an onslaught by external forces. He started volunteering at Faluma Bimetu, carrying out various menial tasks after school and picking up a few tricks of the trade from the radio hosts, who included his older brother. Today, Benedict is Faluma Bimetu’s hardworking director. With no salary and minimal funding, he manages a team of seven radio hosts and oversees a 24-hour schedule that includes shows on health and nutrition, domestic violence and substance abuse, the environment, youth and women’s leadership development, religion and spirituality, and traditional music.