La Moskitia, Honduras
Eco-Cultural-Travel Oceans

Miskitu Portrait: Lobster and Life on Laguna Caratasca


Puerto Lempira lies on the shore of the sweetwater Laguna Caratasca, just west of the Caribbean in La Moskitia, Honduras. The largest Miskitu town in the region, with an ailing lobster industry in an atmosphere of post-coup insecurity and governmental corruption, many turn to drug trafficking for income.

La Moskitia, Honduras
Lazy afternoon on a quebrada on Laguna Caratasca. Photo By Jack Eidt.

Life moves slow along the dirt roads heading out from the center of town. Boats (pipantes, cayucos, botes, etc) continue to be the main mode of transport on the lagoons and rivers that criss-cross the region.

La Mosquitia, Miskito, Puerto Lempira, Honduras
Numerous boats parked at the Puerto Lempira wharf connect the Caribbean villages across Laguna Caratasca as well as west toward the pine savannas along the Patuca River. Photo By Jack Eidt.

The Miskitu from the Laguna Caratasca region have always been dependent on small-scale fishing as well as the industrial-scale lobster, conch, and shrimping boats that ply the coast. Miskitu divers tended to risk their lives collecting the bounty from the seafloor, resulting in about 120 accidents per year (decompression sickness), many of them fatal, most crippling. Central American governments recently banned the use of scuba gear in lobster fishing, hurting that small but sustaining source of income for Miskitu families. Some entities have proposed using casitas to catch lobsters, in areas where skin divers could reach them easily and with less risk.

The Guardians of the Reefs– Sustainable Fisheries in La Moskitia (Spanish Subtitles) from iLCP on Vimeo

La Moskitia, Honduras, Miskito Indians
Children run free and wild through the muddy paths of Puerto Lempira.
La Moskitia, Honduras
Map of La Moskitia, relative to the rest of Honduras.

La Moskitia, Honduras, is located on the far eastern edge of the Caribbean near the border with Nicaragua. Puerto Lempira is surrounded by swamps and sweetwater (salt-intruded) lagoons, then rolling pine savanna-vistas looking toward the high mountains and rainforests of the interior and the Rio Platano Biosphere.

La Moskitia, Honduras, Puerto Lempira
Cayucos, dugout canoes, move products from the pine savannas, swamps, and forested river valleys to the community of Puerto Lempira. Photo By Jack Eidt.
Kaukira, La Moskitia, Honduras, Miskito Indians
Harlan Haylock, descended from both Miskitus and a German grandfather, has a morning drink of guaro and recites the history of Kaukira, his village straddling a strip of land between the Caribbean and the lagoon.

Harlan Haylock Mueller and his brother founded a hotel in town and he is something of a philosopher, albeit one with a penchant for the local rum. We talked at length on the problems facing La Moskitia, how he was concerned for the sustainability of the fisheries, the chemicals the jellyfish harvesters used to salt and prepare their catch. He wondered about a shipwreck that happened off the coast of Cape Gracias a Dios and the Rio Coco around 1905. It is his job to wonder about ideas big and small, then scramble down the muddy road in an afternoon thundershower to eat some fried fish and fried green plantains with his wife and family.

Caribbean Sea, Honduras, La Moskitia
The beach at Kaukira is desolate, with a few fish camps, but also a staging ground for drug shipments heading between Colombia and the US.

We watched the drug interdiction planes fly loop-de-loops along the coast at night, keeping a watchful eye on the darkness. Strange with military bases all over La Moskitia, yet the drug trade seems to keep growing. There was an assassination-style murder of a young man in Lempira while I was there, something formerly unheard of in such a small town. Murder these days is commonplace, dollars are readily available, and a place forgotten to the word just a few years ago, is now moving fast with cell phones, bulldozers pushing sand around, flashy Lexus SUVs bumping and splashing down the dirt roads that seem to lead nowhere. Will the Miskitu ever regain their former tranquilo vibe and control over this wild and beautiful corner of the world?

Puerto Lempira, Laguna Caratasca, Honduras
Captain Ramirez heading seaward.

For more on the Miskitu Shore, see Caribbean Jellyfish and the rising tides at the Kruta River.

Updated 11 October 2021

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  1. The drug corruption begins at the highest levels of the Honduran govt, and now we are in for another rigged election; question is: where is the U.S. govt on this issue?

    Thanks for your comment, Bob. The US government is not doing much to counteract the repression that has gone on against the Libre party as well as activists who may not share the neoliberal economic sell-off of all Honduran resources to palm oil barons, oil and gas interests, mega-tourism developments, and drug traffickers with money to launder.

    Neoliberal Militarization Versus the People

    I did run into election observers from the European Union in Puerto Lempira, and they assured that there are boots on the ground to protect the legitimacy of the election. Problem is, the Nationalist party controls the machines, and as we’ve seen in recent elections in Mexico, the will of the people is always subverted to the will of those in power.

    Trying to remain optimistic, however.

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  3. une 3rd, 2015

    We ask that you please read this Release Information and Awareness for it is not just important to us also to you, democracy and the future.

    We Thank you

    From the Office of:

    Rev. Josephenie E. Robertson, M.T.T. ????

    Contacts: Gary B. C. Mitchell, Chief Advisor

    Former – U.S. Naval Air Force

    Senior Star Wars Technologist (LLNS)

    Cameron Park, CA – Telephone 510-677-5903



    Freelance Writer


    Email: grinolsson@gmail.comGrinOlsson

    Graig Brooks

    Independent Media Freelance Journalist

    Telephone: 510-432-1432


    U.N. Breaks Protection Guarantee with Central American Miskitu Nation as a result is the Chinese-Nicaraguan Canal Guise for Sandinista-Communist Alliance For Global Power?

    During the Contra-Sandinista War of the 1980’s and 1990’s the Miskitu people agreed to disarmament for peace, autonomy and development under U N. protection. Our people have never been given these international protections and now we are facing genocide.

    The Miskitu Matriarch, Rev. Josephenie Hendy Tawaska, Prince Carlos Rivas Thomas, Miskitu Commander, Elacio Bennet Holmes in a recorded interview pleaded, “That the cease-fire between the Contra, Sandinista and the Miskitu Nation, Peace and Autonomy contract to the Miskitu Nation under protection of the United Nations in exchange for disarmament has not and is not being fulfilled.”

    The UN sent James Anaya to review the Miskitu plight. Mr. Anaya remained in Nicaragua the duration of his stay and never set foot on the Miskitu territory or spoke to our Council of Elders, leaders or citizens. He collected information about the Miskitu Nation from the Sandinista FSLN Government. Officials in Nicaragua, wrote it up, placed it in a report for the United Nations; claiming that we are ignorant, could not read or write and are incapable of governing ourselves.

    We have the right to have our weapons returned to us. Currently, we have no way of defending or protecting ourselves from the invaders, we upheld our part of the agreement. The United Nations gave us a guarantee and it has not been upheld.

    Furthermore, intelligent, progressive, civilized, societies do not murder and oppress the weak or those with lesser intellects. Everyone born to the planet has an inalienable right to live, with dignity, not having a gun pointed at ones face or forced to sign over ones property, with out oppression. It is inherent in our species to live in love, liberty, justice and a chance to better ourselves.

    Reverend Josephenie Robertson speaks out in saying “With all due consideration to the United States, the United Kingdom (Common Wealth and Parliament), Pope and People of the world of nations; that these new transgressions created and afforded under the new Chinese-Nicaraguan (Sandinista-Communist) alliance are in direct violation of the 1860 Treaty of Managua and other American treaties regarding Central America, including the Monroe Doctrine; However, these international omissions have denied us international protection. With these words, we are now, officially appealing to you as fellow human beings, personally, individually and as groups for substantial help and support!

    After spending thousands of dollars, mailing letters from Miskitu Matriarch, leaders and Nation, through international, registered and Domestic certified mail (with return receipts) to International Heads of States including United Kingdom (Common Wealth and Parliament), Central America, the UN and the Pope chose to ignore them.

    Historically, Mosquitia was once a super power in Central America, an ancient Kingdom that neither the Spaniards nor anyone else ever conquered. The Miskitu Nation consists of united races and tribes- Miskitu, Rama, Guarifanos, Waikas, Afrodecendentes, Sumu, Sambos, Lacca, and Creole. Before 1492 the Miskitus were already a united sovereign nation,with their own written, spoken, and numerical language.

    After 1894 under orders of United Kingdom and United States the Mosquitian Kingdom was partitioned off to the five Central American Countries and President Zelaya of Nicaragua erased their way of life, by burning and burying their history, leaders and people. Somoza followed the same tyranny.

    In 1957 the Matriarch Josephenie E Hendy Tawaska, rose up and claimed the Independence of the Miskitu, published by La Prensa’s Joaquin Chamorro and later was exiled by Somoza.

    Today, as the building of the Nicaraguan-Chinese canal is set in motion, the Nicaraguan and Honduran governments have severely restricted the Miskitu Nation in their respective regions to silence the Miskitu concerns. At this very moment, these two Central American governments are withholding medical supplies, cutting food rations, engaged in recent forced relocations of the Native people from their ancestral homelands to accommodate an international Chinese-Nicaraguan Canal sponsored by Daniel Ortega Wang Jing and the Republic of China. it is hard to believe that profit and political advantage are not the motivating force. The Native people are under duress, are forced to sign away their property. Without permission, notice or housing in place; restricted ingress and egress of peoples from their villages, afforded not even the basic needs, as well as keeping the people in a state of constant stress, obscene and unnecessary poverty and fear.

    Our Miskitu Council of Elders, Government in exile and Nation tell us there is a great and imminent international danger in the midst from, South to Central on through North America. Incoming reports indicate that with the new Sandinista-Communist alliance the Miskitu territory is under a policy of Nicaraguan and Chinese colonists coming in and seizing Miskitu people’s properties. Mining and selling uranium from Miskitu land to Iran. Other atrocities are hidden from media. The world see’s is what Ortega wants you to you to see. Events; a phasode, that if not acted upon by the Miskitu people means certain harm even death.

    The Miskitu Government in Exile seeks to educate citizens and asks the constituents, voters, human, ecological and environmental rights advocates, to ask your leaders to make a call to action for immediate naval support and intervention on behalf of our Miskitu Kingdom of peoples from the Caribbean regions of Gracias a Dios in to the San Juan River by the presence of one aircraft carrier directly positioned off of our Miskitu Coast to thwart a new Communist-Sandinista foothold.

    We have been ignored, by the U S. government and British Parliament Foreign Affairs, the Common Wealth, the Pope and all other Foreign and Domestic governments; especially those governments that know of and benefit of the plunder of our Miskitu Nation’s natural resources.

    When President Reagan called upon our Miskitu people to take up arms against the Sandinistas in alliance with the Contras – we were there for you as American allies. We are still here for you, but we desperately need American help.

    In fact The Reagan Administration had recommendations for the restoration of our government and territorial boundaries. We come before the United States, United Kingdom and Pope to “undo” what has to be “undone” by taking responsibility for the horrific atrocities imposed upon our people, from ignoring former Miskitu national interests by attempting to appease former Nicaraguan governments in pursuit of canal interests prior to the construction of the Panama Canal. It is very noteworthy indeed.

    The Royal Miskitu Family in Exile along with Pastor Earl Lee Agape Food Bank, Fraser Valley Gleaners, Have secured humanitarian aid to give our people. We need immediate safe transport in to Central America and that the aid gets to its intended destination.

    Historically in the past, many believed that the United States Monroe Doctrine was created to assure there was no longer colonial exploitation of the “New World” and this “doctrine” was even applied towards the United Kingdom’s and Spanish colonies.

    In today’s world, the United States’ interests are so nearsightedly focused and diverted on the Middle East and West Philippine Sea, all the while its enemies, under the disguise of business and major projects are swarming into our region and compromising America Southern defenses, with out any form of American Confrontation which by omission constitutes and is tantamount to appeasement.

    Meanwhile, the Miskitu Nation are kept in constant poverty, denied any form of profit sharing, amenities, compensation or royalties from business front ventures that are media propaganda fronts for a false premise that desensitizes the actualities of setting up military bases in Central America.

    In the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, “The United States Monroe Doctrine no longer exists ” therefore there’s no way to stop this tyranny? The questions are if it is truly dead then who killed it? How? Why? And, under what authority?

    We are desperately asking for you people of the world, to help bring attention and action to end these violations and an investigation into Miskitu human, land, ecological and environmental violation claims.

    Looking into this matter will not only help the Miskitu but the United States and Democracy as well. After all we are the back door to the security of North America!

  4. I totally agree with you
    And definitely a MISKITU Nation to be formed, they have resisted for 500 hundred years from the Spaniards, it is time the world recognize this people as one

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