Miskitos release mestizo captives

(posted March 5, 6:30 a.m.)- After 28 days in captivity, a dozen mestizo hostages—including six volunteer policemen—were released by the indigenous community of Lapan yesterday after the Miskito leaders signed an agreement with the government to review the situation of land invasions on the Caribbean coast.

According to La Prensa, the agreement obliges the National Commission on Demarcation and Land Titles to conduct a diagnostic of the land situation and apply the law respecting indigenous rights to communal land in areas that have been invaded by non-indigenous land holders.

The Miskito indigenous leaders have said they will not recognize any mestizo land titles or claims after 1987, when the Law of Autonomy was passed creating the legal structure for indigenous communal land in the North and South Atlantic Autonomous Regions (RAAN and RAAS).

For the moment, the agreement and hostage release seems to have cool racial tensions on the coast, after three weeks of an escalating standoff between the indigenous and mestizos.