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The (Mis)Use of Disaster as Opportunity: Coerced Relocation from Celaque National Park, Honduras

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Abstract:  “Disaster capitalism” refers to political economic processes that take advantage of mass trauma to impose neoliberal capitalist economic policies, facilitating the redistribution of wealth and exacerbating socio‐economic divisions. Here the basic tenets of disaster capitalism are applied in another context: how natural disasters can be used to impose exclusionary protected area conservation principles with similar socio‐economic consequences and ecological ramifications. The post‐Hurricane Mitch relocation of resident populations from Celaque National Park, Honduras serves as a case study whereby a natural disaster, combined with the effects of neoliberal structural adjustment policies, created the opportunity to implement a universal model of exclusionary nature protection. The resultant displacement and increased semi‐proletarianization of the affected population effectively served the capitalist interests of international conservation and the agro‐export coffee industry and, contradictorily, worked against the proclaimed goals of nature preservation through exclusionary national park policies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Social Sciences Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA;

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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