Archivos para 13/03/16
When Berta Cáceres Flores was assassinated in a political murder on March 2, she was in the midst of an intense struggle in defense of the Gualcarque River, a sacred river for the Lenca people. She and the Lenca people of Rio Blanco had already blocked the Agua Zarca Dam from being built on the Gualcarque River one time, in 2014, and now DESA was making a second attempt. During the 2014 struggle against the Agua Zarca Dam, Indigenous leader Tomas Garcia was murdered by the Honduran military, other Lenca leaders were attacked, Berta received numerous death threats, and the military detained Berta on trumped up charges. Soon a second set of charges followed, and Berta was ordered to jail. She went underground, and after months international outcry, the charges were eventually dismissed. However, DESA, the company trying to build the dam, appealed and requested the charges against Berta and two other COPINH leaders be reinstated.
In approximately August of 2015, DESA began attempting a second time to build the Agua Zarca Dam, this time accessing the Gualcarque River from the opposite side of the river in San Francisco de Ojuera. Berta and many Lenca people again mobilized to defend the Gualcarque River and their ancestral territory. As they organized to stop the dam, the situation again began to intensify.
On November 4, 2015, when Berta was not home, an unknown man took a laptop with significant COPINH information from her home.
On the night of November 6, 2015, three shots were fired towards Berta as she driving to Rio Blanco.
On November 24, 2015, Tomas Gomez, another COPINH leader, received a phone call from a man known to be a supporter of the dam company, who informed Tomas that they were going to fix things with Berta Cáceres for better or for worse, “a buenas o a malas.”
On November 30, 2015, Berta Cáceres and other COPINH leaders were traveling to request a meeting with the Mayor of San Francisco de Ojuera, who had authorized the dam, when the Honduran police detained their vehicles. While they were detained, machinery dug huge holes across the public roads to prevent COPINH from passing. After Berta and the rest of the COPINH members finally reached San Francisco de Ojuera, municipal employees began to throw rocks at them and threaten them, including a threat that Berta was the one “who had to be killed.” One of the armed men came close to Berta and almost cut her chest with a machete. All of this occurred as the Honduran police and military watched and did nothing, despite Berta requesting their protection. Finally, Berta called the Minister of Security, Julian Pacheco, and requested he relay orders for the police present to provide protection. Still, the police and military did not respond and the harassment continued.
Then in late December 2015, the Honduran police detained two men for illegal possession of weapons. One of them is reported to have explained he was there contracted by DESA because “the COPINH people were f**ing things up a lot.” This man was previously involved in a violent attack on a COPINH member who opposed the dam, and his police files indicate he was involved in a murder. Residents of Rio Blanco report that he had previously stated he was going to kill COPINH members, including Berta and Francisco Javier Sanchez, President of the Indigenous Council of Rio Blanco. Berta received information that Jorge Avila – the head of security of DESA and former police official – moved money around to secure the release of those detained for illegal possession of weapons despite the murder in police file. Shortly after his release, this man was identified by Rio Blanco residents working with DESA’s security team without a uniform. In February 2016, Berta wrote a communique publicly denouncing the money provided for this man’s release and stated that there were known paramilitary guards working for DESA who made threats against COPINH members.
Early in February 2016, shots were fired in the vicinity of Berta’s home shortly before she arrived.
On February 16, Berta and other COPINH leaders were pursued by armed men as they left Rio Blanco, after visiting with the Lenca people in resistance to the Agua Zarca Dam on the Rio Gualcarque. The armed men pursued Berta’s vehicle on the isolated road for at least 20 minutes until Berta reached a town and stopped.
Then on February 20, 2016, as Berta and COPINH members traveled to San Francisco de Ojuera to protest the dam, employees of DESA and the Mayor’s office threatened, detained, and harassed them as well as vandalized the vehicles and buses as the police and military looked on. COPINH members report that the Vice Mayor of San Francisco de Ojuera threatened Berta, telling her she would never come back there and that she could be killed.
On February 25, as the police and military evicted about 50 COPINH families from their homes in Jarcia, Guinse, Intibuca, a member of the DGIC harassed Berta and told her the security forces would not respond if something happened to her.
On February 26, at 1:45pm, a new, double-cabin truck with polarized windows drove up the road leading to the COPINH office, stopping before reaching the office. A tall man with a military-style haircut got out and went outside the COPIN office and asked for Berta, while another man stayed in the running vehicle. When informed she was not there, he wanted to know where she was and her phone number. When asked to identify himself, he refused and left.
Despite all of this, and many additional threats, Berta and COPINH continued forward in the struggle to defend the Gualcarque River and all Lenca territory. Berta repeatedly denounced the concession of the Gualcarque River by the Honduran government to DESA in violation of the Lenca people’s right to free, prior, and informed consultation. She also spoke against the violence, militarization, hitmen, and repression that DESA and the Honduran state were using to impose the dam. Berta denounced the Dutch Bank FMO and the Finnish Bank Finnfund, majority owned by the Dutch and Finnish governments respectively, for financing DESA for the Agua Zarca Dam project despite having been informed of the human rights violations around the dam. Berta was in the process of planning a trip to Holland and Finland in which she and Rio Blanco Lenca leaders would protest the financing of the dam and request Dutch and Finnish government leaders take action to stop the funding.
On March 2, 2016, DESA’s head of security was spotted in a vehicle with about 18-20 people, at the turn off from Honduras’ main highway to La Esperanza, where Berta lives. The men were speaking about Berta. The vehicle headed toward La Esperanza.
That night, two men forced their way into Berta’s home and Berta was assassinated.
Berta was a voice not only for the self-determination of the Lenca people but for all Hondurans. She was a very outspoken leader against the 2009 military coup and the resulting repressive regimes. She led COPINH in supporting numerous Lenca communities struggling against displacement, dams, privatization of their resources, and megaprojects imposed on their territory against their will. She was a national leader in the struggle against the ultra-neoliberal plan being imposed on Honduras, which entails the privatization and exploitation of almost everything possible, and the brutal repression against those who resist. Berta spoke out against the US backed Alliance for Prosperity plan being put in place in Central America, clearly explaining that its militarization and economic privatization and exploitation projects will only bring more destruction and death to Honduras. She was a leader in the Platform of Popular and Social Movements of Honduras, pushing for national articulation of the social movements. She loudly criticized the current regime for its repression of Honduran society, and refused to be silent. No matter how many death threats she received, no matter how many times she was followed, pursued, or threatened, Berta would not be silenced.
And she must not be silenced today. Berta’s voice and struggle must continue to be heard. I can hear her right now, asking us to go to Rio Blanco to accompany the Lenca people as they are criminalized and repressed for resisting the dam. I can hear her asking us to organize to pressure FMO and Finnfund to cut their funding to the dam and to demand that the Honduran military and US-backed TIGRES leave Lenca territory. And I can hear her loudly and clearly telling US Congresspeople, just as she did in meetings barely a year ago, to stop supporting the Honduran regime, to cut all Honduran military funding, to end the Alliance for Prosperity. I can hear her voice denouncing international banks and multinational corporations who together with the current Honduran regime and the support of the US plunder the Honduran territory and its people. I can hear her calling for an end to the criminalization of COPINH and for respect for the self-determination of the Lenca people.
More than anything, I can clearly hear Berta saying that the female spirits of the Lenca people live in the Gualcarque River.
Origen: Berta Cáceres, ¡Presente!
Asesinatos como estos están diseñados para silenciar todo un movimiento, no solo una voz, así que lo correcto es que haya una respuesta masiva de ese movimiento. Actúa aquí:
Origen: Investigación para Berta ¡Ahora!
To CABEI, FMO, FinnFund and Voith-Hydro (Siemens): As the main backers of the Agua Zarca project, you must withdraw from this project immediately following the murder of Berta Cáceres. To the Honduran Government: you must urgently guarantee the security and safety of the family of Ms Cáceres and members of the indigenous rights organisation COPINH, and ensure a full, independent investigation is carried out under the supervision of an international commission of experts.
Berta Cáceres took a courageous stand to protect the land and natural resources her community depend on. As a result, she was brutally murdered. Take action to support Berta’s work, and stop the violence.
Join the fight and call on all investors and companies involved in the Agua Zarca dam project to withdraw their funding and involvement now.
The project, which is not yet built, is strongly but peacefully opposed by the Lenca people. They face losing their access to the river Gualcarque, an important sacred site and a major source of water and food. Standing up against powerful interests is dangerous and Ms Cáceres’ is the latest murder of land activists – both in Honduras and world-wide – and it must be the last.
As a member of the Lenca indigenous group, Berta Cáceres co-founded COPINH to fight for indigenous rights. She led the peaceful opposition to the building of a project that would alter a river sacred to the Lenca people, and limit their access to drinking water and food. For this she paid with her life.
Berta’s family and members of her organisation are also clearly under threat. We ask the Honduran government, to ensure the security and safety of Berta’s family and members of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).
International investors and companies have no place now in continuing their support for the Agua Zarca dam project she was fighting against.
The regional Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the Dutch development bank FMO, Finnfund from Finland, and the Voith-Hydro (Siemens) engineering partnership from Germany, who are supplying equipment for the project, must withdraw.
End the violence, stop the Agua Zarca dam project.
This campaign is part of the Land Rights Now campaign
Origen: Join Berta’s Fight
La capacidad de resistencia de las mujeres en defensa de la vida y la exigencia de aplicación de justicia, se hace sentir con mayor fuerza en las calles que ahora se pintan de lucha. Esa lucha la empuja el recuerdo y memoria de Berta Cáceres, símbolo de la tenaz resistencia de las comunidades lencas en defensa de la madre tierra.
“¡Que corra el río Gualcarque! ¡Que corra la vida! ¡Berta no murió, se multiplicó!” fueron las consignas que desde sus entrañas las mujeres gritaban afirmando que en Honduras el día internacional de la mujer no es para celebrar, sino para exigir y reivindicar sus derechos.
Las mujeres llegaron con pancartas y tambores desde el Valle de Sula, Colón, Atlántida y Santa Bárbara, para demandar frente al Ministerio Público de San Pedro Sula, respeto a sus derechos y justicia por cada muerte violenta en contra de las mujeres, especialmente por el asesinato reciente de Berta Cáceres y el de Margarita Murillo, lideresa campesina asesinada el 27 de agosto de 2014.
Carolina Sierra del Foro de Mujeres por la Vida, expuso frente al coordinador de fiscales en San Pedro Sula, el abogado René Díaz, que el gobierno tiene la responsabilidad de generar una investigación pública, transparente y verdadera para aplicar la ley a los responsables materiales e intelectuales en el caso de Berta Cáceres. “Las mujeres no vamos a permitir que se criminalice al Copinh por el asesinato de su coordinadora. No vamos a permitir que se siga violentado al pueblo Lenca”, agregó Sierra junto a las mujeres quienes exigen una investigación inmediata, a fondo e independiente con respaldo de especialistas internacionales.
Menos del 25% de los abogados censados en San Pedro Sula llegaron a depositar su voto.
Cholusat Sur, Canal 36, Noticias de Última Hora en Honduras
Por: Redacción CRITERIO firstname.lastname@example.org Tegucigalpa.-El presidente de la bancada del Partido Nacional, Oscar Álvarez, informó en las últimas horas que esa institución política ya devolvió los fondos que fueron saqueados al Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social (IHSS). Hace dos semanas el secretario del Comité Central del Partido Nacional, Juan Diego Zelaya, reveló que la Oficina de […]