On July 25, some people might have been surprised outside the Democratic Party’s National Convention in Philadelphia to see protesters wearing masks made from a photo of assassinated Honduran indigenous leader Berta Caceres and a giant puppet of Berta as well marching through the streets.
One of Berta’s daughters, Laura Yolanda Zuniga, was there too representing Berta’s organization COPINH and her family as part of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance actions. The protesters had a specific complaint related to COPINH and Honduras, denouncing the fact that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has admitted to working hard to extend and institutionalize the June 2009 coup d’etat in Honduras and the fact that the Obama administration in general continues to support and supply funds to the latest version of the coup government, President Juan Orlando Hernandez — despite a very long list of human rights violations, state violence, and corruption allegations tied to Hernandez’s government and political party. At the same time, it isn’t really a surprise to find COPINH participating in protests that include support for migrant’s rights, against police murders of black and latinos in the US, the TPP, environmental justice and more. Since its beginnings COPINH has had an international vision.
In late June of this year La Voz de los de Abajo sent a small fact finding and accompaniment mission to Honduras. One of our priorities was to show support for and to talk to with COPINH in the aftermath of the assassination of its co-founder and long-time general coordinator, Berta Caceres. On June 26 th we started out for La Esperanza, Intibuca to visit COPINH and to pay our respects to Berta Caceres’ family. Leaving from Marcala, La Paz, where we had visited campesinos from the CNTC, we were already in the area in which the Lenca indigenous people’s communities and descendants are a majority. The indigenous word Lenca means something like “a place of many waters” in English and it is a land of rivers flowing down from breathtaking mountains