PBI-Honduras accompanies COPINH at seventh anniversary remembrance of Lenca water protector Berta Cáceres

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 3, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “Yesterday we accompanied with body and soul @COPINHHONDURAS [the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras] in the seventh sowing of comrade Berta Cáceres. #Berta lives in the heart of the Lenca people and taught us the importance of caring for and loving the earth. We remember COPINH’s demand for #JusticeForBerta.”

Criterio.hn further reports:

This March 2, COPINH together with the daughters, son, mother of Berta Cáceres and residents of the Lenca people commemorated the seventh year of the murder of Berta Cáceres, perpetrated in 2016.

In a statement, which they read in the city of La Esperanza in the department of Intibucá, COPINH points out that the stubborn search for justice means that one more year they have gathered in Honduras and in many parts of the world to commemorate another year of the sowing of Berta Cáceres as a seed of freedom for the Lenca and Honduran people.

“One more year in which they demand that the criminals Jacobo, José Eduardo and Pedro Atala Zablah, together with Daniel Atala Midence, intellectual authors of this crime, be brought to justice to pay for their crimes,” reads one of the paragraphs of the statement.

The search for justice for Berta Cáceres necessarily implies the dismantling of the unjust extractivist system of the resources of indigenous and peasant communities based on a development model that has proven useless to solve the problems of Honduras.

PBI-Honduras has accompanied COPINH since May 2016.

The DESA hydroelectric dam

Cáceres was murdered on March 2, 2016, two days before her 45th birthday.

On July 5, 2021, The Guardian reported: “[David Castillo] a US-trained former Honduran army intelligence officer who was the president of an internationally-financed hydroelectric company [Desarrollos Energéticos Sociedad Anónima/DESA] has been found guilty over the assassination of the indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres.”

COPINH has maintained that Castillo is but one of the intellectual authors of the murder.

Berta’s daughter Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres has previously stated: “We will continue to demand the investigation and conviction of the intellectual authors.”

Cáceres family lawyer Víctor Fernández has also stated Berta’s family faces “a power structure, the economic structure that murdered Berta Cáceres, who is not only David Castillo, but the company DESA, the national and international financial system that financed and even continues to benefit the entrepreneurs” who benefited from the concession of the hydroelectric dam” on the Gualcarque River sacred to the Lenca people.

Open Democracy has also reported: “[COPINH continues to seek] the revocation of permission for the [Agua Zarca] hydroelectric project. It wants the state to be held accountable for failing to protect Cáceres and to investigate the investment in initiatives premised on such massive human rights violations.”

And Vice reports: “DESA owns the concession for 50 years, [COPINH general coordinator Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres] says, meaning the company has the exclusive right to work the land [without free, prior and informed consent] until 2059.”

Zúñiga Cáceres has highlighted: “They have not given up and apparently have no intention of abandoning the project altogether.”

Friends mark the anniversary

Our friends at Amnesty International Canada also marked the day.

They tweeted: “In honour of #BertaCaceres, activists from @AmnestyNow planted a tree in Canada’s capital and created a river of solidarity with painted rocks. It’s a living symbol of our commitment to #DefendersUnderAttack #JusticeForBerta #ClimateJustice. #7YearsAlongwithABerta.”

Further reading: Berta Cáceres and COPINH opposed construction of Canjel dam on Lenca territory by Canadian company (August 26, 2021).


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