A Champion for the Environment & Indigenous Rights Assassinated in Honduras
Berta Caceres at the banks of the Gualcarque River in the Rio Blanco region of western Honduras where she, COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) and the people of Rio Blanco have maintained a two year struggle to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric project, that poses grave threats to local environment, river and indigenous Lenca people from the region.
Hello friends, last August we led a religious pilgrimage to Honduras and Guatemala to examine the Root Causes of Migration. One of the major concerns we heard about over and over again was US military aid to Honduras and the state violence and paramilitaries that this aid sponsors and the threats facing our friends in Honduras.
Last night- Berta Caceres, one of the leading indigenous environmental activists was assassinated in Honduras. Berta, the coordinator of COPINH was assassinated when at least two individuals broke down the door of the house where she was staying, shot and killed her. Berta was a 2015 awardee of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last year and was hosted in SF and Congress many times. She was a symbol for the social movement in Honduras – and the defense of the land and indigenous communities.
She, COPINH and local indigenous communities had been actively working against against the construction of a hydroelectric dam by the internationally-financed Honduran company DESA in Rio Blanco where many indigenous communities have already been displaced. She and others had received numerous death threats and just two weeks ago a peaceful protest against the dam was surrounded by security forces and paramilitaries.
We are appalled at the brazenness of this attack. We are shocked and concerned as many of our religious colleagues in Honduras were very close to her. If this happens to Berta and internationally recognized indigenous leader, imagine what this means for lesser known and ordinary people.
What you can Do:
1) We would like to send a Religious Delegation as a sign of international solidarity to attend her funeral in Honduras in the next few days. Can you help us raise some funds for airfare? Click the donation link below to make a donation towards this.
If you are interested in going, please contact: Deborah Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Contact your Congresspersons and Senators: Tell them to Stop All US Military Training and Aid to Honduras.
3) Sign the Petition to Congress.
4) Join us tomorrow night- 6pm – Friday for a potluck movie about Honduras: Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley at Skyline Communty Church, 12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland.
5) Join us Saturday 11 am – 12 pm at the West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond – hosted by School of the Americas Watch.