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Justice for Berta Cáceres

Berta Cáceres in 2015
Bradley Hughes

March 29, 2016

Berta Cáceres a founding member of National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and Nelson Garcia another COPINH activist were both murdered within two weeks of each other in early March.
Writing in Counterpunch, Bevery Bell describes Cáceres, “Berta was assassinated by Honduran government-backed death squads on March 3. Like many who knew and worked with her, I was aware that this fighter for indigenous peoples’ power; for control over their own territories; for women’s and LGBTQ rights; for authentic democracy; for the well-being of Pachamama; for an end to tyranny by transnational capital; and for an end to US empire, was not destined to die of old age. She spoke too much truth to too much power.”
Her family issued a statement exposing the motivation of the assassins, “We must not allow the truth about the crime that ended her life to be distorted. We know with complete certainty that the motivation for her vile assassination was her struggle against the exploitation of nature's common wealth and in defence of the Lenca people. Her murder is an attempt to put an end to the struggle of the Lenca people against all forms of exploitation and expulsion. It is an attempt to halt the construction of a new world.”
Cáceres lived the life of a revolutionary, most recently she was involved in defending the land of the Lenca people against the construction of the Agua Zarca Dam along the Gualcarque River. Nelson Garcia was murdered on March 14. Earlier that day he and his village were kicked off there land and their crops and buildings destroyed by Honduran security forces. Their community had been set up two years earlier in the path of the destruction planed for the Agua Zarca dam.
Canadian complicity
Cáceres' family describes a situation that is familiar here in Canada as well, “It is the business groups in bed with the national government, the municipal government and the State's repressive institutions which are behind the extractive projects being developed in the region. The financiers of these extractivist projects of death are the same ones responsible for the death of our Berta, and so many others struggling against the exploitation of their territories. Because it is this money that allows for the imposition of economic interests over the ancestral rights of the peoples.”
Canada has supported the Honduran Government since the military coup in 2009, and since that time more than 100 activists have been killed, disproportionattely from Indigenous communities. In 2013 the Canadian government was involved in Honduras' new law that promoted mining, with royalties funding state security agencies. In 2014 the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement came into effect, further putting the interests of Canadian mining companies ahead of the interests of the people of Honduras. Trudeau has been silent on this latest killing of an Indigenous woman, while pushing the Trans-Pacific Partership that puts corporate profits ahead of human rights.
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