I began writing a eulogy for Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores years ago, though she died only last week. 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. […]
Yesterday the world woke to the terrible news that Berta Cáceres, world-renowned Honduran indigenous activist and mother of four, was murdered in her home in La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras. It was a shock to many who knew and worked with her. Cáceres was a founder of the Civic Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), a powerful coalition active in various struggles around Honduras. The violence and impunity against indigenous activists like Cáceres cannot be fully understood outside of the context of the 2009 military coup, which paved the way for multinational interests and free market policies to be implemented at any cost in Honduras.
“Without our lands, we cease to be a people. Our lands and identities are critical to our lives, our waters, our forests, our culture, our global commons, our territories. For us, the struggle for our territories and our commons and our natural resources is of primary importance to preserve ourselves as a people.” – Miriam Miranda, coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras […]
Miguel Facussé died in June of this year. He was considered one of the richest men in Honduras and the 11th richest in Central America. His death ensured his impunity for various crimes. He made his money swindling banks and other companies and used his influence in the government to have agrarian laws changed in order to swindle, intimidate, and usurp land from peasant farmers in various sectors throughout Honduras.
Garifuna community radio stations along the Caribbean coast of Honduras are facing harassment from National Telecommunications Commission officials. Garifuna organizers fear the radio stations may face closure.
With the Canjel Dam already under construction, one must wonder, why the threats against Berta Caceres and COPINH? The reality is that much more is at stake than just the small Canjel Dam. In fact, there are so many dam projects planned for the area it seems as if every river the Lenca people have carefully stewarded for generations will soon be dammed.
While the Honduran government continues its promotion of mining investment, communities around the country are voting against mining in open town hall assemblies. At least 10 municipalities in Honduras have now been declared territories free of mining.
The Canadian government has been on a roll promoting the interests of Canadian extractive industry corporations in Honduras in the five years since democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a June 2009 coup d’état. Development aid, embassy resources and foreign affairs programming have all helped set the stage for new legislation conducive to Canadian corporate interests, and a new bilateral free trade agreement provides protection for their investments.