News Release

Cáceres Murdered — Honduran Activist who Stood up to Clinton-Backed Coup Regime

Berta_Caceres_otu_imgThe Guardian reports today: “Berta Cáceres, the Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner, has been murdered, barely a week after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project.”

GREG GRANDIN, grandin at nyu.edu, @greggrandin
Author of Kissinger’s Shadow, Grandin just wrote the piece “The Clinton-Backed Honduran Regime Is Picking Off Indigenous Leaders.” For background, see: “Hillary Clinton Admits Role in Honduran Coup Aftermath,” and “Hillary Clinton’s Emails and the Honduras Coup.”

BEVERLY BELL, bev.otherworlds at gmail.com, @beverly__bell
Bell appeared on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release last April: titled “Cáceres, Threatened Honduran, Wins Biggest Enviro Award.” As noted on that news release, “For 15 years, Bell has been a close collaborator with Cáceres’ and the group she coordinates, the National Council of Indigenous Organizations of Honduras.” Bell has repeatedly warned that Cáceres and other indigenous activists’ lives were in danger because of their work.

She said then: “Berta likes to say that Honduras is known only for having been a Contra base and for Hurricane Mitch. But that country also hosts a powerful social movement which has taken on unaccountable government, multinational corporations and oligarchy run amok, and U.S. military domination…”

Bell said today that, more than anything, this is “about continued U.S. and Honduran government support for land and river grabs and multinational investment.”

School of the Americas Watch released a statement titled: “Human Rights Organizations Demand an Investigation of the Circumstances Surrounding the Assassination of Berta Cáceres, the General Coordinator of COPINH.” It says: “At approximately midnight last night, the General Coordinator of COPINH, Berta Caceres was assassinated in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibuca. At least two individuals broke down the door of the house where Berta was staying for the evening in the Residencial La Líbano, and shot and killed her. COPINH is urgently responding to this tragic situation.

“Berta Cáceres is one of the leading indigenous activists in Honduras. She spent her life fighting in defense of indigenous rights, particularly to land and natural resources. …”Since the 2009 military coup that was carried out by graduates of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, Honduras has witnessed an explosive growth in environmentally destructive megaprojects that would displace indigenous communities. Almost 30 percent of the country’s land was earmarked for mining concessions, creating a demand for cheap energy to power future mining operations. To meet this need, the government approved hundreds of dam projects around the country, privatizing rivers, land, and uprooting communities. Repression of social movements and targeted assassinations are rampant. Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate. Honduran human rights organizations report there have been over 10,000 human rights violations by state security forces and impunity is the norm — most murders go unpunished. The Associated Press has repeatedly exposed ties between the Honduran police and death squads, while U.S. military training and aid for the Honduran security forces continues.”