dorset chiapas solidarity

April 11, 2016

More than 60 Mexican and Guatemalan communities reject hydroelectric project

Filed under: Corporations, Dams, water — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:16 pm



More than 60 Mexican and Guatemalan communities reject hydroelectric project



dams usumacinta


Almost 300 people from 60 communities in Chiapas and from the Peten Front Against Dams of Guatemala rejected the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Usumacinta River, which would represent an invasion and therefore an eviction from their lands.

During the Forum of resistances and alternatives of the peoples of the north of Chiapas, attendees reported that work on the binational hydroelectric dam Boca del Cerro has already started with the construction of embankments on both sides of the river.

Boca del Cerro is one of five planned dams in the watershed that divides Mexico from Guatemala. The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) said that the works are planned to last for four years and will have a limit of 55.5 metres maximum height.

Of the 1,799 hectares which will make up the total area of ​​the reservoir, 707 belong to the municipality of Tenosique, Tabasco, and 1,092 to Palenque.

The work will lead to “the disappearance of the community of San Carlos Boca del Cerro, Tenosique, which will become the offices and camp of the company building the dam,” said the representatives.

They are also sure that “the government will not compensate us for our lands, the cost of living will increase and we, the Chol and Tzeltal indigenous peoples of the region, will disappear.”

The representatives of the communities know that the imposition of the dam by the government violates Article 2 of the Constitution and Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which deals with the autonomy of indigenous peoples and their right to consultation.

Given this, they pledged to implement a work plan to stop the construction of the hydroelectric project which will pollute their land and river, besides the effect of the weight, and expressed their solidarity “with the actions of sister organizations struggling to stop mining projects, highways, hydroelectric schemes and to expel from our lands the large companies who want to deprive us of our lands “.

Finally, they demanded justice for the murder of the coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), Berta Caceres, “and respect for the human rights and the lives of those who fight against megaprojects and against dams in Mexico, Central America and other parts of the world.”

With information from La Jornada


Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service





Dam Threatens to Displace 60 Communities in Mexico and Guatemala

Filed under: Displacement, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:29 am



Dam Threatens to Displace 60 Communities in Mexico and Guatemala


chiapas.jpg_1718483346The Boca del Cerro dam threatens communities in Mexico and Guatemala. | Photo: EFE


Communities from both sides of the Mexico-Guatemala border are saying “No” to the mega-project that violates their Indigenous land rights.

More than 60 communities spanning across the southern Mexican state of Chiapas and Guatemala have voiced outrage over a hydroelectric project that threatens to displace them, the Mexican daily La Jornada reported Saturday.

The Boca del Cerro dam is one of five hydroelectric projects planned for the waterway that straddles the border between Mexico and Guatemala. Leaders from community organizations, including groups in Chiapas aligned with the Zapatista army, have spoken out against the dam that is already under construction on the Usumacinta River.

At a forum for resistance and community alternatives in Chiapas on Saturday, community leaders warned that the dam threatens to “immediately disappear the community of San Carlos Boca del Cerro,” La Jornada reported.

“The government will not compensate us for our land, it will increase the cost of living, and it will disappear us as Chol and Tzeltal Indigenous people of the region,” movement representatives added in a statement about their concerns over the impending but unwanted development.

Without the approval of local affected communities, the Boca del Cerro project violates the International Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, known as ILO 169, which enshrined the right of Indigenous peoples to free prior and informed consent for all development on their traditional territories.

Representatives said that their communities will fight to stop the construction of the dam, to halt a possible eviction from their land and to protect their right to self-determination against the whims of corporate interests.

The groups gathered also expressed solidarity with Honduran movements in mourning over the assassination of environmental activist Berta Caceres, renowned for her resistance against unwanted hydroelectric projects on Indigenous land, and reiterated demands for her murderers to be brought to justice.

According to researchers, some 200,000 people have been displaced by the construction of dams across Mexico, while advocacy groups warn that the country’s new water law will only continue to make the situation worse. Many of Mexico’s 4,462 dams registered in official records are in Indigenous and campesino communities.

Resistance against dam projects also takes a heavy toll. Since 2005, over 40 activists fighting to defend rivers have been killed in Mexico, Central America and Colombia, according to GeoComunes.

Among those killed in connection with dam projects in the past decade, at least eight were killed in Mexico and 13 in Guatemala.






April 3, 2016


Filed under: Corporations, Displacement, Mining, water — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:46 pm




The murder and criminalization of those who defend the rivers

Justice for the victims, for COPINH and for the family of Berta Cáceres



by Jerónimo Díaz

Since 2005, at least 40 defenders of rivers against dam projects have been killed in Mexico, Central America and Colombia.

The launch in 2008 of the Mesoamerica Project between these countries has led to a rapid rise in the imposition of dams as a way to privatize water and energy. In response to this, the peoples have seen the need to defend their lands, rivers and territories. However, governments and private companies involved in such projects have criminalized them [the defenders] continuously.

Dams are presented as solutions towards combatting climate change, and they receive important economic and financial support. However, dams are not sustainable projects of clean energy. On the contrary, they are projects of death stained with blood, they destroy nature, they displace people, and they come from and benefit private interests.

The dam projects in Latin America represent a juicy business in both the construction and production stages as well as the privatization of energy (they are linked with mining activities). Several businesses invest in the energy sector in different countries of the continent, for example: the Brazilian Odebrecht or the Spanish Abnegoa, Hidralia Ecoener, and Iberdrola Gas Natural Fenosa, among others.

These projects benefit from the financial support of several European banks (DEG from Germany, FMO of Holland, Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation of Finland, SIFEM from Sweden…) as well as international banks for “development” (World Bank, International Development Bank, Central American Bank for Economic Integration…)

The dam projects represent important economic interests from both the public and private sector. These interests, along with the authoritarianism of governments, have resulted in murders, threats, and the detention of hundreds of campesinos and indigenous peoples in different countries.


Minutes after this article was published, we received notification of the murder of Nelson Garcia, a member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). The messengers of death left 5 children without a father, and mark one more dot on a map that was out of date as soon as it was published.

On 3rd March 2016, the social fighter from Honduras, Berta Cáceres, was brutally murdered because she was opposing the hydroelectric megaproject ‘Agua Zarca’, which the Chinese-financed company Sinohydro Corporation wants to impose on the waters of the Gualcarque River. The waters of this river have been guarded for centuries by the indigenous Lenca people. The Mexican Gustavo Castro was also injured in this attack, and was detained in Honduras as a protected witness, a decision which caused indignation and fear among the social movements and media in which Gustavo, coordinator of ‘Otros Mundos Chiapas’ (Other Worlds Chiapas) participated.

This threats against the defenders of water and life in Central America are serious.

The map published to mark the Global Day of Action in Defence of Rivers on 14th March by the Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defence of Rivers (MAPDER), an organisation which Gustavo belongs to, shows the systemic activity of the messengers of death – hitmen, police and military – when they try to impose hydroelectric projects on a country like Honduras.

With the murder of Santos Alberto Dominguez Benites, in May 2012, a wave of violence was unleashed against members and supporters of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in which Berta Caceres was active. According to the statement from the organization, 24 year-old Santos Alberto, had participated “with energy and courage” in multiple COPINH struggles. He was killed by members of the National Police assigned to San Isidro municipality in the Itibuca department. A year later, in the same region, Tomas Garcia was killed by the army when he was on his way to a roadblock against the Agua Zarca dam. On top of the acts of harassment and intimidation that people in the group received, came the murders of Irene Meza and Moises Duron Sanchez, William Jacobo Rodriguez and Maycol Ariel Rodriguez Garcia, aged 15.  All of them were killed for defending the sacred river. In 2015 Juan Francisco Martinez was murdered, he opposed the hydroelectric project ‘Los Encinos’ on the Chinacla River. His community remains the object of attacks and threats.

The name of Justo Soto appears on the map. He was murdered by hitmen on 21st January, 2014. He was part of the Indigenous Coordinator of Popular Power of Honduras (CINPH). He spent years fighting against the binational dam ‘El Tigre’, on the Goascoran River, on the border with El Salvador. Soto had also participated in the defence of the community ‘Las Minitas’, threatened by the hydroelectric industry. Three weeks after his murder, on 16th February, the coordinator of the Las Minitas Indigenous Council, Pedro Perez, was assassinated.

It is striking that the violence against opponents of the hydroelectric projects, mostly indigenous Lenca, has worsened since 2009, the year in which the government gave de facto approval to the General Water Law, which grants concessions on water resources. The government installed after the coup d’état also issued Decree 233 which repeals the previous decrees which prohibited hydroelectric projects in protected natural areas. So, can the Honduran State guarantee the security of environmental activists, or is it rather complicit in the assaults?


The Mesoamerica Project

The Scale chosen by Geocomunes, the collective that made the map, leaves nothing to chance. When including Mexico, Central America and Colombia, the cartographers covered the area corresponding to the Mesoamerica Project which, according to the box on the map, was launched in 2008 with the objective of increasing the productive capacity of the region.

According to the information gathered by Bruno Acevedo, part of the geography master program at UNAM, in Central America hydroelectric plants generated 12,877 megawatts in 2013, equivalent to 47.3% of all the electric energy produced that year. In Mexico more than 70% of energy comes from fossil fuels, nonetheless, what is generated from the force of rivers is close to 12 thousand megawatts annually. The central issue here is that, according to Acevedo, the hydroelectric potential in the region far exceeds the productive capacity installed. In an interview with SubVersiones, he stated that “in the Central American countries and the Mexican Southeast, 100 thousand megawatts can be produced annually, which explains the planning and implementation of numerous hydroelectric projects and their articulation through the System of Electrical Integration of the countries of Central America (SIEPAC)”

For Acevedo there is no doubt: the SIEPAC is inserting itself in to what used to be called Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) and today is known as the Mesoamerica Project. The aim of the intergovernmental initiative is to integrate the electric network from south-east Mexico all the way to Panama to boost agricultural and industrial production as well as tourism and urbanisation. The author of the thesis entitled ‘The economic and political bases of the new imperialism in Central America’ asserts that:

“The installation of numerous hydroelectric power stations and the articulation of the electrical system are causing changes in territorial dynamics which strengthen the productive activities characterized by the internationalization of profits and the nationalization of conflicts.”

It is precisely the “nationalization of conflicts” that we see in the map, in which Guatemala appears to be the most dangerous country for the defenders of water, life and territory, with a total of 13 assassinations of people opposed to hydroelectric projects. In second place, Honduras, and in third place, Mexico, with the 8 murders that have afflicted the meetings of MAPDER. Followed by Colombia with 7 cases identified and Panama with 4. Although the list is not exhaustive – Geocomunes writes in their Facebook account that “this material is still under construction” and asks to make “an apology for the possible mistakes and oversights”-, the mapping exercise helps us to visualize the violence that results from the imposition of megaprojects in the region, specifically the large hydroelectric dams, almost always at the expense of the indigenous peoples and territories of Mesoamerica.


Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service





Gustavo Castro is free!

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:02 pm



Gustavo Castro is free!


pasted image 0


Today, April 1 – April Fool’s Day – the power of collective action has trumped the fools, killers, and thieves in the Honduran government. Gustavo Castro Soto is back in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, with his family. His return marks the end of 24 days of captivity in Honduras – first in the custody of the government, which subjected him to psychological and physical torture, and then in the haven of the Mexican Embassy, because the Hondurans prohibited his departure. Gustavo was both witness to, and twice-shot victim of, the assault that killed global social movement leader Berta Cáceres in La Esperanza, Honduras, on March 3.

The Honduran government could not stand up to the international pressure from the US Congress, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Vatican, and many other sources of pressure and denunciation. More than anything, the power of the fraudulently elected regime could not trump that of citizens around the world, who held rallies, sent well over a hundred thousand letters, and committed themselves to continue organizing until Gustavo was freed. The government capitulated yesterday and gave Mexican activist and writer permission to return home. However, it mentioned that it may demand his subsequent return to help with the investigation.

This morning, Otros Mundos in Chiapas wrote to us, “What still remains is guaranteeing security for his family and the team.”  We hope you will remain with us, mobilizing the power of people united, until Gustavo; members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) – the organization that Berta founded 23 years ago this week; and all Hondurans have security and democracy.

To use a favourite term of Gustavo’s: ¡Animo! Let’s do it!


Who is Gustavo Castro?

Gustavo Castro Soto is beloved by movements throughout Latin America, and not just for his political organizing prowess and strategic brilliance. His together-we-can-do-this attitude, easy gap-toothed grin, and quick humour draw people into what otherwise could be overwhelming leadership.

Gustavo – like his dear friend Berta Cáceres– is a fomenter of the collective imagination that says that we can re-envision and build just and humane political, economic, and social systems, that we are not condemned to live in the worlds we currently have.

The name Gustavo chose for his current organization – Otros Mundos (Other Worlds) – combines the World Social Forum slogan that “Another world is possible” with the Zapatista slogan that “In this world fit many worlds.”

Under Gustavo’s guidance, Otros Mundos – which is also Friends of the Earth Mexico – has become a focal point for environmental defence throughout Mexico and Mesoamerica. The group organizes impacted peoples and their allies for campaigns around water, energy, foreign debt, and climate crisis, amongst other issues. It also connects and mobilizes activists for effective action toward economic and environmental alternatives.

Gustavo is an electric light switch – solar electric – sparking and connecting currents across the region. He has founded and coordinated many Mexican and transnational social movements to build the power of united people. In addition to Otros Mundos, Gustavo co-founded Other Worlds; the Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4); the Latin American Network against Dams and in Defence of Rivers, Waters, and Communities (REDLAR); the Mexico-based Movement of Those Impacted by Dams and Defending the Rivers (MAPDER); the Mexican Network of Those Impacted by Dams (REMA); the Convergence of Movements of Peoples of the Americas (COMPA); the Network of Alternative Sustainable Family Networks (RESISTE); and the Popular School for Energy and Water, where communities throughout Southern Mexico learn about environmental alternatives; among others.

In times past, he founded and coordinated the Institute for Economic and Political Research for Community Action (CIEPAC) and, together with Berta, the Yes to Life, No to IFIs [international financial institutions] campaign. He served on the coordinating committee of the World Bank Boycott and the board of the Centre for Economic Justice, amongst many other affiliations.

On the refrigerator in Gustavo’s home hangs a drawing of him with a computer substituting for his head. A sociologist, he pounds out analyses of neoliberalism, of the devastating impacts of dams and mining on the earth and people, and of the need for a profound transformation.

With his high-speed brain, uncontrollable grey curls, frumpy clothing, coffee, and cigarettes, Gustavo is the archetypal Latin American Bohemian intellectual. Yet he doesn’t spend his days in discussion with a left academic elite, but rather with campesinos/as and indigenous peoples in mountains and villages. Gustavo’s focus has been on popular education, ensuring that those directly impacted by the problems have the information and understanding they need to be effective change agents. He has strongly encouraged the academy to become more socially engaged and useful.

Another drawing of him could just as accurately show a heart on top of his neck. He constantly welcomes friends to share a meal or stay for a week in his home, where he is tightly surrounded by the partner and four children he adores. He has friends and fans throughout the world, of whom an especially close one was Berta.

Motivated by compassion, Gustavo worked for years with the most resource-poor and exploited indigenous and campesino people of southern Mexico and Guatemala, seeking both economic and social justice and an end to state-sponsored violence against them. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Gustavo worked for years in refugee camps with Guatemalans who had crossed into Mexico seeking refuge from the war. Throughout the mid- and late-1990s, Gustavo accompanied Mexican indigenous communities who were harmed by the state violence that surged in response to the Zapatista uprising. He was a key part of the peace negotiations between the Zapatistas and the government, through Bishop Samuel Ruiz’s National Commission for Mediation (CONAIE), which launched in 1994.

From his imprisonment in Honduras, Gustavo published on March 15 “Words to the Honduran people.” In it, he said:

My wounds hurt me terribly, although they are healing. But my greater pain is for my dear Honduran people, who don’t deserve this; none of us do. We’ve always admired this noble, brave people who are fighting for a dignified life for all, without distinction and with justice. That was Berta´s struggle.

I feel love for this beautiful country, its landscapes, its nature, and especially its people. We should not let murders cloud our hope or landscapes.

Berta meant a lot to me, as much as she meant to you. Berta was an exceptional woman who fought for a better Honduras – more dignified, more just. Her spirit grows in the heart of the Honduran people, because we didn’t bury her, but sowed her so that she can grow hope for us.

Soon there will be justice.



March 29, 2016

Sole witness to Berta Cáceres murder fears he might be framed, lawyer says

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:43 pm



Sole witness to Berta Cáceres murder fears he might be framed, lawyer says

Attorney for Gustavo Castro Soto calls on Mexican government to intervene and secure client’s release from Honduras amid growing concern for his safety




Nina Lakhani in San Cristóbal de las Casas

The lawyer representing the only witness to the murder of the environmental activist Berta Cáceres is appealing to the Mexican government to help secure his release amid mounting concern he could be framed for the killing.

Gustavo Castro Soto, coordinator of Friends of the Earth Mexico and director of the Chiapas-based NGO Otros Mundos, was wounded during the attack in which Cáceres – last year’s winner of the Goldman environmental prize – was murdered.

Cáceres, a longtime friend and colleague, died in Castro’s arms just before midnight on 2 March at her home in La Esperanza, north-west Honduras.

Castro, who only survived by playing dead, was subsequently questioned for 48 hours before investigators said he was free to return to Mexico.

But on 6 March, police stopped him boarding his flight after investigators obtained a court order requiring the activist remain in Honduras to further assist investigators. The order initially prevented his departure for 30 hours but was later extended to a month.

Since then, Castro, who is married with four children, has stayed at the residence of the Mexican ambassador in the capital Tegucigalpa for his own protection. He has not been required to give further assistance to investigators, apart from to hand in his shoes.

In an interview with the Guardian, his lawyer Miguel Ángel de los Santos said he was concerned for Castro’s safety and called on Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto to intervene.

“There is a lot of fear because in Honduras there is total insecurity and impunity – and blaming someone close to Berta would be the easiest and most convenient thing to do,” he said. “We need action at the highest diplomatic level to get Gustavo home.”

He added: “Under Honduran law, witnesses and victims of crimes cannot be prevented from leaving the country. Gustavo’s detention is totally illegal and arbitrary.”

Castro arrived in Honduras on 1 March to give a series of workshops to Cáceres’s organisation, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (Copinh), about alternative energy. He had worked for years with Copinh, which Cáceres cofounded 22 years ago to defend indigenous Lenca community territory.

According to the chronology recounted by Castro to De los Santos, Cáceres invited him to stay with her on 2 March so the pair could continue working that evening. They returned to the house around 7.30pm, ate dinner, and then worked on the patio until around 9.45pm, when they both retired to their rooms.

At around 11.45pm, Castro, who was working on his laptop in bed, heard noises coming from outside. He heard Cáceres shouting “Who’s there?” – and seconds later, the kitchen door was kicked in.

One assailant with a pistol entered Castro’s room, where the Mexican activist pleaded for calm.

Castro heard three shots from Cáceres’ room; then the gunman opened fire. Two bullets grazed his left ear and left hand, and Castro dropped to the ground, where he played dead.

The assailants fled immediately and Castro rushed to Cáceres, who was bleeding profusely from bullet wounds to her heart, left arm and stomach. Castro called for help, but she died almost immediately, he said.

Supporters of the two activists have raised serious concerns over the impartiality of the investigation and the detention of Castro. According to De los Santos, a bilateral treaty between Honduras and Mexico means Castro could still collaborate with investigators from his home in San Cristóbal.

But the Honduran government has rejected calls for an independent investigation overseen by international experts.

Three legal cases, including an attempt to secure a writ of habeas corpus, have been launched in Honduras, but they will almost inevitably be delayed by the Easter holiday.

At least 109 people were killed in Honduras between 2010 and 2015 for opposing infrastructure and logging projects, making it the most dangerous country in the world for environmental defenders, according to the NGO Global Witness.



March 23, 2016

Gustavo Castro Soto and the rigged investigation into Berta Cáceres’ assassination

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:03 am



Gustavo Castro Soto and the rigged investigation into Berta Cáceres’ assassination 

By Beverly Bell


Gustavo Castro Soto, imperilled in Honduras. Photo by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, 2014.

The sole eyewitness to Honduran social movement leader Berta Cáceres’ assassination on March 3, 2016 has gone from being wounded victim to, effectively, political prisoner.

Now Gustavo Castro Soto may also be framed as the murderer of his long-time friend.

Both the Mexican Ambassador, Dolores Jiménez, and Castro himself are worried that he will be charged by the government for the killing, they told the National Commission of Human Rights of Honduras on March 16.

A writer and organizer for environmental and economic justice, Castro has been forbidden by local authorities from leaving the country to return to his native Mexico until April 6, at least.  Since being released from several days in Honduran government custody, he has been forced to take refuge in the Mexican Embassy in Tegucigalpa. The protection of the Mexican Embassy “does not mean that my life is no longer in danger,” Castro wrote to some friends and colleagues on March 4. As long as he is on Honduran soil, he remains in peril. Ambassador Jiménez called the risk he is running “an objective fact.”

Castro – who is able to identify Cáceres’ killer – is an impediment to the plan that the Honduran government is clearly advancing, which is to pin the murder on members of the group which Cáceres founded and ran, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH). It could help the strategy of the fraudulently elected regime to dispense with Castro by charging and arresting him.

The government may also charge COPINH members with the killing of their leader, in the hopes of eliminating them from the body politic. Authorities tried to incriminate three of them just after the murder. Prominent COPINH organizer Aureliano Molina was imprisoned for two days on suspicion of a “crime of passion,” though he was two hours away from La Esperanza on the night of March 3. Two other COPINH leaders, Tomas Gómez and Sotero Echeverria, were interrogated for days, during which time the government denied their request for accompaniment by their lawyers. On March 15, Echeverria was threatened with arrest.

The Real Assassins

Cáceres was a tireless organizer for accountable government, participatory democracy, indigenous peoples and their territories, human rights, and women’s and LGBTQ rights.  For many years, she was subject to threats, attempted violent attacks, legal prosecution for being a “continual danger to the nation,” and other persecution.

Just during the three-month period prior to Cáceres’ murder, human rights accompaniers tracked 11 threats and attempted assaults by national and local government officials, police, soldiers, employees of the Agua Zarca dam project which Cáceres and others were fighting, and unidentified men. In addition to that litany within 10 days before Cáceres’ death, Agua Zarca released two incendiary public email announcements. Their message lines read “THE ACTS VIOLENT” and “FALSEHOODS OF BERTA CACERES  – COPINH.”

Those who have witnessed the price Cáceres has paid for her decades of advocacy have no doubt who is culpable in her murder. Her four grown children and mother stated publicly on March 5, “We hold DESA [the company behind the dam], the international financial organizations backing the project (the Netherlands Development Finance Company [or] FMO, Finnfund [the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation], the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, Ficohsa Bank)… responsible for the …constant death threats against Berta, us, and COPINH. We hold the Honduran state responsible for obstructing Berta’s protection and for contributing to her persecution, criminalization and murder.”

Castro’s Ordeal

Many elements of the government’s so-called collection of evidence from Castro have been irregular at best, and illegal at worst.

Beyond being inconvenient for knowing too much, the eyewitness falls into the repressive government’s category of public enemy. Like Cáceres, Castro has been a vocal opponent of dam construction on indigenous rivers, as well as of the broad powers given transnational corporations and the local elite to plunder democracy and the riches of nature. Castro is coordinator of the group Otros Mundos/Friends of the Earth Mexico. He has cofounded, and sits on the governing body of, many anti-mining and anti-damming networks, as well as the US-based organization Other Worlds. In his interrogation, the public prosecutor has asked Castro about his environmental organizing and history of activism.

Following the killing in Cáceres’ home in the town of La Esperanza, Castro was detained for days in the local public prosecutor’s office for interrogation. On March 5, having been told the questioning was complete, he was transported by the Mexican ambassador and consul to the airport in Tegucigalpa so that he could return to his homeland. As he approached the migration checkpoint, Castro was set upon by multiple Honduran police, who attempted to grab him. The Mexican ambassador stopped them.

The government has since forbidden Castro from leaving Honduras for 30 days, or until April 6. When Castro appealed the order, the judge in the case ruled against it, even while admitting that there is no legal provision for a 30-day restraint for witnesses or victims.

The judge also suspended the license of Castro’s lawyer, Ivania Galeano, for 15 days. The stated reason was that Galeano had requested a copy of Castro’s file which, according to Honduran law, was her right.

Even in the Mexican Embassy, almost three weeks after the killing, Castro continues to be interrogated by the Honduran prosecutor.

Hearing No Protest from the US, Honduran Government Ramps Up Repression

The US State Department put out a brief, generic statement of condolence the day after Cáceres was assassinated. At the same time, according to email communications, the State Department confirmed that it is cooperating with the Honduran government in the investigation, with various US agencies actively participating in it.

The Obama Administration has failed to raise questions about the Honduran government’s role in the murder, given its persistent, well-documented targeting of Cáceres over the years, and its transparent attempts at a cover-up by fingering Cáceres’ close colleagues. US military assistance to the Honduran government continues to flow.

On March 17, 62 US Congressional representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, calling for an independent investigation of the assassination and urging the Secretary to immediately stop US security funding pending a review. Rep. Hank Johnson, co-sponsor of the letter along with Rep. Keith Ellison, said, “It’s time for our government to leverage security assistance and multilateral loans so as to put real and lasting pressure on the Honduran government to protect its activists and pursue those responsible for these hideous crimes.”

Meanwhile, the silence from the administration has given the Honduran government a green light for repression.

That repression was aggressively launched on March 15. On that single day, Honduran soldiers and police coordinated assaults against 10 activists from four geographic regions and three separate organizations. Nelson García, a COPINH leader, was assassinated during a violent government eviction of the community of Rio Chiquito. As stated above, police threatened Sotero Echeverria, member of the COPINH coordinating committee, with arrest. In the capitol, three hit men shot and wounded Christian Mauricio Alegría, who works with the global peasant movement La Via Campesina. His uncle, Rafael Alegría, is a deputy in the national parliament from the opposition Libre Party, and is former secretary general of La Via Campesina. José Flores, head of the United Movement of the Peasants of the Aguan (MUCA), was temporarily arrested along with family members in the town of Tocoa.

The message was clear to all. No matter where one is or with whom one works, activists are not safe in Honduras.

From the Mexican Embassy on March 15, Castro sent out a note of condolence and support to the Honduran people. He closed the missive this way: “Soon there will be justice.”
Please take action here to call for safety for Gustavo Castro and members of COPINH, as well as for a fair, internationally led investigation into Berta Cáceres’ killing.


Copyleft Beverly Bell. You may reprint this article in whole or in part. Please credit any text or original research you use to Beverly Bell, Other Worlds.



March 22, 2016

Stop the Killings: Friends of the Earth petition on Honduras

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:51 am



Stop the bloodshed in Honduras



In the space of 2 weeks, 4 activists have been shot. 2 are dead and 1 is currently in grave danger.

  • Berta Cáceres, an indigenous environmental activist opposing a mega-dam project in Honduras, was shot dead in her home on 2 March.
  • Gustavo Castro, director of Friends of the Earth Mexico and sole witness to Berta’s murder, was wounded in the same attack. Gustavo is being prevented from leaving Honduras. He is in grave danger.
  • On 15 March Nelson García, an activist in COPINH, the same indigenous organisation as Berta, was shot dead in his home.
  • On the same day Mauricio Alegría, from the peasant organisation Via Campesina, was shot near his office. He survived and was rushed to hospital.

It’s time for the Honduran government to protect its citizens and those within its borders. They need to know the world is watching.

Ask the Honduran government to end the killings


Sign Here



March 19, 2016

Letter from Gustavo Castro to the Honduran People

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:40 am



Letter from Gustavo Castro to the Honduran People


gus carta

Tegucigalpa, Honduras – March 15, 2016


I don’t know if these words will reach you one day.

I came to Honduras with hope and anticipation. It had been many years since I visited, but I am thankful to Berta for inviting me. She and her family have been deepest friends for so many years. In spite of all I have gone through, I do not regret coming, nor being chosen by fate to be able to say goodbye to my dear friend.

My wounds hurt greatly even as they heal into scars, but what hurts me more is the pain of the beloved Honduran people who do not deserve this fate; none of us deserve it. We have always admired this noble people so full of courage, who struggle so that all may have a life of dignity, where everyone belongs without exception and in justice. This was Berta’s struggle.

Just as I feel the love of the Honduran people for Mexico, this is the love that I feel for this beautiful country, for its landscapes, its natural areas and above all, for its people, for their pride as Catrachos. We cannot allow murder to cloud our hopes nor plagues darken the countryside.

When I come across migrants from this land in Mexico, I can’t resist approaching them to offer my greeting and to recognize their courage, because I know the journey that they must make, and the pain of leaving their homeland to seek a new path in life, one of hope and of finding something better. I tell myself and I tell them not to go, but to return, that the journey is difficult and our people and our land need us. And I say goodbye with a simple word that Berta always said to me: “Cheke!”

Our land is generous, our blood is the same blood; these are the Mesoamerican bonds that will always unite us and invite us to struggle, as Berta did, for a better and more dignified life for all.

As I wait now to be reunited with my people, many Hondurans have sent me their solidarity and their affectionate greetings. I thank you all so, so much. Berta meant so much to me and to all of you. Berta was an exceptional woman who fought for a better, more dignified and just Honduras for all. Her spirit grows in the heart of the Honduran people, because we have not buried her: we have sown her in the earth so that from La Esperanza, hope itself may grow.

There should be no doubt that I have supported all the legal processes asked of me by the authorities as soon as they requested them, over ten in total, and I will continue to do so for justice to be served. Although the authorities told me on multiple occasions that I could go, including providing a helicopter to leave La Esperanza for Tegucigalpa, at the last moment they asked me to stay for new legal processes, and I always accepted. At this time, I have done everything that is in my capacity. I have a life; I have a family. I will never stop supporting once in Mexico and will always be willing to help you uncover the truth. For that purpose, there is a Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the United States of Mexico and the Republic of Honduras.


From Mexico, I will continue to bear the historic responsibility that I have to the Honduran people, to Berta and her family, and with the COPINH. For the rest of my life, I will carry wounds etched onto my body that will never allow me to forget this commitment.

I am grateful to the COPINH for having received me. They are a beautiful and unassuming people, worthy of their ancestors, worthy of these amazing lands; they are a people with an unflagging spirit of struggle to preserve their identity and place of origin, with an admirable respect for nature and love of Honduras. And I also admire and am very grateful to them for this. They are also what the world knows and respects about Honduras, they are hope, they are the seed where the spirit of Lempira will germinate with greater strength, that of the ancestral peoples, of the Honduran people. They have been an example and inspiration to many throughout the world, just as they have been for the Honduran people. All of the social, rural, indigenous and Garifuna organizations are likewise an example of dignity, who struggle for a better country. I am so grateful to all of them for such solidarity.

I am grateful to my ambassador and the Consul for all of their invaluable support, for having received me with open and protective arms in order to face this very difficult situation.  I am grateful for all of the Honduran and international solidarity, for your care and affection for Berta, and for your generous demonstration of concern, and your thousands of letters, signatures, and messages that I can never repay.

Soon, there will be justice.

Gustavo Castro Soto


Original: Palabras de Gustavo Castro al pueblo de Honduras




March 14, 2016

Organizations of Chiapas Denounce the Criminalization and Death of Indigenous Compañeros and Environmental Activists

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:16 pm



Organizations of Chiapas Denounce the Criminalization and Death of Indigenous Compañeros and Environmental Activists




Original peoples of the northern region of Chiapas demand justice and liberty for Gustavo Castro detained in Honduras

March 12, 2016

To Juan Orlando Hernandez, President of Honduras

To the Consulates of Honduras in Tapachula and Comitan, Chiapas

To Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico

To the national and international press

To the organization of the United Nations

To the national and international defenders of human rights

To all of the solidarity of the world


Communities of indigeous Tsostil, Tseltal, and Ch’ol peoples of the northern region of Chiapas, Mexico, in a regional assembly in the Ejido of La Illusión, Municipality of Simojovel de Allende, Chiapas, organized by the Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel, analyzed the critical situation of our environmentalist and patriotic compañero Gustavo Castro Soto, in this situation we protest the criminalization and death of indigenous compañeros and environmental activists. The cowardly assassination of the indigenous Lenca compañera Berta Cáceres and the attempted assassination of our environmentalist Mexican brother Gustavo Castro Soto is not a coincidence and much less an isolated act; this cowardly act is the practice of extermination that has been imposed by international capital with the complacency of national governments.

The justice system of the country of Honduras should continue the line of investigation into the company from China that has pressured the indigenous compañerxs of COPINH in order to take their land and flood it with the hydroelectric dam, which is the motive for the assassination of Berta Cáceres and of the attempted assassination of compañero Gustavo Castro.

We solicit and demand the immediate transfer to Mexico of environmental compañero Gustavo Castro Soto. The compañero is one of the victims of the cowardly assassination of the indigenous compañera Berta Cáceres that occurred on Thursday, 3rd March in the early morning, in the town of La Esperanza in Honduras. It is arbitrary to keep Gustavo Castro Soto for 30 more days in that country on the order of the Attorney General of Honduras.

We ask for the security of Gustavo Castro during the entire process of expanding his witness statement and during his stay in the embassy of Mexico in Tegucigalpa. We demand the government of Honduras comply with the promise to lift the migratory alert that they put on Gustavo Castro, so that he can immediately leave Honduras ending this last judicial process required without any other action that would prevent his exit.

We hold the two governments of Mexico and Honduras responsible for his security, physical and psychological integrity. We demand the intervention at the highest level of the two governments so he can immediately leave Honduras.



Pueblos originarios de la región norte de Chiapas México
Organización sociedad Civil de las Abejas de Acteal
Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel
Parroquia San Juan Bautista El Bosque
Parroquia San Juan Dieguito de San Cristóbal
Parroquia Santa Catarina Pantelho
Consejo Estatal de Nuevo Constituyente de Chiapas
Luz y Fuerza del Pueblo de Huitiupán
Centro de Derechos Humanos Oralia Morales de Frontera Comalapa
Luz y Fuerza de Chiapas

Signed in the presence of:

Observadores Nacionales e Internacionales del Movimiento Sueco por la Reconciliación (Swefor), Integrantes del Reconocimiento Jtatik Samuel Jk’anan Lum: Centro de Derechos humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A.C (Frayba), Servicio Internacional para la Paz (Sipaz), Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y Reconciliación comunitaria A.C.(Coreco), Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas A.C (Desmi), Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz A.C. (Serapaz), Instituto de Estudios e Investigación Intercultural A.C. (Inesin), Coordinación de mujeres (Codimuj) y Vicaria de Justicia y Paz de la Diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas


Translated by Palabras Rebeldes



March 11, 2016

Honduran activist (Berta Caceres) murdered in the presence of Mexican activist (Gustavo Castro)

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, sipaz — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:59 pm



Honduran activist (Berta Caceres) murdered in the presence of Mexican activist (Gustavo Castro)


The ecologist Berta Caceres, well-known activist from Honduras, was murdered on the morning of March 3 in La Esperanza in the west of the country. Berta Caceres was leader of the Lenca indigenous community, coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras – COPINH) and a prominent defender of human rights. According to local sources, the killers forced entrance to her home to commit the crime. In April 2015, Berta won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the highest international recognition for environmental activists, for her struggle against a hydroelectric dam.

The Mexican environmental defender, Gustavo Castro Soto, who was wounded but survived, was present at the moment of the murder, which made him the most important witness of the crime. On Sunday, March 6, at 5:00 am, Gustavo Castro was intercepted at the migration control at Tegucigalpa International Airport, Honduras, by the Honduran authorities when he was attempting to board a return flight to Mexico. The coordinator of Other Worlds A.C./Friends of the Earth remains in Honduras since then and remains at risk. The Mexican ambassador and consul had to take him in an official car to return him to the embassy. There is little clarity about the status of Castro, and it is unknown on what basis he is detained by the Honduran authorities and what procedures will be followed.

Various Central American and Mexican human rights organizations have launched an international campaign to protect the life and security of the ecologist leader. They claim that, “the Honduran authorities intend to criminalize members of […] COPINH in connection with this brutal murder of Berta. This could put the lives of members of COPINH in danger and it could also be used to distort the investigation, which should be totally impartial, seeking the material and intellectual authors of this crime.” In press statements, leaders of Other Worlds, Chiapas, said that their colleague “has spent more than two days without sleep, is tired, has been taken from place to place by the Honduran authorities to make statements again and again.” The Honduran authorities “are looking for some type of contradiction, some type of declaration with the aim of blaming […] COPINH”, they stressed.



Take action now to keep Gustavo Castro safe and demand a fair and independent international investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres.

Filed under: Human rights, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:38 pm



Take action now to keep Gustavo Castro safe and demand a fair and independent international investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres.

March 10, 2016


Dear Concerned Community,

Environmental and economic justice leader Gustavo Castro Soto is the sole witness of the March 2nd assassination of internationally renowned social movement leader Berta Cáceres. He was shot twice. He is being forcibly held in Honduras, refused the right to return to his home country of Mexico until April 7th. In an act of intimidation, his lawyer has been unjustly suspended for 15 days for requesting a copy of his file.

Gustavo is in grave danger in the custody of the Honduran government, as what he witnessed is an impediment to the government’s attempts to pin Berta’s murder on Council of Popular Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the group Berta led.

Please help us keep Gustavo safe and support an independent international investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres.

  1. Take action for Gustavo Castro’s safety.

Gustavo wrote in a recent letter: “The death squads know that I didn’t die, and I am sure they are prepared to accomplish their task… My life is still in danger.”

Please sign the letter from Otros Mundos and Mesoamerican Movement Against the Extractive Mining Model (M4), the groups Gustavo coordinates, demanding that the Mexican government keep Gustavo safe and ensure his immediate return to Mexico.

  1. Take action to ensure an independently-monitored investigation into Berta’s death and security for COPINH.

COPINH denounces the Honduran state’s manipulation of the investigation into the murder of Berta. Along with Berta’s family, COPINH demands a monitored and transparent international investigation by independent and impartial experts – critical to ensuring that the perpetrators and architects of Berta’s murder be brought to justice. They further demand security for all members of COPINH and change in US policy toward Honduras to stop the human rights crisis.

In the US: Call your representatives now to help ensure a strong transparent and impartial investigation.

In the UK: Contact the Embassy of Honduras in London asking that Gustavo Castro Soto be released and guaranteed a safe return to Mexico.

Address: 4th Floor, 136 Baker Street, London W1U 6UD

Phone: 020 7486 4880

Fax: 020 7486 4550

Every letter, email, phone call or mention in social networks is important to ensure Gustavo’s safety, a transparent investigation into Berta’s assassination, and support the ongoing struggles of Honduran defenders of justice and human rights.

COPINH and Berta’s family are in need of donations for their work in this crisis. Please make a tax-deductible donation via Rights Action today. Every penny will go straight to Honduras.

In solidarity,

Other Worlds



March 9, 2016

Berta Cáceres murder: Honduras blocks sole witness from leaving cou

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:59 pm



Berta Cáceres murder: Honduras blocks sole witness from leaving country

  • Mexican Gustavo Castro, who was wounded in attack, stopped at airport
  • Castro says crime scene was altered and activist allies treated as suspects



 Marchers carry posters of murdered indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres during an International Women’s Day demonstration in Tegucigalpa on Tuesday. Photograph: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

David Agren in Mexico City

Officials in Honduras have refused to allow the only witness to the murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres to leave the country and return to his native Mexico.

Gustavo Castro Soto, coordinator of Friends of the Earth Mexico and director of the NGO Otros Mundos, was shot twice during the attack on Cáceres on Thursday morning, and only survived by playing dead.

Officials are treating him as a protected witness, according to the Associated Press, but activists say that the Honduran attorney general’s office has issued a 30-day immigration alert against him, preventing him from leaving the country.

In a statement on Tuesday, Otros Mundos and Friends of the Earth Mexico said the order was “unjust and unnecessary” as Castro has “provided sufficient information to prosecutors to clarify the facts of the case [and] has not been informed what procedures remain outstanding”.

“Gustavo Castro is not being treated as a victim of an assassination attempt, instead his life is being put at risk, along with his right to free movement.” The statement said that when Castro attempted to catch a flight out of the country on Sunday, he was stopped at the immigration desk of the Tegucigalpa airport and refused permission to proceed to his gate.

President Juan Orlando Hernández has said the investigation into the attack was proceeding with US assistance. The Honduras prosecutor’s office did not respond to an interview request.

Cáceres, who won the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, was murdered by unknown assailants on 3 March in the western Honduras town of La Esperanza, where she led a movement to stop a dam being built without consulting the indigenous Lenca population.

Authorities say she was shot four times, though they initially attributed the attack to a robbery – an explanation rejected by Cáceres’s friends and family, who say she endured death threats from landowners, police and the army.

Cáceres’s nephew, Silvio Carrillo, said that Soto was not allowed to sleep or change out of his bloodied clothes after the attack. “The treatment [Castro] received for three days was tantamount to abuse,” he said.

In an open letter published by Honduran newspapers, Castro alleged the crime scene was altered, while he was only offered medical attention three days after the attack.

“I did not hear cars arriving or leaving when the murder was committed; the crime scene was modified and altered,” Castro wrote. “They sent the majority of the people from Copinh” – the organisation Cáceres founded in 1993 – “to give statements and not the suspects.”

Castro added that investigators asked him to review pictures to identify possible suspects, “But I regret that all the videos and photographs were from Copinh marches.”




March 7, 2016

Gustavo Castro is being prevented from leaving Honduras

Filed under: Human rights, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:42 am




Gustavo Castro is being prevented from leaving Honduras; sign petition



By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Mexico City

Today, the environmental organization Otros Mundos A.C./ Friends of the Earth Mexico reported that Honduras authorities impeded Gustavo Castro Soto from leaving the country. Castro Soto is the Mexican who was injured in the assassination of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres.

This Sunday at 5 o’clock in the morning, Honduran authorities intercepted Castro at the immigration bridge of the International Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, when he was attempting to board the plane that would take him back to Mexico, the organization said in a communiqué.

“We communicate that Gustavo Castro Soto, coordinator of Otros Mundos A.C./Friends of the Earth Mexico, is still in Honduras and his personal security continues to be at risk,” the statement added.

The group reported that Mexican diplomats had to protect Castro in the official car to take him back to the Embassy.

“We continue without knowing clearly what his status is or on what basis the Honduran authorities continue to hold him and what proceedings will follow,” the communiqué said.

Unknown subjects murdered Cáceres, a 43-year old prestigious Honduran indigenous and environmental leader, last Thursday, March 3 in her home, the authorities said.

A teacher by profession, Berta Cáceres was known for her fight to stop hydroelectric and mining projects on the lands of the ethnic groups.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Click on the English link below to urge Gustavo Castro Soto’s immediate protection




Chiapas activist witnessed Berta Cáceres murder



By: Isaín Mandujano

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Mexican activist Gustavo Castro Soto [1] witnessed the murder this morning of the indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres, an attack perpetrated in her house located in the El Líbano neighbourhood of La Esperanza, in Intibucá, Honduras.

Castro Soto, a sociologist by profession, was injured during the attack on the Lenca leader and coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Copinh).

The police confirmed that Soto is a protected witness, and he could contribute elements that will permit the clarification of Cáceres’ murder, the Honduran newspaper La Prensa emphasized this afternoon.

Human rights defenders and members of the organization Otros Mundos, AC protested this afternoon in this Chiapas city because of the murder of Berta Cáceres; they also demanded assurances of security and protection for the Chiapas activist and environmentalist Gustavo Castro, who was imparting capacity-building workshops in Honduras.

Members of the organization Otros Mundos AC, founded by Castro Soto, demonstrated publicly together with other activists to express their anger over the murder of Berta Cáceres, and at the same time said that they are worried about the Chiapas activist’s physical condition.

The protesters confirmed that: “this morning armed individuals violently entered the house and murdered Berta Cáceres, an attack in which Gustavo Castro was injured. He survived the attack and thus became an actor key to the investigations that will clarify the environmentalist’s murder.

“Berta as well as Gustavo are two people recognized for social and environmental struggle on an international level, which shows the coherence of their lives dedicated to the defence of the rights of indigenous and campesino peoples, who they have accompanied in their resistance processes so that in a peaceful and organized manner, they might avoid the neoliberal project of the regional governments that appropriate Mesoamerican territory through their deadly extractive projects,” friends and compañeros of both activists pointed out in Chiapas.

Therefore, they asked the Honduras government for its prompt attention, intervention and follow up “to this lamentable and most grave event in the life of the Honduran people. We ask you to provide all possible legal and political measures to guarantee immediate protection to our compañero Gustavo Castro so that, once he has given his statement to the Honduran State, he can return to Mexico without problems.”

They also indicated that at this time it’s fundamental to guarantee protection and the life of Gustavo Castro because of the relevant role he acquired in this lamentable murder.

At the same time, they demanded that the security of all the members of the General Coordinator of the Copinh be guaranteed.

Members of the Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4), the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (Rema) and Otros Mundos Chiapas organizations participated in the protest.

[The article continues with a list of other Latin American organizations that added their names to the demand.]

[1] Gustavo was formerly one of the founders of Ciepac (the Center for Economic and Political Investigations for Community Action) in Chiapas, an NGO that gave talks to Chiapas Support Committee delegations to Chiapas. The Ciepac went out of business about 5 years ago. The Chiapas Support Committee sponsored Gustavo Castro when he spoke at La Peña in 2005.


Originally Published in Spanish by

Friday, March 3, 2016

En español:

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



March 5, 2016

Urgent Action: We urge immediate protection for Gustavo Castro, injured during the assassination of Berta Cáceres

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:40 am



Urgent Action: We urge immediate protection for Gustavo Castro, injured during the assassination of Berta Cáceres



Embassy of Honduras in Mexico
Mexican Consulate in Honduras
Inter American Commission on Human Rights

Early this morning, March 3, 2016, armed individuals forcibly entered and assassinated Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, founder of COPINH, in her home in La Esperanza, department of Intibucá in southwestern Honduras.

Our friend and colleague Gustavo Castro Soto was injured during the attack. Gustavo is Mexican and a member of the organization Otros Mundos Chiapas/Friends of the Earth-Mexico, the Mexican Network of Mining-Affected Peoples and the Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4). Gustavo survived the attack and has become a key actor in the investigation into the murder of our friend Berta.

Berta and Gustavo are two people known for their role in international social and environmental struggles, evidence of their dedication to defending the rights of Indigenous and campesino peoples, who have accompanied processes of organized and peaceful resistance to prevent territories within Mesoamerica from being appropriated by regional governments at the service of the neoliberal project being implemented through extractivist projects, considered projects of death.

In the context of the terrible assassination of the much loved Berta Cáceres, we call on the government of Honduras to pay immediate attention, to intervene, and to follow up on this devastating moment for the Honduran people. We also call for all legal and political measures possible to guarantee the immediate protection of our friend and colleague Gustavo Castro so that, once he has given his testimony to the Honduran state, he can safely return to Mexico.

Right now, it is fundamentally important to guarantee the life of our colleague Gustavo Castro given the risk he faces a key witness to this horrible assassination.

The security of all of the members of the Coordinating Group of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) must also be guaranteed.


Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model
Mexican Network of Mining-Affected Peoples
Otros Mundos Chiapas





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