dorset chiapas solidarity

April 3, 2016

The Dammed of the Earth: The Deadly Impact of Mega Hydroelectric Projects in Latin America

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:26 am

 

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The Dammed of the Earth: The Deadly Impact of Mega Hydroelectric Projects in Latin America

Written by Sian Cowman and Philippa de Boissière

 

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Early in the morning of March 3, Berta Cáceres was assassinated as she slept.

A world-renowned environmental activist, Berta had been a driving force in protecting the lands and waters of rural communities in Honduras. Among the many victories of the organization she founded was the delay of a megadam project on the Gualcarque River that could be disastrous for the indigenous Lenca people living there.

Berta is not alone, nor is her story unique to Honduras. Across the Global South, mega hydroelectric projects are expanding — driven by governments and multinationals as a source of cheap energy, and branded by international institutions as a solution to poverty and the climate crisis.

But despite claims that they create clean energy, dams often have devastating impacts. They can displace communities, destroy the local social fabric and spiritual ties to land, lead to privatization of land and water, and generate food insecurity. Often used to power mining and fossil fuel extraction, they’re part of a system that damages the ecosystem and advances climate change.

Increasingly, communities throughout Latin America have been resisting these projects. Some have succeeded in protecting their territories in the face of violent repression. Yet when these groups go so far as to speak out about the root causes of the projects — corporate greed, unfettered capitalism, political impunity — they, like Berta, may be targeted and killed.

 

Megadams and Neoliberalism

International development banks and transnational corporations are pushing an expansion of mega hydroelectric dams at a rate never seen before. In Honduras, the Agua Zarca dam that Berta fought against is far from the only project: The Lenca people alone are facing the prospect of 17 dams being imposed within their territories.

 

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Photo: COPINH participating in a march agains a US military base in Palmerola, Honduras, 2011. Source: Felipe Canova on Flickr.

 

This picture is being replicated across the region. In Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos’ master plan for the strategic use of the Magdalena River calls for adding 11 to 15 megadams to those already in operation. In Peru, former President Alan Garcia made the construction of 20 megadams along the Marañon River into a national priority with the signing of a single decree in 2011.

Overall, 829 hydroelectric projects were approved in South America during 2014, with a total investment of $22 billion.

The power and resource grab going on throughout Latin America has roots stretching back to Spanish colonization. The river Gualcarque — with its deep spiritual significance for the Lenca people — was famously defended against Spanish invaders by indigenous resistance leader and hero, El Lempira. Although the form has evolved, the struggle against powerful foreign forces in the region has continued to this day.

Conquering not with swords and horses but with a ruse of “corporate social responsibility” and market-based mechanisms, the plunderers of the 21st century are bolstered by a deepening and globalized neoliberal agenda. The package of privatizations, deregulations, and loosening of restrictions on trade and finance prescribed under the “Washington Consensus” for global trade — widely implemented by institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in the 1990s — tipped the balance of power towards the interests of corporate global elites.

In Honduras, market-oriented principles reached a new extreme following the U.S.-backed military coup in 2009. The new de facto government immediately overhauled Honduras’ legal frameworks in a bid to create favorable conditions for foreign investment. In practice, the sweeping changes — ranging from enforcing eminent domain to repealing laws preventing the construction of dams in protected areas — were intended to facilitate the rapid and cheap transfer of the country’s natural wealth into global markets.

Berta was highly critical of the coup and of the subsequent handover of the country’s wealth. “There are a projected 300 hydroelectric projects planned,” she said in a 2015 interview with El Tecolote. “We are a small country with many riches. To give 30 percent of the territory to the transnational mining companies is worse than the colonization of 500 years ago. And, they do it with impunity.”

The explosion in the number of megadams under construction in Latin America follows a decade-long hiatus in the World Bank’s hydroelectric strategy — a pause that was prompted by social protests.

After being rebranded as a “clean energy” solution to the climate crisis, however — a position amplified by industry representatives at the Paris climate talks last December — the megadam staged its comeback. Taking advantage of the new business opportunities created to respond to the climate crisis, corporations are now being effectively bankrolled by UN-sponsored market solutions such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

But mega hydroelectric projects are anything but clean. In tropical regions like Honduras, they are a major source of the potent greenhouse gas methane. Moreover, mega hydroelectric facilitates the extraction of fossil fuels, such as coal and fracked gas, as well as other minerals. In Peru, as in Colombia and Brazil, mega hydroelectric dams are being brought online with the express intention of generating cheap energy for extractive industries.

This unprecedented expansion of mega hydroelectric power is increasingly generating resistance. Berta’s fight against dams is being repeated in community after community in Latin America.

 

Resistance in Rio Blanco

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To defend the territorial rights of indigenous and campesino people against logging and other extractive projects, Berta cofounded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH. For over 20 years, COPINH has been a major player in resisting Agua Zarca, and in 2015 Berta was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her role in that effort.

COPINH and local communities have pursued formal routes of resistance against the dam. Yet their calls for prior, free, and informed consent as required by international law have not been heard. Cases brought to the Honduran courts denouncing the illegality of the dam were also not pursued. The imbalance of power between the industry and local communities is evident: While Agua Zarca’s backers benefit from police protection, the communities’ legal cases against the dam lapse. In these situations — a story repeated throughout Latin America — affected communities are left with little choice but to take direct action.

In 2013, defying a military lockdown of the area, the Rio Blanco community took a stand. They maintained a road blockade that prevented machinery from reaching the dam site for over a year.

In clashes with police and paramilitary guards hired by the corporation, Tómas Garcia was shot several times at close range by a soldier. Garcia died instantly, and his son was left injured. At that time, the activist’s assassination brought the number of deaths suffered by defenders against the Agua Zarca project to three.

In a video made for the Goldman Prize ceremony, Berta explained how Garcia’s death prompted increased local resistance during that conflict. The resistance prompted Chinese Sinohydro, the largest dam builder in the world, to pull out of the project. That accomplishment “cost us in blood,” Berta said. The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation also pulled its investment from Agua Zarca.

This was a temporary victory, however, because threats against the defenders failed to abate. In an interview with El Universo newspaper in 2015, Berta said: “I never doubted I would continue the struggle despite the threats; they even gave me more resolve. Today we are receiving death threats not only against me, but against other compañeros.”

With Latin America being the most dangerous region in the world for environmental defenders, Honduras tops the list.

 

Challenging the Powerful

Berta’s resolve to continue resisting led to her voice being prominent on the international stage. In conversation with the Guardian in 2015, Berta asserted:

“The political, economic, and social situation in Honduras is getting worse, and there is an imposition of a project of domination, of violent oppression, of militarization, of violation of human rights, of transnationalization, of the turning over of the riches and sovereignty of the land to corporate capital, for it to privatize energy, the rivers, the land; for mining exploitation; for the creation of development zones.”

Publicly calling out the dirty politics, human rights abuses, impunity, and systemic drivers behind the dam made her even more of a threat to the powerful actors involved. Her supporters have no doubt that’s what led to her death.

“We know very well who murdered her,” COPINH said in a statement on March 3. Speaking of the Honduran government, corporations, and financial institutions backing the Agua Zarca dam, COPINH wrote, “their hands are stained with indigenous blood and with the blood of the Lenca people.” In a statement, her family concurred: “Her assassination is an attempt to end the struggle of the Lenca people against exploitation and dispossession of their territories.”

The repression in Honduras is the kind of backlash to resistance all local communities face as extractivism and mega hydro expands across Latin America.

Some examples will show the scope of these killings.

Before the 2014 climate talks in Lima, Peru, four indigenous environmental defenders in the Amazon were murdered for protecting their territory from illegal logging. “Edwin Chota had received numerous death threats for his resistance to the criminal gangs who were gutting his community’s forests,” reports Global Witness, “but his appeals to the authorities were ignored.” The loggers are reputed to have connections to the government.

Similarly, indigenous tribes living in the area of the Belo Monte megadam in Brazil have been resisting the dam for decades. They’ve suffered threats of imprisonment, police violence and militarization of the area, killings of defenders, and sexual abuse. There have been a number of legal cases made against the dam that have gone nowhere.

And the megadam El Quimbo in Colombia has provoked strong resistance from local communities — who in response have faced assaults and arrests at protests, and violent evictions from their homes.

Accompanied by militarization, privatization of land and water, violence, and power imbalances in the judicial system, megadams are a symptom of a new form of colonization. The resistors who have died throughout Latin America have been doing the same thing Berta did: challenging the powerful.

 

The Fight Continues

Opposition to dams isn’t only taking place in dispersed communities. It’s also spurred a global movement.

The effort officially began 19 years ago. On March 14, 1997, representatives of affected peoples from 20 countries assembled in Curitiba, Brazil to take part in the first International Meeting of People Affected by Dams. Recognizing a common struggle — one that transcended different economic and political contexts — activists decided that the Brazilian Day of Struggles Against Dams would be globalized. And so was born the International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams, held annually on March 14.

This new international platform aimed to make visible and to connect the diverse struggles taking place across the globe to protect rivers and the communities that depend upon them. But for those losing their homes and sovereignty to megadam expansion, these battles are fought not once a year, but on a daily basis.

The need for international action against megadams has been underscored by Berta Cáceres’ murder, and the subsequent murder of another member of COPINH, Nelson García, on March 16. Following their example, there’s an urgent need for global activists to continuously and vociferously denounce the mega hydroelectric dam complex — calling it out as a false solution to the climate crisis that it’s helping to drive. Berta not only put her body on the line to protect the rivers, lands, and communities she felt a part of. She also went beyond her own community struggle, relentlessly shining a light on the global dynamics of power that lay behind local injustices.

Like transnational corporations, resistance movements are strongest when they connect beyond fenceline struggles. Berta’s strength of resistance and international perspective posed a threat to a development paradigm based on the enrichment of global elites — so much so that the forces pushing that agenda felt it necessary to take her life.

But there can be no silencing of a movement. As those celebrating Berta’s life cried just days after her murder, “Berta lives, and the fight continues!”

Organizations and activists across the world are calling for an independent investigation into Berta’s murder and an end to the ongoing criminalization of members of the COPINH. Please add your voice here.

 

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/international-archives-60/5607-the-dammed-of-the-earth-the-deadly-impact-of-mega-hydroelectric-projects-in-latin-america

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March 14, 2016

Gustavo Castro’s continued stay in Honduras is a risk

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:17 am

 

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Gustavo Castro’s continued stay in Honduras is a risk

 

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Oscar Castro, Gustavo’s brother, during the press conference held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where he denounced that: “the crime scene was altered.” To his right are Berta Cáceres’ daughters. Photo: Afp

 

By: Blanche Petrich

Mexico’s ambassador in Honduras, Dolores Jiménez, affirmed that the risk that Gustavo Castro Soto runs by remaining in Honduras as a victim and the only surviving witness to a high-impact crime –the murder of Lenca [1] leader Berta Cáceres, last March 3– “is an objective fact,” and therefore the foreign ministry has put its effort into achieving the return of the environmentalist to the country as soon as possible.

In a telephone interview with La Jornada, the diplomat emphasized: “what’s notable in Castro Soto’s case is that, despite his vulnerability, he is very willing to contribute in whatever way may be required for the full clarification of the crime.”

Dolores Jiménez expressed that there are “high expectations” that the Honduran government will respond “as soon as possible” to the request that the foreign ministry officially sent this Thursday for Gustavo Soto, director of the organization Otros Mundos, with its headquarters in Chiapas, to be permitted to return to Mexico before the 30-day time period expires that a judge set in La Esperanza, where the attack was committed. As of now, the judge’s prohibition on leaving Honduras does not expire for 26 days.

She assured that bilateral agreements between Mexico and Honduras are in effect for cooperation in judicial investigations, like this one, so that Castro would be able to continue amplifying his statements at a distance, from Mexico, by means of the Honduran Embassy. “It’s something very common and is practiced all over the world.”

The environmentalist leader is being given shelter in Casa México, a building close to the offices of the Mexican Embassy which forms part of the official residence of Mexico in Tegucigalpa. The consul Pedro Barragán accompanies him all the time.

The ambassador pointed out that as of this moment the Honduran government has not responded in writing to Mexico’s request, delivered the day before yesterday (Thursday). She indicated that a communiqué from the Honduran government details the efforts that have been carried out with the Mexican in the process of investigating the murder of the Lenca leader Berta Cáceres, “and it permits us to have good expectations” that he can return “before the time that the judge set expires.”

Nevertheless, this communiqué, published by the Secretariat of Foreign Relations and International Cooperation and directed “to public opinion,” does not make any allusion to the case of Gustavo Castro. It only indicates that: “all lines of investigation are open” and are the object of “active and systematic efforts.” It reports that the agencies involved in the process are the attorney general’s office, the criminal investigations agency and the national police.

Yesterday, in a press conference, human rights organizations, Berta Cáceres’ daughters and a brother of Gustavo, Óscar Castro Soto, asked that, in the face of irregularities committed by the first judge of La Esperanza, in the southwestern department of Intibucá, the murder case record be assigned to another court.

Ambassador Jiménez declined to comment in that regard. “It’s not my business,” she said.

She explained that the Embassy of Mexico has offered the only witness to the crime consular protection from the first moment, “and it will continue offering all that he requires.”

She added that she would insist he be permitted to continue cooperating from Mexico through the Honduras representation. “It’s a very common practice all over the world. Honduras law permits it. There is a bilateral agreement in effect between the two countries for facilitating judicial cooperation in criminal matters.” She also emphasized that the protection that the Mexican government is offering is with full respect to Honduras law.

–Have you received an answer to the official communication from the Mexican Chancellery?

–No, as of now there is no written response. We hope that we will have a prompt and positive answer as soon as possible.

We observe that the State has expressed its commitment to an in-depth investigation and full clarification and punishment of those responsible. That is important. But above all is the protection of the witness’ life, if it should be at risk. One is not incompatible with the other.

–Does the government of Honduras recognize Gustavo as a victim?

–Of course. His legal situation here is that of a protected witness, as a victim and as a human rights defender with protective measures.

The ambassador specified that the witness is not able to stay in La Esperanza, where the case is followed, “because that’s where he would run the most risk. Although the judge ordered him to appear there to give his statements, the consul transported him to Tegucigalpa afterwards. The consul is with him at every moment.”

After emphasizing that: “nothing is superfluous in matters of security,” the diplomat explained the mechanisms that have been activated for the Mexican activist’s protection: a security operation of the Honduras government for his movements, the same security from the Mexican government and the precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

–Why did the Honduran police intercept Castro Soto’s departure in the international airport when he was going to travel to Mexico? Why were the facts presented that way?

–There is a lot of clamour and at times a lack of immediate communication. The day that he was leaving for Mexico, after the prosecutor released him from his responsibility to make a statement, he thanked him and told him that he could leave. He returned to the airport with the consul after getting a plane ticket. But at the last minute a requirement arrived from the attorney general’s office that he had to continue making statements. We knew that a notification could arrive, but it didn’t happen and we decided to take him to the airport. The consul and I went with him. He was there when they delivered the notification. Then we took him back to the Mexican residence in the official car in which we had taken him. We made contact immediately with the authorities to confirm that in effect he was willing to continue giving statements in La Esperanza.

We were organizing a security operation all day Sunday and on Monday, March 7, it was activated at the first hour to take him to La Esperanza with all guaranties.

–Where does the process stand at this time?

–There has already been a bunch of formalities in which he participated in La Esperanza and therefore he is proposing to the Honduras government that he can leave the country and continue collaborating from Mexico in any amplification that is required. The conditions are appropriate for doing it now.

[1] Lenca – Indigenous people in southwestern Honduras and eastern El Salvador.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, March 12, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/03/12/politica/003n1pol

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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March 5, 2016

Berta Cáceres: Mother of All Rivers

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:29 am

 

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Berta Cáceres: Mother of All Rivers

 

 

 

 

She is more alive in each one of us today than ever before.12802758_1046302382078120_2588558927803218610_n

 

 

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We don’t have a backup planet, we only have this one

 

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March 4, 2016

Statement and call to action in response to the assassination of Berta Cáceres

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:48 pm

 

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  Statement and call to action in response to the assassination of Berta Cáceres

 

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Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres has been assassinated on 3 March 2016 in her home. She was one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras. In 1993 she co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). For years the group faced a series of threats and repression.
In 2015 Berta Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s leading environmental award. In awarding the prize, the Goldman Prize committee said, “In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, Berta Cáceres rallied the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras and waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam.”
Press statement by COPINH (National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras)

It is with the most profound and sincere pain that we share information of the vile assassination of our comrade, mother, guide, sister, leader, and friend, Berta Cáceres, founder of COPINH.

Our dear Berta was assassinated by bullets of injustice; she was assassinated by the hate and racism that govern our country.

Today we mourn her death, as well as the deaths of the other comrades who have died in defines of the Gualcarque River and the territory of the Lenca people.  Berta lived the life of a fighter, a warrior without fear who confronted the most perverse powers of the exploitative and inhumane capitalist system—this system that understands neither motives nor struggles, neither life itself nor respect for the existence of we the people who wish to live in peace and tranquillity, with dignity and full humanity.

Berta Cáceres was recently awarded the Goldman prize for her defence of the environment in Honduras.  It is this defence that today they are trying to silence with Berta’s death.

COPINH has confronted assassinations, death threats, criminalization, persecution, stigmatization, and discrimination since its founding.  Although such threats against Berta and other members of the organization have always been denounced nationally and internationally, Honduran institutions have done everything possible to impede justice and deny the very existence of COPINH.  Despite the cautionary security measures assigned to Berta by the Inter-american Court of Human Rights, her assassination was not prevented.

We reject any form of exculpation by the Honduran government, its institutions, and its oppressive authorities; in fact, we directly blame them for the cruel assassination of our leader.

We know very well who murdered her.  We know it was DESA and the Hydroelectric project Agua Zarca, financed by the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd. FINNFUND, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE), the German corporations Siemens and VoithHydro, the company CASTOR (Castillo Torres) Constructora Cerros de Comayagua, the Honduran bank FICOHSA, the corporate group of the Atala family, the government of the United States through the USAID program and the project “Mercado,” as well as SERNA, in complicity with the National Government of Honduras.  These are the authorities behind the physical disappearance of Berta.  Their hands are stained with indigenous blood and with the blood of the Lenca people.

From COPINH we call for national and international actions that contribute to stopping such acts of political aggression and the systematic violation of the rights of the Lenca people.  We call for actions that denounce the strategies used by corporations to control and privatize the commons and nature itself.  We summon the Honduran people to gather around this tragedy, to fight for our rights, and to express that we will no longer tolerate such events.

We reaffirm our struggle for the Gualcarque River!
We reaffirm our commitment to life!
We demand justice!
We demand an end to impunity!
We demand an end to the persecution of those who defend indigenous and human rights!
We demand the changes that are necessary in our country!
We demand life!

They tried to finish with Berta’s life, but she is more alive in each one of us today than ever before.

With the ancestral force of Iselaca, Lempira, Mota, and Etempica, we raise our voices full of life,
justice, dignity, liberty, and peace!

 

http://educaoaxaca.org/english/1885-statement-and-call-to-action-in-response-to-the-assassination-of-bertha-c%C3%A1ceres.html

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Berta Cáceres, Honduran human rights and environment activist, murdered

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:34 pm

 

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Berta Cáceres, Honduran human rights and environment activist, murdered

Cáceres, who was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her opposition to one of Central America’s biggest hydropower projects, was shot at home

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Berta Cáceres was realistic about the risks she faced, but said she felt obliged to fight on and urged others to do so. Photograph: The Guardian

 

Jonathan Watts Latin America correspondent

 

Berta Cáceres, the Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner, has been murdered, barely a week after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project.

Her death prompted international outrage at the murderous treatment of campaigners in Honduras, as well as a flood of tributes to a prominent and courageous defender of the natural world.

The co-founder of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (Copinh) was shot dead by gunmen who entered her home in La Esperanza at around 1am on Thursday. Some reports say there were two killers; others suggest 11. They escaped without being identified, after also wounding her brother.

Police told local media the killings occurred during an attempted robbery, but the family said they had no doubt it was an assassination prompted by Cáceres’s high-profile campaigns against dams, illegal loggers and plantation owners.

“I have no doubt that she has been killed because of her struggle and that soldiers and people from the dam are responsible, I am sure of that. I hold the government responsible,” her 84-year-old mother said on radio Globo at 6.

Karen Spring, a friend of Cáceres’, said it was unclear how many assailants had participated in the attack, but that Cáceres was hit by at least four bullets.

Members of Copinh escorted the body as it left the house on the way to the morgue in the provincial capital. About a hundred of them also marched from the public prosecutor’s office to the police station, where they demanded an independent international investigation. Others headed to La Esperanza to take part in the wake.

“People here are still in shock that Berta is dead,” Spring told the Guardian. “But they are very clear that they will continue their struggle to honour Berta.”

Last year, Cáceres – who is a member of the Lenca indigenous group, the largest in Honduras – was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her opposition to one of Central America’s biggest hydropower projects, the Agua Zarca cascade of four giant dams in the Gualcarque river basin.

The campaign has held up the project, which is being built by local firm DESA with the backing of international engineering and finance companies, and prompted the withdrawal of China’s Sinohydro and the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation.

Cáceres had called for other foreign partners, including the Dutch Development Bank, the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation and German companies Siemens and Voith, to pull out.

She has also won plaudits from international NGOs for standing up to powerful landowners, a US-funded police force, and a mercenary army of private security guards in the most murderous country in the world for environmental campaigners.

In an interview with the Guardian at the time of her award, Cáceres was realistic about the risks she faced, but said she felt obliged to fight on and urged others to do so.

“We must undertake the struggle in all parts of the world, wherever we may be, because we have no other spare or replacement planet. We have only this one, and we have to take action,” she said.

The dangers appear to have increased in recent weeks. After a Copinh march in Río Blanco on 20 February, she and other participants were confronted by the army, police, local mayor and employees of the dam company. Several were detained and some threatened, the council said in a statement.

It was not the first time. Cáceres previously said she had received warnings that she would be raped or murdered if she continued her campaigns. There have also been past reports that hitmen were hired to assassinate her.

Honduras is a perilous place for activism. Cáceres’s fellow Copinh leader Tomás García was shot dead by a military officer in a protest in 2013. Several others have been killed this year, according to the council. Cáceres had recently moved home because she felt the new house in La Esperanza would be safer.

Between 2010 and 2014, 101 campaigners were killed in Honduras, a higher death toll relative to population than anywhere else, according to the study How Many More? by NGO Global Witness. It said a disproportionately high number of them were from indigenous communities who resisted development projects or the encroachment of farms on their territory.

The United Nations special rapporteur for indigenous rights, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who met Cáceres last November, said she was “saddened and horrified” by the news.

“This shows the high level of impunity in Honduras. Beyond the high homicide levels in society, there is a clear tendency for indigenous campaigners and human rights activists to be killed,” said Tauli-Corpuz, whose report on the country will come out in a few months.

She noted the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights had raised concerns about Cáceres’s safety with the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, last year and formally called on the government to apply “precautionary measures”.

“This meant the government had to protect her,” Tauli-Corpuz said. “Yet she was assassinated just like that. If someone like her suffers in this way, then what chance is there for others who campaign for the environment and human rights?”

Jorge Alcerro, chief of staff for the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, said that security forces would “use all means to find the killers”, but he did not explain why she had no police protection at the time of her murder.

Billy Kyte, a campaigner at Global Witness, paid tribute to Cáceres for her “incredible courage” and said the government – which is behind many of the controversial projects – must reverse the alarmingly murderous trend in Honduras.

“The shocking news of Berta’s killing is a dramatic wake-up call for the Honduran state. Indigenous people are being killed in alarming numbers just for defending their rights. The Honduran state must act immediately to hold the killers to account and protect Berta’s family and colleagues,” he said.

David Gordon, executive director of the Goldman Prize, echoed these comments: “Berta’s bravery in the face of overwhelming repression will be a rallying call for environmental activism in Honduras,” he said in a statement.

Naomi Klein, the Canadian author and environmental campaigner, tweeted: “Devastating news. Berta was a critical leader and fierce land defender. Part of a global wave of such attacks.”

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/03/honduras-berta-caceres-murder-enivronment-activist-human-rights

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