Hypocrisy surrounds the murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras

Source:  The Guardian

Berta Caceres 2.jpg

Berta Caceres pictured in January with Hondurans fighting the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project.  Photograph Tim Russo/AP

4 March 2016

In a grim prelude to International Women’s Day on Saturday 5 March, the celebrated Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner Berta Cáceres has been murdered in Honduras, barely a week after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project (International outrage at murder of activist, 4 March).

Long line of victims in Honduras since a coup

She is the latest in a long line of victims in Honduras since a coup, sponsored by the US and supported by the then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, overthrew the reformist President Mel Zelaya in 2009. Human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, trade unionists, gay rights activists and political opponents of subsequent regimes have been singled out for abduction, disappearance, torture and murder in a climate of almost complete impunity.

Femicide rate increased by 260%

Particularly shocking is a femicide rate that increased by 260% between 2005 and 2013. In 2014, 513 women were killed and in 2015 it was estimated that a woman lost her life every 16 hours. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, impunity “perpetuates the social acceptance of violence against women”.

Hypocrisy

In this context, it is hypocrisy of the first order for President Hernández to say that Ms Cáceres’ demise has “caused mourning among all Hondurans”. He himself has been accused of swindling millions of dollars from the cash-starved public health fund to bankroll his election campaign and on his watch transnational companies, such as those against whom Ms Cáceres was campaigning, have trashed the environment and exploited their workers.

Meanwhile, US ambassador James Nealon is on record as saying that relations with Honduras are “perhaps the best they have ever been”.
Bert Schouwenburg
International officer, GMB

2 thoughts on “ Hypocrisy surrounds the murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras

  1. Pingback: Berta Cáceres murdered in Honduras | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. The political assassination of Berta Carceres,the world famous Honduran indigenous rights and environmental activist was done by powerful monied interests that her
    activism opposed in Honduras.

    The obvious political objective of the monied interests was to physically eliminate a freedom fighter who in their criminal minds was an obstacle to their profits and business interests particularly the Aqua Zarca Hydroelectric Project of the Honduran and foreign monied interests that Berta has vigorously protested along with her indigenous comrades in the Council of Popular Indigenous Organizations in Honduras or COPINH.

    As a freedom fighter, Berta Carceres fought tirelessly for a healthy environment and for the rights of her indigenous people and all her fellow citizens in her beloved country of Honduras.

    She clearly understood that human rights like education, housing, health care, freedom of conscience and civil rights such as the right to vote, to legal representation and so forth had marginal significance in the absence of the right to breathe clean air, the right to clean water, healthy foods etc. Hence, she understood that the battle for human freedoms and rights were inseparable from the rights of human beings to have unlimited access to a healthy environment.

    For the latter reasons and for her clarity of thought, Berta Carceres, fought the transnational corporations and the local oligarchy who together saw nature as another resource to be exploited to make money rather than to produce healthy products like clean water, clean air and natural beauty for sight seeing natives and foreign tourists.

    The latter is precisely why Berta organized and mobilized Hondurans particularly those of indigenous extraction to oppose the Aqua Zarca Hydroelectric project that will have several negative impacts on the nation’s indigenous communities including the fear that they will not have access to the Gualcarque river and clean water.

    The hydroelectric project is situated on the Gualcarque River which passes through the indigenous Lenca territory in the north-western part of Honduras which is considered sacred by the indigenous people. The indigenous people believe that the use of the river to generate electricity is both “illegal and illegitimate” and as such not only violates the Constitution of Honduras but also the rights of the indigenous people as protected in the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous people and the International Labor Organization or ILO.

    Thus any attempt to complete this project will continue to create tensions and conflicts between the indigenous communities, the government, the army, the transnational business and paramilitary interests who seek to displace and disrupt the lives of the indigenous people.

    However, according to Aureliano Molina, a very close comrade in arms of Berta Carceres, in an interview with Dialogo Chino, the dominant monied interests in Honduras are pushing their hydroelectric project on the indigenous people in an “authoritarian, arrogant and racist ways” without any respect or regards to their interests.

    Some of the concerns of the indigenous people about the project that are either ignored or downplayed by the monied interests constructing it are the following:

    (1) they fear that they will lose access to the river,

    (2)they fear that they will lose access to clean water and

    (3)they fear that the project will destroy their communal land which is vital for their subsistence farming.

    These were the reasons that motivated Berta Careres, her indigenous comrades in struggle and their Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras or COPINH to relentlessly oppose the Aqua Zarca Hydroelectric Project.

    These are still the reasons that motivate Berta’s comrades, the COPINH and the indigenous people to keep fighting against the hydroelectric project that is slated to destroy their way of life.

    The project if it is completed would seriously destroy the quality and way of life of the indigenous population of the Lenca community as they have known it for hundreds of years as indigenous people.

    Ultimately, it was the cause for which Berta Carceres was harassed and murdered by the monied and powerful interests in Honduras.

    Her political assassination on Wednesday, March 2nd as well as the deaths of hundreds of other activists, journalists, men and women in Honduras started since the coup in 2009 that overthrew the democratically elected reformist government of President Zelaya by the Honduran military.

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton known as the “Queen of Chaos” in foreign policy was a big supporter of this coup against President Zelaya.

    Consequently, like the current government of Honduras must be held accountable for the climate of fear, torture, murder and other human rights violation that resulted in the assassination of Berta Caceres last Wednesday, Secretary Clinton must also be held responsible for her role of support for the military coup.

    Yes, the same Hillary Clinton who wants to be President of the US and who is going around the US promising to protect the rights of women including African-American, Native American and Hispanic women in America, supported a coup against a democratically elected government that has unleashed torture, rape and death against women in Honduras. For example in 2014 alone over 500 women were killed due to domestic and state violence and in 2015, a Honduran woman lost her life every 16 hours because of the impunity of violence against women that resulted from President Obama’s and his former Secretary of State Clinton’s support for the coup against President Zelaya.

    How does anyone logically and sanely explain that Secretary Clinton could have supported a coup against a democratically elected government that extended basic protections to the rights of the citizens of Honduras including women, for a government that has created a climate of fear, torture and violations against women and men including human rights activists like Berta Caceres?

    There is a legitimate case to be made that not only does the government of Honduras owe the family of Berta Carceres an explanation for their failure to provide her with suitable security after she received several death threats for her activism but US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who supported the coup against President Zelaya in 2009 also owes Berta’s family an explanation as well.

    Indeed, it was the military coup that Hillary Clinton supported that led to the atmosphere of political impunity against the human rights and civil rights of Hondurans and particularly activists that has led to the murder of Berta Carceres in her sleep!!

    Today in Honduras as a result of the tacit and explicit support of the Obama administration and its former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton to the coup leaders that there is a government and an oligarchy that have declared war on the human rights of its citizens, women and particularly activists like Berta Carceres.

    Thus in going forward, it is imperative that the best tribute we as freedom fighters can ever pay to our fallen sister Berta Carceres is to commit ourselves to never abandon her brilliant and courageous battles in defense of human and environmental rights in Honduras and our own countries!

    Likewise, it is indispensable that as freedom fighters, we extend our unwavering solidarity to Berta’s comrades in arms and her beloved COPINH in continuing the fight of the indigenous communities against the Aqua Zarca Hydroelectric Project and against human rights violations!!

    May her fierce spirit, her beautiful soul and her indomitable courage continue to motivate and guide us as we fight for Justice as our comrade rest in the peace she so justly deserves.

    “Wi more than sands on seashore, wi more than numbers” Wake Up and Live, Bob Marley

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