Cáceres, Presente!

March 11, 2021

From the March-April 2021 issue of News & Letters

They have believed that impunity is eternal.
They are wrong, the people know how to make justice
—Berta Cáceres

March marks the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Berta Cáceres, Honduran defender of the rivers, the Lenca people and life. The perpetrators not only sought to steal the life of a social fighter, they also tried to extinguish all struggles she fought for: those of the Lenca people and those who support the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).

The hitmen, plotters and the State who murdered her, would do anything to build a hydroelectric plant on the Gualcarque River. The Lenca people have defended that land as part of their territory.

The Lenca have identified nine men as murderers of Cáceres, five linked to the army, and three to the hydroelectric plant. The Honduran state is allied with the global corporations that exploit and plunder the natural resources of countries where Indigenous peoples still dwell.

Cáceres was assassinated by a colonial economic system that reinforces systematic racism—classifying and bossing around the population and territories of Indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants of Honduras and the rest of Latin America.

With that act of violence, Berta Cáceres’ life sowed new seeds. She was an example to the people of her native La Esperanza, and continues to galvanize the Lenca in defense of their territory. She is an example of the struggle and clarity of all Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples who unite in the defense of their land and lives.

—Excerpted from COPINH statement

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