Saturday, July 1, 2017

Attack against Berta Zúñiga Cáceres and other COPINH leaders!!!

ALERT! Attack against Berta's daughter Bertha Zuñiga Cáceres and two other COPINH leaders!
Translation by Alicia Carrillo Flores

Tegucigalpa.- This Friday at 2:36 pm the young Berta Zúniga, daughter of former indigenous and environmentalist leader Berta Cáceres, and two of her colleagues from the Civic Council of Honduran Popular and Indigenous Organizations (Copinh) were attacked in Two occasions by four men, in the west of this Central American country.

A statement from the Copinh said that the attack occurred when Zúniga Cáceres and her companions, Sotero Chavarría and Asunción Martínez, were attacked twice by four men when they were returning to the community of Cancire, in the municipality of Santiago Puringla, La Paz.

In the first incident, three men armed with machetes stood next to a black Toyota Tacoma car with PCH 1886 plates and blocked the road that leads from the community of Cancire  to San Antonio, the men threatened the members of Copinh with machetes.

"Thanks to the ability of the driver, the men with machetes could not stop or machete the car, however, the fourth man, driver of the Toyota Tacoma threw a stone that hit the top of the driver side window of the car members of Copinh, were driving" the text said.

On the second occasion, the same car, with only the driver,  persecuted members of Copinh along the same road dangerously with the clear intention of forcing them into the abyss.

Later the Tacoma vehicle blocked the car that the defenders of the environment were riding in, trying to stop it for at least ten minutes. Fortunately the driver of the Copinh was able to take a detour and avoided further incidents.

"The Copinh reports that this incident has to do with the ambitions of a few  members of the communities of Lomas de San Antonio and Las Delicias, with the support of the American agency USAID, to remove the source of water to the communities of San Antonio, Cancire , Higuito and Cedrito, "the statement said.

"It should be noted that these communities have been affected by the Zazagua Hidroelectric dam, which has left its water sources dry," added the letter.

The Copinh requires that the authorities investigate and punish these aggressions. It is the responsibility of the State of Honduras to protect the physical integrity of its members and take all necessary measures to ensure that the organization carries out its work in defense of the rights of the Lencas communities and their territories, the statement said.

Finally, the indigenous organization calls on the international community to be vigilant and to demand from the Honduran authorities the protection of its members.

Berta Zúniga Cáceres, is one of four children of Berta Cáceres, who was murdered the morning of March 3, 2016, in her house in the city of La Esperanza, in the department of Intibucá. Her relatives and human rights defenders point out that his crime is linked to the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project, built on the Gualcarque river, by the company Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA).

So far Honduran justice has captured eight alleged perpetrators of the crime. Two of them with direct links to the company DESA

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Berta's death sentence was written eight years ago: COPINH on the 8 year anniversary of the coup d'etat


The assassination of Berta Cáceres was planned eight years ago, during the 2009 coup d’état, a death sentence for all social movement leaders fighting the destruction of the common natural goo
d and indigenous communities of Honduras. With the coup d’etat, a mafia installed a criminal military dictatorship that continued on and deepened the process of depriving the Lenca and indigenous communities of Honduras of the right to make decisions about our own territories. The installed regime, through death and with the bloody hands of its repressive military, financed by the United States, has implemented the most far-reaching project of displacement against Lenca communities to date. The Lenca communities organized in COPINH and lead by sister Berta Cáceres have denounced the approval, without any community consultation, of 49 hydroelectric and other exploitative projects in our territories, forced upon us through the terror and violence imposed by the coup d’etat.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New death threats in Rio Blanco against COPINH members

Alert: COPINH demands respect for the lives of Lenca people in Río Blanco
COPINH urgently communicates to the national and international community our serious worry about the defenseless state of the Lenca people in Río Blanco, faced with armed men and constant threats. We insist that the authorities take immediate action to protect the physical wellbeing and lives of COPINH members in Río Blanco, who continue to defend their ancestral territory against the invasion of people linked to the DESA corporation.

In recent months, and especially in the past few weeks, the threats against COPINH members have intensified, especially while they are working on their ancestral lands in Vega del Achiotal and Vega del Culatón, sites where the DESA corporation has invaded Lenca territory to build the Agua Zarca project.

The Madrid family, who is originally from santa Bárbara, illegally took over Lenca territory and sold part of it to the DESA corporation. Several of these people have been employees of the DESA corporation and have been put to work threatening members of COPINH, including our sister Berta Cáceres. We remind you that one of them threatened that they were going to “set things straight with Berta one way or another” just a few months before her assassination and they warned to look out for the consequences.

We denounce that Franklin Madrid has pointed firearms at COPINH members in Río Blanco and fired into the air close to COPINH members while they worked their ancestral landsb. The frequency of the threats is increasing and the COPINH members are in a state of complete vulnerability against the armed men who are openly threatening and intimidating them. Today, June 21st, in the morning hours, several armed men once again threatened COPINH members while they were working at Vega del Culaton. We alert that one of the armed men threatened to kill at any moment the children of Francisco Javier Sánchez, Coordinator of the Indigenous Council of Río Blanco and member of the General Coordination of COPINH.

COPINH has filed complaints with the authorities regarding the threats and destruction of the corn crops, nonetheless, to this day those responsible continue to be free. Instead of penalizing those who make violent threats, the police have instead accompanied them.

We also denounce the responsibility of the Municipality of Intibucá for having illegally granted land rights on ancestral Lenca territory at the Vega del Achiotal, facilitating the invasion of Lenca territory.

We demand that the authorities take immediate action to secure the life and physical wellbeing of the Lenca people of Río Blanco and to resolve the situations denounced by COPINH. We call on the national and international community to speak with the Honduran authorities and embassies to demand that they Honduran state take immediate action and prosecute those who are threatening the Lenca people with firearms.

·         Oscar Chinchilla, Attorney General - 504-2221-3099

·         Julian Pacheco, Secretary of Security – 504-9456-3699

·         National Human Rights Commission (CONADEH)

Tegucigalpa: 504-2231-0204,

Intibucá: 504-2783-0039,

No more martyrs!

We demand immediate action before it is too late.

Berta lives on, COPINH is still strong!

With the ancestral strength of Berta, Lempira, Mota and Etempica, we raise our voices full of life, justice, dignity, freedom and peace!

From Río Blanco, Intibucá, June 21st, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Calling on national and international organizations: Preliminary hearing in case of Berta Cáceres set to begin

[Original en español]

The preliminary hearing for one of the most renowned human rights cases in Latin America in recent memory – the case of Berta Cáceres - will take place this Wednesday June 7th, in the First District Court in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The hearing comes after two previous continuances due to failure to provide evidence to all parties to the judicial process and in the midst of numerous irregularities in the investigation, which has been under the exclusive control of the Attorney General.  

The purpose of this hearing is to formalize charges against four of the eight men detained thus far: Mariano Díaz Chávez (Major in the Armed Forces), Sergio Rodríguez (Technical and Environmental Manager for the DESA corporation), Douglas Bustillo (former Security Chief for the DESA corporation) and Elvin Heriberto Rápalo (the supposed hitman).

The purpose of the case brought by COPINH and the family of Berta Cáceres is to take a broader look than the case brought by the Attorney General and thereby demonstrate that the assassination is not an isolated incident carried out by individual interests but rather part of a systematic attack against COPINH and its general coordinator.

This crime is part of a plan to destabilize the organization by criminal structures along with private corporations, state agents, international financial organizations and hired criminals.

It is important to recall that a year and three months after the deplorable assassination of our sister Berta Cáceres Flores and despite heavy national and international pressure and ongoing mobilization, the Attorney General’s investigation is replete with deceit and irregularities, which are coming to light as a portion of the file is opened to supplement information from previous hearings.

COPINH calls on all national and international organizations to join us in taking action and echoing our outcry, since this hearing is part of a process full of irregularities that could lead to the case ending with impunity.

With the ancestral strength of Berta, Lempira, Mota, Iselaca and Etempica we raise our voices full of Life, Justice, Freedom, Dignity and Peace!

La Esperanza, Intibucá, June 5th, 2017

#FueraDESA #1AñoSinJusticia #BertaVive #COPINHsigue
#justiciaparaberta #SoyCOPINH
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"The path is more struggle, more organization" - Statement of COPINH's 11th General Assembly

Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of  Honduras (COPINH)

Declaration of the 11th General Assembly of COPINH: Berta Lives. 
Facing extractivist death, more organization and struggle is our path

We, gathered here as community delegates of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) this May 26th-29th, 2017 in the Utopía Center for Encounter and Friendship, with representation from the states of Intibucá, Lempira, La Paz and Santa Bárbara, declare the following to the national and international public:

We have gathered in this XI Assembly to discuss and debate the future of our organization, taking into account the tremendous obstacles that present themselves along the way, but with full determination and commitment to the ancestral struggle of the Lenca people, we have made strategic decisions about COPINH’s work in coming years.
We have united our hearts and visions, guided by our leader and ancestor Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores with the strength of her spirit and the legacy of her struggle, who for the first time is not with us physically in this Assembly, he have carried out deep discussions about the communities’ needs and the path that our organization will take in the current moment and our reading of the times ahead.

As a product of these discussions, we re-affirm our struggle in defense of our territories and our resolve to continue building this political project known as COPINH to promote an alternative life, one consistent with the Lenca people’s worldview and in harmony with life, and to confront with more struggle and organization the process of criminalization, persecution and harassment promoted by the economic elite and the corrupt officials who serve the capitalist project of death that invades our territories and violates our sovereignty.

We agree to develop our organizational strength through an intense process of training, grassroots media and struggle against the plunder and destruction of our territories and communities. 

In the face of the sleezy political practices in vogue in our country, the Lenca people and COPINH exercises an assembly-based and grassroots political practice that challenges the vices of  political practices that yield few possibilities for building the project of life that our territories yearn for. We declare that our organization will continue to struggle aginst the extractivism and pillaging that has been imposed on Honduras no matter what government we face.

Prior to this General Assembly and as part of it we carried out a women’s convening in which we questioned through a libratory process carried out by women our organizational consistency in strongly promoting the rights of women in all structures. As such, in our assembly we made clear that we won’t allow aggression against the sisters of our organization and that the elected general coordination must lead the developingment of anti-patriarchal work within COPINH.

Out assembly has unanimously agreed that one of the principal lines of COPINH’s struggle is the search for justice for our sister and compañera Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores and we declare her to be our permanent General Coordinator, the guardian spirit of our organization and struggle, the political and spiritual guide of our actions in defense of life. We declare that we will not stop and will not rest on this path in search of justice, for the capture of those who plotted and called for the assassination and the deepening of our struggle in her memory.

In defense of our territories, on a path against patriarchy and for education, for grassroots media, natural medicine, food sovereignty, along with our ancestors we cry out that Berta lives on and COPINH is strong!

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

2017-2019 COPINH General Coordination:
1.      General Coordinator: Bertha Isabel Zúniga Cáceres
2.      Organizational Coordinator: Sotero Chavarría Fúnez.
3.      Coordinator of Records: José Asención Martínez.
4.      Coordinator for Political Development and Education: Eiby Doris Sánchez.
5.      Coordinator of Development and International Relatiions: Julian García.
6.      Coordinator of Finances: José Tochez.
7.      Accountability Coordinator: Francisco Gámez Gámez.
8.      Communications Coordinator: Efraín Sorto.
9.      Coordinator of Culture and Acnestral Heritage:  María Pascuala Vásquez.
10.  Coordinator for Land, Territory and the Environment: Francisco Javier Sánchez.
11.  Youth Coordinator: Irma Odilia Mendoza Quintano.
12.  Women’s Coordinator: Liliam Esperanza López.
13.  Health Coordinator: María Teresa Guevara Díaz.
14.  LGBT Coorinator: José Gaspar Sánchez Acosta.
15.  Legal Affairs Coordinator: María Tomasa Hernández Mancía.

Written in La Esperanza, Intibucá, on the 29th day of May, in the year 2017.
#justiciaparaberta #SoyCOPINH

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