jueves, 16 de noviembre de 2017

Statement by Senator Patrick Leahy on the Need for Justice in Honduras

(Senate - November 09, 2017)









(en ESPAÑOL)

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to speak about a subject that many Senators are aware of and should be deeply concerned about.
As we remember, in the early morning hours of March 3, 2016, Honduras lost one of its most courageous and charismatic indigenous leaders, Berta Caceres. 
Ms. Caceres was the general coordinator of the  
National Council  of  Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, COPINH.
She was gunned down by assassins in her home in the village of La Esperanza, Intibuca.
Berta Caceres spent her life defending indigenous rights, particularly to land and natural resources. In 2015, she won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her outstanding activism and leadership. She and COPINH had been supporting land struggles throughout western Honduras, and because of that--because she was exercising rights guaranteed by Honduran law and international law--she and the communities that she and COPINH supported were the frequent targets of death threats.

lunes, 13 de noviembre de 2017

Fake Honduran Twitter: the digital campaign against Berta Cáceres and COPINH

Erin Gallagher 
A network of fake accounts tweeted a smear campaign against Berta Cáceresand COPINH three months before Berta was murdered. This was just one component of a larger campaign that was waged against COPINH for years due to their opposition to the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project.
A new report by an independent team of attorneys linked Berta’s assassination to the highest levels of Capital Energy Development SA de CV (DESA), the company whose hydroelectric dam project Berta and COPINH were protesting.   MORE>>>

martes, 7 de noviembre de 2017

Twenty months have passed since the assassination of Berta

Twenty months have passed since the night of the vile assassination of Berta Cáceres, General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. During this time the Honduran authorities have demonstrated a lack of political will to prosecute those who ordered her murder, confront the structural causes of her death, or end the persecution of those who defend their territory in Honduras.

Those who wanted to take the life of Berta Cáceres and thereby try to end to the fierce struggle of COPINH and the Lenca people have been hiding behind a cloak of impunity. Nonetheless, with just minimal access to information, an international group of advisors was able to conduct an independent investigation and unveil the network of corruption, cruelty, persecution and hatred behind her murder, and the perpetrators at the center of it, members of the DESA corporation.

In view of the above, the undersigned support COPINH’s demands to the Honduran authorities with respect to:

 1. The arrest, trial and conviction of those who ordered and planned the murder of Berta Cáceres and the persecution of COPINH.
2. Cancellation of the concession along the Gualcarque River granted to Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA), which the GAIPE report clearly shows formed part of a criminal and murderous network.
3. Assurance of a true investigation into the crime against Berta Cáceres, through the dismissal of all the people involved in the case and the creation of a new investigation team subject to oversight by international organizations.
4. The adoption of effective and immediate measures of safety and protection for the legal team, COPINH, and Berta's family, who are involved in the case in pursuit of justice.

Berta lives!

sábado, 4 de noviembre de 2017

DESA Killed Berta! Capture the people who gave the orders!

(EN ESPAÑOL)
On March 4th of 2016, just a few hours after the assassination of our Coordinator Berta Cáceres, COPINH and the daughters and son of our sister denounced that her assassination stemmed from the struggle that she lead against the DESA corporation because of the Río Blanco community’s opposition to the Agua Zarca project of death.

Today, 20 months after her assassination, the investigators from GAIPE have corroborated with the upmost possible objectivity the unequivocal link between this killer corporation, its owners, directors and employers in the persecution, criminalization, and stigmatization that she suffered, as well as the planning, coordination and execution of the killing.

The corroboration of the actions leading to her assassination doesn’t come from witnesses or hypotheses. It comes from the words of the actors themselves, from their phone conversations, text messages and WhatsApp messages. They implicated themselves. The key information comes from their own words.

The information analyzed by GAIPE is the same that the Attorney General has had in its possession since at least May 2nd, 2016, which means that for over a year and a half the authorities had the proof and have not had even a minimal inclination to go after the plotters. A mantle of impunity envelops the whole investigation, as we have denounced since the beginning. All of the irregularities, the theft of information, the lack of transparency, the illegalities, the setbacks and suspensions of hearings have now been revealed to be the Honduran Attorney General’s office trying to cover up those who plotted the crime, obviously pressured by the executive and the business groups behind the assassination.

It shows once again that the State has been taken over by a murderous mafia and that we, the Honduran people, and especially the indigenous peoples, are its victims. It shows once again that the economic elites who benefited from the 2009 coup d’état think that they can do whatever they want without having to pay the consequences.

COPINH is not opposed to development in Honduras, what we oppose is this “development” that means the death of our communities, our identity and our territories. We oppose deceitful people filling their pockets at the expense of our dead, at the expense of the death of Berta Cáceres and all of those of us who struggle against this unjust system where the majority is repressed for the benefit of a small economic elite.

The production of supposedly “renewable energy” or “clean energy” are just the cheap words of businessmen who see energy production as a business and are willing to roll over any and everything, including the law and the people, in order to maximize their profits.

The assassination of Berta Cáceres will not remain in impunity. COPINH, the Lenca people and all dignified people in Honduras and the world will fight until the final consequences for their to be justice, for the plotters to be punished and so that no more of these deaths occur. So that as peoples we can continue to defend our territories.

The corporation Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. led by David Castillo, members of the Atala Zablah family, and other directors, the builder of the Hydroelectric Project of death Agua Zarca, financed by the CABEI, FMO and FinnFund banks, supported by USAID, SERNA (MiAmbiente), Banco Ficohsa, Voyth Hydro-Siemens, the armed forces of Honduras, the National Police and private security forces, the COHEP and the AHER, was the corporation that assassinated Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores. We have said it since the beginning and it has been confirmed by the recent investigation.

Because of this, COPINH demands:

1. The capture, prosecution and punishment of all of those who ordered and plotted the assassination of Berta Cáceres and the persecution of COPINH.

2. The cancellation of the concession along the Gualcarque River to the criminal and murderous corporation Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. DESA.

3. Assurances of a real investigation into the crime against Berta Cáceres, by removing all of those involved in the case and creating a new investigation team under the oversight of international organizations.

4. The adoption of effective and immediate measures of protection and security for the legal team, COPINH and the family, all of whom are involved in the case seeking justice.

We call on Honduran society not to allow this case to remain in impunity, justice for Berta means justice for our people and for the many people assassinated at the hands of corporate and State criminals.

We call on Honduran organizations and grassroots social movements to continue forward in defense of our territories and lives. To demonstrate that Berta didn’t die, she multiplied.

We call on international solidarity to join us in these demands for justice.

Berta lives on, COPINH is strong!
What do we demand? Justice!
Punish the plotters!
#DesaAsesina
#20MesesSinJusticia
#JusticiaParaBerta
#DondeEstanLosAutoresIntelectales

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


La Esperanza, Intibucá, November 3rd, 2017

domingo, 29 de octubre de 2017

The Grass is Greener-2017-10-28 (4pm) Gaspar Sanchez Equality and Rights in Honduras

Who Ordered Killing of Honduran Activist? Evidence of Broad Plot Is Found



MEXICO CITY — It was just before midnight when two men kicked in the door to Berta Cáceres’s house in the small Honduran mountain town of La Esperanza. Moving past the kitchen, one of them opened the door to her bedroom and fired six shots. She died moments later.
In a country where the fight to protect land rights provokes violent retaliation, the murder in March 2016 of another environmental defender might simply have receded into a grim tally of regrettable losses.
But Ms. Cáceres, 44, had won international acclaim for leading her indigenous Lenca community against a dam planned on their land. Her prominence transformed her killing into an emblematic crime — and turned the investigation that followed into a challenge to the entrenched impunity of the powerful in Honduras.
Now, 20 months after the killing, a team of five international lawyers has warned that the people who ordered it may never face justice.
The evidence, the lawyers said, points to a plot against Ms. Cáceres that was months in the making and reached up to senior executives of Desarrollos Energéticos, known as Desa, the Honduran company holding the dam concession.
more>>>

lunes, 21 de agosto de 2017

COPINH Y MADJ: The Public Ministry and the judicial authorities continue violating the rights of the victims in the Berta Caceres case.

ORIGINAL EN ESPAÑOL
 
The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras COPINH and the legal team of the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice MADJ denouces again the violation of rights and basic procedures with respect to the judicial process in the case of the murder of our compañera Berta Cáceres and the attempted murder of our compañero Gustavo Castro.
Today, August 21st, the preliminary hearing is scheduled for 4 of the 8 accused: Henry Hernández, Óscar Torres, Edilson Duarte, and Émerson Duarte.  However, the Public Ministry, with an absolute lack of respect for due process and the rights of the victims, has not provided the information that supports their accusation so that the victim’s representatives can analyze and participate adequately in the judicial process.
The lack of provision of the necessary information signifies, additionally, the violation of the rights of the victims to participate appropriately in the judicial process and violates, according to international human rights standards, the rights of the accused, particularly with respect to what is established in article 8 of the American Convention on Human Rights and article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The legal representation of the victims has requested on 6 occasions access to the necessary information to participate in the process, nevertheless, this has been expressedly and tacitly denied by the Public Ministry.
The notification of this hearing coincides with the irregular behavior by the Public Ministry throughtout the whole process.  The notification arrived the friday before the hearing, without having verified the provision of evidence so that the representatives of the victims, and even the accused persons could have the necessary time to prepare their defense, according to the principles of rule of law.  Does the suddenness of this hearing have a hidden interest?  What are they trying to achieve by hiding the information?
We emphasize that up until today, the requests by the victims for access to the information contained in materials that were removed from Berta Caceres’ home following her murder have not been responded to.  It is worrisome that there has been no answer regarding the contents of 3 celular phones, 1 electronic tablet, 1 laptop, 1 hard drive, and 5 USB memories, which were removed from Berta’s home by agents of the police and Public Ministry.
COPINH and the legal team of MADJ denouces the irregular handling of this process and the construction of impunity, as a result of the impediments to the victims’ legal representation realizing their functions. 
As this hearing occurs, the rights of the victims are being violated.
When will we see the intellectual authors?

Justice for Berta!
Justice for Gustavo!

TEGUCIGALPA, AUGUST 21, 2017






jueves, 6 de julio de 2017

COPINH communicates that FMO and Finn Fund have confirmed their official exit from the murderous Agua Zarca Project

AQUI EN ESPAÑOL

The banks' exit responds to the denouncements and indefatigable struggle the communities organized in COPINH have carried out against the financing by banks of projects that openly violate the rights of Lenca communities and have been imposed and developed through the murder of leaders like Berta Caceres and Tomas Garcia.
This exit has been a long and difficult process where COPINH has been constantly ignored and invisibilized.  The exit of the banks is a victory for communities organized in defense of the sacred Gualcarque River and the rights of the Lenca people.  This victory is a product of cosmic justice/reckoning in which our ancestors have accompanied us constantly.

However, we denounce that the FMO and Finn Fund have ignored COPINH's recommendations about a responsible exit.  To the contrary, the banks continue promoting a decision-making process about a hydroelectric dam project that could generate more violence and repression.  This process contemplates impunity for the murders and crimes committed and the tries to make invisible the responsibility of DESA and the state of Honduras for the violence in the region.  COPINH denounces that this process has already been rejected by the Lenca people of Rio Blanco and that COPINH has informed FMO and their consultant of the serious problems with this process on multiple occasions, however, they have ignored us.

In the same way, in their public declaration, FMO and Finn Fund do not consider their responsibility for the death and human rights violations that have resulted from the project. We continue demanding that the banks recognize their responsibility and that they apologize to the affected communities and COPINH, which they have refused to do.

We thank the organizations that have accompanied us in this struggle against the financing of death in our communities and we invite you to continue to join us in demanding justice, truth, and reparation.

jueves, 29 de junio de 2017

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

8 YEARS OF THE COUP
COPINH IN RESISTANCE
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 ...MORE>>>

miércoles, 21 de junio de 2017

Alert: COPINH demands respect for the lives of Lenca people in Río Blanco

New death threats in Rio Blanco against COPINH memberAlert: 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.

martes, 6 de junio de 2017

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

(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.  MORE>>>

miércoles, 31 de mayo de 2017

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

"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.    MORE>>>