AMERICA/HONDURAS - Leading environmentalist Berta Cacere assassinated after ten years of threats

Friday, 4 March 2016 politics   human rights   women   environment  

Environmentalist Berta Caceres in front of Pope Francis

La Esperanza (Agenzia Fides) – Leading environmentalist Berta Caceres, well known in Honduras, was murdered at dawn yesterday, Thursday 3 March, at La Esperanza, about 200 kilometers from Tegucigalpa, in the west of the country. Ms Caceres was the leader of the indigenous Lenca community and a most prominent human rights activist. According to local sources the assassins broke into the house to commit murder but the police speaks of attempted robbery.
"We all know it was because of her fight" the woman’s family members said.
Berta Caceres had received death threats for almost ten years. Since, together with the Council of Honduras Indigenous Peoples (COPINH) which she founded, Ms Caceres coordinated the Lenca’s battle against a maxi-dam at Agua Zarca on the river Gualcarque. In October 2014 she took part in the meeting of people’s movements convoked by Pope Francis in the Vatican, during which Ms Caceres spoke in front of the pontiff about the beauty of creation and the necessity to protect it.
She always denounced persecution of environmentalists in Honduras and all over Latin America. According to the latest report of the international body Global Witness relative to the year 2014, Brazil registered 29 homicides, followed by Colombia with 25, Honduras in third place with 12. In Peru nine activists were killed, in Guatemala five, in Paraguay three, in Ecuador and Costa Rica one respectively. And of these 40% were members of indigenous communities.
The total number of environmentalists killed was 116, twice the number of journalists.
(CE) (Agenzia Fides, 04/03/2016)