Environmentalists Being Brutally Murdered Across Honduras as They Fight For Indigenous People’s Rights… Industry Employees Attack Activists With MACHETES
People attending an international gathering to honor the life of indigenous leader Berta Caceres, were brutally attacked by people allegedly affiliated with the dam company, DESA. Caceres spent much of her life leading the resistance against a hydroelectric mega-project that the Honduran company had planned for her community. She was the co-founder of a group called the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).
Prior to the gathering, DESA had released a statement that many people interpreted as a direct threat to members of COPINH. The attack was shockingly violent, with at least four people being attacked with machetes and rocks, as armed agents descended on the peaceful demonstrators. The group of nearly 1,300 demonstrators was made up of people from Honduras and international delegations representing 22 different countries around the world, and included children.
Caceres not the first environmentalist to be assassinated
DESA has been tied to numerous incidents of harassment and threats against those involved in the movement, and has even been accused of assassinating Caceres, who was the fifth activist who resisted the Agua Zarca dam to be murdered.
COPINH is blaming her death on DESA and the Honduran state, and they also cite American complicity in the human rights crisis that is plaguing the country. So far, Honduran authorities have refused to heed calls by supporters for an internationally-led probe into the death. Honduras has not responded to an offer by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to send in a group of independent investigators to look into the murder of Caceres.
Rights Action Director Grahame Russell said, “Our Canadian delegation was eyewitness to the type of repression that the Lenca-descendant peoples of western Honduras have being suffering since 2013, including the assassination of Berta Caceres, as they resist the illegal, violent imposition of the DESA Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project.”
He added that Hondurans have been subjected to this repression for many years, as they try to resist the imposition of large-scale dam, tourism, mining and African palm production programs.
Honduran government not stepping in
It is believed that the Honduran police and military were present at the peaceful march, but did nothing to intervene when the violence began. Many human rights defenders in the country cite collusion between the state and private security personnel in repressing the indigenous movements.
Late last year, the Honduran government secured the services of public relations firm Ketchum to help boost its image, after a far-reaching corruption scandal that led to protests in which thousands of people called on the president to resign. Ketchum has been known to represent a number of questionable parties, from the biotech industry to Vladimir Putin.
Hydroelectric dams put water supply at risk
The hydroelectric dams at the center of the controversy are problematic because they block the flow of fresh water, which leads to stagnant areas of non-circulating water where toxic algae grows, making water unsafe for drinking and swimming. Eventually, these toxic algae blooms can migrate downriver, affecting a great number of people and animals, and causing problems such as gastrointestinal illness, rashes and liver damage.
The repercussions of not having clean water are tremendous, and Caceres gave her life for this cause in Honduras. Here in the U.S., the Klamath River in California and Oregon is already suffering the consequences of a hydroelectric dam, where harmful cyanobacteria is proliferating.
If you are concerned about your water quality, Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, invites you to send in a sample for free testing as part of his water testing initiative. The world simply cannot afford to sit by and allow corporations to destroy our planet’s water supply.