Seven years of seeking justice and memory for Berta Cáceres. It is time to act.
Statement 06 / 23
COPINH together with the daughters, son and mother of comrade Berta Cáceres, on the seventh anniversary of the cruel crime that took the life of comrade Berta and in which comrade Gustavo Castro was attacked, we declare the following:
Our stubborn search for justice makes us meet one more year in the city of La Esperanza-Intibucá, in Honduras and in many parts of the world to commemorate one more year of the planting of Berta Cáceres as a seed of freedom for the Lenca and Honduran people.
One more year in which we reiterate and reaffirm our indeclinable struggle for justice for Berta, so that all those involved in her crime are prosecuted and punished. One more year in which we demand that the delinquents Jacobo, José Eduardo and Pedro Atala Zablah, together with Daniel Atala Midence, the instigators of this crime, be brought to justice to pay for their crimes.
On this seventh anniversary, we reiterate that the impunity of the instigators, who continue to do business at the expense of the Honduran people, is a message that promotes the murder of other human rights and environmental defenders. As is happening in Honduran territories and especially in the northern part of the country, El Aguán.
On this Berta’s day, we call on the government of President Xiomara Castro, and all organizations and institutions, to take advantage of the opportunity for justice that Berta Cáceres gives us, and move forward with decisive and powerful steps to dismantle the impunity of the criminal mafias that hold Honduras captive.
The search for justice for Berta Cáceres necessarily implies the dismantling of the unjust extractivist system of the resources of indigenous and campesino communities based on a development model that has proven useless to solve the problems of Honduras.
This system of death, which took Berta Cáceres from the arms of her daughters, son, mother, comrades in struggle and organization, is sustained for and by the interests of unscrupulous business and banking groups that have bled and continue to bleed the Honduran people. For decades and especially during the governments of the narco-dictatorship of the National Party, the rights of indigenous communities have been violated by the economic interests of criminal structures, disguised as development and green companies.
Even though the irregularities and corruption of the concession on the Gualcarque River have been proven, and the connection of the Atala Zablah family and their employees to the violence and murder of Berta Cáceres has been proven, this same family still maintains the rights to the concession and permits for 50 years to exploit the Gualcarque River. We demand that this concession be cancelled responsibly and immediately.
Today, we once again call on the Lenca people, the Honduran people, the institutions of the Honduran State and the international community to prioritize efforts to rebuild the justice system of our country and dismantle the impunity that overwhelms us. And thus, to stop lamenting arbitrary rulings such as the one that recently freed the military officer Saravia for the attempted murder of our comrade Allan Garcia.
The new Supreme Court of Justice means a change in the power relations in the rotten justice system, however, within it there are representatives of the rancid economic groups, such as the Atala family, which causes us deep concern. We will continue to struggle to ensure that the will of the people’s justice system is respected and we demand that a radical transformation of the justice system be imposed.
COPINH, daughters, son and mother of Berta Cáceres do not forget the alliance of Attorney General Chinchilla, five-star prosecutor of the narco-dictatorship, with the intellectual authors of the crime against Berta. On this anniversary, we call on all organizational spaces to unite in a strategic pact to change the Public Prosecutor’s Office, an entity complicit with big white-collar criminals and powdered noses, and the executioner of the impoverished populations of the country.
On this day of March 2, we call upon ourselves to celebrate the memory of the peoples, to not forget the rebellion and dignity of Berta Cáceres, her human greatness, and to remember so many martyrs for the freedom and autonomy of the peoples who accompany us on our journey.
Today we meet to tell ourselves and to tell the world that justice is ours because we are backed by truth and dignity. And that is something that the murderers of our peoples will never have.
Justice for Berta is Justice for Honduras and Justice for the world.
Berta Lives, the Struggle Continues.