Honduras: Threats against Berta Caceres' family mount after dam victory

Berta Caceres' murder has been linked to her successful campaign to pressure the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam.
August 4, 2017

Relatives of Berta Caceres, the iconic Indigenous environmentalist from Honduras who was killed in March last year, denounced on July 26 a "hate campaign" against them.

At a media conference held by human rights advocacy groups, Austra Berta Flores, Agustina Flores and Olivia Zuniga, mother, aunt and daughter of the murdered environmentalist, respectively, said the "same pattern" that was used to kill the Indigenous leader last year was now being used to target them.

The environmental activist's family expressed concern about the "most aggressively executed hate campaign" against them after the Dutch Development Bank, FMO and the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Finnfund, decided to pull out from the Agua Zarca dam project on the Gualcarque River that flows through the Indigenous territory of the Lenca people.

Caceres' tragic death has been linked to her successful campaign that pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the hydroelectric project that threatened the lives of Indigenous people in the region.

Agustina Flores, Carceres sister, warned that the family could suffer the "same fatal outcome of our beloved Bertita as it is being followed in the same pattern, now against members of her family."

The family members blamed Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for the attacks. "We place responsibility on the regime of Juan Orlando Hernandez and the violent factional groups," the family said in a statement.

Flores told AFP that the intimidators are using different tactics to threaten them and other family members.

A mob entered their house in Esperanza and vandalised the artists' murals "dedicated to the memory of Caceres" with obscenities.

The family claimed they are being spied upon and constantly find themselves being followed. Earlier this month, Berta Caceres' daughter was assaulted twice by four men.

Guadalupe Ruelas, director of Casa Alianza, a non-profit that works to protect the trafficked and exploited homeless children of Latin America, said in a statement that the Caceres family has been the target of attacks, threats and robberies, among other crimes.

It has been a year since Caceres' death, but those responsible continue to roam scot-free as the judicial process against her killers is proceeding slowly.

The latest evidence of Berta Caceres' murder points to the Honduran state. The three military men implicated in the case would have received counterinsurgency training from the United States.

Flores also urged the international community and human rights organisations to remain "vigilant and condemn these acts of persecution and criminalisation" that aim to halt "the struggle for justice for Berta Caceres" and are "imposing extractive death projects on our territories."

Honduras has the highest murder rate for environmental activists in the world, mostly because of conflict over land rights.

[Republished from TeleSUR English.]

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