Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"She brought us here, Bertita did" - Women of COPINH camped out demanding justice

In the thick of night, the women of COPINH keep watch*

By Melissa Cardoza 
Close to 150 women from COPINH, joined by girls, boys and some brothers showed up in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa yesterday, Monday April 4th.

They arrived looking colorful, tired, sweating along the route down from the mountains, communities, villages. They are Lenca indigenous women, peasants, many young, all fighting for rivers, mountains, spirits, bodies and the earth.

They are called by the fighting spirit of Berta Cáceres Flores, her words and actions of rebellion. “She brought us here, Bertita did” one sister tells us as she dries her tears with the back of her hand. The pain is still stark on the faces of these sisters.

“We saw her a few days before they killed her,” the sisters of Río Lindo tell us, “she came when they evicted us to give us strength, lots of hope.” They came from there to show that same strength to Berta. They have been camped out since Tuesday at dawn on this Tuesday April 5th in front of the Attorney General’s office, a place where time and again they have come to demand the investigation and clarification of the crime against Berta Caceres Flores, and where time and again there has been no response.

The demands are the ones that they have been making since the day of her assassination:
An independent commission to investigate with the participation of the victims, meaning Berta’s family and COPINH.

The immediate and definitive cancellation of the Agua Zarca project that fills the Gualcarque River with grief.

Respect for the territorial, cultural and political autonomy of the Lenca people and their organization, COPINH.

While they chain themselves together and paint the walls of the Attorney General’s offices red they shout chants for justice and freedom. Full of rage and truth they confront the callous functionaries: “You have the blood of our sister all over your hands.”

Tegucigalpa’s feminist movement and other movements and people from the city back up the COPINH womens’ action, showing up to accompany them and share what they have and what is needed for the womens’ encampment.

The sisters arrive to this city at the precipice of public attention over the scandal of high police officials ordering the killing of one of their own top prosecutors. These are the same police that the Honduran state says are responsible for the safety of the people, of the women.

The women of COPINH aren’t just on the right side of history because they come from a people attacked for centuries by racist domination. They let out their cry for justice at a moment when the country is fed up with the cynisism of those who govern it and the violence of its institutions. The assassination of Berta Cáceres Flores is the ‘Enough!’ - ¡Ya Basta! – of this nation.
From here we call for everyone to back up the actions of the COPINH women in this city, whether by sending messages of support, contributions or displays of solidarity to the National Nework of Women Defending Human Rights. 

Tegucigalpa, Aptil 5th, 2016, 34 days after the assasination of Berta Cáceres Flores. 

 *The original title of this article, in Spanish, is “Alta es la noche, y las copinas vigilan,” a reference to the Pablo Neruda poem “Alta es la noche, y Morazán vigila,” the Chilean poet’s tribute to Honduran independence leader Francisco Morazán from his famous Canto General.

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