The international mission is made up of 18 human rights observers and journalists from Colombia, El Salvador, Chile, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Spain, France, Italy and the United States. The focus of the mission is on the Aguan Valley but we spent the first day, May 7th, in La Esperanza, Intibuca with the family of Berta Caceres. This was at the same time that the court hearings were beginning in Tegucigalpa for the first arrests in Berta's case. Four men, including one retired and one active military officer and one Desa employee were brought to court. (Two additional men have been arrested: one is said to have been one of the hired guns, but little information has come out about the sixth man arrested on May 8). Berta's daughter Bertita was traveling Laura and Olivia were attending court in Tegucigalpa so the delegation met with the rest of her immediate family including Berta's mother Astraberta and her siblings.
|Doña Astraberta with a grandson|
Carlos H. Reres, Bertha Olvia
,and a delegation member
Bertha Oliva of COFADEH spoke briefly about the situation in the country and the campaigns against human rights defenders of all kinds. We were also joined by Carlos H. Reyes, leader of the beverage workers' union and important figure in the resistance movement, who with Berta Caceres had been preparing to run for President and Vice President as independent peoples' candidates in 2009. Carlos spoke on the context in which repression and violence is taking place in Honduras and the Hernandez' governments ruthless economic and political agenda to privatize and exploit Honduras' resources with no regard for the consequences for the people as well as the role of the United States in setting the agenda and doing everything possible to continue the coup.
After the meeting the delegation was invited to Doña Astraberta's house where the family has set up photos and an altar dedicated to Berta. We ended the day by going to the cemetery to pay our respects.
|Felix (gray shirt) with members of the delegation|
V. Cervantes, May 8, 2016, Honduras