Thursday, March 17, 2016

Why We Mobilize with Berta Today - OFRANEH

March 17th, 2016 marks the beginning of a massive mobilization spearheaded by indigenous and black Hondurans and accompanied by the rest of the Honduran social movements aimed at shutting down Honduras's capital city of Tegucigalpa until demands are met for justice in the assassination of Berta Cáceres. One of the primary conveners is the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH, which has led the struggle for years amongst Honduras's Garífuna population and has worked closely with Berta and COPINH for many years. The following is their statement on the purpose of the mobilization and encampment that just began. [Original en español]

Why we mobilize with Berta today

Berta is not dead. Her spirit lives in all of the rivers of Honduras and the world that are threatened by a backwards idea of development that favors the blood-thirsty political and business elite, whose antiquated vision calls the death of rivers “clean energy.” We have walked alongside Berta on many paths and the struggle to defend our territories and cultures in the face of the devastating aggression of neoliberalism has been one of our most important bonds. They want to convert the natural resources on indigenous lands into commodities to be auctioned off, without any consent from our peoples, who they see as just statistics that can be dismissed.

Honduras since the coup d’état has become a political laboratory, where the ruling elite have used hideous techniques of social containment and control to get rid of us and maintain their fierce grip on power, making use of the intentionally-provoked violence and bloodshed that is embedded in our society. The execution of Berta is a desperate act by a villainous government that has been unable to neutralize her spirit of struggle or defense of the Lenca people’s territory from the bankers and business people who traffic in death.

Berta’s struggle was rooted in the defense of the Lenca territory and culture and the empowerment of women.

The central axis of her activities revolved around the Right to Prior, Free and Informed Consultation. It is a right that has been scorned by the various government administrations, which haven’t thought twice about their attempts to give away territory and put our cultures up on the auction block.

The assassination of Berta has corroborated her own denunciations of the persecution that the “authorities” and executives of the DESA Corporation carried out against her for years. Now it seems that her death is being used as a pretext to intensify the strategy aimed at destroying COPINH and annihilating its leaders.

We Demand:
  • An exhaustive investigation by an independent international panel into the assassination of Berta Cáceres
  • The immediate withdrawal of the DESA Corporation from Lenca territory and the cancelling of all concessions for hydroelectric dams, mining projects, extraction of hydrocarbons, and Special Development Regions on indigenous lands
  • Demilitarization of indigenous lands
  • Unconditional freedom for our brother and compañero Gustavo Castro
  • Immediate passage of the Law for Prior, Free and Informed Consultation, created by the Indigenous People’s Observatory with direct collaboration by Berta Cáceres
  • Nullification of unilateral decrees regarding extractive and hydroelectric projects in indigenous territories
  • Re-working of the Alliance for Prosperity, which is a false solution to the migration conflict
  • Recognition of COPINH as the organization responsible for the oversight of its territories.
Berta lives on and the struggle continues.

Sambo Creek, March 17th, 2016
Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH

Continua la movilización de los pueblosEl pueblo Garifuna realiza ceremonia en las cercanías de casa presidencial.

Posted by Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras on Thursday, March 17, 2016

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