FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Internationational Gathering of ”Berta Caceres Lives On” Ends in Violence

by

caceres1

Participants in the International Gathering bath in Río Gualcarque on April 15, 2017

A member of the indigenous Peche community strongly criticized the poor work of the police on the last day of the International Gathering ”Berta Caceres Lives On,” which ended with a Mayan ceremony on April 17th in Rio Blanco where members of the delegation were assaulted by paramilitaries. The aggressors were paid 250 lempiras, the equivalent of USD$11 dollars, by one of the companies implementing the Agua Zarca dam project, according to local residents.

Participants of the gathering representing 25 countries and national and international media including, HCH, Telesurand Conexihon.hn headed to Rio Blanco to bath in what is considered a sacred river–Rio Gualcarque–and to hold a spiritual ceremony. There were various police checkpoints along the way to Rio and some of the buses were detained and checked. Police were also stationed at various points along the street leading to the river and headed to the community of San Ramon in the municipality of San Francisco in the department of Santa Barbara. Heading towards the downhill slope, there were approximately 25 armed individuals who were carrying machetes and threatening the national and foreign delegates with the aim of instigating violence. These individuals, who could be considered paramilitaries, insulted the first delegates to arrive at the location, who were waiting for the other buses of delegates.

At the conclusion of the day’s events around five in the afternoon, part of the delegation began to return to the same location and make their way to the buses, finding the same paramilitaries with the difference being that they were even more aggressive and some of  them were consuming alcohol at a small store nearby. Soon after the arrival of these delegates, the aggressors began to hurl rocks at them.

Video of paramilitaries from Valle de Angeles running after participants of the “Berta Caceres Lives on International Gathering” to attack them.

“The police were also supporting them because when they were throwing the rocks, the police were running away as if they were civilians even as they were carrying shields, instead of using them so that people passing by would not get hurt…that is what I observed that the police were only pretending that they were with us but that is not the truth”, said a Peche participant.

Members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras  (COPINH) were also among the injured. Asencion Martinez, Coordinator of Agreements atested, “I identified three or four individuals that were armed with firearms…these three individuals that were advising the group, the majority of whom were not from Valle de Angeles”.  He continued, “in trying to protect a female colleague, I got hit with a rock on my back and another here on the back of my leg and they began to thrown rocks and what we was to try to protect the women and many of our male comrades were hit with rocks”.  Two other COPINH members were threatened by name; Sotero Chavarria and Tomas Garcia, the new General Coordinator of the organization. Luis de Teran, a Spanish citizen and member of COPINH, was also hurt. The aggressors threw him on the ground, kicked him and hit with rocks and causing fractures in his foot.

The police response was to protect themselves and not the participants of the gathering. Regretfully, they did not disarm the aggressors at any point in time, despite the pleas of the delegation. In the end, only one of these paramilitaries who was fighting with the same police, was arrested. In response to a COPINH request, police sent patrol cars to rescue the remaining participants who remained below at the river and who were at risk had they passed by the aggressors.

While the international gathering at Rio Blanco officially ended on April 15th, the campaign for justice for Berta Caceres continues. In the days following the gathering, COPINH members flew to Europe to demand Agua Zarca financiers FMO and Finnfund to  permanently end financing of the project per one of the key demands following the heinous assassination of their leader Berta Caceres.

Gloria Jimenez

More articles by:

Gloria Jiménez is a Latina activist from Los Angeles who has lived in Honduras and Nicaragua for the past year.

February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail