Human rights activist Berta Caceres has been murdered in her home. Thursday night two thugs broke into her home, shot and killed her. She knew that her life was in danger because of her activism. There was supposed to be security for her, but apparently was either missing or ineffective.
Amnesty International has called on the Honduran government to bring the assassins to justice.
“The cowardly killing of Berta is a tragedy that was waiting to happen. For years, she had been the victim of a sustained campaign of harassment and threats to stop her from defending the rights of indigenous communities,”
A witness to the assassination has sought refuge in a priest’s home.
Caceres campaigned for indigenous rights, gender equality and environmental protection. The latest project that she was working on was to stop a dam being built in the Rio Blanco area. Originally funded by the World Bank, it has continued to be built in spite of the World Bank withdrawing its support. The dam when completed will cut off water supplies to the indigenous people who live in the area.
In 2015 Caceres received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s top environmental activism award.
It is unlikely that the Honduran government will enthusiastically investigate and prosecute those who committed this latest murder. In 2013 a fellow activist, Tomas Garcia was shot dead by a military person. Activists in the central American country protest encroachment on their land at their peril. In the years between 2010 and 2014 there have been more than one hundred documented murders of activists.
Honduran politics are turbulent. In 2009 a military junta arrested the elected president and flew him to exile in Costa Rica. Many countries refuse to recognize the current president.
Honduras has become a very dangerous place. Gang warfare, military actions and ‘collateral murders’ make it one of the most dangerous places in the world. Its per 100 000 murder rate is 82.1 while the world average is 8.8 per hundred thousand.
Several government advisory sites warn prospective travellers to Honduras to exercise a high degree of caution if you venture there.
Latin American Herald Tribune
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