Honoring Berta Cáceres as a Land and Water Protector

Berta Cáceres stands at the Gualcarque River in the Rio Blanco region of western Honduras were she, COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) and the people of Rio Blanco have maintained a two year struggle to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hyroelectric project, that poses grave threats to local environment, river and indigenous Lenca people from the region.

Today we remember Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres. Murdered one year ago, Berta defended environmental and indigenous rights.

Goldman Environmental Foundation Marks Anniversary of Berta Cáceres Passing, Honors Legacy to Grassroots Environmental Activism. Here Berta accepts the Goldman Prize for her environmental activism at a ceremony in San Francisco.

Here Lenca farmers preparing the soil; Santa Cruz, Lempira, Honduras. For more than two decades,  Berta mobilized communities and fought hard to protect indigenous lands against the threat of privatization and hydroelectric dams which would have a detrimental impact on the environment.

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Sierra Club Article - Under the Gun: An Investigation Into the Murder of Berta Cáceres by John Gibler

“Two days after the Lenca community set up its road blockade, Berta Cáceres arrived. Domínguez and Cáceres had met in 2009, when Cáceres went to Río Blanco to give a talk about the international laws protecting indigenous communities’ rights and to make a case for the importance of protecting the river. When Cáceres returned in April 2013 at the start of the road blockade, “she joined the struggle unequivocally,” Domínguez said. “She stayed with us day and night.”

United in its determination to halt the dam, the community of Río Blanco possessed a clear moral and legal stature: International law states that indigenous communities must give prior consent for projects like Agua Zarca, consent that the dam builders had not received. Cáceres brought to the conflict a strategic savvy honed during 20 years of social-change organizing. Her life to that point had prepared her for this very struggle.”

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