Berta Cáceres: “We have to take action”

 

Berta Cáceres, Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, COPINH, human rights defender, environmental activist, indigenous rights leader was murdered. It was a murder foretold. Threats against Cáceres had mounted over recent weeks, but there had always been threats and danger: “The army has an assassination list of 18 wanted human rights fighters with my name at the top. I want to live, there are many things I still want to do in this world. I take precautions, but in the end, in this country where there is total impunity I am vulnerable. When they want to kill me, they will do it.”

Yesterday, they did it. Despite constant calls for State protection, Berta Cáceres was put in further danger by the State, by the Honduran government and by U.S. support of that government. Berta Cáceres struggled for the rights of people, all people, to live in peace and with justice. That means that no entity can treat a community like dirt, to be moved this way for a big dam and that way for a highway or airport runway and the other way for a shopping mall or an upscale housing development. She fought for the dignity of women and of all indigenous peoples.

When Berta Cáceres was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, she explained, “We must undertake the struggle in all parts of the world, wherever we may be, because we have no other spare or replacement planet. We have only this one, and we have to take action. The Honduran people, along with international solidarity, can get out of this unjust situation, promoting hope, rebellion and organising ourselves for the protection of life.”

We have to take action, in the memory of Berta Cáceres. No more devastation of the earth, no more global assault on indigenous peoples, no more systematic violence against women, no more silence. We must undertake the struggle.

 

(Photo Credit: AWID / Goldman Prize)

(Video Credit 1: YouTube / Goldman Environmental Prize) (Video Credit 2: YouTube / Nobel Women’s Initiative)

About Dan Moshenberg

Dan Moshenberg is an organizer educator who has worked with various social movements in the United States and South Africa. Find him on Twitter at @danwibg.