Press Release: Thousands around the world call for end to US aid to Honduras on June 15 Global Day of Action

For Immediate Release *  June 16, 2016

Press Contacts:
NYC and National: Helena Wong, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, World March of Women - US Chapter, (917) 270-0322, helena@ggjalliance.org
Los Angeles: Aracely Barboza, Communities for a Better Environment, (323) 637-3608, aracely@cbecal.org
Albuquerque: Beva Sanchez-Padilla, SouthWest Organizing Project, (210) 394-5536, beva@swop.net

Photos from actions attached

June 15th marked the global day of action calling for justice for Berta Cáceres, an indigenous Lenca woman and environmental justice and indigenous land rights leader in Honduras who was assassinated earlier this year for her decade-long struggle against a hydroelectric project, the Agua Zarca dam, destroying her ancestral lands and waters. Her organization COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) called for this global day of action where people from Honduras to New York to Mexico to Italy held demonstrations and protests at Honduran consulates and embassies. 

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) and the World March of Women-US chapter (WMW) led demonstrations in New York City, Los Angeles and Albuquerque, denouncing the role of the US State Department in creating the conditions for Berta’s murder by supporting the current Honduran government.

As thousands around the world took action calling for justice for Berta Cáceres, Democratic Congressmember Hank Johnson of Georgia introduced a historic bill in US Congress, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act. The proposed legislation would "suspend U.S. funding to the Republic of Honduras for their police and military operations, including funds for equipment and training, until the Honduran government investigates credible reports indicating the police and military are violating citizens’ human rights," especially the unlawful and extrajudicial killings, of human rights activists, environmental activists, LGBT activists, human rights defenders in Honduras" as Rep. Johnson stated on Democracy Now.​

"Today we stand in front of the Honduran Consulate demanding Justice for Berta Cáceres.  It is important that as people based in the US, we continue to call out the role of the US military in Honduras and their connection to Berta's death.  That is why we applaud the introduction of Bill 5474 in Congress, that calls for the end of US military aid to Honduras until there is an independent investigation.  We will not stop until Justice is achieved for Berta."-- Zelene Pineda Sulchit, WEACT for Environmental Justice

In New York City, protesters took action in front of the Honduran Consulate, putting forth the demands of the Berta's family and COPINH.  Representatives from the Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Girls Inc, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, WEACT for Environmental Justice, and many others were present.  The action was closed sharing Berta's words from the day she received the Goldman Environmental Prize.

In Albuquerque, SouthWest Organizing Project co-organized a call-in to Congress around ending military funding to Honduras, and led an action at the end of the day in front of Hillary Clinton’s campaign office to highlight her role as Secretary of State in the US-backed military coup in Honduras in 2009, which led to the conditions for Berta’s assassination. In Los Angeles, youth members from Communities for a Better Environment handed out informational flyers in front of the Honduran Consulate. In Portland Oregon, Portland Jobs with Justice participated in a National Day of Action for Justice for Janitors, where they also lifted up the demands of ending military aid to Honduras.

In this period, it is imperative that US officials respond to the direct and negative impact that US foreign policy has on frontline communities all over the world, causing recurring harm, like in the case of thousands of Central American children fleeing their countries only to be deported back to US-backed violence.

“From June 15th to the RNC and DNC in July, we will continue with our message of an immediate end to US military aid and training to Honduras. The US government must stop spending public resources to kill indigenous, environmental, human rights and LGBTQ activists and to harm poor and working communities, and instead deal with the tragic and senseless violence in our own country and serious societal problems, including failing schools, racial and gender injustice and increasing economic inequality,” says Helena Wong, National Organizer with GGJ and the WMW-US Chapter coordinator.

GGJ and the WMW-US Chapter are circulating a petition calling on the US State Department to put pressure on the Honduran government to allow for an independent investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres, led by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and calling for the termination of US military training and aid to Honduras and the immediate and definitive stop to the construction of the Agua Zarca Dam. See Petition calling for these demands here: http://bit.ly/Justice4Berta

More Background on Berta Cáceres

Berta was murdered on March 3, 2016, gunned down in her own home, because of her fearless and tireless work against the repressive Honduran state, whose military receives significant financial support from the U.S, and the extractive and hydroelectric industries destroying her ancestral land and waters. Over 20 years ago, she co-founded COPINH, a grassroots organization of workers, women, Indigenous people and farmers.  Cáceres was leading the successful campaign to defeat one of Central America's biggest hydropower projects, the Agua Zarca Dam in the Gualcarque River basin. Three of the five men arrested in connection with Cáceres’ assassination work for either the DESA Corporation, the dam builders, or the Honduran military that has been guilty of beating and harassing Cáceres and other indigenous and environmental activists. Several other COPINH activists have also been killed for their resistance against Agua Zarca Dam. DESA, the Honduran military and the US government are all implicated in these assassinations. Since Cáceres’ death, the repression and harassment and targeting of human rights defenders has only increased, and her family is calling for an independent and transparent investigation into her murder.