PR: Simultaneous Mothers Day Actions for Berta Cáceres

For Immediate Release May 10, 2016

Press Contacts: Helena Wong, Grassroots Global Justice: (917) 270-0322; helena@ggjalliance.org

Simultaneous Mothers Day Actions in New York Call for Justice for Berta Cáceres & Indigenous Peoples in Honduras

“In light of the on-going violence, including the attack yesterday, it is more important than ever to stand up for Berta and the people of Honduras.”

New York-- On Tuesday, May 10th at 12 noon,  Latin American Mother's Day, over 50  mothers and community activists gathered at the Honduran Consulate in New York City, in solidarity with Austra Bertha Flores Lopez’s call for an independent investigation into the assassination of her daughter, Indigenous and environmental justice activist Berta Cáceres.  

The demonstrations came on the heels of a violent attack yesterday in Honduras at a COPINH rally calling for justice for Berta Cácares.  On Monday morning, Soldiers from the Presidential Guard attacked a group of more than 100 COPINH members, including children and minors from the Lenca community where Berta was organizing.  The Lenca community is continuing their campaign demanding an immediate closure of the Agua Zarca dam that is threatening the community’s water supply.

“In light of the on-going violence, including the attack yesterday, it is more important than ever to stand up for Berta and the people of Honduras.  The military regime in Honduras came into power through an illegal coup that was supported by the US State Department.   Since it came to power, this regime has been repressing human rights and the land rights of Indigenous Peoples.  We cannot be silent, especially around the role of US military aide and training.  This blood is on US hands as well,” said Helena Wong, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and the World March of Women, US Chapter

“As a mother who comes from struggle, my first step into activism was fighting for the life and future of my son and my family. Berta represents the best in all of us- fighting for clean water, a sustainable planet, peace and human rights. The assassination of this transformational humanist is an indictment of the Honduran government's humanity.We stand with the family's demand for an independent, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights investigation into the assassination of Berta Cáceres,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, from the Brooklyn based grassroots organization UPROSE.

The mothers delivered a large Mothers Day card that included signatures from over 1200 supporter who signed a petition supporting the demands for an independent, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights investigation and an immediate suspension of US aid to Honduras including military aid until impunity ends and the rule of law and respect for human rights are re-established.   A representative from the Consulate General of Honduras received the demands, along with cups of water representing Berta's struggle for water rights of the Lenca people.   

Immediately following this rally, the mothers and activists traveled across the city to join the Indigenous Environmental Network in their action for Justice for Berta Cáceres and Honduras from 1-2pm at the Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations. Berta’s mother and daughter knew about the the actions today and sent a message of support for the actions as well as the petition that is continuing to circulate.  

Berta Cáceres, a Lenca woman, grew up during the violence that swept through Central America in the 1980s. Her mother, Austra Bertha Flores Lopez, was a midwife and social activist, who took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, teaching her young children the value of standing up for disenfranchised people.  Berta followed in her mother’s footsteps and became one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras, and was a co-founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH. Cáceres led the successful campaign that defeated one of Central America's biggest hydropower projects, the Agua Zarca cascade of four giant dams in the Gualcarque River basin.  She had also been an outspoken critic of the US-backed military coup that ousted former President Zelaya from office in 2009.

On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres's life was taken from her and those who loved her when armed gunmen stormed into her home and shot her.   Berta's mother and her three daughters are calling for an independent investigation into her assassination.  While the Honduran government is beginning to feel the mounting pressure and began a series of arrests last week, Berta’s family has continued to be shut out of the investigation process.  

Since the military coup in 2009 more than 60,000 Indigenous, environmental and human rights activists have been killed through extrajudicial executions in Honduras.  

 

Photos from the Action: http://bit.ly/BertaViveMothersDay

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