On June 15th, human rights activists will assemble around the world, at Honduran Embassies, international development agencies, and government installations that provide economic development and security aid to the Honduran government.
In the United States, protests for Justice for Berta Cáceres will take place in Washington, DC:
https://www.facebook.com/events/548045192052957/ Los Angeles: https://www.facebook.com/events/855994941171533/ Atlanta: https://www.facebook.com/events/192429924489940/ New York City: https://www.facebook.com/events/1897800743780119/ Chicago: https://www.facebook.com/events/1021169234639317/ Albuquerque, and other places.*
The human rights activists will demand:
1) The immediate establishment of an independent research group led by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to clarify the assassination of internationally-renowned Honduran Indigenous and land rights defender Berta Cáceres on March 3, 2016, and ensure the prosecution of all those responsible.
2) The immediate and definitive cancellation of the concession granted to the DESA company, builder of the “Agua Zarca” Hydroelectric Dam Project in Río Blanco, Honduras, which Cáceres was protesting at the time of her murder.
Moreover, they are calling for an overhaul of the perverse “development” model, which the U.S. and other world powers are pushing in Honduras and throughout the developing world, including through international financial institutions (IFIs) the U.S. leads. In recently discussing “the Berta Cácereses of the world,” World Bank President Jim Kim said, “you cannot do the work we’re trying to do and not have some of these incidents happen.” This chilling frankness about the costs, in human life, of the dominant, top-down model of development, shows the urgency of systemic change.
"We are confronting a monster- just for defending the natural resources. When a community resists, when it doesn't want to give away and privatize the land and water, it is threatened with violence and the Honduran state begins to take away public services and strategically divide the community," notes Tomás Gómez Membreño, Cáceres’ successor as head of the organization she founded. Gómez has been touring the U.S. in the weeks leading up to the 15th, when he will be speaking to members of Congress and representatives of IFIs in DC. Those standing with Gómez and Honduras’ social movements echo their call for comprehensive change to U.S. policy and development practices impacting Honduras.
Over 60 members of Congress have asked for: an independent international investigation into Cáceres’ assassination; an immediate halt to all U.S. assistance to Honduran state security forces; the review of U.S. support for loans to projects in Honduras from U.S.-funded IFIs; and the cessation of the Agua Zarca dam. High-profile celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo have expressed sadness and outrage over Cáceres’ murder. They are part of a groundswell that will not cease until justice and comprehensive policy change take place.