Military campaigners Berta Cáceres was killed in 2016, after her decades long campaign against the construction of a pond in…
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A Honduran court has sentenced seven men to the murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres, who was murdered in a Western Honduras 2016. Cáceres had resisted resistance to the construction of a dam across the Gualcarque River and her murders drew attention to the dangers facing environmentalists in Central America.
In a telephone interview from Oakland, California, Cáceres son-in-law, Silvio Carrillo, spoke with NPR. “Just because there was a conviction, does not mean that the judiciary works in Honduras. There are still masterminds out there, and there is no indication that they are after the mastermind,” said Carrillo.
Judge sentenced two former executives of Desa, the company with the concession to build the pond, including Sergio Rodríguez, Desas Director of Environment and Social Development, and Douglas Bustillo, Corporate Security Officer.
A Desa Chief Executive, Roberto David Castillo, was arrested in March and will be tried separately.
Robert Amsterdam, International Adviser to Desa, told NPR that corporate executives are innocent of the charges against them. “The Court simply did not have any evidence to judge. As far as Sergio Rodriguez and the references to Desa are concerned, they are all without reason,” said Amsterdam. “Human rights organizations have stamped the court in Honduras, which is subject to enormous political pressure to make a judgment that is wrong. “
” We consider it a fair step towards justice … but we still have some concerns. The process had many shortcomings, “Marcia Aguiluz Soto, director of Central America and Mexico at the Center for Justice and International Law, a human rights group working with the Caceres family, told the NPR.” One of our main concerns is that the murder of the murder is not yet judged . Basically, the court ruled that seven people knew that they know, and they have evidence that stakeholders and managers of the Desa company planned for the murder of Berta Cáceres, and paid for it. “
Caceres, a Lenca woman, had practiced a ten-year struggle against the construction of the dam, which was to be built over water considered sacred by the resident Lenca people who also said the pond would endanger its water resources. She led a campaign as “involved the submission of legal complaints against the project, organizing community meetings and bringing the matter to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission,” according to The New York Times.
In 2015, the Caceres Goldman Environmental Prize, awarded to the grassroots environmental leader, and the award gave his work international attention and recognition.
44-year-old Caceres was murdered just one year later when two soldiers broke down the door to the home where she lived in the town of La Esperanza, translating “hope” in Spanish and shot her six times .
Cáceres grandson, Carrillo, says he was dumbfounded through news about her death. “It’s just a constant weakening of my family. lh, the native people of Honduras and a lack of respect. Berta fought for them. They deserve the respect that any of us do, whether we are white, brown, black, it does not matter. This is the root of the problem in Honduras, where the rich control power, and the poor have no voice, “said Carrillo.
According to the Global Witness organization, 14 environmental activists were killed in the repressive for their work in Honduras last year and more than 120 people have been killed in the country since 2010 to protest against companies that pollute the environment.