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Slain Activist Berta Cáceres' Daughter: US Military Aid Has Fueled Repression & Violence in Honduras

March 18, 2016
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Guests

Bertha Isabel Zúniga Cáceres

one of the daughters of Berta Cáceres, the Honduran environmentalist assassinated on March 3.

Lilian Esperanza López Benítez

the financial coordinator of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, which Berta Cáceres co-founded.

Another indigenous environmentalist has been murdered in Honduras, less than two weeks after the assassination of renowned activist Berta Cáceres. Nelson García was shot to death Tuesday after returning home from helping indigenous people who had been displaced in a mass eviction by Honduran security forces. García was a member of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, co-founded by Berta Cáceres, who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last year for her decade-long fight against the Agua Zarca Dam, a project planned along a river sacred to the indigenous Lenca people. She was shot to death at her home on March 3. On Thursday, thousands converged in Tegucigalpa for the start of a mobilization to demand justice for Berta Cáceres and an end to what they say is a culture of repression and impunity linked to the Honduran government’s support for corporate interests. At the same time, hundreds of people, most of them women, gathered outside the Honduran Mission to the United Nations chanting "Berta no se murió; se multiplicó – Berta didn’t die; she multiplied." We speak with Cáceres’s daughter, Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, and with Lilian Esperanza López Benítez, the financial coordinator of COPINH.


TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Honduras, where another indigenous environmentalist has been murdered, less than two weeks after the killing of renowned activist Berta Cáceres. Nelson García was shot to death Tuesday after returning home from helping indigenous people who had been displaced in a mass eviction by Honduran security forces. García was a member of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, co-founded by Berta Cáceres. She won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last year for her decade-long fight against the Agua Zarca Dam, a project planned along a river sacred to the indigenous Lenca people. She was shot to death at her home on March 3rd. In a statement, Honduran police said the two killings were unrelated. They called Nelson García’s murder a, quote, "isolated" act.

But Honduran activists disagree. On Thursday, thousands converged in Tegucigalpa for the start of a mobilization to demand justice for Berta Cáceres and an end to what they say is a culture of repression and impunity linked to the Honduran government’s support for corporate interests. Ten buses of indigenous and black Hondurans were reportedly stopped en route to the capital. Activists said some began walking toward Tegucigalpa after being forced to leave the buses.

In the capital, demonstrators walked past the Mexican Embassy to show solidarity with Gustavo Castro Soto, the sole witness to Berta Cáceres’s murder, who remains inside the embassy. After Cáceres died in his arms at her home, Castro was interrogated and blocked from leaving Honduras to return to his native Mexico, even though he was accompanied by the Mexican ambassador and shot twice himself. One of Berta Cáceres’ daughters, Olivia, spoke to Democracy Now! at the mobilization in Tegucigalpa.

OLIVIA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] Today, we are here to demand justice and an explanation for the crime of the death of my mother, Berta Cáceres. I’m her oldest daughter. And we’ve launched a struggle, a battle at the international level, to exert pressure in order to demand that the aid agencies that fund these multinational corporations that come to plunder, to exterminate our people, to spill our blood in our territories, to create territorial conflicts, that they stop being financed and that they leave our country, because we don’t want international companies that come to finance death, blood and extermination in our communities.

AMY GOODMAN: In a victory for Berta Cáceres’s supporters on Wednesday, the Dutch development bank FMO and the Finnish development bank Finnfund said they would suspend their funding of the Agua Zarca Dam. In a statement, FMO said it was "shocked" by Nelson García’s murder and would halt all activities in Honduras.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., two activists scaled an art installation in front of the U.S. Agency for International Development Monday to oppose the agency’s support for the dam. They unfurled a banner reading "Stop funding murder in Honduras." Honduran activists say five members of COPINH working to stop the Agua Zarca Dam have been murdered since construction began in 2013. On Wednesday, at another action in Washington, D.C., two activists interrupted a meeting of the Council of the Americas. They targeted the U.S. ambassador to Honduras, James Nealon, saying he has blood on his hands.

PROTESTER 1: He has the blood of Berta Cáceres! He has the blood of Nelson García! The United States has been funding—the United States has been funding [inaudible].

AMY GOODMAN: In New York City on Thursday, hundreds of people, most of them women, gathered outside the Honduran Mission to the United Nations, chanting "Berta didn’t die, she multiplied." Among those who participated was one of Berta Cáceres’s three daughters, also named Bertha, and a Lenca activist from Berta Cáceres’s organization COPINH. We’re going to speak with them shortly, but first, in an international broadcast exclusive, we turn to new footage filmed by COPINH members and its supporters in the hours before and days after Berta’s assassination in Honduras. The video begins with Berta Cáceres herself conducting a training on March 2nd. Only hours later, she would be assassinated.

BERTA CÁCERES: [translated] We have to understand why these projects are so important. The government has all of its institutions at the service of these companies, because they are capable—as in Río Blanco, in the defense that we had in Gualcarque—because these businesses are capable of moving antiterrorism commandos, like the TIGRE commandos, the military police, the national police, security guards, hit men, etc. It’s not a simple thing. There has to be something else deeper, underneath the surface, that moves all of that power. And we want to understand that better. We have to understand that, because we have the obligation as members of COPINH to have these debates anywhere. And this will help these resistance struggles that you’re fighting there in your communities.

AMY GOODMAN: Only hours later, early in the morning of March 3rd, Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home in La Esperanza. As the authorities took her body away, her brother Gustavo reacted to her death.

GUSTAVO CÁCERES: [translated] And what I ask of Juan Orlando Hernández, look, here lies a true Lenca, who was never ashamed to be indigenous. What she did was defend her people with her life, and she gave her life. And now we have her here in the back of a truck in a bag, in a plastic bag, like any thing. This can’t happen in our country. What is happening? We demand, we demand, we demand, in the name of my family, my mother, this people, thousands and thousands of us, that they immediately investigate and that they not say things that aren’t true, and that they stick to the truth of what happened to my sister.

AMY GOODMAN: Berta had been a frequent voice on the local community radio station, La Voz Lenca. After her death, fellow activists took to the airwaves to denounce the murder.

ACTIVIST 1: [translated] We have to be alert, compañeros and compañeras. And we are not to be brought to our knees. At no point will we surrender. At no point will they sell us. If the dictatorship of Mr. Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, if the executives of the company DESA and the hit men, if they are thinking that they are going to stop the struggle of our organization, ladies and gentlemen in power, you are wrong.

PROTESTERS: ¡Justicia! ¡Justicia! ¡Justicia!

AMY GOODMAN: The news of Berta’s assassination spread quickly, and on March 5th, thousands gathered for her funeral in La Esperanza.

PROTESTER 2: [translated] We reject the patriarchal victimization that the Honduran state and the states in the region want to impose on us. We, the women and the people, reject it, together, brothers and sisters. We reject it because we are criminalized women, who are also living under death threats for shattering this power imposed by neoliberalism in our territories.

AMY GOODMAN: People took to the streets across Honduras to denounce her killing and to accuse the state of being complicit in her murder. Outside the local public prosecutor’s office, activists said authorities have repeatedly ignored their reports of death threats.

ACTIVIST 2: [translated] When we come here to the public prosecutor’s office—I’ve been present many times when people have come here to report complaints; I’ve come here to accompany comrades—and the public prosecutor’s office, or the people who work here, say that they are rabble-rousers and that they are against development. What kind of development, my friends? Killing comrades? Is that development?

AMY GOODMAN: One of the activists to denounce Berta’s murder was Miriam Miranda, a leader of the Garífuna community in Honduras. The Garífuna are descendants of indigenous Caribbean people and African slaves.

MIRIAM MIRANDA: [translated] We want our children to breathe clean air for generations to come. We want to have rivers. We don’t just want to wash our clothes. We also want to be able to drink the water, to be able to have water in our homes! That is the struggle we are fighting. For that, they kill us. For that, they killed Berta Cáceres.

AMY GOODMAN: One of Berta’s three daughters, Laura, resolved her mother’s fight would continue.

LAURA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] My mother has not been killed. My mother has been planted, and she is born and reborn. And this, which they tried to put out today, this fire that is the struggle of the people, the only thing they did was ignite it more, because they tried to put out the fire with gasoline!

PROTESTERS: ¡Justicia! ¡Justicia! ¡Justicia!

AMY GOODMAN: That was Berta Cáceres’s daughter Laura, speaking after her mother’s death in Honduras. When we come back from break, we’ll be joined by Laura’s sister—that is, Berta’s daughter—Bertha Zúniga Cáceres. And we’ll be joined by Lilian Esperanza López, who is with COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. That’s the group that Berta Cáceres founded. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Karla Lara, "La Casa de la Justicia," "The House of Justice." This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re talking about Honduras, where another indigenous environmentalist has been murdered, this less than two weeks after the killing of the renowned environmental activist Berta Cáceres. Nelson García was shot to death Tuesday after returning home from helping indigenous people who had been displaced in a mass eviction by Honduran security forces. García was a member of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, co-founded by Berta Cáceres. She won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last year for her decade-long fight against the Agua Zarca Dam, a project planned along a river sacred to the indigenous Lenca people.

We’re joined right now by Berta’s daughter, by Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, and by Lilian Esperanza López, financial coordinator of COPINH, the organization Berta co-founded.

We welcome you both Democracy Now! Bertha, first of all, and Lilian, my condolences on the death of your mother.

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] Thank you, and I’d like to thank you for giving us this opportunity, the media that follow up on the struggles and don’t just put out news.

AMY GOODMAN: Bertita, Bertha, why are you here in the United States?

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] We’re here because we want to continue denouncing what happened to my mother. We want to tell the truth about her assassination. In Honduras, the situation is very much manipulated by the media, and the way the government is dealing with it is truly lamentable. So we want to struggle with those who are engaged in social struggle, women and men, but also with authorities and persons who can listen, so that the demands that we have put forward to the government of Honduras can actually receive attention and be acted upon.

AMY GOODMAN: What are you demanding of the U.S. government?

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] Well, I think one of the key demands is that we be accompanied in our demands. We have put forth an array of points that have received very little attention in our country. It seems that the government of Honduras is only concerned about what is said internationally, but not about really following up on or really verifying what it is that happened in the assassination of my mother. So, it’s crucial that an independent investigative commission be formed, that it be made up of experts who enjoy the trust of the family and the organization, for the investigation that has been carried out thus far is very limited, and the results that it might yield would not be considered reliable by us. And we would like the government of the United States and many others to pressure the government of Honduras to make it possible for such a commission to participate in the investigation, for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has said that it is ready and willing, but it needs an invitation from the government of Honduras in order for its investigation to be considered relevant in the overall investigation.

AMY GOODMAN: I really—I really hate to ask you this, Bertita. What do you understand happened to your mother when she was assassinated? She was at your home in La Esperanza, in Honduras. This was two weeks ago. Well-known figure around the world, leading environmentalist. What do you understand happened to her in the home where you grew up?

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] Well, as soon as I found out about her assassination, I immediately thought, "Who was really behind this?" because we knew of the recurrent threats that she faced. And in the last week, there had been an escalation in threats. And this happened in the context of the struggle against this hydroelectric dam known as Agua Zarca. We’ve always feared for her safety and for her life, because we knew that these threats included participation by or also came from the repressive forces in Honduras, that the police and the military had been safeguarding the facilities of the hydroelectric plant. And rather than seeing how to protect human rights, they’re always trying to figure out how to protect the interests of the private company. So we knew that there were big interests that wanted to bring an end to her life and the struggle of the organization, because the struggle was not only hers, it was the struggle of an entire people and also a struggle of the Honduran social movement.

AMY GOODMAN: Just hours before Nelson García was assassinated—and this was just a few days ago, and this is after Berta’s assassination—more than 60 members of Congress signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew calling for a review of U.S. security aid to Honduras and an independent investigation into the killing of Berta Cáceres. They wrote in part, quote, "We are profoundly saddened and angered by the brutal assassination of Berta Cáceres, and appalled by our government’s continuous assistance to Honduran security forces, so widely documented to be corrupt and dangerous." Where does that U.S. military aid go, Bertita?

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] I think that the military aid is like the classic form of aid that the United States has given to the Latin American region. In Honduras, it was bolstered as of the 2009 coup d’état, which saw an increase in the national budget earmarked to security. But at the same time, they created special forces, supposedly, to watch out for security in the country. But quite to the contrary, what has happened has been an increase in insecurity, violence and repression, very much directed against the Honduran social movement. So I believe that the role of the security forces is extremely important when one looks at the barriers being put up to the Honduran social movement and to the exercise of human rights. We’re also concerned that this is continuing, this cooperation, because it has shown that these security forces do not serve the purpose for which they were supposedly created. For the indigenous peoples, in particular, the presence of armed forces represents a great danger, because they have a different life of harmony, and this merely steps up conflicts within the communities.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to talk about—I mean, something very interesting here in the 2016 presidential election in the United States is there is a relationship between Hillary Clinton, who was the secretary of state who basically accepted the coup of 2009, and the government, the coup government, in Honduras. But before I do that, I want to turn to our second guest, to Lilian Esperanza López Benítez, who is the financial coordinator of COPINH. Now, COPINH is the environmental organization, the indigenous organization, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, that Berta Cáceres co-founded. Lilian, how many times have you been interrogated since Berta’s assassination?

LILIAN ESPERANZA LÓPEZ BENÍTEZ: [translated] Up until the assassination of Berta, I have been interrogated four times, and I have received many phone calls from the office of the attorney general. And we asked ourselves, why are those of us who are part of this organization being interrogated? And we—they are denouncing members of our organization, COPINH. We ask, why are they interrogating us?

AMY GOODMAN: So they have interrogated you since Berta was killed?

LILIAN ESPERANZA LÓPEZ BENÍTEZ: [translated] Yes. I have been at the office of the prosecutor for whole days in interrogations.

AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think they are questioning you? And who is doing it?

LILIAN ESPERANZA LÓPEZ BENÍTEZ: [translated] Those who interrogate us or question us are the office of the prosecutor, because they want to tie her assassination to some sort of internal problem, even though we’ve never had such an internal problem in the organization during the various years in which I have shared the struggle with her. All that the government wants is to tear the organization apart. That’s what the government wants to achieve. But as women and as a strong organization, we hope that they’re not going to accomplish that. Rather, we have become strengthened to continue working in the organization to defend natural resources.

AMY GOODMAN: Lilian, first Berta Cáceres, the founder of your organization COPINH, was assassinated. Then, tell us what happened to Nelson García just in the last days.

LILIAN ESPERANZA LÓPEZ BENÍTEZ: [translated] The assassination of Berta, these—days earlier, there had also been an eviction in Río Lindo, in the department of Cortés, and persons were displaced once again. The government could have stopped this, because if it does not want to be—had it not wanted to be involved or had it not been involved in the assassination of Berta, they would have detained, they would have arrested the assassination. And there was an eviction by police, by military and by a court. And in the wake of that, our colleague Nelson García was assassinated. Just as he was arriving at his home, paid hit men were there waiting to assassinate him.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you afraid for your life?

LILIAN ESPERANZA LÓPEZ BENÍTEZ: [translated] Yes, we do have fear. We feel fear. Yet this is a struggle that we have undertaken. It is a road that we have headed down, that is to become stronger and to continue working as Berta always did. And this is a tribute to her. We have committed ourselves to continue along the same path to defend the struggle, because if, as women, we are not struggling in Honduras, but we know that it is a violent country and that they assassinate us just for being women and for standing up for the natural resources of the Lenca people.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what COPINH does, your organization that Berta founded.

LILIAN ESPERANZA LÓPEZ BENÍTEZ: [translated] For the last 21 years, has been struggling. On 27 March, that will be 22 years. COPINH has been an organization that defends natural resources in the Lenca communities, because the Lenca communities have their own title, their own legal status. They are protected by ILO Convention 169. The only thing we do is support the Lenca communities to defend their own resources and their own rights. This is what we do as an organization, because many communities have had their lands taken from them. Their crops have been destroyed once the company comes into these communities. Those rights are not respected. And that is what the organization has done. It has undertaken a struggle as of a long time ago, and we’re going to continue that struggle, knowing that our colleague, Berta, was assassinated and that many of us women might be assassinated in this effort. But the government will continue to bloody its hands with many women.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your message—what is your message, Lilian, to the U.S. government?

LILIAN ESPERANZA LÓPEZ BENÍTEZ: [translated] My message would be that these countries that are financing and the banks that are financing and providing this aid to the multinational companies should no longer do so, because due to this financing and due to these multinationals that are in our country, Honduras, Berta was assassinated, and many community leaders have been assassinated. They don’t care, but we continue to struggle. And they are not going to stop us women. They are not going to stop us, the Lenca people. We continue in going forward in this strong struggle in order to pay tribute to and honor our colleague Berta.

AMY GOODMAN: Bertha Cáceres, again, Berta Cáceres’s daughter, who has come to the United States, talk about the dam your mother has fought against for so long, the Agua Zarca Dam, and what it actually does, why she was so fiercely opposed to it.

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] I believe that the position taken not only by my mother, but also by the Lenca indigenous people and the Honduran social movement, is aimed at preserving the life of the communities and to preserve life, not only for ourselves but for the entire world. It’s very important to understand the difference between the worldview of the indigenous communities and an extractivist model that really means dispossession, pillage of the natural goods of nature, and, over time, the death of the communities and of their way of life. That is why my mother so fervently and so firmly opposed these projects, because they don’t bring about the supposed development that they talk about. They really represent death for the communities.

AMY GOODMAN: What role, Bertha, did the coup play in 2009 in what has happened in these years that have ensued, the coup that ousted the democratically elected president of Honduras, Mel Zelaya?

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] I think that the role of the coup is, well, the reason for the deaths of hundreds of activists and defenders of life, because at the root of the problem that the indigenous peoples are facing is this, for it’s since the coup that hundreds of concessions were given for hydroelectric exploitation, for mining. Model cities were established, also sales of oxygen and a number of projects aimed at dispossessing the population. So, we are actually experiencing the coup d’état now with the establishment of a whole series of projects that are strengthening an economic model that represents the pillage of the common goods of nature. So it is very significant, and we are seeing the consequences in the situations we’re now experiencing.

AMY GOODMAN: Since the coup, Honduras has become one of the most dangerous places in the world. A few days ago, we were speaking to Greg Grandin, who is a professor of history at New York University, and asked him about what Berta Cáceres said about Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2009 coup, when she was secretary of state. In this clip, we hear Berta Cáceres and then the response by Greg Grandin. Juan González and I were interviewing him. Cáceres appeared on the Argentine TV program Resumen Latinoamericano.

BERTA CÁCERES: [translated] We’re coming out of a coup that we can’t put behind us. We can’t reverse it. It just kept going. And after, there was the issue of the elections. The same Hillary Clinton, in her book, Hard Choices, practically said what was going to happen in Honduras. This demonstrates the meddling of North Americans in our country. The return of the president, Mel Zelaya, became a secondary issue. There were going to be elections in Honduras. And here, she, Clinton, recognized that they didn’t permit Mel Zelaya’s return to the presidency. There were going to be elections. And the international community—officials, the government, the grand majority—accepted this, even though we warned this was going to be very dangerous and that it would permit a barbarity, not only in Honduras but in the rest of the continent. And we’ve been witnesses to this.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres speaking in 2014. She was murdered last week in her home in La Esperanza in Honduras. Last year, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize. She’s a leading environmentalist in the world. Professor Grandin?

GREG GRANDIN: Yeah, and she criticizes Hillary Clinton’s book, Hard Choices, where Clinton was holding up her actions in Honduras as an example of a clear-eyed pragmatism. I mean, that book is effectively a confession. Every other country in the world or in Latin America was demanding the restitution of democracy and the return of Manuel Zelaya. It was Clinton who basically relegated that to a secondary concern and insisted on elections, which had the effect of legitimizing and routinizing the coup regime and creating the nightmare scenario that exists today.

I mean—and it’s also in her emails. The real scandal about the emails isn’t the question about process—you know, she wanted to create an off-the-books communication thing that couldn’t be FOIAed. The real scandal about those emails are the content of the emails. She talks—the process by which she works to delegitimate Zelaya and legitimate the elections, which Cáceres, in that interview, talks about were taking place under extreme militarized conditions, fraudulent, a fig leaf of democracy, are all in the emails.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And particularly what does she say in them?

GREG GRANDIN: Well, she talks about trying to work towards a movement towards legitimating—getting other countries, pressuring other countries to accept the results of the election and give up the demand that Zelaya be returned.

AMY GOODMAN: And let’s go to March 2010. This is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveling to meet with the Honduran president, Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, whose election was boycotted by opponents of the coup that overthrew Zelaya. Hillary Clinton urged Latin American countries to normalize ties with the coup government. After this, we hear response from professor Greg Grandin.

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: We think that Honduras has taken important and necessary steps that deserve the recognition and the normalization of relations. I have just sent a letter to the Congress of the United States notifying them that we will be restoring aid to Honduras. Other countries in the region say that, you know, they want to wait a while. I don’t know what they’re waiting for, but that’s their right, to wait.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsing the coup. What is the trajectory of what happened then to the horror of this past week, the assassination of Berta Cáceres?

GREG GRANDIN: Well, that’s just one horror. I mean, hundreds of peasant activists and indigenous activists have been killed. Scores of gay rights activists have been killed. I mean, it’s just—it’s just a nightmare in Honduras. I mean, there’s ways in which the coup regime basically threw up Honduras to transnational pillage. And Berta Cáceres, in that interview, says what was installed after the coup was something like a permanent counterinsurgency on behalf of transnational capital. And that was—that wouldn’t have been possible if it were not for Hillary Clinton’s normalization of that election.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s New York University professor Greg Grandin responding to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And we heard Berta Cáceres herself talking about Clinton’s role in the coup. We are with her daughter, Bertha Zúniga Cáceres. Was your mother, after the coup, put on a death list in Honduras? Was she the number one person on that list, Bertha?

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] She was figured on the lists of persons for whom the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued precautionary measures. And these precautionary measures were granted to persons who exercised major leadership in the movement opposing the coup d’état. The entire organization COPINH was also one of the organizations that spoke out entirely against the coup d’état. It participated in hundreds of mobilizations that organized after the coup d’état, and they always declared their opposition to this being called a presidential succession. Also, COPINH called for the population to not participate in elections, which it thought should not be held, because we were in a coup d’état situation, and one could not say that that was any sort of democratic succession.

AMY GOODMAN: Bertha, finally, you have said your mother was not the first activist to be assassinated, and she won’t be the last. Are you afraid for your life.

BERTHA ZÚNIGA CÁCERES: [translated] Well, I believe that fear exists. It is a reality. But now, more than ever, what we insist on is that my mother’s assassination be a precedent for justice. That is why it is so important that this crime be investigated, because we know that the government fears an independent commission coming to say who’s really behind this assassination and that it might reveal the ties under which the oligarchical powers operate in our country, the ties that the companies have that are protected by Honduran institutions, in which a justice system supports these facilities even though they violate human rights. And they are also operating in alliance with security forces.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us. Our guests have been Bertha Isabel Zúniga Cáceres, the daughter of Berta Cáceres, who was assassinated two weeks ago at her home in La Esperanza, in Honduras, and Lilian Esperanza López Benítez with COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, which Berta Cáceres co-founded. I thank you both for being with us. Again, thank you so much and condolences. And special thanks to our translator, Charlie Roberts. If you want to see all of our coverage of Honduras, right after Berta Cáceres’s assassination, but well before—Democracy Now! was on the plane covering Manuel Zelaya returning to his country after he had been couped out, as they say, after the coup, when he returned from Nicaragua to Honduras, as well as the time of the coup and our interviews with President Zelaya and indigenous activists in Honduras.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we’re talking Flint, Michigan. We’re talking about the continued poisoning of the water supply and what activists are doing about it, following two congressional hearings this week where one of the heads of the EPA spoke and for the first time the governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, appeared. Stay with us.


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