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Berta Cáceres' Sister Speaks Out About the Ongoing Assassinations of Land Defenders in Honduras

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The People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., also called attention to the perilous climate for environmental justice activists worldwide, where an increasing number of land and water defenders are being murdered for their organizing efforts. During the march, we spoke with Neery Carrillo, the sister of murdered Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres.

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

MARCHER: Tell me what the climate change looks like!

MARCHERS: This is what the climate day looks like!

MARCHER: Tell me what the climate change looks like!

AMY GOODMAN: We are at the People’s Climate March. It’s historic. It’s right here in Washington, D.C. The weather? It’s above 90 degrees. It is expected to be one of the hottest days in Washington, D.C., in history. And, you know, that’s part of why people are out here marching, have come not only from every corner of the country, but of the globe. What’s happening behind us—we’re on Pennsylvania Avenue—thousands of people have begun to march. And they’re going to encircle the White House and sit down. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh, and we’re here bringing you the voices of the march.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And we’re joined now by two guests. Can you introduce yourselves?

NEERY CARRILLO: Yes, my name is Neery Carrillo. I am Berta Cáceres’ sister. I am very, very happy to be with you and tell you about my sister that we have—

AMY GOODMAN: Let me just say, Berta Cáceres, the Honduran environmental leader, who was gunned down in her home in La Esperanza, in Honduras, she was a Goldman Environmental Prize winner, fought for her community. Where do you live?

NEERY CARRILLO: I live in Arlington, Virginia, for—I came here in 1972. It was very hard to hear that my sister was killed. And only thing I can ask you is to tell the government of Honduras to—to do the justice, to do the right thing and find the killers of my sister, but the intellectual killers. They have eight people in jail, but they’re the ones that killed her, that pulled the gun on her. But I ask the government of Honduras to do something about it and put the people is responsible for her death, which Hernández, our president, Hernández, should know about this.

AMY GOODMAN: And he is?

NEERY CARRILLO: We need justice.

AMY GOODMAN: He is?

NEERY CARRILLO: He is the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And why don’t you introduce yourself? You’ve also been working on Berta Cáceres and what’s happening in Honduras.

MELISSA COX: Hi. My name is Melissa Cox. I am a Latin American solidarity worker. And right now we are calling for justice in the case of Berta. Justice for Berta means the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, which is legislation in the House of Representatives right now. It is calling for a suspension of U.S. security aid to Honduras, $18 billion in security aid. Right now, we have—it was introduced by Representative Hank Johnson. We have 51 co-sponsors currently. We’re asking that people call their representatives and urge them to sponsor the bill. The bill will call for a suspension until which time Honduran government can—the Honduran security forces cease human rights violations, bring the perpetrators to justice of human rights violations, including the intellectual authors behind the assassination of Berta Cáceres. Berta Cáceres’ sister in 1972 had to flee Honduras because of the violence there. And we have not had policy shifts for decades. And so that’s why we’re seeing so many people come here. And so, we’re asking for people to support this bill, as well as call for an independent investigation. Hundreds of organizations in the U.S., as well as in Latin America, are calling for an independent investigation to the murder of Berta Cáceres.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us about why Berta got so interested in the environment, why your sister?

NEERY CARRILLO: Well, she was—since she was 17 years old, she used to see—my mother is a midwife in the country. And Bertita was only 17 years old when she saw the misery which the Lenca people was going through, that they don’t have no—it was the poorest area in the Lenca—the Lenca people. So she got involved in that she was—since she was 17 years old. And she is the founder of the COPINH, which she helped all the Lenca advance and all the people who has no words and very poor, and they cannot have a voice into the government of Honduras.

AMY GOODMAN: That is the sister of Berta Cáceres, Neery Carrillo, and activist Melissa Cox, speaking at the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. To see our full 5-hour broadcast from the streets of Washington, D.C., one of the hottest days, one of the hottest April 29ths in D.C. history, you can go to our website at democracynow.org.

And that does it for our show. As we continue our community media and book tour around the country, I’ll be speaking tonight in Durham, North Carolina, at 7:00 p.m. at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Church. On Tuesday, we’ll be in Miami, 6:30 at the Coral Gables Congregational Church; then on to Wednesday in Tampa at 7:30 p.m. at the Seminal Heights United Methodist Church; on Thursday in Atlanta at 7:00 p.m. at the First Iconium Baptist Church; on Friday at 2:00 p.m. at Carleton College in Minnesota and at 6:30 p.m. at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. On to Saturday, we’re in Madison, and then the evening in Chicago; on Sunday in Kalamazoo, Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Check our website for all the details, democracynow.org.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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