The suspension is an important victory not only for Cáceres but also in the longtime struggle of the Lenca indigenous to protect their rights and defend their lands. But COPINH (Civic Council of Popular & Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) and the Women’s Forum for Life are calling for continued pressure to ensure permanent dismissal of the charges.
Cáceres was arrested and imprisoned overnight on May 24,,2013, by the Honduran military, as just one step in the criminalization of the struggle by the Lenca to halt illegal construction of a massive hydroelectric project on the Río Blanco (White River) in northern Honduras. She was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, which was found in the back of a COPINH vehicle in which she was traveling to join the community resistance against Río Blanco. Also arrested and later released was Tomás Gómez of the COPINH community radio.
The charges and trial of Cáceres had generated a massive wave of protests around the world supported by a petition by Escribana posted on Avaaz.org. As of June 14, the English petition had 366 signatures and the Spanish 1,266, for a total of 1,632 signatures. Each signature generated emails to six Honduran government officials regarding the case.
Along with temporary suspension of the trial, punitive measures against Cáceres were also removed, including a requirement that she report weekly to sign in at the Santa Barbara court, and also that she was not allowed to leave the country.
As Cáceres told Escribana in a recent interview, her arrest was one step in the criminalization of dissent, and represented the symbolic resistance of Lenca communities of Río Blanco in their fight against a massive hydroelectric project on their ancestral lands without their permission. The project violates their rights as indigenous peoples to territorial autonomy, human rights and the rights of nature. Since April 2nd, the Lenca have maintained their resistance on the banks of the Río Blanco, despite violent repression by military, police, and the private security of the SINHYDRO Company.
Margaret Thompson, June 14 2013
For more information email Karen Spring (in Honduras), firstname.lastname@example.org. Please re-post and re-publish this information. Get on/off listserv: www.rightsaction.org www.facebook.com/RightsAction.org
Photo: Honduran indigenous Lenca leader of COPINH and feminist activist Berta Cáceres (1804CaribVoices)
Source: 1804CaribVoices: http://1804caribvoices.org/articles/2013/06/honduras-victory-for-protest-movement/
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