Berta Cáceres’ Murder Linked to U.S.-Trained Soldiers, Leaked Court Docs Show

by Nika Knight, staff writer

Common Dreams | 28 February, 2017

A vigil for Berta Cáceres.
A vigil for Berta Cáceres. (Photo: Daniel Cima/CIDH/flickr/cc)

Leaked court documents obtained by the Guardian and reported on Tuesday appear to corroborate a whistleblower’s claim that U.S.-trained special forces within the Honduran military were responsible for the death of prominent Indigenous land defender Berta Cáceres last year.

The whistleblower, a former soldier, alleged that the Honduran army was murdering activists on a secret “kill list,” as Common Dreams reported.

“Eight men have been arrested in connection with the murder, including one serving and two retired military officers,” the Guardian writes. “Officials have denied state involvement in the activist’s murder, and downplayed the arrest of the serving officer Maj Mariano Díaz, who was hurriedly discharged from the army.”

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Activists’ Murders Turn Honduras into ‘No-Go Zone’ for Environmental Campaigners

Amnesty International | 19 October, 2016

The brutal murders of two land rights activists in Honduras last night are the latest tragedies in a seemingly unstoppable wave of deadly attacks turning Honduras into a no-go zone for human rights defenders, said Amnesty International.

José Angel Flores, 64, President of the Movimiento Unificado Campesino, was shot dead by a group of unidentified men in the department of Colón, northern Honduras, in the afternoon of 18 October.

Another community leader, Silmer Dionisio George, was also shot in the incident and died at a local hospital hours later.Read More »

Assassination, Repression, Impunity Continue in Honduras US is Satisfied and Certifies Human Rights Requirements for More Aid

Honduras Solidarity Network | 19 October, 2016

The Honduras Solidarity Network in North America denounces the October 18 assassination of Jose Angel Flores, President of the Movement of Unified Campesinos in the Aguan (MUCA) and Silmer Dionosio George, another MUCA leader. The campesino activists were killed by gunmen as they left a meeting of MUCA members. While we are still waiting for more information about the murders, we wish to emphasize that both men were recognized to be at risk by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and were recipients of that organization’s precautionary measures making the Honduran government responsible for their safety.  Read More »

‘Horrific Human Rights Crime’: Another Environmental Activist Slain in Honduras

by Nika Knight, staff writer

Common Dreams | 07 July, 2016

Members of COPINH hold a rally in Honduras during an international day of action for Berta Cáceres in June. (Photo: COPINH)

Another Indigenous environmental activist has been killed in Honduras, teleSUR reports.

The activist, identified as Lesbia Yaneth Urquía Urquía, was abducted and found dead near a municipal dump with severe head trauma on Wednesday.

Urquía was a member of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the Indigenous rights group founded by slain activist Berta Cáceres. Urquía “fought against the building of hydroelectric power plants on Indigenous land,” according to teleSUR.

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Another indigenous environmentalist murdered in Honduras

Granma | 07 July, 2016

Lesbia Yaneth Urquía was a Honduran environmental activist.Photo: TELESUR

Her name was Lesbia Yaneth Urquía and she was a member of The Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Copinh). When the memory of the murder of Bertha Cáceres is still fresh in our minds – a crime which remains unpunished – Urquía was found dead on Wednesday afternoon, July 6, in a place known as Mata Mulas close to the Marcala municipal dump in La Paz.
Some press reports claim that the victim sustained a head injury which could have been caused by a sharp object, although others suggest that she was shot to death. Her body was sent directly to the head office of the Ministry of Public Health’s Forensic department, to undergo an autopsy.

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Berta Cáceres Was at Top of Honduras Military’s Kill List: Whistleblower

by Nika Knight, staff writer

Common Dreams | 21 June, 2016

Mourners march for justice after land defender Berta Cáceres’ murder in March. (Photo: Getty Images)

It appears the United States government is not the only one in the world with a ‘kill list.’

According to new reporting by the Guardian published Tuesday, U.S.-trained special forces units within the Honduras military are operating an assassination program—complete with a hitlist comprised of names and photos—that targets social justice and environmental activists with “elimination.”

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Report Details How US-Backed Coup Unleashed Wave of Abuses in Honduras

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Before her assassination, Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres criticized U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton as an example of international "meddling." (Photo via Democracy Now!)
Before her assassination, Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres criticized U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton as an example of international “meddling.” (Photo via Democracy Now!)

The U.S.-backed Honduran coup ushered in a wave of neoliberal policies that have systematically violated the economic, cultural, and social rights of the nation’s Indigenous people, women, and farmers, while leaving activists and rights defenders—such as the late Berta Cáceres—vulnerable to criminalization and violence.

Such were the findings of a new report, prepared by a coalition of 54 Honduran social movements and rights organizations and presented as an alternative to the official government report submitted to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which began its 58th session in Geneva on Monday.

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In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers

counterpunch | 27 May, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.23.18 AM

Less than three months before Lenca leader Berta Cáceres was brutally assassinated, the social arm of Desarollos Energeticos SA (DESA)–the Honduran company leading the Agua Zarca dam project Cáceres was campaigning against–signed a contract with USAID implementing partner Fintrac, a Washington DC based development contracting firm.Read More »