We will achieve real justice for Berta Cáceres

By Bertha Zuniga Cáceres. Coordinadora General del COPINH

I was in Mexico two years ago when, in the early hours of the morning, I received a call confirming what you had warned us about so often: that one day they would kill you because of your struggle. At that moment, I knew that we had to take on the quest for justice with the same strength and determination as you would have done. What I did not know was how I would tackle so much impunity.

I immediately packed my suitcase, called my brothers and sisters and left for Honduras to share my suffering with that of the people who were always at your side: the members of the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), your companions-in-arms.

I was in Mexico two years ago when, in the early hours of the morning, I received a call confirming what you had warned us about so often: that one day they would kill you because of your struggle. At that moment, I knew that we had to take on the quest for justice with the same strength and determination as you would have done
Bertha Zuniga Cáceres. General Coordinator of COPINH

A few days earlier we had spoken at length. You told me about the men from Desarrollos Energéticos S.A who had made threats during one of the protests by the community of Río Blanco against the Agua Zarca dam that they were building there. You told me how well the community workshop for alternative energies run by Gustavo Castro – the only witness to your killing – was going. I remember when we issued the statement rejecting investment from the Netherlands Development Finance Company, Finn Fund and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, and how you explained to me that their money was the cause of all the violence around the project.

I was overwhelmed with fear that the state that persecuted and criminalized you would leave your death unpunished. But I never imagined that it would do so in such a flagrant manner or that we would face so many irregularities in our quest for the truth.

Mami, I am not exaggerating when I say we have done everything we can to achieve justice: denunciations, demonstrations, independent investigations, constant demands to be allowed to participate in the investigation and trying to revoke the illegal concession that started all this. And we have made progress. But damn it! I'm not going to lie to you, the mafia that protects those ultimately responsible for your death is very powerful.

Every one of your words and every lesson you taught me has helped me not to let myself be engulfed in sadness. I have travelled to every place possible to denounce your killing and to tell them that you live on in the struggle of the communities that challenge these powerful forces.

Today I walk through Río Blanco with the absolute certainty that this territory will remain free and that we will achieve real justice
Bertha Zuniga Cáceres. General Coordinator of COPINH

 This article was originally published in spanish by El País.