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“There is a policy to occupy and evict land. Berta Caceres is defending the lands that have been occupied by transnational corporations with the aid of the Honduran army”, said Juan Almendares of Friends of the Earth Honduras.
He highlighted the importance of international solidarity with human rights defenders in rural, peasant and indigenous communities who are suffering state persecution.
The environmental activist, doctor and humanitarian leader said that Berta is in danger because of the resistance of the Lenca people in Sacapa and Santa Barbara departments, where most mining concessions are located, by threatening rivers, which are essential for the livelihood of the Lenca indigenous.
Almendares said it is important to expose this situation so that the struggle will
become visible and Berta and her organization will stop being the target of state repression to defend the interests of transnational corporations.
The irregular circumstances of Berta Caceres’ trial and the direct involvement of the Honduran army, besides the lack of credibility of the Honduran judiciary turns this case into a legal-military trial and calls for international solidarity to demand that the charges against her be dropped.
Berta will appear in court on Thursday 13th June for a first hearing amid a strong international campaign promoted by several local and international organizations.
The country’s authorities have received thousands of letters asking for Berta’s release and to drop the charges against her.
Meanwhile, several families of the Peasant Movement of San Manuel Cortes were evicted on Wednesday morning by the police and the military forces in tanks and using tear gases. The lands were illegally owned by Compañía Azucarera Hondureña (CAHSA), but two years ago the peasant movement began a process for the recovery of the lands. They have been eveicted five times throughout the process.
Porfirio Lobo’s administration seems to be pushing the country into an endless spiral of violence, four months ahead of the presidential elections. The candidate of the Party Freedom and Refoundation, Xiomara Castro, has already won the primaries and has good chances of winning the elections.
How do the upcoming elections affect the growing repression in Honduras?
Almendares said that the elections are surrounded by the idea of democracy and of violence. The State, with the cooperation of the US operation forces and the creation of special repression forces, is preparing to continue using violence beyond any election result.
“This is a military government with a civil appearance but a military mandate”, said Almendares. He urged to strengthen the solidarity with the human rights defenders of Honduras.
Take part in the cyberaction to demand the release of Berta Caceres
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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