Berta Caceres won the Goldman Environmental award in 2015
Today we mourn the tragic assassination of Berta Caceres, a prominent Honduran indigenous rights activist.
Berta stood up to corporations and helped delay the construction of the Agua Zarca dam that would destroy her community’s land and the Gualcarque River in Honduras. The dam was delayed due to protests for so long, that investors started pulling from the project.
As a result, Berta became a target for corporate spying, intimidation, and ultimately murder, simply because money wasn’t being made.
This is why we are calling on the largest remaining investor of the dam, FMO (a Dutch Development bank) to join the Chinese investors Sinohydro and the International Finance Corporation in withdrawing financial support for this project immediately.
According to FMO’s own website, the bank has a long standing commitment to environmental and social sustainability. This commitment alone should have led them to stay away from the Agua Zarca dam, proposed to be built in sacred indigenous land and the Gualcarque River, but now FMO is complicit in Berta’s assassination.
51% of FMO’s shares are held by the Dutch government. Unless FMO is prepared to face both a domestic and international outcry, it cannot afford to see through its investment in the Agua Zarca dam.
Since the right-wing coup against Manuel Zelaya in 2009, activists have been systematically persecuted by the Honduran government, making Honduras one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an activist or community organiser.
This was certainly true for Berta. Just last year she won the Goldman Environmental award for her successful campaign against the Agua Zarcao dam, and she has now paid with her life.
This isn’t the first time that the SumOfUs community has stood with brave activists defending their homes, lands and livelihoods against corporate giants. Thanks to our generosity, Máxima Acuña, the Peruvian anti-mining activist, was able to contract private security to protect her from possible corporate-sponsored assailants. And thanks to us coming together and supporting Máxima, the Yanacocha mine will not been able to go ahead without a community consultation.
Berta’s death hurts so many of us who want to see a fair and equitable world. These corporations think that by taking her out, the resistance to the dam is dead. Let’s prove them wrong and push FMO out of this unethical deal!
Thanks for all that you do,
Carys, Ledys and the rest of the team at SumOfUs.org
Berta Cáceres, Honduran human rights and environment activist, murdered, The Guardian, 3rd of March 2016
Berta Cáceres, Honduran Activist, killed, CNN, March 4th 2016
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