Honduras: Berta Cáceres daughter survives attack

The daughter of assassinated Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres survived an armed attack, just weeks after being named leader of the indigenous alliance formerly led by her mother. Bertha Zuñiga, 26, was assaulted along with two other members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPNIH) as they drove back from a visit to the community of Cancire in Santiago Puringla municipality, La Paz department, on June 30. Three assailants hurled rocks and tried to hack the COPINH members with machetes, after forcing their vehicle to stop by blocking the raod with a pick-up truck. The activists managed to escape, but came under renewed attack as the driver of the pick-up tried to force their vehicle off the cliff-edge road.

COPINH denounced the incident, stating that struggle over a planned hydro-electric project on the Río Sazagua was at issue. Their statement pointed to "the ambitions of members of the communities of Lomas de San Antonio and Las Delicias, supported by the intervention of the American organization USAID, to remove a source of water for the communities of San Antonio, Cancire, Higuito and Cedrito."

Honduran national police detained one suspect in the attack on July 6. The Indigenous Environmental Network has called for a full investigation of the attack on COPINH, and demands that the Honduran state "take all necessary measures to ensure that the organization carries out its work in defense of the rights of the Lencas communities and their territories."  (La Prensa, Honduras, July 6; The Guardian, Intercontinental Cry, July 4)

Despite the international outcry over the slaying of Berta Cáceres, death-squad terror continues against indigenous and campesino leaders in Honduras. 

  1. Honduras executive held in Berta Caceres murder

    Police in Honduras have arrested an energy company executive on suspicion of masterminding the murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres. Roberto David Castillo, is executive president of DESA, the firm that was building a dam that Caceres campaigedn against. DESA insisted he is innocent. The company blamed "international pressure and smear campaigns of various NGOs for the development.  (BBC News)