March 29, 2016
In the world’s most dangerous country for environmental activists, Honduran indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her home in the early hours of March 3. Winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize for her relentless opposition to the construction of the Agua Zarca dam, which would have threatened the livelihoods of indigenous communities in the area, Cáceres had received numerous threats to her life in connection with her work.
In examining cases of journalists murdered since 2003, PEN International noted that Honduras has an impunity rate of 95 percent, a figure that has risen dramatically since a military coup in 2009. Honduras is even more deadly for environmentalists; at least 109 of them were murdered in Honduras between 2010 and 2015. As over 100 members of the U.S. Congress have pointed out, women, indigenous Hondurans, the LGBT community, Hondurans of African descent and other minorities have also been targeted.
The coup regime and its U.S.-backed successors have been accused on multiple occasions of complicity in targeted assassinations and other forms of political violence. Cáceres’ family members believe the Honduran government is manipulating the investigation into her assassination for political ends, while the sole witness, Mexican activist Gustavo Castro Soto, has been prevented from leaving the country and, according to his lawyer, fears he may be framed for the crime.
In this video, CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot discusses presidential candidate and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s record on Honduras and contrasts it with the positions taken by Democratic rival Bernie Sanders.