Article by PBI-Canada

Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize.

Today is the fifth anniversary of the murder of Berta Cáceres, the co-founder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).

PBI-USA remembers Cáceres on this day by sharing an English translation of this speech that she gave less than a year before she was killed:

In our worldview, we are beings who come from the Earth, from the water, and from corn.

The Lenca people are ancestral guardians of the rivers, in turn, protected by the spirits of young girls, who teach us that giving our lives in various ways for the protection of the rivers is giving our lives for the well-being of humanity and of this planet.

COPINH, walking alongside people struggling for their emancipation, validates this commitment to continue protecting our waters, the rivers, our shared resources, and nature in general, as well as our rights as a people.

Let us wake up! We’re out of time. We must shake our conscience free of the rapacious capitalism, racism, and patriarchy that will only assure our own self-destruction.

The Gualcarque River has called upon us, as have other gravely threatened rivers.

We must answer their call.

Our Mother Earth – militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated – demands that we take action.

Let us build societies that are able to coexist in a dignified way, in a way that protects life.

Let us come together and remain hopeful as we defend and care for the blood of this Earth and of its spirits.

I dedicate this award to all the rebels out there, to my mother, to the Lenca people, to Rio Blanco, and to the martyrs who gave their lives in the struggle to defend our natural resources.

To watch the video of Cáceres giving this speech (with English subtitles), please click here.

The full text of the speech in Spanish is here.

PBI-Honduras began to accompany COPINH, the organization Cáceres co-founded, three months after she was killed.

This morning, PBI-Spanish State signed this joint letter with other organizations calling on the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to seek justice for Cáceres and to “publicly acknowledge the legitimate work carried out by COPINH and the importance of their struggle to achieve justice and reach the truth.”

COPINH has submitted about 35 complaints about aggressions it has experienced between 2017 and 2020. The Honduran state has not taken action against the alleged aggressors nor has it signed the Escazu Agreement to protect environmental defenders.