COPINH communique on the attack on COPINH and the Encuentro pariticipants

[Original en español]

COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) communicates the following to the Honduran people and to the international community:

There has been new physical aggression by employees of the company DESA (Desarrollos Energeticos S.A.) owned by the Atala family, after a spiritual intercultural ceremony for our comrade Berta Caceres that was part of an activity carried out by an international solidarity caravan at the Gualcarque River as part of the International Conference “Berta Careers Lives”.

There are injured people and significant wounds. 

The act occurred at around 5 pm after the compañeros and compañeras of COPINH and the Honduran and foreign participant in the International Conference “Berta Caceres Lives”, were peacefully leaving, after concluding the ceremony, and were walking towards San Francisco de Ojuera to the vehicles that would take them back to Tegucigalpa. 

Around 20 employees and people affiliated with DESA, most of them obviously inebriated, ambushed the peaceful procession, hitting people, including foreigners and children, with sticks and rocks. The aggression occurred in sight of, and with the tolerance of the National Police and military assigned by the government of Juan Orlando Hernandez to support DESA. 

The DESA company had threatened COPINH and the International Conference “Berta Caceres Vive” in a communique published April 12 on their website:

This conduct by the company is recidivist in that previously it issued public threats that followed the same pattern against Berta Caceres just days before her assassination, in the framework of genocidal actions against COPINH and the Lencan people – threats made by this company under the mantle of impunity given to them by the Public Ministry, the National Police and the military. 

The aggressors said that they wanted to find Tomás Gómez, the new General Coordinator of COPINH, they yelled, “we will attack him, he is the one who is left”. They also threatened by name Sotero Chavarría (who was injured by a rock), a member of the General Coordination of COPINH. 

Among the shouts by the aggressors at the victims they said, referring to Berta Careers,  “we have killed the fly and only the lesser ones are left”. 

COPINH also notes that we also hold responsible the government of the United States for the use made by the Honduran police and military of the U.S. financial and logistical aid to police and military being used to care for the property of the illegal Hydroelectric Project of Agua Zarca on the Gualcarque River, within the framework of a policy of the demonization of COPINH and the Lenca people from the government and DESA; the negative response by the US government to the call to suspend these aid payments being used to repress and assassinate the Honduran people will make them accomplices to the same acts. 

It is fitting to note that this aggression occurred at the same site in which on February 20th of this year armed men (hired assassins and employees) of DESA, military and police wanted to murder Berta Caceres. This fact was denounced by Berta herself and by COPINH and no response was received from the authorities. Eleven days after that attempt against the compañera, Berta Caceres was murdered at her house. 

The death of Berta has been the 5th assassination of people working in opposition to the installation of the hydroelectric project. The presence of the project in the zone violates the Constitution of the Republic, the ILO Convention 169, the International Agreement on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Agreement for the Prevention and Sanction of Genocide and the Penal Code of Honduras. 
​COPINH brings to the attention of the national and international community that it holds responsible the State of Honduras, the company DESA, the Atala family and the municipal corporation of San Francisco de Ojuera for any new aggressions that may occur against participants in the International Conference “Berta Caceres Lives” who continue to be trapped in the dangerous zone. We make an urgent call to the international community to insist that the government of Honduras cease carrying out genocidal actions against the Lencan people and COPINH; these acts are to concretize the plunder the Lencan territory for the commercial gains of the government of Honduras and its functionaries. 

With the ancestral strength of Icelaca, Lempira, Mota and Etempica we raise our voices full of life, justice, liberty, dignity and peace!

San Francisco de Ojuera April 15, 2016 

[Original en español]


Below is an English translation of the press release from todays Press Conference held by the Platform of the Social and Grassroots Movement of Honduras. Original in Spanish is below.

Injuries In The Planned Attack On the Caravan In Solidarity With COPINH
Press release
April 16, 2016
The Platform of Social and Grassroots Movement of Honduras (PMSPH) and delegates that were participating in the International Meeting of Peoples “Berta Caceres Vive”, denounced yesterday at 5:00 pm, that members of the platform, and national and international delegates mobilized from the Gualcarque River to Tegucigalpa were assaulted and threatened with death by a group of men in the service of the company Desarrollos Energy SA (DESA).
Among the foreigners attacked are the Spanish and international accompanier, Luis de Teran who received a broken leg due to the rough treatment, also threatened was the cameraman from Telesur, Ezequiel Sánchez. Of the national delegation those wounded were Vitalino Alvarez, Consuelo Soto, Sotero Chavarría, Asuncion Martinez, Marleny Reyes Castillo and Raul Guevara.
The attack developed after a spiritual ceremony was performed on the banks of River Gualcarque and near the site of the dam, in the community of San Ramon, municipality of San Francisco de Ojuera, Santa Barbara.
When the delegation left the area, the attackers intercepted the caravan, threatened them and gave chase with a machetes in hand, they were beaten with sticks and stoned for several minutes.
During the incident the attackers mentioned Tomas Gomez Membreño, the new general coordinator of COPINH, shouting “we attack him, he is the one who has been” this is in addition to many death threats received by Tomas Gomez.
Among the attackers was identified several gunmen who repeatedly threatened to kill Berta Caceres and other members of the Civic Council of Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). Several of the attackers were captured in late 2015 carrying high caliber firearms and were freed thanks to bribes from DESA.
We denounce this vile attack on the members of the caravan and collusion of the military police guarding the hydroelectric plant during the incident, and the police were in the area of ​​the attack and were direct witnesses and made no arrest or other action to safeguard the lives of the foreigners and nationals returning from the peaceful caravan.
Among the organizations that made up the caravan are: Amigos de la Tierra International, Transnational Institute, Jubileo Sur, -Brigadas Internacionales de Paz (PBI), Fian internacional, Asociación Entrepueblos, Habitar, Red de Ambientalistas Comunitarios, Centro Martín Luther King. Cefemina, Grupo de Solidaridad de El Arenal, Red de Mujeres de Matagalpa, Movimiento Social Nicaraguense “Otro Mundo es Posible”, Voces Ecologicas, Iniciativa Nicaraguense de Defensoras de DDHH, Witness for Peace, Red de Mujeres del Norte, Movimiento Comunal de Matagalpa, Movimiento Popular de Resistencia 12 de Octubre, Grupo Venancias, Observatorio Latinoamericano de Geopolítica, Mesoamericanas en Resistencia, among others.
This clearly demonstrates the collusion in the planned aggression and involvement of the government in the murder of our sister Berta Caceres and reaffirms DESA’s participation in the murder of Berta Caceres.
Significantly, on 12 April this year DESA issued a statement criminalizing COPINH and international delegations and organizations of the social movement of Honduras calling them violent.
This behavior of the company is that of a repeat offender, and DESA repeatedly issued statements and later attacks against members of COPINH, as happened days before the murder of our colleague Berta Caceres.
The connivance of local authorities and the national police, the military police as well as military and local mayors is obvious. Their passivity and complicity with the company has been equal as in this event, protecting the attackers and not protecting all people involved in the visit to the Gualcarque river.
Therefore, we hold responsible the President of the Republic, Juan Orlando Hernandez, the Ministry of Security of Honduras and DESA for this attack perpetrated against international and national delegates, who only participated in a spiritual and cultural event as a closure of the International Meeting of Peoples “Berta Caceres Vive”, held from 13 to 15 April this year.
Justice for Berta, Justice for the World!
Platform Social Movement and People of Honduras (PMSPH)
Heridos en agresión planificada a caravana en solidaridad al COPINH
Nota de Prensa
16 de abril de 2016
La Plataforma del Movimiento Social y Popular de Honduras (PMSPH) y las delegaciones que participaron en el Encuentro Internacional de los Pueblos “Berta Cáceres Vive”, denunciamos que ayer a las 5:00 de la tarde, integrantes de la plataforma, de las delegaciones internacionales y nacionales que se movilizaban desde el Río Gualcarque hacia Tegucigalpa fueron agredidos y amenazados a muerte por un grupo de hombres al servicio de la empresa Desarrollos Energéticos S.A.(DESA)
Entre las personas extranjeras agredidas están el español y acompañante internacional, Luis de Teran que resultó con una pierna fracturada debido a los golpes que recibió, también fue amenazado el camarógrafo de Telesur, Ezequiel Sánchez. De la delegación nacional resultaron heridos Vitalino Alvarez, Consuelo Soto, Sotero Chavarría, Asunción Martinez, Marleny Reyes Castillo y Raul Guevara.
El ataque se desarrollo después de realizar una ceremonia espiritual a la orilla del Río Gualcarque y en las cercanías del plantel de la represa, en la comunidad de San Ramón, municipio de San Francisco de Ojuera, Santa Bárbara.
Cuando la delegación salía de la zona, los agresores interceptaron a la caravana, los amenazaron y persiguieron con machete en mano, golpearon con palos y lanzaron piedras por varios minutos.
Durante el incidente los agresores hicieron mención de Tomas Gómez Membreño, el nuevo coordinador general del COPINH, gritando “ataquémoslo, él es el que ha quedado”, esta se suma a muchas amenazas de muerte recibidas por Tomas Gómez.
Entre los agresores se pudo identificar sicarios que en reiteradas ocasiones amenazaron de muerte a Berta Cáceres y a otros miembros del Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH). Varios de los agresores fueron capturados a finales del 2015 portando armas de fuego de alto calibre y fueron dejados en libertad gracias a sobornos por parte de DESA.
Denunciamos esta vil agresión a la integrantes de la caravana y la colusión de la policía militar que cuidaba el planten durante el incidente, así como los policías que se encontraban en la zona del ataque, que fueron testigos directos y no hicieron ninguna detención u otra acción para garantizar la vida de las personas extranjeras y nacionales que regresaban de la caravana pacífica.
Entre las organizaciones que integraban la caravana están: Amigos de la Tierra International, Transnational Institute, Jubileo Sur, -Brigadas Internacionales de Paz (PBI), Fian internacional, Asociación Entrepueblos, Habitar, Red de Ambientalistas Comunitarios, Centro Martín Luther King. Cefemina, Grupo de Solidaridad de El Arenal, Red de Mujeres de Matagalpa, Movimiento Social Nicaraguense “Otro Mundo es Posible”, Voces Ecologicas, Iniciativa Nicaraguense de Defensoras de DDHH, Witness for Peace, Red de Mujeres del Norte, Movimiento Comunal de Matagalpa, Movimiento Popular de Resistencia 12 de Octubre, Grupo Venancias, Observatorio Latinoamericano de Geopolítica, Mesoamericanas en Resistencia, entre otras.
Esta agresión evidentemente planificada demuestra el contubernio y participación del gobierno en el asesinato de nuestra hermana Berta Cáceres y reafirma la participación de DESA en el asesinato de Berta Cáceres.
Cabe resaltar que el día 12 de abril del presente año la empresa DESA publicó un comunicado criminalizando al COPINH y a las delegaciones internacionales así como a las organizaciones del Movimiento social de Honduras calificándolos de violentos.
Esta conducta de la empresa es reincidente, ya en reiteradas ocasiones la empresa DESA ha emitido comunicados y posteriormente se realizan agresiones contra integrantes del COPINH, tal como paso días antes del asesinato de nuestra compañera Berta Cáceres.
El contubernio de las autoridades locales como la policía nacional , la policía Militar y del Orden publico así como militares y alcaldes locales es evidente, su pasividad y complicidad con la empresa se repiten de igual manera en este evento, protegiendo a los agresores y dejando de proteger a todas las personas que participaban de la visita al río Gualcarque..
Por lo tanto, responsabilizamos al Presidente de la República, Juan Orlando Hernandez, al Ministerio de Seguridad de Honduras y la empresa DESA de este ataque perpetuado contra las delegaciones internacionales y nacionales, quienes solo participaban en un acto espiritual y cultural como cierre del Encuentro Internacional de los Pueblos “Berta Cáceres Vive”, que se realizó del 13 al 15 de abril de este año.
¡Justicia para Berta, Justicia para el Mundo!
Plataforma del Movimiento Social y Popular de Honduras

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