(March 4, 2016, Los Angeles) – CARECEN joins the social justice community in mourning the shooting yesterday of Honduran environmental and indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres in her hometown of La Esperanza.
“We stand with the family of Berta Cáceres as witnesses to this lawless crime,” said Martha Arévalo, executive director of CARECEN. “We condemn the government inaction which has led to the growing violence and intolerance in Honduras.”
Cáceres, a Goldman Award winner, was a tireless worker on behalf of her own Lenca and other indigenous people, fighting corporate interests who sought to take their land. Her outspoken defense of human rights made her a target. She had been working against the building of a dam on a river her people consider sacred, and only a week ago, she was threatened for that work. Because of that, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission ordered the Honduran government to provide security for her. It clearly neglected to do so. According to reports, Cáceres was shot by two gunmen who broke into her home in the early hours of the morning.
CARECEN repudiates the lack of democracy and violence that has existed in Honduras since 2009, when President Manuel Zelaya, a popularly elected president, was overthrown by the Honduran army with the complacence and cooperation of the U.S. government. We believe this impunity is a major reason that has driven thousands of families and children to the U.S., seeking protection and finding only indifference.
CARECEN has worked for 32 years to protect the rights and dignity of Central American and Latino immigrants in Southern California. Since its founding in 1983, when thousands of Central Americans were fleeing the brutality of civil war, CARECEN has worked to change unjust immigration policies, win legal status for immigrants, and foster community activism on education reform, workers’ and immigrant rights, economic justice and community strengthening.