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Seven months after the murder of leader Berta Cáceres Flores, coordinator of COPINH (the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), in Intibucá, the organization continues facing harassment and assassination attempts, this time against two leaders: Tomás Gómez Membreño, current General Coordinator, and Alexander García Sorto, community leader of Llano Grande, Colomoncagua.
The group has denounced these assassination attempts as part of a harassment and criminalization campaign against COPINH itself and the communities resisting extractive projects such as Agua Zarca.
The events were almost simultaneous and took place on October 9: in the early morning, unknown men shot against Alexander García´s house, where he was sleeping with his wife and his two daughters. That same night, COPINH´s truck driven by Tomás Gómez Membreño was shot at, aiming to murder the activist. This is the second time the current COPINH´s coordinator is shot in the street.
Gaspar Sánchez, member of COPINH, said to Real World Radio that these events are also part of a media campaign to discredit and criminalize the Council because of its effect in questioning several extractive projects.
“We see that the report published by the FMO (the Netherlands Development Bank) denies its responsibility for the human rights violations perpetrated by the Agua Zarca project, blaming the Honduran State, even though they were aware of the human rights violations and the abuses of indigenous peoples rights, said Gaspar.
In the interview, Gaspar made reference to the demand for an “independent commission to investigate and clear up the murder of Berta”, and the lack of guarantees of the Honduran legal system with the recent theft of part of the judicial records.
The COPINH member believes that the violent acts against the current nature defenders and the cruel murder of Bertita deserve “another type of justice”. In the case of Berta Cáceres, “this means to organize communities and to remove death, extractivist projects from the territories. With this we would feel that justice was served with our dear colleague Berta”, said Gaspar.
We also asked the Honduran leader about the meaning of the Continental Day in Defense of Democracy and Against Neoliberalism scheduled for November and said that COPINH feels the international solidarity with these actions that focus on the Honduran community resistance against the projects of transnational corporations and financial institutions.
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