Declarations by Berta Cáceres, General Coordinator of COPINH after the arrest warrant for “preventative prison” for her and eviction of the road blockade in Rio Blanco.
“Thank you for the gestures of national and international solidarity, of the determined mobilization of COPINH, of sister organizations and progressive social and political forces that have added their weight to the struggle of COPINH. We condemn the decision of the Court, of Judge Lissien Lisseth Knight Reyes who followed the order of the DESA corporation, knowing she was pressured to do so from above, that DESA controlled this resolution. This is the “justice” we have in Honduras.
We reject the resolution, the charges and the accusations. It is clear that the “crime” is for defending the rivers, the waters, preventing the common goods (of nature) from falling into the hands of private companies. DESA has come in on the basis of an illegal and illegitimate concession issued by the National Congress and implemented by SERNA, concessions issued with complete illegality. We see in this tremendous injustice the hand of the Adjunct Attorney General Rogoberto Cuellar. Despite the decision we retain our dignity, our heads held high. They will not stop the process of emancipatory struggle in defense of the territories, the river and the spirituality of the Lenca people. They are mistaken if they think that through this resolution they will stop the struggle of the Lenca people.
They say it is a crime to shout slogans, extend our banners, that we are agitators of masses, that the poems on our Webpage are an incitement. The (prosecuting) lawyer Cantillana is racist in his accusations. He refers to the indigenous people as ignorant and we condemn his racism.
The resolution was announced to (our) lawyer Victor Fernández who is himself being accused of the same in Atlántida, and by that means they are trying to render us defenseless.
They ordered an eviction and we would like to ask the Judge Knight: What were you thinking to order the eviction? How can a people be evicted from their own territory when the State is obliged to guarantee and respect their territory and life? We are in contact with international institutions that denounce this expulsion (of Lenca people) from their own territory. We also condemn the military presence in the area by means of Operation “Freedom.”
We make a call to the national and international community, to the indigenous communities in particular to a great campaign of struggle in defense of the culture and the spirituality, because we will not go back. Where we are we will continue ahead, holding to what was taught to us by Lempira.
I declare myself a “politically persecuted” (person) as a “prisoner of conscience”. This is not disconnected from the context. By this means they are encircling us. The judicial struggle is one of the forms of the struggle. Raising our capacity to mobilize is another. We will extend the territorial struggle in these areas, in defense of indigenous autonomy, in Intibuca, Lempira, La Paz, Santa Barbara, we will multiply our efforts because we will not be humiliated and do not feel humiliated!
These judges who exhibit their ignorance and servility we know to be deepening the effort of criminalization, to marginalize COPINH from the social movements, and in face of this we need to stand up strong to this repression being imposed on us.
COPINH has not lost is leadership; it has the dignified and determined capacity to continue forward!