Tomorrow marks two years since Berta Cáceres, the beloved Lenca Indigenous, feminist, and environmental leader and co-founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated in her home in La Esperanza, Honduras. Witness for Peace continues to demand justice for her brutal, politically-motivated murder.
There are THREE actions you should take NOW for justice for Berta.
1) Ask your member of Congress to continue his/her advocacy for justice in Honduras by signing the letter demanding a stronger investigation into Berta’s assassination. The letter closes tomorrow morning, so your advocacy is needed TODAY.
This morning Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) began circulating a sign-on “Dear Colleague” letter in the U.S. House of Representatives to Secretary of State Tillerson urging him “to help advance justice in the Cáceres murder case and advance human rights for indigenous and Afrodescendant communities in Honduras at a particularly dire moment in this small nation’s history.”
The letter states that “In December and January Honduran authorities declared martial law and violently repressed dozens of demonstrations sparked by major irregularities in the contested general election of November 2017. These acts of brutal repression are among the most recent abuses perpetrated by a corrupt and militarized regime. Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities seeking to defend their rights have been particularly targeted, as have other human rights defenders and journalists.” And, “Although the Cáceres killing has received enormous international attention, the Honduran authorities have, so far, failed to deliver real justice and accountability in the renowned activist’s case.”
To sign on to the letter (or if the staffer wishes an official copy of the letter), your Rep’s staffer can contact Chelsea Grey at Chelsea.Grey@mail.house.gov (NOTE: please do not contactJohnson’s staff yourself, but ask the staffer to do so).
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give them the name of your Rep, then ask to be connected. (If you do not know the name of your Rep, please go to http://www.house.gov/ and enter in your zip code at the upper right).
When you call, ask to speak with the aide who handles foreign policy. Use the script below in speaking with the aide. If the aide does not recall seeing the letter, they must contact Chelsea Grey at Chelsea.Grey@mail.house.gov. If the foreign policy aide is not available, ask to leave a message on his or her voice mail. Be sure to get the name of the foreign policy staffer so you can follow up.
Script: “My name is _____. I am a constituent from (your town/city) in (your state). I am calling to ask Representative _____ to sign the Johnson sign on letter highlighting state violence inHonduras and calling for justice in the Berta Cáceres case. The letter is just circulating for 24 hours, and it is especially for fellow co-sponsors of the Berta Cáceres Act. Has Representative _______ seen this letter? Can I count on him/her to sign on? Please call me at (_your phone number_) to let me know if you have seen the letter, and if Representative _____ will sign it.”
**In your phone conversation, please highlight why this letter is important to you, especially if you have travelled to Honduras or heard a Honduran leader/organizer speak in your community.
2) While you’re speaking to them, thank her/him for supporting, as a co-sponsor, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, H.R.1299, and ask them to encourage their colleagues to co-sponsor!
Although eight arrests have been made in the case, the investigation has been riddled with irregularities (including the theft of the case files), and evidence suggests that the intellectual authors of the crime remain at large. Moreover, Berta’s family and her organization COPINH have been intentionally kept in the dark about the ongoing proceedings against her killers.
And since the country’s contested election in late Nov. 2017, Honduran security forces have killed 38 peaceful protestors demanding thorough investigation of reported widespread fraud in the November presidential election. There can be no discussion of justice for Berta Cáceres’ assassination, or for human rights more broadly in Honduras until Honduran armed forces can no longer act with impunity.
Possible call script: “My name is _____. I’m a constituent from (your town/city) in (your state), and I’m calling to express my deep gratitude to Rep. _____ for her/his leadership in joining as a co-sponsor of re-introduced The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, H.R. 1299, and ask her/him to tweet about the bill, and make a statement about it on the House floor, and, of course, encourage her/his colleagues to join the bill as co-sponsors. Thanks again to Rep. ____ for her/his leadership, and I hope she/he will do everything possible to make the bill successful.”
3) Join us on a delegation to Honduras! The best way to learn about the crisis in Honduras and the inspiring resistance to U.S. led policies of militarization is to travel with WFP and hear from the Honduran social movements directly. Join us on a delegation this spring or summer.
Thank you for your continued advocacy.
The Witness for Peace Honduras Program, Elise Roberts (Minneapolis, MN) and Walker Grooms (Washington, DC
Witness for Peace
1115 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20005