Honduras: Increasing Political Violence, slain indigenous activist

Posted on March 14, 2016 • Filed under: Crime, Honduras, Politics, Social Issues

Interview with Dana Frank, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, conducted by Scott Harris

btlonline.org — The Central American nation of Honduras is well known for having one of the highest murder rates in the world that includes violence attributed to narco-trafficking, gang conflicts and street crime. But Honduras is also the most dangerous country for environmentalists, where 116 eco-activists were killed in 2014, many of them defending indigenous communities and lands. The March 3 murder of Berta Cáceres, winner of the 2015 Goldman environmental prize, is the latest tragic news from Honduras. Cáceres, who was shot by two unknown assailants who broke into her home, led the Council of Popular and Indigenous People’s Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, that actively opposed the construction of a proposed dam on the Gualcarque river, an area considered sacred by the Lenca people. She had previously reported receiving numerous death threats from police, soldiers and local landowners because of her work.

The escalating violence in the country is linked by many observers to the 2009 coup that ousted the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. The government which came to power after Zelaya’s overthrow – with U.S. support, has since pushed to build a controversial network of dams and mining projects on indigenous land.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Dana Frank, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who talks about the environmental conflicts in Honduras that likely led to the assassination of Berta Cáceres and the U.S. role in the 2009 Honduras coup which likely occurred when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Read Article

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