Friday, September 20, 2013

ALERT: COPINH member, Berta Caceres sentenced to prison to await trial

As of 11am Friday Sep 20th, Judge Reyes Lissien Knight Lisseth ordered Berta be sent to prison while she awaits trial.  Berta must present herself, or an arrest warrant will be issued. Please read below for details.
It is imperative we keep raising our voices!

Look at "take action" pages to the right to support Berta Caceres who puts her freedom and life on the line everyday, to defend others.
To read Berta's declaration, please look at  "Berta's Declaration" to the right

The judge's resolution of last week's initial hearing against Berta Caceres, Tomas Gomez, and Aureliano Molina for the charges of coercion, usurpation, and damages of over $3 million, was issued today and includes the following:

- That the charges against Berta, Tomas, and Aureliano by hydroelectric dam company DESA and the Honduran state have merit and the case will proceed to trial.  It is notable that the judge resolved basically everything exactly as DESA and the Fiscal (goverment prosecutors) asked for.  Given that there was no real evidence presented nor logic to the charges, it could not be more clear that the justice system is completely serving the economic interests of corporations.

The judge dictated prison for Berta Caceres and alternative measures to imprisonment for Tomas and Aureliano while the case proceeds to trial.  For Tomas and Aureliano, the alternative measures include having to present themselves to sign in every 15 days, a prohibition to going to the supposed "scene of the crime," and their lawyer is responsible for them and has to give reports to ensure they will be present for the trial.  Part of the legal rationale for dictating prison for Berta is that she already has alternative measures to imprisonment for the fabricated gun charges when she was detained by 15-20 soldiers waiting for her on an isolated road en route to Rio Blanco on May 24th.  Those charges were dismissed by a judge for lack of evidence but then re-instated in a totally sketchy situation by an Appeals court, in part perhaps to contribute to this outcome, as that case has not advanced recently.

- Berta can present herself to go to jail or if she doesn't, an arrest warrant will be issued for her and she will presumably then be captured and taken to jail.  She was not at the courthouse today (nor did she need to be as today was for the lawyers to pick up the resolution of last week's initial hearing) so is not yet in jail at the moment, but all things indicate that she will be very, very soon and could be for quite a long time as the case drags out.

- The judge ordered an eviction of the action in Rio Blanco.  However, something important to note about this is that according to the lawyers, this eviction can't be carried out until the resolution is "firm," which can't happen until their appeal is resolved.  So technically, the police and military can't use this resolution as an eviction order right now, or if they do so, that is illegal.  This is important because the police occupation of Rio Blanco continues to intensify.  They are trying to build a police station and the police routinely now search people as they come into town on the bus.  The military is also still there.

- The police were armed with riot gear, including shields, helmits, batons, guns, etc, both outside and even inside the courthouse today.  There was a peaceful protest outside with people from many different Honduran social movement organizations demanding an end to the criminalization of COPINH and the struggle in Rio Blanco.

- Before today's resolution was even officially issued, there were reliable indications that the company (DESA) already knew the outcome of it, indicating just how partialized the case and the judicial system is.  

Monday, September 16, 2013


There will be an action this Thursday Sep 19th in solidarity with COPINH members Berta Cáceres, Aureliano Molina and Tomas Gómez who face another trial day on Friday Sep 20th (action info below). The government and private prosecutors are asking Berta Caceres to be imprisoned and that Tomas Gomez and Aureliano Molina be given substitutive measures to imprisonment, including prohibited access to Rio Blanco and routine check-ins at the court house. If charged the community of Rio Blanco will be left more vulnerable, silenced and invisible. 
Please sign the online petition below, quick and easy. 

How you can help:
-contact if you would like to help organize for the San Francisco action on Thurs Sep 19th or if you would like to organize an action in your area (very important!). 
-send this story to the press or write an article yourself 
-promote solidarity day, blogspot and online petition


San Francisco Action:
Date: Thurs, September 19th In coordination with trial date for COPINH members on Friday Sep 20th
Time: 12pm-2p
Location: Honduras Consulate
870 Market St #875, San Francisco, CA 94102
Make signs, bring statements and sign the petition to Judge Reyes Lissien Knight Lisseth and President Porfirio Lobo!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

NEW NEWS on trial. More pressure from the International community is NEEDED NOW!

The results of last Thursday and Friday’s hearing against Tomás Gomez, Berta Cáceres, and Aureliano Molina, and related developments, are:
·  No decision has been given as of yet. The judge will render her verdict after the third hearing, which will be held Friday, Sept. 20 at 3:00 PM (mountain time). Please note that there are four total charges against the three, not all of which are being heard at this time;
·  The government is requesting that Tomás, Berta, and Aureliano be imprisoned;
·  Meanwhile, the police presence in the north of the department of Intibucá, including the village of Rio Blanco, has increased. So have government threats and harassment of those resisting invasion of their lands;
·  Another COPINH member was arrested last week on charges of being a danger to the well-being of the nation;
·  More international pressure will be required from all of us. Please stay tunned for actions in your area, and ways you can voice your opinion and defend COPINH and Rio Blanco

See COPINH’s declaration below

Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras  COPINH.
Bo. Las Delicias, Int., Int.; Tel. (504) 2783-0817http://copinh.orgFB: Copinh Intibucá; twitter: @copinhhonduras
 Decolonization, rivers and emancipation versus racism, arrogance and capitalism.
Communique on the Initial Hearing
Yesterday, after an intense campaign of struggle from the court houses of Intibuca against the criminalization of COPINH, we communicate the following:
1.- Once again it was clearly demonstrated that the intent of the DESA corporation and the Public Ministry of Intibucá,  in obedience to this corporation with its empty and manipulative accusations,  is a posture of economic power that seeks to criminalize the historical cause of COPINH and the Lenca People.   The demonstration of racism and belittlement of the Lenca People was a false witness of accusations full of lies, contradictions and even absurdity.   What was even more clear was the aggression, interventionism and abuse on the part of the institutions of the State against the Lenca People in general.
2.- The witnesses and defense lawyers, headed by the compañero Víctor Fernández,  played a fundamental role, making a declaration of defense that was conscious, bold, firm and demonstrated that the indigenous people of Río Blanco are in struggle, with their conviction of their legitimacy as a First People, defending their collective and individual Rights, and that there is no basis for the accusations against our compañeros for their deeds. 
3.- The Public Ministry and the private accusers, at the moment of presenting their petitions to the First Court of Letters, asked for a sentence of prison with substitute measures for Aureliano Molina and Tomas Gómez, which would consist of a prohibition of being present in the “scene of the crime”, to present themselves to the Justice every 15 days, and that the defense lawyer would be responsible for the behavior of both compañeros; in the case of  Berta Cáceres, General Coordinator of COPINH, the accusers asked for prison. 
4.-  The female Judge in the case, the lawyer Lissien Lisseth Knight Reyes, DID NOT make a judgment yesterday, putting the date for a subsequent hearing to take place next Friday September 20, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. with the First Court of Letters of Intibucá.
5.-  The company threatens to present more accusations against the three defendants, and also against Other members of the Indigenous Council, the Council of Elders, and the Neighborhood Council (Patronato) of Tejera in Río Blanco.
6.  In the meanwhile, more police forces have been deployed and more militarization and harassment in the communities to the north of Intibucá, including in Rio Blanco.  All this is a result of the signature of an Act of Government, the company, and indigenous and council imposters, with the participation of SEDINAFROH, and President Porfirio Lobo Sosa. 
7.-  We alert the communities organized by COPINH, to the social movements, to the Honduran resistance, to the progressive political and social forces, to those we call you to the cause of the defense of the goods of nature; to international solidarity and human rights organizations,  that what the accusers are proposing and pushing for is the violent eviction (of the blockade) in Rio Blanco, using the repressive forces of the State, an unacceptable and shameful threat, to evict the Lenca People who cannot be removed from their own territory, occupied for thousands of years, and thereby criminalizing their just and noble struggle even more. 
8.- We call for struggle and acts of strong solidarity among all those who undertake actions in the face of the Honduran government.  We ratify that COPINH, despite all the circumstances of attack and criminalization, will continue the development of this process of defense of the territories, the culture, the spirituality and the common goods of nature, of the Lenca People and for dignity. 
The Rivers are Not for Sale:  They are to Protect and Defend!
With the ancestral strength of Icelaca, Lempira, Mota and Etempica we raise our voices full of life, freedom, dignity and peace! 

(Translation by Stephen Bartlett)
 La Esperanza, Intibucá,  September 14, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Solidarity Action in SF Tues Sep, 10th was powerful and effective!

Thank you to all who came, made calls, and got involved. History is not decided for us, we make it! You are one more person fighting for justice and equality, changing the path that would otherwise be chosen for all us, by the few. You are brave and powerful.  Please stayed tuned for the full coverage of all US actions.

As the fight continues please tell others about Rio Blanco, write an article,  visit the pages to the right that say "Take Action," or email to organize for an event or to get involved in outreach

Link to video of SF action, with thanks to Geoffrey D Harris

Saturday, September 7, 2013

National Solidarity Action Tues Sep 10th, Stand with the Indigenous People of Honduras

The Road Blockade, El Roble (the Oaktree)
National Solidarity Day Tues Sep 10th!
Please look at post below for locations of events in the United States.  
To help in other ways look at "Take Action" pages to the right

If you cannot come to an event you can:
-Tell others, via facebook, twitter, email, phone etc.
-call officials day of 
-send letters
-fill out an email form to officials, quick and easy
-make this story more public by publishing it!
-donate to the Rio Blanco Community and COPINH
-help pass out fliers, email

For more information on how you can help please look at all "Take Action" pages to the right