Tag Archives: Dam Project

The US And Canada Have Blood On Their Hands In Honduras


Members of the military police march during a parade commemorating Independence Day of Honduras. | Photo: Reuters

The international community needs to be held to account for propping up and subsidizing the murderous regime in Honduras.

Honduran military and police forces, backed by the international community and in particular millions of U.S. dollars, once again brutally attacked peaceful protesters in a week that saw more social movement blood spilt.

The march on Thursday organized by the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, and OFRANEH, an organization which represents the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna people, converged outside the Attorney General’s office to demand justice following the assassination of two more prominant social movement leaders in the country.


During the attack, heavily armed police and COBRA forces (Special Operations Command) indiscriminately fired tear gas canisters and water cannons and physically beat girls and boys, women and men, and the elderly.

Police and COBRA forces attacked just as OFRANEH was initiating a drumming and spiritual ceremony. COPINH was once led by globally-renowned activist Berta Caceres, who was murdered this year for opposing the construction of a dam. They are two of the most respected community organizations in Honduras since before the 2009 U.S. and Canadian-backed military coup, and particularly since then.

Eyewitness Karen Spring from the Honduras Solidarity Network reported:  “The repression was brutal and I’ve been in a lot of repressive marches since the 2009 coup.  This one was up there with the worst, especially since a COPINH member reported that one police took his gun out and fired a shot at his feet.  It all happened so fast and no one expected it; there was no time to get children and elderly out.  People were grabbing kids and running with them as they were crying and choking from the teargas.  The police chased protestors for almost 2 kilometers from the Attorney General’s office.”

COPINH and OFRANEH marched to denounce the assassinations  this week of Jose Angel Flores and Silmer Dionosio George, two leaders of MUCA, or the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan, and the recent attempted killing of two COPINH members. The organizations also are demanding justice for the March 3 assassination of COPINH co-founder Caceres; the establishment of an independent international commission to investigate her assassination; and to demand cancellation of the concession granted illegally to the DESA corporation to develop the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project in Rio Blanco, along with numerous other illegal mining and hydroelectric concessions on Lenca territories in western Honduras.

Berta Caceres’ Daughter Speaks

After the attack, Berta Caceres’ daughter – Bertita – spoke in a press conference:

“This is yet another act of repression against people demanding justice for the assassination of our compañera Berta Cáceres. How is it possible that soldiers, weapons and repression are the only way the regime deals with us, even when we have Protective Measures from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights? … Despite all this repression, harassment and criminalization, we will not permit the construction of development projects of death in our communities.”

Do Not Write Letters of Protest to the Regime

Wondering what to do about this latest act of State repression in Honduras?

Don’t write letters of protest to the regime.

They are impervious to them.  In power since the 2009 coup, the economic, military and political elites care about two things: maintaining their mutually beneficial economic and political relations with and support from the international community (primarily: governments of U.S., Canada and the European community; the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank; and a host of global investors and companies working in the sectors of African palm, sugar cane, bananas, garment “sweatshop” factories, mining and tourism); and, maintaining relations with and support from the U.S. military.

The repression, corruption and impunity in Honduras are not “Honduran” problems. They are problems of this so-called “international community” together with the Honduran elites. International economic and military relations are the lifeblood of the regime.  This is how power works.

Through our denunciations and activism, we have to make this “international community” take responsibility for its actions. If accountability is not brought to complicity of the military, economic and political backers of the Honduran regime, the repression, corruption and impunity will not stop.

By: Grahame Russell, teleSUR English‎, posted Oct 22, 2016


Berta Caceres’ Daughter Blasts Police Repression of Activists

Police cracked down activists in Tegucigalpa during a peaceful protest by Indigenous communities and groups. | Photo: COPINH

Police cracked down activists in Tegucigalpa during a peaceful protest by Indigenous communities and groups. | Photo: COPINH

Reader Submission: 

By teleSUR English

The protesters were asking for justice after the killing of another environmentalist in Honduras when police violently evacuated the area.

Honduran security forces clashed with environmentalists, students and peasants on Thursday, who were protesting to demand justice following the assassination of two predominant leaders in the country.

Members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, which was once led by globally-renowned activist Berta Caceres who was murdered this year for opposing the construction of a dam, were also part of the peaceful protest.

Berta Zuñiga, daughter of Caceres, now heads the organization and pointed out that although her family and COPINH have police protection they were stopped from protesting less than two hours after Thursday’s march began.

The different organizations demonstrated outside the Public Ministry in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa and were met with water cannon and tear gas.

“We were met with weapons and repression, even when they knew there were children and elders,” Zuñiga said during a press conference after the police crackdown.

According to Zuñiga, corporate interest and the Honduran state are responsible for the death of her mother. She says the mining companies targeted Caceres for her work defending the natural resources of the Indigenous community of Lenca while Honduran authorities failed to protect her despite clear threats to her life.

“No company or the Honduran state has the right to come to our territory, destroy our forests and sources of water, divide our communities, and kill our leaders and our voices,” said Zuñiga.

The different organizations demonstrated outside the Public Ministry in Tegucigalpa and were met with water tanks, tear gas and strong police repression.

“We will continue to demand what lawfully belongs to us, we won’t back down,” said Zuñiga. During the press conference members of COPINH chanted, “She has multiplied, Berta lives, the struggle continues!”

The organizations also rallied to ask for an unbiased and formal investigation into the murder of Jose Angel Flores, president of the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan MUCA, who was killed Tuesday.

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“#Honduras Fragments of tear gas used in the peaceful protests called by COPINH.”

The protesters denounced Honduran authorities for declaring the killing of Flores the result of an internal conflict among peasant organizations without properly investigating the crime.

Victor Fernandez, lawyer for the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice, said both killings were selective and follow a pattern of impunity. Since the 2009 coup against ex-President Manuel Zelaya, more than 200 activist leaders have been killed in the country.

Caceres’ associates believe that the Honduran company behind the dam project she rallied against, Desarrollos Energéticos, or DESA, and the Honduran government hired contract killers to murder activists like her.


This project was opposed by the Lenca Indigenous people and by environmentalists in Honduras. The Lenca community was not consulted about the dam project, which would have flooded a significant tract of Indigenous land and cut off water supplies, which are required by law.

Caceres’ family and COPINH members have demanded an independent probe since day one, expressing skepticism in the justice system to carry out a reliable investigation given its track record of corruption, impunity and botched cases.

Article originally published in teleSUR English October 20, 2016


Sacred Buffalo Child Stone Blown Up In 1966 For Dam Project Lies Underwater

Video: Search for Buffalo Child Stone

By Black Powder | Red Power Media

The sacred Buffalo Child Stone was blown to pieces with dynamite in 1966 to make way for the South Saskatchewan River Dam Project.

For hundreds of years, the 400-ton rock, —known in Cree as Mistassini (Big Rock)— that resembled a resting buffalo was a sacred meeting place to the Assiniboine and Cree nations.

Despite heroic efforts by First Nations groups to preserve  the Buffalo Child Stone, it was blown up by the Saskatchewan Government and now lies on the floor of Lake Diefenbaker.

Last year, a Saskatoon-based diver, was the first person in nearly 50 years to lay eyes on what remains of the important First Nations’ sacred site.

Neil Fisher, left, and Steven Thair prepare to dive. (Submitted photo/StarPhoenix)

Neil Fisher, left, and Steven Thair prepare to dive. (Submitted photo/StarPhoenix)

Diver, Steven Thair, located the rock at a depth of 21 metres. As he was securing a search line, he lost his balance. When he put his hand out to steady himself, he touched the sharp edge of dynamited rock. He says it is a difficult dive, with visibility at less than 2 metres, with lights.

Tyrone Tootoosis, a member of the Poundmaker Cree Nation, was a part of the discovery team. His father, Wilfred Tootoosis, was one of the elders who fought the destruction of the consecrated site.
 Elder Wilfred Tootoosis stands by Buffalo Child Stone. Photo courtesy of the Saskatchewan Archeological Society.

Elder Wilfred Tootoosis stands by Buffalo Child Stone. Photo courtesy of the Saskatchewan Archeological Society.

In a News Talk article, Thair, recalled how Tyrone, an aboriginal advisor present during the search, said he was honoured to be one of the first people to touch fragments of the stone since it was lost underwater.

“This sacred rock being destroyed, it’s not the first time that’s happened. Now that we are aware of what has happened here in this country in the last 100 some years, we don’t want to see it happen again. I mean, it would be akin to dynamiting Stonehenge because there was going to be a building put there,” Tyrone said.

A remnant of Mistaseni sits on the bottom of Lake Diefenbaker. (Submitted photo/StarPhoenix)

A remnant of Mistaseni sits on the bottom of Lake Diefenbaker. (Submitted photo/StarPhoenix)

Thair said, he does want to tell the story of what happened in 1966, but also he wants to be point out that he doesn’t think it would happen now.

“I don’t think any government would blow the rock up if the circumstances were what they are today, and I don’t think the aboriginal community would stand for it,” he told The Star-Phoenix.

Read more about the Buffalo Child Stone, as told by Barry Ahenakew, an elder of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, to Star-Phoenix reporter Hannah Spray here.