Honduras declares Berta Cáceres a national heroine and will put her on one of its banknotes

San Pedro Sula – Deputies of the National Congress approved this Wednesday a draft decree aimed at elevating the category of national heroine to the environmentalist and social activist Berta Cáceresmurdered in March 2016 at the age of 44.

During the debate on the initiative, the congressmen also approved include your image on the 200 lempiras billwhich began to circulate in September 2021, in commemoration of the bicentennial of the independence of Honduras.

The bill, promoted by the deputy of the Libertad y Refundación (Libre) Party, Silvia Ayala, instructs the Ministry of Education so that the life and legacy of Cáceres is studied within the basic education curriculum, including it in the gallery of national heroes in civic acts and commemoration of the country.

“This is one of the most important articles of this decree, because precisely when the commemorative acts of the national holidays take place, we see those murals in all State institutions and educational centers, and in none of them is the image of a woman”, highlighted the deputy Ayala.

The bill also establishes the creation of the Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores Awardas a recognition that will be granted annually by the State to outstanding women of Honduras for their environmental struggle and for the defense of the rights of indigenous peoples.

About Berta Caceres

Born on March 4, 1971 in La Esperanza, Intibucá, in her youth, she co-founded the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), which currently represents 300,000 people of the seven Honduran ethnic groups. Cáceres stood out in his environmental activism, especially his activity against the privatization of rivers and his opposition to hydroelectric dam projects.

In 2015 he received the Goldman Environmental Prizeconsidered the highest international recognition for environmental activists, which is why it is also called the “Green Nobel” and is awarded annually.

The Lenca environmentalist opposed the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River, considering that it caused damage to the environment, mainly to the communities of the Lenca ethnic group.

Cáceres was shot dead at her home in La Esperanza, despite having precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the fact that she had reported multiple death threats.

His murder generated reactions inside and outside the Central American country, including that of the Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who in a tweet urged to “honor the brave contributions of Cáceres.”

Judicial process

In December 2019, a Honduran court sentenced four of eight defendants to 34 years in prison for the murder of Cáceres and 16 for the attempted murder of Mexican Gustavo Castro, who was the environmentalist’s guest on the day of the crime. Three others were sentenced to 30 years in prison as co-authors of the murder.

In June 2021, the Honduran justice found guilty Robert David Castillo as co-intellectual author of the murder of the environmentalist. The convicted man, a soldier, was executive president of the company Desarrollo Energéticos SA (DESA), in charge of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, when Cáceres was assassinated.

For next June 17, the National Sentencing Court is expected to sentence Castillo, who faces a possible sentence of 25 years in prison.

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