What in the World? March 2016 Edition

Following the news in Honduras this month has felt like reading a politically-charged murder mystery. On March 3rd, world-renowned environmental activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home. Hondurans called fowl, beliving she was silenced for her long fight against the Agua Zarca Dam along the Gualcarque River, a river sacred to the indigenous Lenca people. With no immediate suspect, fingers have been pointed at the Honduran government and the company in charge of the project.

The only witness at the scene, Cáceres’s colleague Gustavo Castro, was barred from leaving Honduras. Shot twice during the assassination, Castro was slapped with a 30-day immigration alert, preventing him from flying home to Mexico. In an open letter, he expressed his fears that he was being treated more like a suspect than a victim, also claiming that the crime scene had been tampered with and the investigation botched.

Less than two weeks later, came the murder of another activist from Cáceres’s group, Nelson Garcia. Just this week, a suspect was arrested in this case, though still no progress on the other.

Two murders in as many weeks was enough to cause international backers of the dam project to freeze a $20 million investment and many are calling on the U.S. to do the same, given that USAID is another backer of the dam project. Both Honduran and American activists are calling for the U.S. Government to cut support for the project. Back in DC, protestors scaled an art installation in front of the USAID building, hanging the following banners:

Several times in the past few weeks, J has prepped the Marines for planned protests outside the Embassy, though none ever came to fruition. But the outrage can be seen throughout the city in the form of graffiti, extending from the Mexican Embassy (where Gustavo Castro is rumored to be hiding out) to Honduran government buildings.

 

graffiti
One of many new tags around the city. + books – guns = progress

Even Cáceres’s family has implored the U.S. to act, claiming they have no faith in their own government to do the right thing. Given that Honduras is the world’s most dangerous country for environmentalists, I don’t blame them.

I find it surreal how the United States is brought into the fold in these issues, especially when you’re on the 50-yard line (albeit in the very last row) watching it unfold. It’s a less-touted benefit of the MSG program, to bear witness to the other end of the spectrum of U.S. influence, but one of the most important to me.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “What in the World? March 2016 Edition

  1. Hi Meaghan,

    I had not heard of this, because we are watching/listening non stop to the political campaigns especially the melodrama of the Trump campaign. It seems nothing else is in the news. I am well and truly sick of it.

    How sad that this is like Russia….silence (permanently) those who disagree with you. I know some countries in South America have also killed people who disagreed and challenged government behavior.

    Anyway, I am feeling some better. I have yet another cardiac consult next week. It feels as though my full time job is medical appointments.

    The news is that the cause of this is unknown and a head scratcher for everyone. In the interim things are pretty well managed with way too many Blood Pressure meds…but this level of meds is unsustainable for me because I feel like I am walking underwater…and am a bit foggy. I am hopeful that it can be managed better. I think Acupuncture is helping.

    I am glad that there was no demonstration at the embassy…that could have been troubling. Do you think the USA will be helpful?

    I hope you and Jon are well and you must be looking forward to a break next summer….and Mike and Lauren’s wedding. Should be Fun.

    Take care, Meaghan.

    Love, Grandma Sue

    Like

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