One of the daughters of Honduran environmental activist Berta Caceres, an Indigenous leader who was killed earlier this week, said one of the hydroelectric companies her mother had been protesting is behind her death.
“This is a political crime. We've said it and we vehemently deny that this was a crime of passion,” Olivia Zuniga Caceres told Radio HRN Saturday.
According to Zuniga Caceres, the company DESA-SINOHYDRO, a Honduran-Chinese joint venture that has been planning to build a hydroelectric dam in the country, is to blame for the activist's death.
DESA-SINOHYDRO aims to develop the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Rio Blanco, a community in the western province of Intibuca. Caceres had long been protesting the dam and blocking its development, and received numerous threats from the company.
“We hold that company and the Agua Zarca project responsible ... because she (Berta Caceres) always denounced systematic threats by that company,” Berta's daughter said.
Caceres was shot dead in her home in the early hours of Thursday morning.
While Honduran authorities claim they are investigating the murder, police reports initially labeled the attack an armed robbery despite repeated threats and the fact that her fellow leader Tomas Garcia was killed at the hands of the Honduran military in 2013.
Referring to the investigation of her mother's killing, Zuniga Caceres said she was aware that “there are several people detained, but there are no answers, there are no masterminds or perpetrators that tell us with any certainty who is responsible for the crime.”
Zuniga Caceres also added that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was “a participant, accomplice and culprit in this political crime,” adding that her family plans to sue the Honduran government for the killing. They will also call on international investigators to be involved in the probe.
“President Juan Orlando Hernandez, let me tell you: They killed Berta Caceres, but your government is dying,” said Zuniga Caceres.
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