“The indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples are disappearing, we are faced with a project of death and we respond by giving priority to hope and our millenary plans for life.” – Berta Cáceres, 2015
The XIII International Workshop on Emancipatory Paradigms that took place in Havana from January 22 to 25, 2019, once again brought together representatives of social movements from almost all latitudes, mainly from Latin America, or as José Martí would say, from Our America.
The woman who introduced me to these beautiful encounters between brothers and sisters in struggle was Mi Comandanta de Honduras, Berta Cáceres Flores.
As in the previous event, she could not be physically present, but her indigenous spirit, her strength, her message continue to be with us and we walked into the Cuba Pavilion with the attendees, and they advised, and warned: Berta will NEVER leave us.
With great emotion I was able to embrace once again her daughter, Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, talk about the legacy of her ” mother”, the work of COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, founded for Berta Cáceres) and about the sad situation of her country, Honduras.
“It is a pride for me to meet so many people who knew my mother and remember her as a living symbol of their struggles, it is incredible that I sense her in all the towns where she walked. But the greatest honor is to see her alive in Cuba, an island and a Revolution that she admired so much.
Bertita talks to me with emotion about the presentation of the book “Berta’s Revolutions. Conversations with Claudia Korol” Ediciones América Libre ( that took place in the workshop), which defends at last how profound was the revolutionary work done by Mi Comandanta, and that her assassins wish to diminish her leadership seeing her only as an ecologist, and thus bury her social, feminist, millenary resilient, totally comprehensive efforts.
“The evidence that Berta is not dead, that Berta as a seed multiplied is the concrete fact that in COPINH the new generations are very present, even the leadership positions are being assumed by university students, who help a lot in the formation of the base and who are recognized throughout the 25 years of struggle of the Organization.
On the saddest issue, Honduras, Bertha Zúniga reminds me that in June of this year 10 years will have passed since the coup d’état against Manuel Zelaya, 10 years of the total dispossession of every resource of the country in favor of the transnationals.
“The criminal structure of the State was recognized, a few months ago, as a drug trafficker, the same family of the President of the Republic are responsible, that President who positioned himself a year ago after a clamorous electoral fraud, one more time.
I remind Bertita that Juan Orlando Hernandez allowed himself to be relegated, blatantly violating the Magna Carta of Honduras: it is curious that this was the same motive in 2009 for the overthrow of Zelaya, who was proposing a Constituent Assembly to know if the people were in agreement with the reelection!
Bertha Zúniga emphasizes that the Honduran people are not against reelection, but that requires a prior democratic process and as early as September 2010, 1,342,876 signatures were collected that demanded that a Constituent Assembly be held, for a profound restructuring of the country, a total overhaul, from its foundations.
At the press conference regarding the delivery of the signatures on September 17, 2010, which was, at the time, the general coordinator of COPINH, Bertha Cáceres, wanted to send a copy of the signatures to international organizations so that they would know the will of the Honduran people and be able to strip the mask off the de facto government of Pepe Lobo, a continuity of the civil-military coup of June 28, 2009.
That same day, Berta gave me a defiant message, in one of the interviews I did with her, with words that are always very pertinent, that after almost nine years, are more than timely and necessary: “I believe that we have to break the media siege so that the world knows what is happening in Honduras, it is part of the work of hemispheric emancipation, all over the planet; besides, the obligation of the international community is to recognize our struggle for the refoundation of the country. Enough of this horrible invisibilization, the world must realize the repression, the militarization, the violation of human rights, and the intensification of interventionism and the occupation of the U.S. and transnational corporations, the deepening of death through the neoliberal model. I believe that all of this should be an important issue for not only the international community, but also global civil society.
Translation by Internationalist 360°