Agua Zarca Hydroeclectric Dam Project, Andrés Thomas Conteris, Berta Cáceres (1973-2016, Beverly Bell, Blanco River, COPINH, Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, Cuba, Democracy Now! en Español, Dennis Bernstein, Dr. Adrienne Pine, Flashpoints, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Indigenous Rights, indigenous sovereignty, Institute for Policy Studies, KPFA, Lenca people, Monroe Doctrine, Nicaragua, Other Worlds, Pacifica Radio Network, peasant organising, Pope Francis, Rio Blanco, School of the Americas, State Department, transcript, United States Department of State, World Bank
LUMPENPROLETARIAT Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores (4 March 1973 – 3 March 2016) was a Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader of the Lenca people, and co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). She won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015.
[Official Flashpoints programme summary from the KPFA archive page]
FLASHPOINTS—[3 MAR 2016] The murder of Berta Cáceres, the Honduran indigenous and environmental rights leader. We’ll speak with activists who worked closely with the slain human rights activist.
Learn more at FLASHPOINTS.
M4—[3 MAR 2016] Early this morning, March 3, 2016, armed individuals forcibly entered and assassinated Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, founder of COPINH, in her home in La Esperanza, department of Intibucá in southwestern Honduras.
Our friend and colleague Gustavo Castro Soto was injured during the attack. Gustavo is Mexican and a member of the organization Otros Mundos Chiapas/Friends of the Earth-Mexico, the Mexican Network of Mining-Affected Peoples and the Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4). Gustavo survived the attack and has become a key actor in the investigation into the murder of our friend Berta.
Berta and Gustavo are two people known for their role in international social and environmental struggles, evidence of their dedication to defending the rights of Indigenous and campesino peoples, who have accompanied processes of organized and peaceful resistance to prevent territories within Mesoamerica from being appropriated by regional governments at the service of the neoliberal project being implemented through extractivist projects, considered projects of death.
In the context of the terrible assassination of the much loved Berta Cáceres, we call on the government of Honduras to pay immediate attention, to intervene, and to follow up on this devastating moment for the Honduran people. We also call for all legal and political measures possible to guarantee the immediate protection of our friend and colleague Gustavo Castro so that, once he has given his testimony to the Honduran state, he can safely return to Mexico.
Right now, it is fundamentally important to guarantee the life of our colleague Gustavo Castro given the risk he faces a key witness to this horrible assassination.
The security of all of the members of the Coordinating Group of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) must also be guaranteed.
Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model
Mexican Network of Mining-Affected Peoples
Otros Mundos Chiapas
Learn more at M4 (Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model).
[Transcript of actual radio broadcast by Messina for Lumpenproletariat and Flashpoints]
FLASHPOINTS—[3 MAR 2016] Today on Flashpoints: The murder of Berta Cáceres, the Honduran indigenous and envrironmental rights leader, murdered, barely after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project in Honduras. We’ll speak to several activists who worked closely with the slain human rights campaigner. And, also, we’ll present excerpts from our interview with Jeff Halper, on his new book, War Against the People: Israel, Palestinians, and Global Pacification.  I’m Dennis Bernstein. All this, straight ahead on Flashpoints. Stay tuned.”
[brief intro theme music break]
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: (c. 1:14) “And you’re listening to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio. My name’s Dennis Bernstein. And this is your daily investigative news magazine.
“Well, we’re gonna devote today’s show to the murder of a very significant, important, indigenous humans rights leader, environmentalist in Honduras. We’re talking about Berta Cáceres.
“And, first, joining us to talk about this is Beverly Bell. Beverly Bell coordinates at Other Worlds. She’s an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., and, in fact, knew this extraordinary woman well.
“We’re also joined by Professor Adrienne Pine, an anthropologist, who joins us at the last minute. 
“Both of these women knew Berta very well. I wanna thank both of you for joining us on Flashpoints.”
BEVERLY BELL: “Thanks, Dennis.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Alright, Beverly. I wanna start with you. And, first of all, let’s start. We have breaking information here. We have a breaking story, in which there was more than one person shot. Correct? Beverly Bell?”
BEVERLY BELL: “There were actually three people shot last night—in addition to Bertha, who was shot fatally. Her brother was also shot. And a third person, who will be familiar to many of your listeners. And that is Gustavo Castro, who is the coordinator of the social and economic justice group Otros Mundos, Other Worlds in Spanish in Chiapas, who has also worked very closely with Berta for years. He spent the night in Berta’s house, as part of a peace-keeping team, which Berta had had for many years now, off and on, because her life had always been so at risk. (c. 2:59)
“And he was shot in the ear. He is okay from that. But the concern, that you mention is that Gustavo went down this morning to give his testimony to the local court. And he is a very inconvenient witness to them. So, I spoke to his wife about an hour ago. He is still there. And we are not sure, whether, when he is finished giving his testimony, they will release him or they will hold him.
“So, there is an international alert our right now to guarantee Gustavo Castro free passage back to Mexico, together with his wife.” (c. 3:35)
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Now, that’s a double-edged sword because, if they hold him, he’s in danger. His life is in danger. And, if they release him, his life is in danger. His life is in danger, as being a witness to the murder. Right?”
BEVERLY BELL: “That’s absolutely correct. In Honduras, pretty much anybody’s life is in danger for anything, that relates to peace, to justice, to indigenous rights, to participatory democracy, and, notably, to opposing the role of the U.S..
“We are working with peace accompaniment teams right now to try and guarantee Gustavo safe passage back to Mexico, if the government doesn’t let him go.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “And, but, is somebody in regular communication? When’s the last time we heard from Gustavo?”
BEVERLY BELL: “Well, his wife came with him from Chiapas. And she, and other members of COPINH, the organisation, the indigenous and peasant organisation, that Berta directed are all there at the courthouse with him now.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “They’re all there, at the courthouse. Now, I’m wondering, does it help to notify, you know, international authorities? Is the United States?—we know the United States government, Hillary Clinton played a key role in overthrowing the duly elected president, leading down this path of regular mass murder of human rights activists, and anybody who resists the sort of free trade government.
“So, what can we say? Has the U.S. expressed its deep concern about the killing?” (c. 5:16)
BEVERLY BELL: “Yes, cynically and sickly, the U.S. came out this morning lamenting the murder of Berta Cáceres. We know that the U.S. has funded, to the tune—well, this year, alone—of more than $5.5 million dollars in military training and education. We know that many of the people who have threatened Berta’s life over the last few years have been trained at the School of the Americas. 
“We know that the U.S. government has stood fiercely by the horrible succession of right-wing governments, that followed the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Zelaya, as you mentioned. Hillary Clinton was deeply involved in that. In fact, she even bragged about it in her recent book.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “I know. That is shocking that she is proud. This self-declared self-declared human rights activist and sophisticated diplomat was proud to brag in her book that she played the key role in keeping Zelaya from going back and assuming his legitimately-won presidency.
“So, this is your—as we have called her before—your Deposer-in-Chief. And, on that note, let’s bring in to the conversation, anthropologist Adrienne Pine, who has spent many years, written extensively about Honduras.
“Adrienne, I know that you’re at an airport now. But let me get your initial response to what happened here.” (c. 6:51)
DR. ADRIENNE PINE: “Well, Betita—it’s hard to talk about her in the past tense. She’s one of the most amazing activists and advocates I’ve ever met and, also, one of the most compassionate and wonderful people.
“The fact that they would kill her really sends a message. I mean this is an intentional message, that [inaudible] would understand, as such that nobody is safe.
“Berta had a sort of—what those of us in the international solidarity community had considered—that she had a, some sort of a protection because she was so well-known, because she had won the Goldman Prize. And, of course, you know, we’ve learned, since the coup—the U.S.-supported military coup; and I think Beverly laid that out very well—we’ve learned that the international protective measures actually don’t count for much in Honduras, that with somebody as well recognised as Berta Cáceres, it’s just—we haven’t seen them being killed and targeted with assassinations before, at least to the extent, that we’ve seen with people who are less well-known being killed, or family members of very famous activists being killed. (c. 8:20)
“So, this is really a ramping up of the criminalisation of activism, that has been in full swing since the U.S.-supported military coup in 2009. And it really speaks to the incredible impunity, that reigns right now in what is, in fact, a military dictatorship, a U.S.-supported military dictatorship, that I—you know, you’re right—it could not have been possible without the direct intervention of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
“I mean Berta Cáceres’ blood is on Hillary Clinton’s hands.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “And, of course, Donald Trump could not have been more violently right-wing when it comes to what happened in Honduras. He could have never outdone her because she was more sophisticated and understood better how to solidify the right-wing—represent corporate America—and make sure that things continued ever since the Monroe Doctrine.”  (c. 9:23)
“Let me come back to you, if I could. I’m getting ahead a little bit angry.
“Beverly Bell, let me ask you to talk a little bit about Berta, how you met her. When’s the last time you spoke with her?”
BEVERLY BELL: “I spoke with, I guess, a couple of moths ago. And it was the same content, as so many of our conversations have been over the last 15 years or so, that we’ve worked with each other, which is, which was the situation of yet another threat and how we were going to get protection for her from what was a long, long, long journey of hideous repression.
“She had been terrorised. She had just—a week or two ago—she and a whole team of people, who were at the site of a river, which the Honduran government and a multinational corporation have been trying to dam, but which had been blocked by the organisation, that she had headed—the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH. But they were—a bunch of them—were put into a truck and driven away. It was, certainly, shaky hours there for a while until they emerged free.
“So, just to answer your question, I have worked with Berta very, very closely for about 15 years. I am sitting right now in a house in Albuquerque, where she used to live with me. We have fought together, like so many others, against the World Bank, against the U.S. government, against so-called Free Trade accords, against the Inter-American Development Bank, against the Honduran government, against the Honduran oligarchy. Basically, Berta has stood for pretty much anything, that any of your listeners would believe is right. (c. 11:08)
“She has been at the forefront, for decades, of the movement for indigenous rights, for indigenous sovereignty, for the environmental protection of land and rivers, for women’s rights, for LGBQ rights in a country, that has grossly persecuted and assassinated LGBQ activists.
“She is, as Adrienne said, just the most extraordinary, certainly, one of the most I have ever known. And it is impossible to speak of her in the past tense. And, in fact, I refuse to because Berta’s spirit has impacted so many people around the world. If you could be in my in-box today and see the countries, from which condolences have and denunciations have come, it’s amazing who she has touched. And that spirit will live on in the fight in all of us, for justice, for indigenous rights, for a world, that is not tyrannised by the U.S. government, by transnational capital, and by the elite of various countries.” (c. 12:14)
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Oh, sure, Beverly Bell. Her spirit will be on the tongues and on the hearts of many women, as they celebrate, if you will, International Women’s Day, that’s coming up next week. I’m sure that she had some plans for that.
“It’s an amazing assassination. It’s troubling.
“Adrienne Pine, when’s the last time you saw Berta? What did she mean to you?”
DR. ADRIENNE PINE: “Well, it’s still hard for me to accept, like Beverly said, she was somebody who I’ve stood by, side by side, more times than I can count in protest, protesting the U.S. military base. We’ve been tear-gassed together. And, you know, she’s helped me through a number of very dangerous situations.
“It’s hard. It’s hard to lose somebody who was, not just such an amazing leader, but also such a good friend, and not just to me, but to so many people. I mean Betita lives on with all of us.
“And I think the most important thing right now, if you look at the social media, social networks—I mean Beverly’s right. I mean my in-box is exploding with condolences as well. And, if you look at the social networks right now, Honduras is ready to rise up at the murder of somebody, who was so dear, so beloved by so many people.
“And I think one of the things, that was so special about Berta, which Beverly also mentioned, is that she has a much longer trajectory than many of the activists in Honduras. I mean she has been at it for many decades fighting the forces, that only recently, following the coup, that massive numbers of Hondurans came out to join her to fight the forces of corporatisation, destruction and theft of indigenous lands, and the violence of the patriarchy, as Beverly mentioned. She has been right all along. And people in Honduras are furious.
“There are, you know, lots of different protests around the country, that have been organised. There’s a protest in Washington, D.C. tomorrow at the State Department, that’s been organised. And I think that it’s gonna be pretty big.
“You know, she just knew people around the world so deeply. And I think, if Honduras is giving a signal that nobody is safe in Honduras, then, around the world, we need to give a signal that this regime cannot stand any longer. And the U.S. has to stop supporting it.” (c. 15:11)
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “And, Adrienne, say a little bit more about the way in which she resisted, the—I mean it’s important for people to understand that, in the face of so many threats—I mean the idea that she won the Goldman Environmental Prize, given out here with huge fanfare, in San Francisco—I mean it really is, clearly, a message to everybody on the ground.
“But say a little bit more about what she meant to the people on the ground, how she worked with people, were some of the actions, that she had come to organise. I mean you mentioned some protests and demonstrations, but is there one issue? This was about this dam [i.e., Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Dam Project]. I guess resisting this dam was huge in Honduras. It means a lot to the corporate one-percent and a lot to the people who were resisting it.”
DR. ADRIENNE PINE: “Well, absolutely. The Agua Zarca dam, that Berta and her organisation COPINH managed to, essentially, stop was an incredible victory for the Lenca people and for the people of Honduras against the corporatisation, that is part-and-parcel of the U.S.-supported military coup of 2009, which was fundamentally a neoliberal coup, and which put at—in which vastly increased the vulnerability of the already most-marginalised groups, that Berta, herself, was part of, the indigenous groups of Hondurans.
“And, so, as somebody who had been organising to resist this kind of government and corporate intrusion on sovereign indigenous lands for decades, Berta was a natural leader, after the coup, when those forces became even stronger against the, sort of, participatory democracy in Honduras.
“And Berta really stood alone in that she was a woman leader, among mostly male leaders. You know, you got a social movement, that has traditionally been male-led. And there were a whole lot of feminists during the resistance movement, that stood up against that. But Berta was just amazing. She held her own in very male-dominated fora. And it was through her inclusive interest on fighting the patriarchy alongside the violence, the predatory violence of capitalism and neoliberal capitalism, and U.S. militarism. I mean she tied it all together in a way, that very few Honduran leaders have managed to do. (c. 18:15)
“And, yet, she wasn’t, she was also, uniquely, not about her ego. I mean she was somebody who gave so much to so many people. And I think that’s why, when, you know, in protest, people weren’t afraid to go up to her. So, she was—it’s hard to put into words. I mean I’m devastated by this loss. And I’m, you know, I, I’m not the primary mourner. I think there are thousands of people today who are devastated just as much as I am.” (c. 18:50)
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “And back to you Bev Bell. So, maybe describe a little bit, from your perspective, what this loss looks like.”
BEVERLY BELL: “As Adrienne said, it’s huge. There are two indigenous movements in Honduras. And both of them have really been about the construction of indigenous identity, which is to say that, both, the Garifuna people, that is, the Afro-indigenous people, who reside on the Atlantic coast, and the Lenca people, of which Berta was one, had had their indigenous stamped out. And Berta, and, remarkably, another woman, Miriam Miranda, who had also been terrorised and persecuted, who was head of the Garifuna indigenous movement, had been able to shape together with so many other people, whom they pulled into participatory leadership, as Adrienne said, they really were not about the sort of top-down leader, that we see, well, certainly, in the U.S. government, but also in so many social movements and in the NGO context in the U.S. They really were about empowering everybody and led with humility. (c. 20:10)
“It’s huge. There is not anyone else in esteem who is anywhere close to the capacity, or the stature, of Berta. Most campesino and indigenous peoples are denied a right to education. They are denied a lot of things, that would allow them to also become leaders. That Berta, who grew up in a very, very humble home, was able to become a leader was remarkable and really was due to her mother, who was a fierce fighter. She was a mayor of the town and a governor of the state in a time when women were neither of those things.
“And Berta grew up listening to underground radio from Cuba and Nicaragua, that they had to listen to secretly during the revolutions there.
“She was very engaged in the revolution in El Salvador. She has just had an incredible history, that is really unparalleled. So, the loss is huge. It’s irreperable. And, as we said, it’s not just a loss for Honduras, but for social movements everywhere because Berta was all over. I mean she just met with the Pope in Italy a couple of weeks ago. She was a leader in global social movements, not just Honduran ones, and not just indigenous ones.
“However, it is important to say—and I know that Berta would say this—that the social movements in Honduras are strong. She’d love to say that Honduras was known for two things: First, for having been the military base for the U.S.-backed Contras and, secondly, Hurricane Mitch.
“But, in fact, Honduras holds another fact, which is that it is home to an extraordinary movements of feminists, of environmentalists, of unionists, of many sorts of people. And they are much stronger because of the life of Berta Cáceres. That is not hyperbole. She single-handedly helped shape the strength of that social movement. But they will live on. And they are part of the legacy of Berta Cáceres, as well.” (c. 22:19)
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Well, I know, Adrienne, it’s not gonna be the last word on this subject. But, for the moment, what do you think you’re gonna be doing in the context of fighting this fight and standing with your friends, where you’ve worked so long? How you’ve worked so long within Honduras—I swear there’s a traffic jam between my heart and my mind here. But, final words from you for now.”
DR. ADRIENNE PINE: “Well, you know, I think we need to stand by the people of Honduras, who have been given a clear message that their lives are at risk, if they stand up for their own rights. And, in part, you know, a big part of what that means is standing up for democracy here in the United States. (c. 23:03)
“And, if we had had a democratic system, and if we had been able to decide for ourselves, as a people, if we wanted to allow that coup to stand, I don’t think that would’ve happened. And, instead, Hillary Clinton, who is now running for president is, you know—and she proudly encouraged, she proudly insured that that coup would stand. I think that we need to fight here at home for democracy just as strongly as Berta fought in Honduras, and in solidarity with people all around the world.
“I mean this is a call to action. This is not—you know, we have to honour Berta’s life by continuing to fight and fighting even stronger.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Alright. Well, let me thank both of you, Beverly Bell, Institute for Policy Studies; Coordinator at Other Worlds. Adrienne Pine, anthropologist at [American] University has written, extensively, books, as an academic in working for—spending much time on the ground in Honduras.
“Both of you, it’s been a pleasure to have you on. It’s a tragedy that it has to be in this context. And I hope that we can continue this dialogue about these important issues And I’m sure that there are gonna be many people on the ground who are gonna need these microphones, who are gonna need the support of all of us to resist this policy, that was really instituted by Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, solidified, instituted. And, if another person comes up to me and says: How dare you go up against Hillary because look what’s gonna happen with Trump? I’m gonna do something terrible.
“Thanks, both, to you for joining us on Flashpoints.”
DR. ADRIENNE PINE: “Thank you, Dennis.”
BEVERLY BELL: “Thanks.” (c. 24:52)
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “And you’re listening to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio. But we’re not gonna leave it there. We’re now joined by Andres Conteris, who is the founder of Democracy Now! en Espanol, who was in Honduras during the coup all through the coup. We spoke to him many times, several times from the palace. Andres, welcome back to Flashpoints.”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “Dennis, it’s a pleasure to be back on Flashpoints. But it’s a very difficult day because of the news, that we’re talking about and the horrible assassination of dear Betita.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Tell us a little bit about your time with her, your impression of what her work was like, what she was like.” (c. 25:40)
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “Well, I’m very glad to follow, both, Beverly and Adrienne, who’ve spoken very eloquently about Berta’s life. I go back a little bit further because I lived in Honduras from 1994 to 1999. And when I met Berta was in May of 1997. I can recall it very clearly. And it has to do very much with the context of what just happened today in Honduras. At that time, there was a horrible assassination of an indigenous leader in Honduras. He was part of the nation of the Ch’orti’., the Mayan Ch’orti’ people. It’s one of eight different indigenous communities and nations in Honduras. And Bev—”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Could you spell that, please, for people who wanna follow up?”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “Sure, his name—I’ll spell it. Candido: C-A-N-D-I-D-O. Candido. And, then, last name is Amador: A-M-A-D-O-R. And he was from the Ch’orti’ people, which is: C-H-O-R-T-I. The Mayan Ch’orti’ people.
“He was assassinated in May of 1997. And what Berta and her partner, Salvador, at the time, and other indigenous leaders is they gathered all of the indigenous nations in Honduras, at that time. And they organised the most amazing pilgrimage to the capital. And, Dennis, it was so awesome to be there at the time and see the stalwart nature in which these people were willing to risk everything and leave their communities, not even know how they would get back home, and go and camp in front of the presidential palace. At that time it was Carlos Roberto Reina (1926-2003).
“And get this, Dennis. Carlos Roberto Reina was about to go to American University and receive a human rights prize. It was incredible. And he had to do everything in his power to get rid of these indigenous camped out in front of his palace. And that is the context in which I met Berta. And she was such a leader of her people. And the entire indigenous peoples, that gathered together and collaborated with one another very closely to resist this kind of repression that slaughtered Candido Amador, at that time.
“And what happened, Dennis, was truly amazing. The president—because he was going to go to receive this human rights prize had to do everything to get rid of that. And he ordered a military eviction, a forced, militarized, brutal repression against the indigenous, who were camped out in front of his presidential palace. But they refused to leave the capitol. And they only moved two miles away. And, then, just continued to camp out there. And that took him, the president, in a dilemma, whereby he was, then, forced to negotiate. And this is where Berta’s skills just really came forward.
“She was part of a negotiation of an accord, that the president signed. And representatives from each of the indigenous nations also signed. And what they did is they put together what they called a comisión de garantias, which is a guarantor’s commission, which the international leaders and human rights leaders signed in order to guarantee the compliance of this accord. 
“I was invited by Berta and Salvador to be part of that guarantor’s commission. And, as part of it, then, in the following months, one of the clear memories I have is that the government, of course, was not living up to the agreements, that it had promised, which was electrification for health and, most of all, for land for the indigenous people. And they were not living up to these accords.
“And, so, I was part of nonviolent training of the indigenous, who were rising up. And they engaged in occupations of embassies, the Costa Rican Embassy, for one. And they also did a blockade of a tourist attraction, that is most popular in Honduras, which are the Mayan ruins. And I spent the night with the Ch’orti’ people and with Berta Cáceres in front of those ruins, blocking them, so that tourists could not go, so that the government would be forced to negotiate in a much more honest way with the indigenous.
“And that is how I knew Berta, living her life, in her country. She was always there, accompanying her people. She would make sure that everyone had enough to eat. She would not eat herself until she knew. And—“
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Alright. Let me just jump in here for a second, Andrés. Just hold on for a sec. I gotta tell people you’re listening to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio. It’s your daily investigative news magazine. We’re gonna break off. Some of the stations are gonna hear a mighty powerful interview we did with Jeff Halper. And we’re gonna stay here, talking with Andrés. (c. 30:50)
[brief moment of silence]
“And you are listening to Flashpoints on KPFA. Go on, Andrés.”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “Yes, well, what Berta would do is just make sure that the people were really as cared for as much as possible. And this she showed in so many clear ways.
“But one thing, that needs to be said is she that she was, not only a leader of her people, a leader in the environmental movement, a strong model for women, a strong model for indigenous leaders, but she was an amazing mother, herself. She was the mother of four children, one of whom I was just with last week. And it’s her oldest. Her name is Olivia. And I was there in the town La Esperanza in the[Honduran]department of Intibucá, where Berta was assassinated early this morning. (c. 31:51)
“And Olivia is turning out to be the spitting image of her mother in so many ways. She’s 26 years old. She’s the age now, that I–when met Berta in 1998. And Olivia is now becoming one of the women leaders, one of the indigenous leaders that is leading her people. And it’s just incredible and impressive to see that.
“And I remember joking with Olivia just last week about her mother, Berta, being concerned for her during the coup because she was at the University protesting the violent military coup. And Berta, of course, was concerned, as a mother for her daughter. And her daughter said, hey, you lived out in El Salvador, for instance, the revolution. But give me a chance to live out my revolution during my age.
“So, of course, Berta wanted to do that, but as a mother. And she’s got two children, who are studying medicine in Buenos Aires, another, a daughter, who is in Mexico City studying. And her oldest daughter, Olivia, is there in La Esperanza in Intibucá, working with indigenous people and organising them.” (c. 33:13)
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “A huge loss that so many–the family, obviously, are probably devastated. We know that people are rising up right now in Honduras. And the loss to the community is hard to evaluate.”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “It’s really unspeakable. And I can’t even–I’ve not been able to talk to Mama Berta, who is Berta’s mother, who I saw last week. And Mama Berta, as Beverly shared, was the mayor of La Esperanza, the governor of the department. But, also, Mama Berta is this incredible midwife. She’s helped give birth to probably over a thousand people in the department of Intibucá. And she is an incredible woman, herself. And I cannot imagine how devastated she is right now with this incredibly horrible, horrible news.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Alright. You are listening to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio. We’re speaking with Andrés Conteris, who has spent many years in Honduras, was there for the coup. We spoke to you, Andrés, many times. And you are always in the right place to help us understand more about what’s going on here. Obviously, your information, your knowledge, your friendship and love for this community and for this family is obvious.
“I’m not sure what happens next. Just before we let you go, we heard at the beginning of the show, Beverly was talking about Gustavo Castro, who was shot, who was in the house when Berta was murdered. He was shot, but he is now giving testimony, essentially, before the court.
“What are your thoughts on that? Is his life not in grave danger? He’s already been shot.”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “Yes. They are in jeopardy, though at this point, they are getting lots of international attention. So, that serves very much to protect them. But there is an international call to make sure that they do have safe passage to leave the country, once Gustavo gives testimony of what happened with this brutal assassination.
“I was in the home of Gustavo and his partner. And, so, I’ve known him for fifteen years as well. And it was just a shock for me to learn that he also was shot. But it’s good to know that he was not seriously wounded. (c. 36:10)
“But one other thing before I go—”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Sure.”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “I think it is important to point out that there’s a petition going around on social media to sign to make sure that the U.S. Congress guarantees an international investigation into this brutal murder.
“And, also, Senator Leahy has already signed a statement with regard to this assassination.
“But, you know, Berta was in Washington, D.C. and met with over 30 members of congress, many of whom she met personally, including Senator Boxer.
“So, Berta’s name is familiar in Washington. And, so, this should be a very important event, that causes change in U.S. policy towards Honduras, which I’m so glad that Adrienne and Bev have mentioned the complicity of Hillary Clinton in the coup in Honduras and not pressuring, at all, this horrible regime of Juan Orlando Hernández, who is very complicit in the horrible human rights violations against LGBT, against women, against journalists, and against indigenous, and others in the country. (c. 37:27)
“It’s been documented that Honduras is nearly the murder capital of the world, outside of hot wars going on. And it’s very much related to the militarised situation, that this man, Juan Orlando Hernández, who came to power in an illegitimate way. Hillary Clinton did not denounce that. She did not denounce the coup strong enough.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “What do you mean? She did not denounce? She made sure that the coup was sustained. It’s really troubling, Andrés.”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “Yeah.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “On the one hand, her work as deposer-in-chief sent people running out of the country and turned it into the murder capitol.
“Now, you got Trump on the other side wanting to beat ’em back. Hillary and Trump. Trump and Hillary. It really is troubling. Forgive me.”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “It’s very, very troubling. And, soon, we’re going to see what is happening in Honduras, in our towns and in our own states, if we don’t watch out.” (c. 38:25)
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Yeah. Remember Flint.
“I really appreciate it very much that you’ve taken the time out. I hope that we can continue the dialogue. If you get more information, please let us know. I’m very concerned about your friend, Gustavo Castro. And we wanna know what’s going on when he’s safe as well. So, please keep us posted.”
ANDRÉS CONTERIS: “Will do. Thank you so much, Dennis.”
DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “Alright. Thanks, Andrés.
You’re listening to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio.” (c. 38:59)
[SNIP] (c. 59:59)
[This transcript will be expanded as time constraints, and/or demand or resources, allow.]
Learn more at FLASHPOINTS.
First, two guests, Beverly Bell and Dr. Adrienne Pine, laid a degree of blame at Democratic Party presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton‘s feet for her role in the ouster of democratically-elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2009 when Hillary Clinton was serving as president Obama’s Secretary of State. They also reported that a witness to Berta Cáceres‘ assassination, Mexican environmental activist Gustavo Castro, has survived the shootings, but that his life is currently in danger, as he seeks safe passage to Mexico.
(c. 25:00) Andres Conteris, founder of Democracy Now! en Español, joined the broadcast via telephone to discuss the assassination of Berta Cáceres.  Conteris reported that Gustavo Castro, a witness to the assassination of Berta Cáceres was shot in the ear during the shootings. They reported Gustavo Castro’s wounds had been stabilised. And international attention on the assassination has, thus far, protected him. Conteris asked people of conscience around the world to sign an international petition to help Castro secure safe passage out of Honduras.
Hillary Clinton’s complicity in the 2009 coup in Honduras by Juan Orlando Hernandez, who took power in Honduras illegally, were also critiqued and taken to task. Clinton, then Secretary of State under president Obama, never denounced the coup against the democratically-elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya. (Free speech radio listeners will recall that Andres Conteris was one of the few, if not only, journalists reporting from inside the same building as Zelaya during the coup. Conteris explained how Clinton’s role in enabling the coup against Zelaya has helped create an unsafe environment for activists in Honduras, as well as others deemed socially deviant or undesirable by the current repressive regime in Honduras.
(c. 38:50) Given that free speech radio KPFA is in the midst of its on-air 2016 Winter Fund Drive, Flashpoints host, Dennis Bernstein, went into an admirable and impassioned appeal for listener support for free speech radio. Bernstein also noted that Hillary Clinton bragged in her autobiography about creating free trade zones in Honduras, which have paved the way for neoliberalism and neoliberal capitalists, such as the dam builders, and occupiers, which Berta Cáceres was working to resist in the interest of indigenous and environmental rights since Zelaya’s illegal ouster.
 Actually, Dennis Bernstein, pauses briefly during the broadcast to allow for affiliate stations, who so choose, to cut to the Jeff Halper fundraising content, as he decided to stay with the coverage of the assassination of Berta Cáceres for the entire broadcast.
 Dr. Adrienne Pine is a militant medical anthropologist who has worked in Honduras, Mexico, Korea, the United States, Egypt, and Cuba. In her book, Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras, she argues that the symbolic violence resulting from Hondurans’ embodied obsession with certain forms of ‘real’ violence is a necessary condition for the acceptance of violent forms of modernity and capitalism. Dr. Pine has worked both outside and inside the academy to effect a more just world. Prior to and following the June 2009 military coup in Honduras, she has collaborated with numerous organizations and individuals to bring international attention to the Honduran struggle to halt U.S. government-supported state violence (in its multiple forms). She has also conducted extensive research on the impact of corporate healthcare and healthcare technologies on labor practices in the United States. Her current research focuses on the intersections of nursing and democracy in Honduras, Cuba, and the United States.
PhD, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
MA, Demography, University of California, Berkeley
MA, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
BA, Anthropology, Brown University
- Languages Spoken
- Spanish (fluent)
 The School of the Americas, a training center for anti-democratic forces under the tutelage of the U.S. government has since changed its name for public relations purposes to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
 The Monroe Doctrine was a US foreign policy regarding domination of the American continent in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring USA’s intervention. At the same time, the doctrine noted that the USA would neither interfere with existing European colonies, nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued in 1823 at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved or were at the point of gaining independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires. The USA, working in agreement with Great Britain, wanted to guarantee that no European power would move in.
President James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to Congress. The term “Monroe Doctrine” itself was coined in 1850. By the end of the 19th century, Monroe’s declaration was seen as a defining moment in the foreign policy of the USA and one of its longest-standing tenets. It would be invoked by many U.S. statesmen and several U.S. presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and many others.
The intent and impact of the Monroe Doctrine persisted with only minor variations for more than a century. Its stated objective was to free the newly independent colonies of Latin America from European intervention and avoid situations, which could make the New World a battleground for the Old World powers, so that the USA could exert its own influence undisturbed. The doctrine asserted that the New World and the Old World were to remain distinctly separate spheres of influence, for they were composed of entirely separate and independent nations.
 Gonzonian digression: Conteris is a very nice bloke, who works with Democracy Now! I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Ten Women Campaign awards ceremony in San Francisco, at which Democracy Now! host was given an award for her work with Democracy Now! I maintained contact with Andres Conteris, as well as another Democracy Now! liaison in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chuck Ulrich. But, Conteris, being bilingual and fluent in Spanish, was kind enough to encourage me not to lose heart despite the challenges I’d encountered in my sincere attempts to participate in the free speech radio KPFA community.
I had attended that event, paying like $50 bucks, actually my best friend paid for both of our tickets, just to get a chance to speak with Amy Goodman, in some naive hope of her actually being the egalitarian and kind-hearted persona I had imagined she’d be from listening to her on the radio. But she wasn’t. I thought she really meant all that impassioned talk on the radio when they’re asking for your financial support about: This is your station… (etcetera).
Like Dennis Bernstein says, there was a traffic jam from my heart to my mind, and I failed to eloquently phrase my grievances to the wise counsel I had anticipated in the Pacifica Radio Network elder I misperceived Amy Goodman to be. And my trusty sidekick best friend, who had been holding a video camera all night had decided to go take a whiz or something at that moment. (We were like the first attendees at the event.) But by the time he returned to the top of the stairs, where I’d been patiently awaiting Amy Goodman to arrive at the second floor of some women’s arts and gymnastics building in San Francisco, Denis Moynihan, Amy Goodman’s right hand man put his giant paws on me and boomed his voice at me: You’re monopolising Amy Goodman’s time. In that moment, I actually believed him. After all, he was Denis Moynihan, of Democracy Now! fame. All these people were like rock stars to me.
Of course, later that evening, I would see fancy San Francisco elites in furs and luxury attire; they were really monopolising Amy Goodman’s time. And as far as I can tell they weren’t concerned about the rotting decay, which I had borne witness to within KPFA, which seemed to threaten the very existence of free speech radio KPFA and the entire Pacifica Radio Network. I guess my priorities were off base that night. But I guess that’s what rubbing elbows with philanthropical elites in San Francisco is like. I wasn’t even given 60 seconds to discuss with Amy Goodman what I perceived to be serious problems, which needed mediation within KPFA. Denis Moynihan advised me that I could petition my grievances with whistleblower protections. I tried. I persevered; and I still see the extended, often internecine, KPFA family whenever I’m out near Berkeley. But it’s good to see Andres Conteris still out there doing the work. Like Nicole Sawaya told me on the phone the last time I spoke to her, circa 2008: The work. Yes, KPFA can be a minefield of egos and endless board meeting disagreements. But focus on the work of social justice; and always take the high road. Don’t resort to the low levels of Macchiavellian, duplicitous people you meet around KPFA. (Well, I’m embellishing a bit, but that was the spirit of the great Nicole Sawaya’s advice for me.)
La Comisión de Garantías Democráticas es el órgano independiente previsto en el Documento Organizativo y en los Estatutos de PODEMOS para garantizar que el funcionamiento de la organización se ajuste a los principios de democracia, transparencia, justicia y participación igualitaria de todas las personas.
Su primera función es garantizar que PODEMOS sea una herramienta efectiva al servicio de la gente, un proyecto donde la gente tenga la primera y la última palabra. La Comisión se ocupa de velar por el cumplimiento real e igualitario de los documentos aprobados por la Asamblea Ciudadana, los reglamentos de sus órganos electos y los protocolos democráticos.
Además, la Comisión protege los derechos democráticos de las personas inscritas, de los Círculos y de los órganos internos de PODEMOS, en todos los niveles, y garantiza el correcto desempeño de sus obligaciones. Por último, la Comisión velará por el más estricto cumplimiento del Código Ético por parte de todas las personas que representen a PODEMOS u ocupen cargos públicos en su nombre, para que este proyecto siga siendo limpio y transparente.
Learn more at PODEMOS.
Related Lumpenproletariat articles, relevant to Hillary Clinton’s 2015-2016 presidential campaign:
- “Hillary Clinton, US/NATO, & the Lynching of Gaddafi“, 3 MAR 2016
- “Historical Archive: Third Party Challenge to Unconstitutional Prop 14“, 2 MAR 2016
- “Hillary Clinton for USA Presidency: Pros and Cons“, 13 APR 2015
- “My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency (2015) by Doug Henwood“, 29 FEB 2016
[4 MAR 2016]
[Last modified 21:52 PDT 6 MAR 2016]
[Image of Berta Cáceres was taken at the banks of the Gualcarque River in the Rio Blanco region of western Honduras where she, COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), and the people of Rio Blanco have maintained a two year struggle to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric project, which poses grave threats to the local environment, the river, and the indigenous Lenca people from the region.]