Berta Cáceres was an indigenous and environmental activist in Honduras who was the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winner for her success in blocking the Agua Zarca dam project, which would have decimated the communities and livelihoods of indigenous people in the country. Earlier in March, she was assassinated, one of at least three activists who have been murdered in connection with their efforts to protest the construction of this dam.
Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research has been following the fate of social and economic justice activists in the country since a 2009 coup deposed the democratically elected government of President Manuel Zelaya. And as it turns out, Weisbrot explains in this “Burning Issues” video segment, one of the 2016 presidential candidates played a key role in the coup and in the series of events that led to Cáceres’ assassination.
Weisbrot notes that Hillary Clinton acknowledges in her book, “Hard Choices,” that when Zelaya was exiled to Costa Rica, she helped prevent Zelaya from returning to the country. That, Weisbrot explains, was crucial to allowing the forces behind the coup to consolidate their power in the face of international condemnation. (The Huffington Post reports that the section in the hardcover version of the book that addresses her support of the Honduras coup has been deleted from the paperback version. )
One of the consequences of the coup has been a series of assassinations of activists like Cáceres who have been protesting illegal or unjust actions by the government that, like the attempted construction of the Aqua Zarca dam, have received international condemnation.
This is an example of the kind of regime change policy on which Clinton and her rival, Bernie Sanders, sharply disagree, Weisbrot says.