Mastermind of Environmental Activist Berta Cáceres’ Murder Arrested in Honduras

March 5, 2018  | Edge Canopy

Markab Algedi


Authorities in Honduras report they have arrested the “intellectual perpetrator” behind the March 2016 murder of vocal environmental activist Berta Cáceres.

Energy corporation executive Roberto David Castillo Mejia was detained by police, as confirmed in a statement from the prosecutor’s office. It is unclear as of yet what charges he will face.

At the time of Berta Cáceres’ death, Castillo was serving as the CEO of Desarrollos Energeticos (DESA) and Cáceres was very effectively fighting against their plan to build a hydroelectric dam that would cut off the water supply of indigenous communities.

It seems to be common sense that if an activist directly in the way of a corporation was assassinated, the prime suspect would be the leader of that corporation. According to the statement from the authorities, the man was “responsible for providing logistics and other resources to the perpetrators.”

The arrest of this man almost exactly coincided with the 2 year anniversary of Berta’s passing. On March 3, 2016, she died at the age of 44 after masked hitmen shot her in her La Esperanza home, northwest of Tegucigalpa.

The Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project was successfully opposed by Berta and the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), because it would have had a devastating impact on the ability of the Lenca People to continue living in the region.

Other members of this group remain at risk. According to Amnesty International, “In the two years since Berta was shot dead, Amnesty International has documented a pattern of threats against those seeking justice for her killing and those who report the actions of powerful companies against local indigenous or peasant farmers’ communities.”

A total of 8 people have been arrested now in connection to the murder of Berta Cáceres.

So did the activists succeed in preventing the dam from being built? Not yet exactly, but Berta’s daughter Olivia Zuniga is a member of the Honduran Congress, and she wants to introduce a measure to cancel the construction of the dam, in addition to 48 other contracts to build them in western Honduras.

A furious international outrage resulted shortly after her death, and even former supporters of neoliberal policy called out Hillary Clinton for her role supporting the new government that rose out of the 2009 Honduras coup.

When Berta passed, a surprisingly hardcore article was published by Democracy Now titled “Before Her Assassination, Berta Cáceres Singled Out Hillary Clinton for Backing Honduran Coup.” Reading from it:

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is facing a new round of questions about her handling of the 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. Since the coup, Honduras has become one of the most violent places in the world. Last week, indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her home.”

Cáceres called out Hillary Clinton a couple years before she passed away and strongly implied that her power clique is financially benefiting from the destruction of her country.

‘We’re coming out of a coup that we can’t put behind us. We can’t reverse it,” Cáceres said.

“It just kept going. And after, there was the issue of the elections. The same Hillary Clinton, in her book, ‘Hard Choices,’ practically said what was going to happen in Honduras. This demonstrates the meddling of North Americans in our country. The return of the president, Mel Zelaya, became a secondary issue. There were going to be elections in Honduras. And here she [Clinton] recognized that they didn’t permit Mel Zelaya’s return to the presidency,” she continued.

Some suspect that the Clintons actually had a financial incentive to allow the Honduras coup to occur. According to a Facebook post that quotes Elan Wilson:

“How about that. Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA) is a corporate merger body of Potencia y Energia de Mesoamerica (PEMSA) and Inversiones Las Jacarandas. Jose Eduardo Atala Zeblah, Jacobo Atala Zeblah and Pedro Atala Zeblah, brothers, are on DESA’s board of directors…and I could write about a web of economic connections between the three and every facet of the Honduran economy that would make your head spin…but suffice it to say, Camilo Atala, while strongly backing the coup, was, among many other private sector positions held, the head of the Consejo Empresarial de America Latina (CEAL), and contracted Lanny Davis’s lobbying firm to lobby Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and members of the United States congress, to accept the coup as legitimate.

If the allegations against those arrested prove true, then, the assassination was indeed carried out by Clinton’s benefactors. Clinton has been getting paid off by the controlling executives of the company which ordered the hit.”


Rest in peace Berta.



(Image credit: Laprensa, NBC, UCUSA, Resumenlatinoamericano, Proyectodiez)


This article may be freely republished with attribution to the author, and a working link back to this article at Edge Canopy.



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