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The assassination of indigenous activist Berta Cáceres six months ago is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of human rights violations in Honduras over the past seven years.Her death, however, is the “smoking gun” that makes it impossible for the United States to turn a blind eye to the Honduran government’s complicity in human rights violations against opposition activists.While the government was entirely aware of the threats to Berta’s life, and was repeatedly urged by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to offer her protection, any protection given was clearly inadequate.Given Berta’s stature as the winner of the international 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, and an inspiring leader of a global movement to preserve indigenous rights, her death triggered fear among activists all over Honduras.Just before midnight on March 2 of this year, 44-year-old Berta Cáceres, founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Hondurans (COPINH), was gunned down in her home.In the months leading up to her death, Berta had been carrying out a peaceful yet vocal campaign to prevent the construction of the Agua Zarca dam on a sacred river belonging to the indigenous Lenca population.Though the Obama administration initially criticized the military coup that put Roberto Michelletti in the presidency and other leaders of the coup in his cabinet, the United States was the first to recognize the new Porfirio Lobo government that was put in place by elections months later. General Assembly called for the “immediate and unconditional return of Zelaya,” and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) refused to recognize the outcome of the elections, the U. State Department blocked the Organization of American States’ (OAS) resolution to not recognize elections held under the de facto government. This recognition was granted despite the fact that all opposition candidates had boycotted the elections and all international observers (besides the U. Republican party) withdrew, refusing to recognize the elections’ legitimacy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Washington continues to stand idly by as the rule of law in Honduras deteriorates. has sent 0 million USD in aid directly to the military and police force in the name of fighting crime and drug trafficking.

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exposed further proof of the state’s ties to the murder.

The article effectively distracts readers from the government’s abysmal human rights record and its own role in perpetuating violence in a country where 98 percent of crimes go unsolved.

Amnesty International’s Marselha Gonçalves Margerin recently told National Public Radio that “the U. government has been treating these [Central American] governments as victims of organized crimes and not really making them responsible for how they are treating, and failing to protect, their citizens.” Berta Cáceres: A Symbol of Impunity This year, the collusion between private actors, the military and the government in Honduras, was placed in the international spotlight.

on August 11, titled “How the Most Dangerous Place on Earth got Safer,” Sonia Nazario paints a misguided picture of Honduras as a country that was once ravaged with violence, but has since been bravely rescued and is now stable thanks to aid from the United States. What the author neglects to mention, however, is that an enormous portion of the same aid package is also funneled to a government that, in conjunction with a corrupt military and police force, is carrying out massive human rights violations against its citizens. Furthermore, in “a striking rebuke against the rising isolationists in American politics,” Nazario highlights the positive impact that U. spending can have for both Americans —in terms of stemming the flow of migrants— as well as for marginalized populations in the developing world.

violence-prevention programs funded by the United States in Honduras are indeed working, and their focus on human capital and social justice is a welcome departure from the “iron-fisted” security measures that have characterized U. Given the increasing number of activists killed with impunity under the rightwing government, whose power the United States helped to consolidate following the 2009 coup against democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, continued funding to Honduras deserves additional scrutiny. While Nazario is not wrong to shed light on the specific U. initiatives that are succeeding in violence prevention, it is far too soon to claim that the United States has single-handedly created a dramatically safer Honduras. As Nazario mentions in her article, crime and violence are major issues plaguing Honduran society, but she erroneously attributes most of this violence to gangs, narco-trafficking and other forms of organized crime that the Honduran government needs help in dealing with.




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