When Hondurans gathered to protest the assassination of Berta Cáceres, a new chant rose up from the people: "Berta no se murió, Berta se hizo millones, Berta soy yo." In English: "Berta did not die. Berta became the millions [of people]. I am Berta." You can see the people chanting as they marched on March 8 here.
Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores was a Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader of the Lenca people; she was co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras.
Her four grown children and mother stated publicly on March 5:
New to NCR: In his Pencil Preaching column, cartoonist Pat Marrin offers a sketch and reflection for the day's scripture readings. Learn more>
We hold the company DESA [the organization behind the dam project] responsible for the persecution, the criminalization, the stigma, and the constant death threats made against her and our people of COPINH. We also hold the financial and international entities that support the project such as, the Dutch development bank FMO, Finn Fund, BCIE, Ficohsa, and the committed companies CASTOR, and business group ATALA, responsible for her death.
Berta was 44, assassinated a day before her 45th birthday. The New Yorker posted an account of her life and her murder that has harsh words for the U.S. support of the Honduran government and the World Bank's projects that disrupt and destroy indigenous communities.
Holy Week is an opportunity for us to ponder the chant of the people. Can we, too, be Berta?