The World Bank and Berta Caceres and how they connect to Hillary Clinton
There are few people in the world who have had quite the breadth and depth of opposition all lined up against them as did Honduran indigenous activist and environmentalist Berta Caceres.
At the time of her recent assassination, likely at the hands of the Honduran secret police, the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), listed more than 300 hydroelectric dams planned for Honduras, of which 49 are on COPINH lands. Contracts have been handed out to 872 corporations for mining alone, with many other contracts awarded for tourism, wind energy, and logging projects. The plans are to build these on indigenous lands.
And as a leading member of COPINH, Caceres made life miserable for mining companies and hydroelectric companies.
The thing is, if you want to build on indigenous lands, according to the International Labor Organization Convention 169 to which Honduras is a signatory, there must be free, prior, and informed consent by affected indigenous peoples before development can begin in their territories. But with so many planned projects, and with so much potential money at stake, it seems that niceties like international conventions must occasionally be circumvented.
But an interesting thing happened to Caceres on the way to her fateful meeting with a death squad: US intervention–and not in her favor either.
It was a coup in 2009 in Honduras that has allowed the opening up of the country to the state its in now, in which multinational corporations are basically handed the keys and told to help themselves. And then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a lot to answer for, in terms of the way that went down.
At least according to the words of Berta Caceres. And she has been saying this for a long time.
In an interview two years ago cited on Democracy Now!, Caceres singled out the current Democratic party front-runner for special opprobrium:
“Hillary Clinton,” said Caceres, “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.”
The ugly truth about the mega-corporation, neoliberal economic model under which we all live is that it needs to feed. Constantly. It requires new markets, new land to exploit, new people to chew through. And in 2009, shortly after the supposedly liberal Obama administration had been installed, troubled, tiny Honduras was ripe for the picking.
And Hillary Clinton was a great help in making it happen–at least according to the words of Berta Caceres, who can no longer speak for herself.
If environmentalists like Caceres are ever going to win, it will be in the face of these huge, almost unseeable and unknowable economic forces. Until we all recognize them–and their political handmaidens–for what they are, hugely destructive monstrous forces that threaten to destroy our only planet for the sake of a few dollars–they will continue to roll over us all until there is nothing left.