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Internationally-Recognized Environmental Activist Berta Cáceres Martyred: Page 2 of 2

Posted on 17 March 2016
recognized mega-dam construction failures) and the Three Gorges project in China (which displaced more than 1.2 million people). This clean re-branding means that dam construction presents opportunities for significant profit for big business. 
 
This appears to have been the case for Desarrollos Energéticos, SA (DESA), which was created in 2008 to undertake the Agua Zarca project, which it obtained in a renewable energy bid in 2009. This bid was criticized by both the indigenous and ecological movements and was believed to have been manipulated by the private energy sector: it allows privatization of natural resources such as rivers, while the communities whose way of life depends on these rivers have been excluded from the process. Such privatization has long been promoted by influential bodies in development policy-making, the most important of these being the World Bank, which supported the original awarding of the Agua Zarca project contract to the Chinese Sinohydro Group. Both the World Bank and the Sinohydro Group backed out when the repression of the Lenca began to attract media attention due to the Lenca’s aggressive campaigning in cooperation with Cáceres and COPINH.
 
IBON International believes that honoring Cáceres’s memory means, in part, asserting that the involvement of POs/CSOs like COPINH in community and national development is indispensable. It means calling for an end to top-down development. It also requires calling for the closure of the School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation, which trains students who later become part of undemocratic governments and commit human rights atrocities. 
 
It also means understanding that, given the hostility of the fragile states like that of Honduras and the massive influence wielded by private actors like DESA, these calls are unlikely to be answered unless POs/CSOs and social movements lead the way and the international community stand in solidarity with them.
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