Another Armed Attack On an Indigenous Activist in Honduras
Another indigenous Honduran activist was shot at by ex-Honduran military recently and the activist's allies, which include the organization directed by the slain Berta Cáceres, are protesting the freeing of the alleged shooter on bail and asserting that the situation is very similar to that of Cáceres.
On May 6, Alexander Garcia Sorto was leaving his home in Llano Grande to help prepare for a protest in Tegucigalpa involving the organization founded and lead by Cáceres, the National Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations (COPINH). The group was en route to protest the government's investigation into Cáceres' assassination.
In the moments after Garcia Sorto left his front door, a gunman shot him in the arm but he was able to escape injury from further shots fired in his direction. The activist reported the incident to local police, who arrested a former soldier for the crime.
The ex-soldier, Enedicto Alvarado, was released on bail a few days later. COPINH has issued a press statement alleging that Alvarado had threatened Garcia Sorto and other activists in April, echoing the charges that the man who shot Cáceres had first threatened her as well.
"Now that Alexander has left the hospital, the attacker is free too and is telling people in the community that he will finish the job of killing Alexander," according to COPINH.
"Alexander's life is at risk and the COPINH urges the Honduran government to act quickly to detain and adjudicate the man who shot Alexander."
The activist's organization has been protesting the official investigation into Cáceres' murder in the last month and they are asserting that there has been an "intensification of the repression" against the group by Honduran authorities and the DESA Corporation.
"The government wants to silence the COPINH that has urged the installation of an independent commission to investigate Berta's assassination and urges the cancellation of all projects of death that threaten the Lenca people, including the concessions made on the Chinacla River," according to a COPINH press statement.
Among the COPINH members involved in advocating a need for an independent investigation is Bertha Zuniga Cáceres, one of Bertha's children. Zuniga has spoken to the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the European Union and other organizations in the U.S., Latin America and Europe about her mother's assassination and the threats from Honduran authorities and DESA.
As of press time no date had been announced for the trial involving Alvarado and Garcia Sorto.
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