Gustavo Castro Goes Home as People Power Trumps Honduran Government
'The power of collective action has trumped the fools, killers, and thieves in the Honduran government.'
Beloved environmentalist Gustavo Castro, the only witness to his colleague Berta Cáceres' murder on March 3, is back in Mexico with his family on Friday, after a Honduran judge decided to lift the measure prohibiting him from leaving the country, in place since March 7.
Friends and allies celebrated his release, which they had demanded citing safety concerns.
"The power of collective action has trumped the fools, killers, and thieves in the Honduran government," wrote Beverly Bell of the social justice group Other Worlds in response to the news.
"The Honduran government could not stand up to the international pressure from the U.S. Congress, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Vatican, and many other sources of pressure and denunciation," Bell declared. "More than anything, the power of the fraudulently elected regime could not trump that of citizens around the world, who held rallies, sent well over a hundred thousand letters, and committed themselves to continue organizing until Gustavo was freed."
Castro, director of Otros Mundos/Friends of the Earth Mexico and a longtime advocate for social, economic, and Indigenous justice, was wounded in the March 2 attack that killed Cáceres in her home. Members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), which Cáceres helped to found, have said she was targeted for her work organizing Indigenous communities against environmental destruction and exploitation, specifically her efforts to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca megadam.
Following Cáceres' assassination, Castro was forbidden from leaving Honduras for 30 days and was forced to take refuge in the Mexican embassy in Tegucigalpa.
Still, even though Castro's been allowed to go home to Mexico, the struggle is far from over. As Otros Mundos in Chiapas said Friday: "What still remains is guaranteeing security for his family and the team."
What's more, said Friends of the Earth in a press statement, "Our position remains the same: We demand an impartial investigation of the facts until the murder of Berta Cáceres, and the assassination attempt against Gustavo Castro, are fully clarified and those truly responsible are held to account."
As Bell told supporters on Friday, "We hope you will remain with us, mobilizing the power of people united, until Gustavo; members of COPINH...and all Hondurans have security and democracy."
"To use a favorite term of Gustavo's," she wrote, "¡Animo! Let's do it!"
Activists and eco-defenders responded to the news on Twitter: