Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Adding credence to suspicions that Cáceres' killing was politically-motivated, among those arrested were Honduran military officials as well as an employee of Desarrollos Energéticos (or DESA), the private energy company behind the Agua Zarca dam, which Cáceres fiercely opposed. (Photo: Getty)

Adding credence to suspicions that Cáceres' killing was politically-motivated, among those arrested were Honduran military officials as well as an employee of Desarrollos Energéticos (or DESA), the private energy company behind the Agua Zarca dam, which Cáceres fiercely opposed. (Photo: Getty)

Military and Energy Company Officials Arrested for Murder of Berta Cáceres

Honduran authorities say they are pursuing murder charges for the March 3rd killing of the environmental and Indigenous rights activist

Lauren McCauley

Authorities have arrested four suspects in the assassination of environmental and indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres, the Honduran attorney general announced on Monday.

Adding credence to suspicions that Cáceres' killing was politically-motivated, among those arrested were Honduran military officials as well as an employee of Desarrollos Energéticos (or DESA), the private energy company behind the Agua Zarca dam, which Cáceres fiercely opposed.

Central American-based freelance journalist Sandra Cuffe reported Monday that the arrests included Mariano Díaz Chávez and Edilson Atilio Duarte Meza. Cuffe wrote, "Honduran Armed Forces spokesperson identified Díaz as a major and Duarte as a former member of the military."

Cuffe also identified Douglas Geovanny Bustillo as a "retired Air Force Lt. and head of DESA security," citing a 2013 report (pdf) by the nonprofit Rights Action about the Agua Zarca landgrab, and reported that "Sergio Rodríguez Orellana, an employee of the DESA hydro-electric company, was also detained as a suspect."

Before her death, Cáceres reported being threatened by Rodríguez and other "local thugs" employed by DESA during recent protests.

According to a statement by the Office of the Public Prosecutor, the arrests took place after a series of ten raids Monday morning, dubbed "Operation Jaguar," in Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, and Trujillo. Prosecutors are pursuing murder charges in Cáceres' death and and attempted murder for Mexican environmental activist Gustavo Castro, who was witness to the March 3rd killing.

Meanwhile, Cáceres' daughter, Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres, is currently touring Europe with members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), which her mother co-founded. The delegation is calling on international governments to speak out against the murder and support the Lenca tribe's fight against the proposed dam on the sacred River Gualcarque.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Watchdog: Secret Service Didn't Notify Capitol Police of Threat to Pelosi Until After Jan. 6 Attack

"This is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation," said one legal expert.

Jessica Corbett ·


Advocates Welcome Temporary Block on South Carolina's 6-Week Abortion Ban

"Today's decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now," said one reproductive rights lawyer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Federal Court Strikes Down Ruling That Blocked Biden's Drilling Moratorium

"Today's decision demonstrates how flawed the preliminary injunction issued in June 2021 was, and that Interior must quickly take action to reform the federal fossil fuel program," said one environmental lawyer.

Julia Conley ·


Two Weeks Before Payments Resume, Progressives Tell Biden 'Time to Cancel Student Debt'

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that "we're having conversations daily with the White House and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressive Mandela Barnes Leads Ron Johnson by 7 Points in New Poll

"People are done being represented by an out-of-touch, self-serving multimillionaire like Ron Johnson," said Wisconsin's Democratic Senate nominee.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo