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Pain and Rage for the Loss of Berta Cáceres

Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J. and Berta Cáceres


The following is a message from Fr. Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J., regarding the brutal murder of Berta Cáceres, an internationally renowned Honduran indigenous and environmental leader.

Popularly known as Padre Melo, Fr. Moreno Coto is a Jesuit priest and human rights activist in his native Honduras. He directs Radio Progreso and E.R.I.C,  whose work encompasses: grassroots radio programming; training on human rights, community organizing, and empowerment; the formation of leadership committed to social change; and aiding migrant families. Padre Melo spoke at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in 2014, and continues to be an important advocacy partner for ISN and Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S. as we advocate for human rights-oriented policies in Honduras and throughout the Northern Triangle of Central America. 

Dear Friends,

Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J. and Berta Cáceres

Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J. and Berta Cáceres

I write to share with you the pain and rage I am left with, we are left with, due to the murder of, who led grassroots efforts in the of struggle in defense of the natural resources and indigenous peoples. She and her organization COPINH confronted multinational companies based in China, the U.S. and Canada, bent on exploiting natural resources, particularly rivers and minerals. Last year she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. She was a friend, a sister, a companion of Radio Progreso and ERIC, and we had a particular history of close friendship and common struggle. In her person many of our struggles were manifest, that of indigenous people, feminists, of the popular movement, of grassroots communities, and environmentalists. We are beaten down.

She was constantly threatened. Being a woman with the highest international recognition among the social and popular movements in Honduras, her assassination shows and lays bare the helplessness of people and organizations fighting for human rights and the defense of the natural resources and against the sale of our national sovereignty. She fills us with pride. But her assassination leaves us shocked.

I share a picture that we took her and my in 2013 in Rio Blanco near the Gualcarque river. And she, with her jokes, said as she looked at the photograph: “Let’s see which of the two of us goes first.” I send my embrace and trust in your solidarity in the struggles in which we continue. From today on with loyalty to Berta Cáceres, our sister and traveling companion.

Ismael Moreno, S.J.


Learn more and join the Ignatian Solidarity Network and U.S. and Canadian Jesuits in advocating for human rights and environmental justice in Honduras. Don’t let Berta’s voice be lost.  Join us!


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  1. […] Cáceres was murdered, Fr. Moreno Coto, a Jesuit priest known in Honduras as “Padre Melo,” wrote a note expressing “pain and rage” at the death of someone he called a “friend” and […]

  2. […] Pain and Rage for the Loss of Berta Cáceres  by Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J. on the Ignatian Solidarity Network, 3/7/16 […]

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