So What Now for Gustavo Castro Soto?

  • Written by  Marco Cáceres

So now the question is, "What happens to Gustavo Castro Soto?" Mr. Castro was a witness to the killing of Berta Cáceres by two gunman who broke into her home last Thursday in the town of La Esperanza. He was shot twice and left for dead. Ms. Cáceres apparently died in his arms. Over the weekend, Mr. Castro, accompanied by Mexico's ambassador to Honduras, was at Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa preparing to pass through customs and board a flight to his native Mexico when he was detained by Honduran authorities. He was ordered to return to La Esperanza, where he has been held for questioning.

In a letter Mr. Castro managed to relay to longtime friend Beverly Bell of the social economic justice organization Other Worlds, Mr. Castro wrote, "They tried to assassinate me, and they are still trying to assassinate me." He added, "My life is in extreme danger right now."

 

Mr. Castro is a sociologist and the founder and director of Otros Mundos/Amigos de la Tierra México, based in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. The rest of his bio from the Other Worlds website reads: "Otros Mundos is part of a number of networks on water, energy, foreign debt, and the climate crisis, among other issues. The group conducts research, produces educational material, supports resistance efforts against harmful development projects, and promotes alternatives by way of the Water and Energy Popular School (EPAE) and the Network of Alternative Sustainable Family Networks (RESISTE)."

 

Further, "Gustavo also serves on the coordinating council of the Movement of Those Impacted by Dams and Defending the Rivers (MAPDER), the Latin American Network against Dams and in Defense of Rivers, Waters, and Communities (REDLAR), the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), and the Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4)."

 

Mr. Castro's status is unclear. There is little information coming out of La Esperanza in this regard. Obviously, there is widespread concern—both nationally and internationally—that whoever ordered the hit on Ms. Cáceres, and supposedly Mr. Castro as well, may still be a threat to Mr. Castro. Predictably, there is plenty of speculation that the Honduran government itself could be behind the attacks. Whether or not that is true, at this point at least, it behooves President Juan Orlando Hernández to provide Mr. Castro with the kind of protection one might extend to a visiting head of state.

 

Wherever the truth may lie in this case, it is apparent that the fates of President Hernández and Mr. Castro are now intertwined. Whatever happens to Mr. Castro will reflect directly on President Hernández. It just might not be a bad idea to arrange a presidential escort for Mr. Castro (with the prez along for good measure) back to the airport in Tegucigalpa. Treat the man like the VIP that he is, and put him on a chartered plane bound for Mexico. The world is watching. It's no time to be playing with the man's life (not that it ever was), and further compounding this crime and latest national crisis for the people of Honduras.

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