Tegucigalpa, Honduras - March 15, 2016
TO THE PEOPLE OF HONDURAS
I don’t know if these words will reach you one day.
I came to Honduras with hope and anticipation. It had been many years since I visited, but I am thankful to Berta for inviting me. She and her family have been deepest friends for so many years. In spite of all I have gone through, I do not regret coming, nor being chosen by fate to be able to say goodbye to my dear friend.
My wounds hurt greatly even as they heal into scars, but what hurts me more is the pain of the beloved Honduran people who do not deserve this fate; none of us deserve it. We have always admired this noble people so full of courage, who struggle so that all may have a life of dignity, where everyone belongs without exception and in justice. This was Berta’s struggle.
Just as i feel the love of the Honduran people for Mexico, this is the love that i feel for this beautiful country, for its landscapes, its natural areas and above all, for its people, for their pride as Catrachos. We cannot allow murder to cloud our hopes nor plagues darken the countryside.
When I come across migrants from this land in Mexico, I can’t resist approaching them to offer my greeting and to recognize their courage, because I know the journey that they must make, and the pain of leaving their homeland to seek a new path in life, one of hope and of finding something better. I tell myself and I tell them not to go, but to return, that the journey is difficult and our people and our land need us. And I say goodbye with a simple word that Berta always said to me: “Cheke!”
Our land is generous, our blood is the same blood; these are the Mesoamerican bonds that will always unite us and invite us to struggle, as Berta did, for a better and more dignified life for all.
As I wait now to be reunited with my people, many Hondurans have sent me their solidarity and their affectionate greetings. I thank you all so, so much. Berta meant so much to me and to all of you. Berta was an exceptional woman who fought for a better, more dignified and just Honduras for all. Her spirit grows in the heart of the Honduran people, because we have not buried her: we have sown her in the earth so that from La Esperanza, hope itself may grow.
There should be no doubt that I have supported all the legal processes asked of me by the authorities as soon as they requested them, over ten total, and I will continue to do so for justice to be served. Although the authorities told me on multiple occasions that I could go, including providing a helicópter to leave La Esperanza for Tegucigalpa, at the last moment they asked me to stay for new legal processes, and I always accepted. At this time I have done everything that is in my capacity. I have a life, I have a family. I will never stop supporting once in Mexico and will always be willing to help you uncover the truth. For that purpose, there is a Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the United States of Mexico and the Republic of Honduras.
From Mexico, I will continue to bear the historic responsibility that I have to the Honduran people, to Berta and her family, and with the COPINH. For the rest of my life, I will carry wounds etched onto my body that will never allow me to forget this commitment.
I am grateful to the COPINH for having received me. They are a beautiful and unassuming people, worthy of their ancestors, worthy of these amazing lands; they are a people with an unflagging spirit of struggle to preserve their identity and place of origin, with an admirable respect for nature and love of Honduras. And I also admire and am very grateful to them for this. They are also what the world knows and respects about Honduras, they are hope, they are the seed where the spirit of Lempira will germinate with greater strength, that of the ancestral peoples, of the Honduran people. They have been an example and inspiration to many throughout the world, just as they have been for the Honduran people. All of the social, rural, indigenous and garifuna organizations are likewise an example of dignity, who struggle for a better country. I am so grateful to all of them for such solidarity. .
I am grateful to my ambassador and the Consul for all of their invaluable support, for having received me with open and protective arms in order to face this very difficult situation. I am grateful for all of the Honduran and international solidarity, for your care and affection for Berta, and for your generous demonstration of concern, and your thousands of letters, signatures, and messages that I can never repay.
Soon, there will be justice.
Gustavo Castro Soto