Violence, Corruption & Impunity in the Honduran Energy Industry: A profile of Roberto David Castillo Mejía

13 Sep 2019

A group of expert human rights organizations that have been closely monitoring the Berta Cáceres case in Honduras released, “Violence, Corruption & Impunity in the Honduran Energy Industry: A Profile of Roberto David Castillo Mejia.”

The carefully researched report brings together information that implicates Castillo, the CEO of the Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA) corporation, in a pattern of violence, human rights violations and corruption to benefit companies with which he was associated. Castillo has been involved with at least eight companies, registered in Honduras and Panama, which are described in the report.

Berta Cáceres’ 2016 murder was part of a series of attacks against members of the Lenca organization COPINH that she led, and the Rio Blanco indigenous community that never gave its free, prior, and informed consent for the Honduran government to authorize the hydroelectric project to be implemented in their territory. Evidence shows that when communities protested abuses, DESA unleashed a campaign of stigmatization and violence with the support of key state actors to ensure impunity. In the November 2018 verdict that convicted seven men of Cáceres’ murder, including two former DESA employees, the tribunal concluded that other DESA executives knew about and consented to the murder, but there have been no further apprehensions since.

Arrested in March 2018, David Castillo is currently in jail awaiting the continuation of the hearing that will decide if he goes to trial for his alleged role in Berta Cáceres’ murder, though allegations of his criminal activity extend beyond the assassination. The report documents the prosecutions, open investigations and administrative sanctions in Honduras that have brought to light evidence suggesting that Castillo, a former employee of the National Electrical Energy Company (ENEE), a West Point graduate and former Honduran military intelligence officer, illegally influenced government contracts and enlisted state security forces’ assistance in committing human rights abuses.