The killing of another indigenous environmentalist in Honduras cemented the country’s glorious example of protecting land and natural resources from being exploited in the deadliest place in the world.
On the evening of December 26, 60-year-old Félix Vásquez was the hometown of Santiago de Puringla, a rural community in La Paz, western Honglas. The deceased was The veteran of the Lunka natives. Related to his work. His adult children were beaten and threatened by four armed attackers in Balaklava, but survived the ordeal.
Vásquez has been involved in defending indigenous land rights since the 1
In recent weeks, in a tense land dispute between a small indigenous community and local farmers who are said to be linked to the ruling National Party, the intimidation campaign against several leaders of Lenka, including Vásquez Upgraded.
Vásquez reported being under surveillance and surveillance at home, while two other Lenca leaders were sentenced to jail on charges related to land disputes. Vazquez also recently announced his intention to run as a candidate for the Progressive Liberal Party in the March 2021 primary election.
It has been nearly five years since the famous Renca leader and Goldman Sachs Award winner Berta Cáceres was assassinated. After years of threats and harassment, Berta Cáceres was shot and killed at home in March 2016. She was threatened for opposing an internationally funded dam. Seven men were convicted for their role in planning and executing the murder, but those who ordered the conviction for the crime, paid for and benefited from it were not tried.
Vazquez’s death was condemned by human rights organizations, European and American lawmakers and diplomats. United Nations representative Alice Shackelford (Alice Shackelford) tweeted: “Justice, the rule of law and the fight against impunity are more necessary than ever.”
But the hope of justice is low. Roger Medina, a friend and lawyer representing the local community in Lunca, said: “Felix is very smart and a great strategist. He opposed exploitationism for more than 35 years. This is why he was killed. “We are living in a dictatorship, so there is no doubt that this will be a crime against another aboriginal environmentalist and will not be punished.”
On Tuesday, local media reported the killing of another defender, Adán Mejía, a native of Tolupan. He was allegedly attacked on his way back from raising corn, which he had harvested in Candelaria, a rural community in the northern department of Yoro.
After the 2009 coup d’état ushered in an authoritarian government, Honduras has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world defending natural resources and land rights. Despite multiple allegations of corruption, election fraud and links to international drug trafficking networks, Honduras still holds power. .
Hundreds of defenders were killed and disappeared, while many other defenders were silenced due to criminal charges.
This year is particularly severe. In July, a group of Garifuna land defenders who were black indigenous people were forcibly disappeared by armed assailants wearing police uniforms. Despite international condemnation of prosecutions related to peaceful protests against the prosecution of contaminating iron oxide ore, eight water defenders from the Guapinor community have been remanded throughout the pandemic.
According to the report of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, “the root cause of most social conflicts [in Honduras] It is the systematic lack of transparency and meaningful participation in communities affected by the development of natural resources.
However, the connection between political and economic elites means that crimes against environmental defenders are rarely prosecuted. There are also very few investigations of suspected corrupt officials who carry out large-scale projects without authorization without legally required consultations and environmental impact assessments.
In La Paz alone, at least 40 large-scale projects were approved in indigenous territories without consultations with local communities.
Marlen Corea, the collective vice-chairman of La Paz’s indigenous and Campesno environmental organization, is 32 years old. He works with Vásquez: “As part of the intimidation campaign, every taciturn person will Threatened to keep us silent and prevent us from opposing projects that deprive us of natural resources imposed on our territory without negotiation. This is why Felix was killed, but our struggle is fair.”