Shock as another environmental activist gunned down in Honduras

Shock as an Indigenous environmental activist gunned down in the city of San Antonio, Honduras in many attacks carried on environmentalists in recent years.

The daily La Prensa reported Carlos Cerros , an environmental representative of the Indigenous Lenca people, was gunned down in the city of San Antonio in the northwest of Honduras. Mr. Carlos was reportedly killed on Monday in front of his children.

Honduras is among the world’s most dangerous countries for activists. According to data by advocacy group Global Witness, 14 land and environmental defenders were killed in 2020 up from four in 2018.

Carlos was the president of United Communities, a local advocacy group advocating for the rights of indigenous people. He had campaigned against a hydroelectric power station in the region. The group through its Facebook page condemned the killing and demanded justice and security for Carlo’s family. “We condemn the shameful murder of our comrade in arms,” United Communities wrote on its Facebook page.

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The National Police said in a tweet a suspect had been arrested and investigations were ongoing. The motive behind the killing was still unclear.

Honduras has a bad history of the killings of land and environmental activists. In December 2020, a longtime Lenca environmental activist, Felix Vasquez was shot by masked men in front of his relatives in his home in Santiago de Puringla.

At that time, he was seeking opposition Libre party’s nomination for Congress and had fought hydroelectric projects and land abuses for a long. 

In the same month, activist Jose Adan Medina was found shot dead in a remote location in the community of El Volcan in western Honduras. 

It is the killing of Berta Caceres in 2016, a winner of the Goldman environmental prize that brought to the limelight the violence against environmentalists in Honduras to global attention. Caceres was murdered in her home.

She was a prominent activist and founder of the Indigenous organization COPINH; and fought for the rights of the Lenca people and campaigned against the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric power project.

Seven perpetrators were sentenced to 50 years in prison for the murder, including contract killers, soldiers, and employees of the construction company.


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