Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another anti-mining activist killed

Another environmental leader, active in anti-mining protests and other issues, has been killed in the department of Cabañas. From the Latin American Herald Tribune:

Prominent environmental activist Ramiro Rivera, who survived an attempt on his life in August, was killed last weekend in the central Salvadoran province of Cabañas, a colleague said.

“It was an ambush,” Francisco Pineda, coordinator of the environmental committee in Cabañas, told Efe.

Rivera was fatally shot Sunday while driving to his home in the city of Ilobasco. Also killed was a 57-year-old woman traveling in the same vehicle, while a girl of 13 was wounded.

The attack happened even though Rivera “traveled with security” since the failed assassination attempt of Aug. 7, Pineda said. He said Rivera played a leading role in battles against proposed mining projects in the region.

“We see that the fundamental cause (of the murder) can only be his being against those projects and in defense of the lives of present and future generations,” Pineda said of his murdered colleague. He added that he and four other environmental activists in Cabañas have been threatened.

El Salvador’s minister of justice, Manuel Melgar, said Rivera’s killing was “very probably” a planned assault and not “a common robbery,” Colatino newspaper said on its Web site.

National police director Carlos Ascencio said investigators are seeking a possible connection between this week’s slaying and the June murder of environmentalist Marcelo Rivera.

A denunciation of the murder from one of the anti-mining groups was carried in Upside Down World. Diario CoLatino today quoted police officials stating that the murder was clearly planned and took the form of an ambush along the route that Rivera was travelling on Sunday.

President Mauricio Funes today assured that the murder of the environmentalist would not be left in impunity. Funes also confirmed that Rivera was with two officers of the witness and victim protection division at the time of the shooting. (Apparently they're not very good at their jobs).

The repeated failure of the PNC under previous administrations to solve murders, and to present an acceptable answer when politically active people are killed, contributes greatly to fear and polarization in El Salvador. Time and time again, PNC spokesmen would blame murders on "common crime," and the resolution would satisfy no one. The pre-meditated ambush killing of Ramiro Rivera will be difficult to dismiss as just another example of El Salvador's violent crime problem.

1 comment:

Burke Stansbury said...

here's the CISPES action alert on the Ramiro Rivera assassination: http://www.cispes.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=648&Itemid=27