Bloody start to 2020 for environment defenders


Adán Vez Lira

Amid the fear and confusion that Covid-19 is causing in Latin America, a different sort of pandemic—violence against environmental defenders and other social advocates—has continued taking a brutal toll. Numerous environmental, social and indigenous leaders in Colombia, Brazil and Nicaragua have been slain thus far this year. In Colombia alone, 84 were murdered from Jan. 1 to April 26, says the Institute for Development and Peace (Indepaz), a Colombian nonprofit that promotes peace through social dialogue. In Mexico, meanwhile, five environmental defenders are believed to have been murdered in the first months of 2020. Motives in those cases are not clear, but the victims were variously involved in animal protection, land preservation and ecotourism work that reportedly put them at odds with criminal groups. A recent Colombian victim is Alejandro Llinás, an environmental leader and progressive politician in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region. Before his... [Log in to read more]

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