Jan 19, 2017 by members

River Defender Activist Murdered in Guatemala

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Another anti-dam activist has been murdered in Latin America.

On Tuesday, January 17, protestors led a peaceful demonstration against a hydroelectric plant in Guatemala. But the event ended in death after paramilitaries shot and killed 72-year-old activist Sebastian Alonso.

The march had originated before dawn from the towns of the Chuj and Q’anjob’al in the municipality of Huehuetenango, located in Guatemala’s western highlands. The demonstrators were heading to Pojom I Hydroelectric Project, which is being built without the consent of local indigenous groups.

Both the Pojom I and Pojom II dams have been funded through the Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura, an intermediary for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. Pojom II is financed directly by the Inter-American Development Bank, or IDB.

The murder underscores just how dangerous it is to be an environmental defender in Latin America. Just days before Alonso’s murder, another environmental defender was murdered in Mexico: 2005 Goldman Prize winner Isidro Baldenegro López.

To read the full blog from Coalition member, International Rivers, access here.