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Mon Apr 20, 2020, 06:18 PM

Who Is Killing Latin America's Environmentalists?


By Paul J. Angelo and David Gevarter

April 20, 2020

A surge in killings of environmentalists is part of a disturbing trend of increasing threats to social leaders across Latin America.


While the environment has been recovering in many places around the world due to the coronavirus slowdown, in Latin America, threats against natureís biggest protectors are only increasing. The beginning of 2020 has seen an acceleration of high-profile killings of environmentalists in some of the regionís most biodiverse countries. Their deaths jeopardize the fight against climate change and species extinction.

Whatís happening?

Each month of 2020 has proven more dangerous than the last for environmental activists. In January, two employees at a butterfly reserve in Mexico were assassinated; officials suspect illegal loggers or members of organized crime are to blame. That same month, six members of an indigenous community were killed at a nature reserve in Nicaragua.

February saw the killings of a Colombian national park ranger and a Costa Rican indigenous land activist who had previously survived an attack by illegal loggers. In Brazil, five members of the Guajajara tribe have been assassinated in recent months, including a prominent leader murdered at the beginning of April. Several were activists affiliated with the Guardians of the Forest, a group of Guajajara who fight illegal logging on their reserve.

What is driving these attacks?

Latin Americaís nature preserves contain a wealth of natural resources. Environmentalists have come to blows with loggers, petroleum workers, gem and metal miners, and organized crime affiliates, all of whom seek to control the land and extract the resources that these activists seek to protect.

More:
https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/who-killing-latin-americas-environmentalists

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