Just two weeks after the murder of prominent Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, gunmen have killed another member of her group: Nelson García.
“We regret to inform that our compatriot Nelson García was murdered when he was entering his mother-in-law’s house to have lunch, after having spent the morning helping families move in the Río Chiquito community,” the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) said in a release.
García, a father of five children, was leader of the community consisting of 150 families that was occupying a portion of Río Chiquito, claiming property rights.
Telesur sources dispute official reports that the eviction was completed peacefully “[Authorities] said that they would be peaceful and they were not going to throw anyone out of their houses, but at midday they started to tear down the houses, they destroyed the maize, the banana trees, and the yuca plantations,” said Tomas Gomez, a COPINH coordinator.
Activists, NGOs and international organizations have taken to Twitter since Tuesday, denouncing the spate of violent killings for which the Honduran government has so far arrested one person in relation to Cáceres’ murder in her home.
Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OEA) tweeted:
Enérgica condena asesinato d líder indígena y de DDHH Nelson Garcia en #Honduras. Basta d impunidad!!
— Luis Almagro (@Almagro_OEA2015) March 16, 2016
“We energetically condemn the murder of an indigenous and human rights leader Nelson Garcia in #Honduras. No more impunity!”
While the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) tweeted:
NEWS: FMO suspends all activities in Honduras effective immediately https://t.co/0t056E60KH
— FMO Development Bank (@FMO_development) March 16, 2016
The FMO stated that “it was moved by the news that Nelson García, another COPINH member, had been murdered in Honduras. After the recent violent death of Berta Cáceres.” SDP Noticias reports.
The bank also added that they would not be providing loans or funding for any new projects, including the Agua Zarca project, a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River against which Cáceres and the COPINH were protesting.
The tweet coincided with a message from the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras, James D. Nealon:
The United States’ technical assistance to the Honduran investigation is ongoing and with it, our total commitment to see justice served.
— US Ambassador HN (@USAmbHonduras) March 11, 2016
— US Ambassador HN (@USAmbHonduras) March 16, 2016
Environmentalists across Latin America are coming under increasing threat from attacks. At least 116 environmental activists were murdered in 2014, according to NGO Global Witness’ latest report figures. The total number of activist deaths are almost double the number of journalists killed in the same period, and fatalities have been on the rise since 2002. Shockingly, around 40 percent of those killed are from indigenous communities.