El Salvador: environmental activist killed, quickly buried in “mass grave”

Local environmental activist Juan Francisco Durán Ayala of El Salvador’s Cabañas department was found dead June 16, in an open field in the Lamatepec district of Soyapango municipality, outside San Salvador. Durán Ayala went missing on June 3—a day after hanging up posters and distributing flyers in his hometown of Ilobasco opposed to a gold mine operated by the Canadian Pacific Rim corporation. (See map.) He had continued his public opposition to the mine despite having received numerous threats. Activists are expressing outrage that his body was promptly buried by authorities in a “common grave” in the capital’s Bermeja cemetery. The Environmental Committee of Cabañas (CAC), the National Board Against Metal Mining and the local Radio Victoria—whose operators have also recently received threats—are demanding that the national authorities reveal what they know in the case and launch an aggressive investigation. Durán is the fourth Pacific Rim opponent killed in El Salvador in the last two years. (Mining Watch, June 20; LaPágina, San Salvador, June 18; FSRN, Diario CoLatino, San Salvador, CAC statement, June 16)

See our last posts on El Salvador, Central America, and the mineral cartel in Latin America.

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