Denounce death threats against El Salvadoran anti-mining movement
By Alan Septoff
February 1, 2011
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Caba as environmental movement as well as the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining (the Mesa) are very concerned about a recent wave of death threats and crimes against members of El Salvador s anti-mining movement as well as other violent crimes recently committed in Caba as. Similar crimes in 2009 that went uninvestigated, including robberies, kidnappings, and death threats against members of Radio Victoria, ADES, ASIC, and the CAC all active organizations in Caba as mining resistance were a prelude to the murders of three activists, Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera and Dora Alicia Sorto Recinos. Please read more in-depth reports here.
Therefore, our allies are extremely concerned that the on-going state of impunity not only encourages the recent threats and crimes but could lead to more violence and murders in the near future.
In the middle of the night on January 11, a written death threat was pushed under the front door of community radio station Radio Victoria despite supposed 24-hour police security. The authors claim to be an extermination group and offer large sums of money to the radio if they stop making trouble, including to stop reporting on mining. If they don t, the group says they will murder the radio s three loudest mouths, Elvis Zavala, Pablo Ayala, and Manuel Navarrete.
On January 23, Mesa member and activist from MUFRAS-32 Hector Berr os received phone calls to his home and his cell phone from an unidentified person who claimed to have been hired to kill Hector or a member of his family.
This month, employees of CEICOM, a member organization of the Mesa, have been victims of two robberies in which a vehicle and important organizational documents were stolen. In 2010, while traveling to regional anti-mining conferences, CEICOM employees were robbed on one occasion and kidnapped, robbed and left tied up on a separate occasion in Guatemala.
Two young people in Caba as who were connected to the June 2009 trial for the murder of Marcelo Rivera have been killed. Darwin Serrano, who participated in the murder but was released from prison because he was a minor, was attacked and killed on December 20. Gerardo Abrego Le n, who testified in the trial that convicted and sentenced to prison the material authors of Marcelo Rivera s murder, was killed on January 2. Read more here.
All of the death threats, kidnappings, robberies from 2009 remain in impunity. While some material authors have been found guilty and sentenced in the murder cases, there have been no investigations of the intellectual authors of the murders or the relationship of the crimes to the victims involvement in the anti-mining movement.
Our allies in El Salvador believe the negligence of El Salvador s Office of the Attorney General, particularly the lack of investigation into who is ordering the attacks, has created a climate of impunity that empowers the structures carrying out this systematic intimidation campaign against the social movement to continue with their threats, violence, and potentially murders.
Please join us in taking action now to demand that the Attorney General properly investigate these crimes and to call on the government to provide sufficient protection for members of the anti-mining movement.