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Guatemalan Environmental Activist Shot to Death as Repression Against Rights Defenders Intensifies

LADB Article ID: 79944
Category/Department: Guatemala
Date: 2016-04-07
By: Louisa Reynolds

On March 16, Walter Manfredo Méndez Barrios, a Guatemalan environmentalist, was found dead in his home. According to forensic reports he died from multiple gunshot wounds. Méndez Barrios had been receiving death threats from illegal land invaders whom he had publicly denounced, said a statement from the Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén (Association of Forest Communities of Petén, ACOFOP), an organization that represents several communities living in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in northern Guatemala. The group receives grants for sustainable forest development and actively opposes development projects with a detrimental impact on the environment, such as large scale hydroelectric dams. Méndez Barrios had been an ACOFOP leader. In addition, the organization said, Méndez Barrios was part of the Frente Petenero Contra las Represas (Petenero Front Against Dams, FPCR), a group that opposes the creation of hydroelectric projects in the Usumacinta River.

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