Rigoberto Lima Choc, an indigenous activist who fought against the environmental pollution that was taking place in his area, was shot and killed outside of a courthouse in Sayaxche, Guatemala this week. The murder came just one day after a corporation that was accused of polluting a local river with pesticides was forced by a court to cease its operations for 6 months so the full extent of their impact on the local environment could be assessed.
Rigoberto Lima Choc was one of the most outspoke critics of the corporation, that was extracting palm oil from the region and manufacturing the product with harsh pesticides. The company took no care for their waste and ended up poisoning local waterways with the toxic chemicals.
Rigoberto Lima Choc was shot by two masked men on a motorcycle as he was leaving the courthouse.
“We deplore the murder of the activist Rigoberto Lima Choc,” a spokesman for the National Union of Hope party (UNE) told AFP.
Back in June, 28-year-old Lima Choc was the organizer of a massive protest against the factory, which sparked public outcry and local support, and eventually helped lead to this week’s temporary closure of the site.
For centuries, Indigenous people in various corners of the world have been thrown off of their property so their land and resources could be taken for aristocrats in far away lands. It was a war that began hundreds of years ago, and that war is still being waged today.
Sadly, this is just the latest in a long line of attacks against indigenous leaders in struggles to protect their land. Two of the most high-profile cases are that of Bosco Wisum in 2009 and Freddy Taish in 2013.
Last year, it was even reported that an indigenous leader from Ecuador was tortured and killed in the midst of a controversial fight against foreign mining companies who have unjustly taken land that has been claimed by indigenous people for centuries.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.
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