At least 164 activists fighting for the environment have been murdered worldwide in 2018, according to the latest report from the Global Witness NGO, which was released last week. More than half of the murders took place in Latin America, although the largest number of slain activists by country was found in the Philippines, with 30, followed by Colombia with 24 and India with 23.
The biggest leap in the number of killings took place in Guatemala, increasing from three in 2017 to 16 the following year: a sad development that puts the Central American country in the top spot as the most dangerous country in the world for ecologists, if we take into account population size. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the situation has improved over the course of 2019.
On July 25, in yet another episode of this disturbing trend, a community leader of the Committee for Peasant Unity in Guatemala (CODECA) was assassinated: Jorge Juc Cucul, aged 77, was active in the district of Izabal. He had always fought for the defense of the land and the territory. He joins the ranks of the seven other CODECA activists who have been killed, two of them as recent as on July 5: Isidro Pérez y Pérez, aged 85, and Melesio Ramírez, aged 70.