The regional office of the National Council of Protected Areas, Petén Department, and CONAP’s NGO Partners unite in solidarity with the family of community leader Walter Méndez Barrios who was assassinated on March 16, 2016. Méndez Barrios was president and legal representative of the La Lucha Cooperative, which is in the Petén municipality of Las Cruces and is part of ACOFOP.
We proclaim our total repudiation of the cowardly assassination of this community leader who fought for the conservation and protection of the Maya Biosphere Reserve’s natural resources in the face of powerful forces waging a battle against the common good of Guatemala, and particularly of the Petén.
We declare ourselves to be against any further threats or attacks against our community leaders who are defending our natural resources and safeguarding the development of our communities.
We demand the following from the appropriate authorities:
A prompt and efficient investigation to shed light on this brutal and cowardly assassination, which has intimidated and shaken communities that are fighting to defend their natural resources and their territories.
Take all necessary actions to ensure that yet another act of violence—such as this one, which has left six Petén children orphaned and plunged yet another Petén family into mourning—does not go unpunished.
Provide security and protection to the families and communities who have that right, in accordance with the political constitution of the Republic of Guatemala, with the aim of securing the lives and property of current and future generations.