December 29, 2020 2:31:35 pm
Honduran police were investigating the murder of environmental activist and member of the indigenous Lenca community Felix Vasquez, authorities said on Monday.
The 70-year-old activist was shot by a group of masked men in his home, in the central village of El Ocotal. Members of his family witnessed the crime.
Police were looking to see if Vasquez had enemies in the community and if he reported receiving death threats. They “hope to have an answer soon,” police official Kevin Hernandez told journalists.
In addition to his environmental work, Vasquez was an outspoken human rights advocate and a leader of an association representing farmers and indigenous people.
He had also intended to run for the country’s parliament in 2021.
A repeat of Caceras murder?
According to the Coalition Against Impunity (CCI), Vasquez had filed complaints to national authorities for allegedly facing political persecution in recent years.
“The state is directly responsible for his murder due to its omissions in the face of the serious risks of which it was duly aware,” the CCI said.
Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for activists, with 14 killed in 2019, according to non-governmental organization Global Witness. Vasquez’s killing prompted comparisons with the death of another Lenca activist, Berta Caceres, four years ago.
Caceres was gunned down inside her home in March 2016. She previously reported receiving death threats for opposing a dam construction project.