Violence and intimidation continue in El Salvador against environmental activists and defenders of human rights who have publicly opposed metallic mining. The latest round of threats was focused against a Salvadoran Catholic priest, Father Neftalí Ruiz, and a community radio station, Radio Victoria.
Fr. Ruiz, the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Cabañas Environmental Committee and a member of the National Working Group against Metallic Mining (“The Mesa,”) was attacked on January 20th, when he opened his home to a group of supposed university students who had expressed interest in his work. The two young people then tied him up at gunpoint and proceeded to search the files on his computer. They left the home with the computer and media storage devices, but did not take anything else of value. The young men stated numerous times during the assault that they were looking for information and made several calls to a third party while searching the computer to report their findings.
Environmentalists detailed the events and their evaluations of the continuing violence against the community at a press conference held by the Mesa on Tuesday, January 24th “These acts are meant to intimidate us so as to weaken our resistance,” emphasized David Pereira of the Investment and Commerce Investigation Center (CEICOM).