José Santos Sevilla, a leader in the Tolupán tribe, is another example of what it means to be an Earth defender in Honduras. In the municipality of Orica this environmentalist was murdered during the morning hours when five people broke into his home and shot him repeatedly.
“The professor and indigenous leader José Santos Sevilla was murdered by gunshots by five men who broke into his home in Montaña de La Flor,” [43 miles] north of Tegucigalpa, affirmed Bertha Oliva, coordinator of the Committee of Family Members of Those Detained and Disappeared in Honduras.
Oliva affirmed that with Sevilla, “it was the same as with Berta Cáceres and this coincides with what was said in the report by Global Witness, that Earth defenders and environmentalists are in danger of being murdered.”
The indigenous leader was professor in the Ceiba community. Although it is not known why he was murdered, Global Witness had warned of the risks to this indigenous community of Tolupán, made up of 18,000 people from 28 different tribes, who are defending their ancestral lands.
The Orica Mayor, Alexander Rodríguez, said that he will make sure the facts get investigated. The publication, “Honduras: The Most Dangerous Place to Defend the Planet,” denounced the more than 120 murders of defenders since 2010, and which, according to investigations and community complaints, consists of crimes in which those responsible are the “rich elite and powerful people of the country, among them members of the political class.”
In Honduras, environmentalists have been getting murdered for opposing hydroelectric dams and mining projects, since these are imposed on indigenous land, affecting the ecosystems and communities’ rights.