No Matter How Many Leaders They Kill, Their Voices Won’t Be Silenced

No Matter How Many Leaders They Kill, Their Voices Won’t Be Silenced
Fecha de publicación: 
13 February 2023
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From time to time, more frequently than we think, a social leader from the region is assassinated. Several reports agree that the countries with the highest rates of this type of crime are in Latin America, and statistics are worse in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, although others such as Honduras have stood out these days when it was killed an active member of the Committee of Earth Defense of Garífuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz.

Actually, it doesn't matter if he is a political or environmental activist, nor if he is a person who only asks for more attention to his locality or justice, the point is not to stand out. When an individual behaves like that, he draws too much attention and it’s annoying for some sector. If he is political, then his partisan position will upset the opponents; if he defends the health of the planet, those who have businesses damaging nature in those regions, like mining and other types of contamination, will feel the fingers pointing at them; and if he rejects illegal drugs crops, then different types of mafias are involved.

Some people don't know how to deal with the difference, they don't like looking for alternatives, or get away from misdeeds. Common sense or being civilized does not matter, they solve it with a hack, with a beating, or with a shot. They will say "done with problem", and it’s not so. They end up with a life, but the causes, when they have a basis, it does not matter who is the head, there will always be defenders.

However, it hurts that tendency of popular leaders to be unprotected in many places, where they only seek to build better societies, to defend projects, communities and thoughts above all else, literally, at the cost of their own lives.

As they are not isolated events, governments are aware. The complaints have also reached international levels; non-governmental organizations, mainly the UN, advocate for the cessation of violence and foster respect for others. They call for increased security, investigation, and action. However, many acts go unpunished. In some cases there’s complicity of officials, political, and financial actors.

The truth is that not few activists live under extortion or death threats, powerful interests are behind them. They are almost always opinion leaders, trustworthy and prestigious people: indigenous people, trade unionists, peasants, Afro-descendants, environmentalists, protectors of human rights, ordinary people like you and I, witnesses of corrupt practices or defenders of the voice of a people, many times impoverished, unprotected, forgotten by the State, and heir to unresolved social conflicts. Therefore, the objective is to silence their ideas and for their followers to stop the chain.

Likewise, the phenomenon implies profound effects in terms of the displacement of communities. A situation of risk for the demography and economy of the affected areas.

The matter is dramatic and impunity prevails. They kill them because they fear them. Because it’s dangerous for them to fight against a solid reason related to rights and respect for ideas, biodiversity, and even ancestral culture.

It’s up to the press to make them visible, seize their principles and uphold their objectives for good, it’s not worth only denouncing it, but also investigating and helping to clarify it, contributing to its resolution. We must continue the fight to preserve each of their works, whether it’s against ecological collapse and climate change.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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