San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Indigenous activist who helped close polluting Guatemala palm oil factory shot dead

GUATEMALA CITY – An indigenous leader opposed to the production of Guatemala palm oil was killed Friday outside a court that a day earlier ordered the closure of a factory against which he had led protests.

“We deplore the murder of the activist Rigoberto Lima Choc,” a spokesman for the National Union of Hope party (UNE) told AFP.


The victim, 28, was shot outside a local court in Sayaxche, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of the capital, by two men on a motorcycle. Lima Choc was a teacher and municipal councilor for the UNE in Sayaxche.

His killing came a day after the court ordered the six-month closure of a business accused of polluting a local river with pesticides. The pesticides were used in the production of Guatemala palm oil and affected thousands of people in the region.

The United Nations had described the situation as an “ecological disaster” that caused the deaths of thousands of fish.

In early June, Lima Choc led a group of people denouncing the factory.

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Lauri Tanner

The landmark precedent-setting #Kawas case can be applied to #RigobertoLima’s murder because #Guatemala knew (or “should have known”) he was an “at-risk human rights defender”.

In my article on the environmental defenders cases (link below for free access PDF), we critique in the Epilogue the subsequent Cabrera/Montiel case, which can be also be utilized regarding the complicity of REPSA corporation officials in this horrendous assassination:

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David Boddiger

Thanks for the link and comment, Lauri.

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What are 2 twits thinking befor they killed a fellow Guatemalan trying to protect those depending on the life of that River ?

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