José Leonel Álvarez Guerra, MUCA member, assassinated

Posted on April 7, 2010


Aguán campesinos

Six deaths have occurred since the peasants took over land

José Leonel Alvarez Guerra (35), a member of La Confianza Cooperative with the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguán, MUCA, was killed by two men on a motorcycle, when he was coming home in the Manga Seca neighborhood in Tocoa, Colón, this Wednesday, April 7.

The modus operandi of the perpetrators had the same characteristics as denounced by the peasants in earlier days, when they noted that a group of 30 men were being trained by Billy Joya Amendola, member of 3-16 death squad in the eighties and who from June 28, 2009, day of the coup against President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, remained very active and served as security adviser under Roberto Micheletti.

The situation has worsened in the last hours in Aguán after the regime would agree to a counterproposal from the MUCA which states a desire for independence from the African palm landowners, who want to keep the peasants as servants. The mobilization of paramilitary, police and military has intensified in recent hours. Furthermore, the Peasant Movement of Aguán, MCA sought to recover some 700 hectares of land that had been occupied by the Regional Military Training Center, CREM, and were now occupied by the landowner Miguel Facussé.

The crime against the farmer José Leonel Alvarez Guerra was committed at about 11:20 am, in those moments when he was coming home from the town of Taujica, where he along with several colleagues took over land in December 2009.

The two individuals who were riding a red motorcycle shot him five times in different parts of the body and fled immediately. Guerra Alvarez was taken to the Tocoa Hospital where he died soon after.

So far the takeover of state-owned land subject to land reform (appropriated by the landowners Miguel Facussé, René Morales and Reinaldo Canales) has resulted in six deaths and the assault of men and women who have decided to risk their physical integrity in order to solve their problem of hunger and landlessness. But no real answers have come from the current regime.

The Platform for Human Rights visited the area between March 20 and 22 and presented a very critical situation regarding human rights violations. The visit to six settlements showed unsanitary living conditions in addition to a general situation of insecurity which the peasants are subject to.

During that visit COFADEH documented several complaints ranging from constant harassment by hooded men who monitor and follow members of the cooperatives to attacks with firearms are directed against their huts, causing a constant feeling of anxiety among the peasants.

The mobilization of security guards wearing balaclavas and armed to the teeth, in full view of the authorities who look the other way, are involved in operatives.

SOURCE: Defensores en línea

RELATED: Asesinan de 5 disparos a otro campesino en el Bajo Aguán (Radio Progreso)