By Ruxandra Guidi
30th December 2015
(mongabay.com) – The year is ending on a grim note in Peru: yet another environmental leader that vocally opposed a dam project has been murdered in his home in the town of Yagen, in the country’s Cajamarca region.
Hitler Ananías Rojas Gonzales, 34, was shot five times the morning of December 28 as he walked to his house. He’d been fielding death threats and insults for years for his activism against a hydroelectric dam project that would take advantage of the waters of the Marañón River, one of the most important in the Amazon basin.
Speaking to Peru’s La Mula online news site, the country’s National Human Rights Coordinator (CNDDHH) said the murder of Rojas Gonzales follows those of “Alberto Roque Cconislla in Apurímac, Francisco Ariza Espinoza in Ancash and Ronald Núñez Valdez in Cusco. These crimes against environmental leaders all remain unsolved.”
According to the news portal Servindi, the residents of Yagen say Rojas Gonzales had sworn that he would defend the Marañón River with “his own life.” He is said to have staunchly opposed the construction of the 574 feet-high Chadín 2 dam because it would cause the displacement of around 1,000 people and a series of environmental impacts.
Chadín 2 is a project of Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht, currently embroiled in a major corruption scandal over contracts and money laundering. Currently, construction is on hold due to widespread opposition from nearby communities in the regions of Cajamarca and Amazonas, but when it is completed, Chadín 2 is expected to generate around 700MW of electricity, the equivalent of 10% of Peru’s national demand. Odebrecht has two other controversial dam projects under development in the region: Río Grande I and Río Grande II. [more]