On August 28, 2019, Roberto Antonio Agueta Tejada and José Mario Rivera, two defenders of the land and territory of the department of Colon, were killed.
The two actively participated in the resistance against the Guapinol mining project belonging to the company Inversiones los Pinares, a project that since its inception has caused conflict in the region, and for which 32 defenders have been criminalized for their resistance, including Roberto Antonio Agueta Tejada.
These murders occur only days after the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights visited the region and issued recommendations on the importance of protecting land and territory defenders who receive threats and attacks for their resistance against economic projects in their territories.
On August 1, 2018, residents of communities in the Guapinol sector set up a camp in protest against the activities of the company “Inversiones Los Pinares” that is working on the opening of a road to an area of the Mountain National Park of Botaderos where there are two mining concessions belonging to the company Emco Mining Company SA from C.V., passing about 20 meters from the Guapinol River. According to the residents, the dragging of the sediments from the opening of the road caused the drinking water systems to be filled with mud. In addition, residents of 13 communities in the San Pedro sector joined the protest since mining is located in the area where the San Pedro River is born, which supplies them with water. The villagers consider the authorization without consultation of mining concessions in the core zone of a protected area where the water they use to survive is both illegal and unfair.
On September 7, 2018, a person was injured after being attacked by a group of guards hired by the company “Inversiones Los Pinares”, at the site where the residents of Guapinol and San Pedro have built the camp.
On October 27, 2018, approximately 1500 military and police officers carried out a violent eviction from the camp.
On February 21, 2019, 13 of 18 people from the community of Guapinol voluntarily presented themselves to the La Ceiba court on the basis of the arrest warrant issued against them for alleged crimes of usurpation and damages against the company “Inversiones Los Pinares” and the State of Honduras When appearing in court, the people of the community and their lawyers were surprised with the existence of a second arrest warrant for 31 people, which number included12 of the 13 people who had already filed,accusing them of additional crimes, including unjust deprivation of liberty, aggravated fire, robbery and illegal association. Faced with this situation, the defense lawyers filed an appeal against the judge of La Ceiba and the case was transferred to a judge of National Jurisdiction based in Tegucigalpa.