At approximately 9:00 am on 9 May 2018, human rights defender Luis Arturo Marroquín was killed when leaving a local bookshop in San Luís Jilotepéque. Two hooded men had followed him from Jalapa to San Luís Jilotepéque. From a black Toyota Hilux truck, the perpetrators shot the defender in the back several times.
Luis Arturo Marroquín was the political coordinator for Eastern Guatemala at the Farmers’ Development Committee (Comité de Desarrollo Campesino – CODECA) and was also part of the National Directorate of this organisation. CODECA is a human rights organisation of indigenous farmers dedicated to promoting land rights and rural development for indigenous families in Guatemala through social participation, effective advocacy on public policies, and participation in inclusive programs to reduce the vulnerability of indigenous communities in the country.
Human rights defenders of CODECA have previously been targeted for their legitimate work on land and indigenous rights. Three members have previously been imprisoned and one was killed while participating in a peaceful protest. CODECA and its members have also been targeted by racist and discriminatory social media comments, with even President Jimmy Morales having repeatedly stigmatised the work of CODECA.