On 22nd February 2018, the body of human rights defender Luis Fernando Ayala was found in the area of Conception del Sur, Gualala district in the region of Santa Barbara.
Luis Fernando Ayala, a 16 years old human rights defender, was an active member of Movimiento Ambientalista Santabarbarense (MAS), a local organisation that works in defence of the environment and to protect the rights of the local community. He had actively campaigned against the installation of gypsum mining and hydro-electric projects in the Arenales village of the municipality.
Early in the morning of 22nd February 2018, Ayala’s body was found with signs of torture and with his arms cut off. According to people who were at the scene, Ayala was killed due to of his active opposition to government’s corruption. Previously, Luis Fernando Ayala, along with other young people, had been criminalised by the Military Police of the Public Order (PMOP) for participating in the peaceful protests to denounce the irregularities in the general elections of November 26, 2017.