Mark Rivas was an indigenous leader from the movement Pri Laka who fought to defend his territory in the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua against dispossession and the threat of the logging industry. He was killed on 4th January 2020 by gun shots.
Last September Rivas denounced through EFE that the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) had established “parallel community authorities” to increase the invasion of indigenous territories and had accused local government of being behind the attack.
Little information is known about the authors of the murder, however, several members of the Pri Laka have been attacked on previous occasions for their resistance against the invasion of their territories.
“I am miskitu, originally from the community of Bihmuna, Tawira territory. We are a people different to other Indigenous Peoples as we were never conquered in the era of the conquest of America. Moreover we had a kingdom, the Kingdom of the Moskitia, whose king was Miskitu. It is because of that that we consider that the spaces and rights that the Nicaraguan state give us is very little compared with what we are really due.
My inspiration is our history, our past, the fight and the achievements of our ancestors. This motivates me to keep fighting because I want to see my people excel, live in peace, develop according to our customs, choose our leaders in our way and not remain oppressed, that they don’t exploit our resources because it is our heritage, that our communities live in harmony, equality and freedom. If achieving this means giving my life, I would do it without thinking, just as many other Miskitus feel and think that.
My role in our communities is to raise awareness, unite them more, work hand in hand to bring their voices and demands wherever I go and to accompany them in all processes when I am there.”