Roberto Carlos Palencia Fuentes, 31 years old, was a peasant and member of the Tolupán indigenous group, more specifically the San Francisco de Locomapa tribe, in the municipality of Yoro.
Roberto was murdered on the morning of February 21, 2016, in the hamlet of Cabeza de Vaca Número Dos, together with other members of his family and of the Tolupan indigenous people.
They came from Ocotepeque, in western Honduras, and arrived in the area of Locomapa a month before the event to settle on a property of several pieces of land to cultivate and live on it, like so many other families. One of Roberto’s brothers described the family as hard-working men who were striving to continue their lives.
Roberto and his relatives were killed by one of the gangs of criminals who remain in the area at the service of landowners, loggers and miners, who are hired to “clean” people who are undesirable and do not match the interests of the powerful people in Locomapa.
The San Francisco de Locomapa tribe is known for its years of struggle against the looting of its forestry assets, for resisting the agricultural incursions of countless peasant families and for the defence of tribal lands usurped by large landowners. As a result, tribal leaders continue to be killed.
“We are concerned about the lack of protection and the vulnerability that the indigenous communities face when defending their lands in Honduras. It is urgent that the National Government take immediate measures to overcome this situation”, the International Federation for Human Rights and its branches in Honduras, CIPRODEH and COFADEH, said in a statement.
“The Tolupán community in San Francisco Locomapa has been denouncing, for years, the threats and different acts of violence against them, originating in a context of conflict for the defence of their right to land,” recalled the three associations mentioned.