At twelve-thirty on the night of Saturday, 14 October, 2017, Silvino Zapata Martínez was murdered in Masca, Department of Cortés, on the Honduran Atlantic coast.
Silvino was leaving his restaurant when two gunmen shot him repeatedly, leaving him for dead. Seriously wounded, Silvino was taken to the hospital in Cuyamel, but died minutes after being admitted. 73 year old Silvino, was a respected leader of the Garífuna (afro-descendant) community and chair of his community’s Council of Elders.
He had campaigned for years to protect the environment and the rivers of his region, especially the Masca River, where unscrupulous businessmen,with government support, intend to build a hydroelectric dam, without considering the environmental damage involved. Silvino and the community succeeded in getting the project stopped temporarily on the basis that the company had failed to carry out the required consultation to secure the Free and Informed Prior Consent of the community.