President Funes condemns murder of anti-mining activist

July 7, 2011

In a press release issues June 28, President Mauricio Funes condemned the recent murder of anti-mining activist Juan Francisco Durán Ayala and reaffirmed his opposition to mining in El Salvador. The press release read as follows:

The President of the Republic, Mauricio Funes, energetically condemned today the murder of Juan Francisco Durán Ayala, a volunteer with the EnvironmentalCommittee of Cabañas, which was perpetrated by unknown subjects last July third.

“As President of the Republic I lament any murder that happens in the country,regardless of motives, of course I feel the pain of the family and the environmentalmovement in loss of these four leading environmental defenders” expressed President Funes upon condemning the murder of Durán Ayala and the three other environmentalists which have occurred in recent years in the department of Cabañas.

Durán Ayala, 30 years old, was disappeared last June 3rd, one day after, as part of his environmental activism, he was hanging signs about the campaign against mining in the city of Ilobasco.

President Funes said he would ensure the will and the investigative capacity ofthe Civilian National Police Force, to be able to identify those responsible for the murder and moreover he offered to give “more security to the environmental movement, because its struggles and demands are just.”

“I will not allow any mineral exploitation project in the country, I have said thatand it is my official position”, affirmed the Chief of State and he reaffirmed thatthe Ministry of the Economy has clear instructions not to authorize any mineral exploitation projects in the country.

President Funes pointed out that he is convinced that even when a mining project can bring some jobs and income for the government through taxes, the cost of the environmental impact and the damage to public health is much greater.

“I will not put the public health of the population at risk in exchange for some additional income that we could receive,” the President emphasized.

Translation provided by US-El Salvador Sister Cities.

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