Salomón López Smith, a leader of the Mayangna Indigenous community in what is now Nicaragua, was brutally tortured and murdered, allegedly, by invading settlers. Systematically targeted by ethnic cleansing for centuries, Indigenous people continue to be targeted and attacked on their lands, disproportionately harmed by climate impacts (and the fossil fuel extraction, transportation, and combustion that causes climate change), and officially excluded from international climate negotiations.
“His body showed signs of torture, which indicates it was a killing carried out with savagery, with hate, typical of the behavior of settlers,” Environmentalist Amaru Ruiz, director of the Del Río Foundation, told the AP. The Indigenous Territorial Mayangna Government of Sauni Arungka said López Smith’s torture and murder, with shotgun blasts in the back, “represents a hate crime.” At least 28 Indigenous leaders and community members have been killed over the last two years in the protected region targeted by illegal mining and logging by settlers who have displaced 3,000 Indigenous people since 2015, according to the Del Río Foundation. (AP)