Alert: Salvadoran Student Anti-Mining Activist Assassinated

Source: CISPES

Call on the Attorney General and the Minister of Security to Begin an Investigation Immediately!

(check out the Mesa press release here and aqui en Español )

With heavy hearts, we report that Juan Francisco Durán Ayala, anti-mining activist and university student, has been murdered (background information below). Join the Environmental Committee of Cabañas (CAC) and Juan Francisco’s family in calling on the Attorney General and National Civilian Police to carry out an exhaustive investigation into the material and intellectual authors of this brutal murder and to and protect the lives of all anti-mining activists in El Salvador.  We will not remain silent while the murders of Juan Francisco, Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera, Dora Alicia Sorto, and the threats against Radio Victoria remain in impunity!


1. If you speak Spanish, call Salvadoran Attorney General Romeo Barahona at 011-503-2230-6350 to demand a full investigation into the murders of Juan Francisco, Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera and Dora Alicia Sorto. Sample script below.

2. Email the Attorney General Romeo Barahona and Minister of Justice and Security Manuel Melgar to demand investigations into these murders and threats against the anti-mining activists of Cabañas.

Call Script for Attorney General Barahona (direct number for his assistant, Héctor Burgos: 011-503-2230-6350)

Buenos (días/tardes)

Mi nombre es ___ y llamo para expresar mi indignación sobre el asesinato de Juan Francisco Durán Ayala y la violencia contra líderes sociales en Cabañas.

Urge una investigación profunda sobre el asesinato del Señor Durán Ayala con un equipo especializado, y así también es necesario re-abrir los casos de Marcelo Rivera, Dora Alicia Sorto y Ramiro Rivera para investigar vínculos entre estos caso, los asesinatos de Darwin Serrano y Gerardo Abrego León, las nuevas amenazas contra el personal de Radio Victoria y la desaparición del Señor Durán Ayala.

El hecho de que la violencia y amenazas anteriores quedaron en impunidad ha permitido que surgieran los nuevos hechos de violencia. Pido que el Fiscal General tome las medidas necesarias para asegurar justicia y protección para las y los afectados.




On June 2, in the city of Ilobasco, Cabañas, thirty year-old Juan Francisco was hanging flyers and banners as part of a CAC campaign against mining and the Canadian mining company Pacific Rim. The CAC reports that Ilobasco’s mayor, José Maria Dimas Castellano, ordered municipal police to remove the banners and intimidate the activists hanging them. The next day Juan Francisco left for his classes at the Technological University in San Salvador and was not heard from again. His body was found after midnight on June 4; he had been shot twice in the head, execution style. The Medical Examiner declared his body “unidentifiable” and buried him in a common grave in San Salvador.  The following week, CAC members visited the morgue and learned that Juan Francisco’s body had been found.  His father positively identified his son´s body on June 14.

Juan Francisco’s murder comes two years after the brutal torture and killing of community leader and anti-mining activist Marcelo Rivera Since then, two other anti-mining activists have been killed, Dora Alicia Sorto and Ramiro Rivera, and death threats and attempts continue against anti-mining activists, particularly the youth journalists of the Radio Victoria collective. As long as the intellectual authors of these crimes remain unpunished, impunity and violence will continue to reign in Cabañas.