• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Costa Rican environmentalists tell government: ‘Protect us’

July 11, 2013

Amid allegations of a new attack on an environmental worker in southern Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Conservation Federation (FECON) will ask the Ombudsman’s Office to intervene to help provide government protection for members of enviromental groups.

Last Sunday, conservationist Alcides Parajeles, who works in the Southern Zone, says he was attacked and shot at by illegal hunters on his farm.

Mauricio Álvarez Mora, president of FECON and professor at the University of Costa Rica, said FECON will ask Ombudswoman Ofelia Taitelbaum to intercede with government officials to improve security for environmentalists, and to create an official commission that investigates cases of attacks on Costa Rican conservationists.

Parajeles, 68, receives payments for environmental services provided by his farm, located on the Osa Peninsula, where he has lived for more than 50 years. He’s also a well-know activist that has filed several criminal complaints against hunters, poachers and gold miners.

On July 7, he heard gunshots on his property, and he went to investigate. Soon after he left his house, he discovered a group of hunters who he said threatened him and fired their weapons at him at least five times, although he was not injured.

“I threw myself to the ground and I could hear bullets whistling over my head,” he told the local Prosecutor’s Office, which rejected his complaint because Parajeles had no witnesses to corroborate his story.

Citizen Action Party lawmaker Claudio Monge, who collaborates with Parajeles in promoting environmental bills in the Legislative Assembly, said on Monday that conservationists have received numerous threats over the years, not only by hunters, but also by suspected drug traffickers in the area.

Parajeles’ case comes just weeks after the murder of Jairo Mora, a young environmentalist who was slain by unknown assailants while monitoring sea turtle nests on the Caribbean coast. On Wednesday, Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría said investigators have two suspects who may be arrested next week

In late 2011, Kimberly Blackwell, a Canadian environmentalist, was murdered on her property in the Osa Peninsula after filing several complaints to local authorities against poachers who were hunting in protected areas.

On Wednesday, The Tico Times reported that park rangers and conservationists in Costa Rica are facing increasing threats to their physical security, making the job of protecting nature a dangerous trade in some areas of the country.

FECON stated on its website that if the government ignores their request, “they become an accomplice of these groups and their desire to destroy life.”

You may be interested

Former Latin American leaders condemn ‘breakdown in the rule of law’ in El Salvador
El Salvador
6 views
El Salvador
6 views

Former Latin American leaders condemn ‘breakdown in the rule of law’ in El Salvador

The Tico Times - May 6, 2021

Some 20 former presidents of Spain and Latin America, including Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox from Mexico, and Álvaro Uribe…

Quepos airport renovations (finally) underway
Costa Rica
9 views
Costa Rica
9 views

Quepos airport renovations (finally) underway

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 6, 2021

Renovation and expansion of the runway at La Managua Airport in Quepos began Wednesday and will completed before September. "The…

PAHO says region’s hospitals are ‘dangerously full’
Latin America
10 views
Latin America
10 views

PAHO says region’s hospitals are ‘dangerously full’

Ariela NAVARRO / AFP - May 6, 2021

PAHO, the Americas office of the World Health Organization (WHO), warned on Wednesday that hospitals in the region are "dangerously…