On 28 December, the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) issued a public statement expressing concern and condemnation for the killing of an environmental activist, Hitler Ananías Rojas Gonzales, vicepresident of the Frente de Defensa del Yagén. He was shot five times as he returned home. He had recently been appointed as the local mayor of the town of Yagén, province of Celendín in Cajamarca region. He had openly expressed opposition to the construction of a series of dams along the Marañón river, the so-called Hydroelectric Project Chadín II. The project is in the hands of the Brazilian-owned company Odebrecht, recently embroiled in the massive Lava Jato corruption scandal (see PSG article ).
The dam project has been the source of considerable tension and conflict in Cajamarca and Amazonas regions, with many communities expressing opposition to a scheme that they fear will have serious negative environmental and social consequences for the region. In particular the dams will involve the flooding of entire communities, displacing as many as 1,000 people from their homes and livelihoods.
The Coordinadora noted that this killing is not an isolated instance, but follows those of a number of local authorities in recent months, including Alberto Roque Cconislla in Apurímac, Francisco Ariza Espinoza in Ancash and Ronald Núñez Valdez in Cusco. Environmental leaders, such as Alfredo Vracko Neuenschwander in Madre de Díos have also been victims. These crimes remain unsolved. Peruvian authorities must take all the necessary steps to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into these killings and bring those responsible to justice.