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  • Police at the scene of the murder of the French aid worker, Guatemala, August 11, 2020.

    Police at the scene of the murder of the French aid worker, Guatemala, August 11, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @RBCNoticiasGT

Published 11 August 2020
Opinion

Benoit Maria worked to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged populations in the country.

The Agronomy and Veterinarians Without Borders (AVSF) director Benoit Maria Monday was killed near the Pacam village, in the Quiche department, in Guatemala. The Public Ministry reported that the 60-year-old French citizen received 11 gunshot wounds.

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"He was ambushed and shot dead in his car," the AVSF Director-General Frederic Apollin confirmed, as reported by the French outlet DNA.

The Forum of International Organizations in Guatemala (FONGI) pointed out that Maria was helping the Indigenous authorities of the region, working on the creation of the Ixil University, and collaborating in the realization of popular markets.

"Maria worked to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged populations in the west of the country," the French embassy in Guatemala said, adding that it asked the local authorities that "the crime be cleared up and justice is done quickly."

"Let us not forget that 212 environmental defenders were also killed in 2019, especially in Latin America."

The Nebaj mayor Miguel de Leon lamented the crime and recalled that Maria lived for 20 years in Guatemala and had worked in the Ixil region for years. 

Social organizations demand that the National Police carry out adequate investigations to arrest those responsible for the crime as soon as possible.

"A valuable life was lost. His efforts were aimed at promoting the development of Indigenous communities," stated the Winaq group, founded by Rigoberta Menchu, the 1992 Nobel Peace.

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