Cerro was a leader of the Indigenous Lenca people and coordinated the movement United Communities, which brings together residents from the surroundings of Ulua de Chinda and San Antonio Cortes rivers as they fight against the El Tornillito hydroelectric project in the area.
��Hoy, en el día Mundial del agua denunciamos el vil asesinato de nuestro compañero de lucha Juan Carlos Cerros Escalante lider indígena del municipio de Chinda, Santa Bárbara, defensor de los derechos de su comunidad y en contra de la represa “El Tornillito”
"Today, on World Water Day, we denounce the vile murder of our comrade Juan Carlos Cerros Escalante, indigenous leader of the municipality of Chinda, Santa Barbara, defender of the rights of his community and against the dam "El Tornillito."We demand justice!"
According to the Santabarbarense environmental movement coordinator, Betty Vasquez, Cerro's children witnessed their parents' death.
"We condemn the murder of one defender and one more colleague. That is not fair. It is not possible that you are criminalized, persecuted, and then have your life taken away for defending a territory. We give this crime the assessment that it is a political murder," Vasquez said.
According to the advocacy group, Global Witness Honduras is among the deadliest countries in the world for environmentalists. During 2020 alone, at least 18 activists were killed.