Costa Rica: land of natural wonders and threats to those who defend them

This is an extended version of Box 9.3 which appears in the book (page 182).

A small selection of the threats suffered by Costa Rican environmentalists follows:

1989 – the death in suspicious circumstances of the indigenous Antonio Zúñiga, who opposed illegal hunting in the Ujarrás Indigenous Reserve.

1992 – the death from shooting of Oscar Quirós, a leader in the fight against deforestation in Sarapiquí.

1994 – the death in a fire, whose cause was never satisfactorily explained, of Oscar Fallas, Jaime Bustamente and María del Mar Cordero, leaders of the Costa Rican Ecologists Association (AECO) who had run a strong campaign against the Stone Forestal company, then a subsidiary of Stone Container, a US company.

1995 – the death of David Maradiaga, a poet, ecologist and leader of AECO, after a mysterious disappearance for three weeks.

1995 – simultaneous house fires of the homes of Wilfredo Rojas (a geologist) and Elizabeth González, both professional members of the Campaign Against the Landfill Dump in Cordel de Mora.

1990s – constant threats received by members of the country’s ecological movement after denouncing environmental damage; cases include Ana Cristina Rossi (writer), Patricia Sánchez (journalist) and León González (forestry engineer).

1999 – repression and arrest of ecologists on a peaceful march to demand a moratorium on deforestation in the Osa Peninsula.

2005 – Didier Leitón Valverde – see Box 2.1 (page 35) in the book.

2007 – the lawsuit intervening against a programme on the University of Costa Rica Channel 15 made by ecologists Marielena Fournier and Fredy Pacheco.

2000s – intimidation against Alcides Parajeles, a campesino who opposes illegal hunting and felling in the Osa Peninsula; threats include the destruction of his stock fencing and firearms pointed at his family.

2008 – threats to the residents of the Perla de Guácimo as a result of their complaints against the contamination of their water by pineapple cultivation.

2009 – Aquiles Rivera – see Box 2.1 (page 35) in the book.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, other Costa Ricans who have been the subject of threats and intimidation as a result of their defence of the environment and rights include: Carlos Arguedas, Abel Sánchez, Marco Tulio Araya, Orlando Barrantes, Marta Blanco, Era Verde, Cristino Lázaro, Yamileth Astorga, Marielena Fournier, Fredy Pacheco, Ronald Vargas and Santos Coronado – amongst others.