IXQUISIS - In Latin America, defending natural resources such as water is a deadly pursuit. According to the latest Global Witness report, 1.773 environmentalists were murdered in the last 10 years. Sebastián Alonzo, a 68 years old subsistence farmer from the Ixquisis micro-region in Guatemala, was murdered while demonstrating against the hydroelectric company that would divert the river and affect the crops which his family and community depended upon.

The Chuj and Kanjobal people inhabiting the area denounced having been promised much needed roads and electricity by the company Energía y Renovación, but were not provided. Despite the threats, the violences and the fears that the opponents of the project suffered since the beginning of the constructions, their fight succeeded for the first time in history to cause the withdrawal of the Inter-American Development Bank Invest (IDB Invest)’s fundings to the project. Yet the company has not given up its project, the murder hasn’t been solved and peace between the communities have been severely compromised.

This is the first chapter of a series of ‘Water Guardians’ carried out by Nicola Zolin and Paloma Dupont de Dinechin which investigate three environmental murders related to water in Latin America.

© Nicola Zolin

Team members

Nicola Zolin

Nicola Zolin (°1984) is an Italian photojournalist and writer.

Nicola Zolin

Paloma de Dinechin

Paloma de Dinechin (°1997) is a freelance French investigative journalist.

Paloma de Dinechin
€20.000 allocated on 23/02/2022



  • Au Guatemala, une enquête de police sur le meurtre d'un militant écologiste bâclée, Le Monde, 11/10/2022
  • ‘WE WORDEN NOG STEEDS BEDROGEN’, Knack, 11/10/2022
  • Guatemala. Gli ultimi Maya in difesa dei territori, Terra Nuova, 01/12/2022

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