Anti-water Privatization Activist Murdered

Hector Antonio Ventura, one of the 14 people originally captured during an anti-water privatization protest in the town of Suchitoto, El Salvador last year, was assassinated on May 3 in his home.

The assailants apparently stabbed him to death, while another man was attacked but survived. Organizations such as the legal group FESPAD have called for a full investigation into the death of the 19-year old Ventura, while already expressing concern that Salvadoran authorities would not sufficiently address the likely political motivation for the murder.

Ventura was among 13 people charged under the controversial “Special Law Against Acts of Terrorism”, which was passed by the right-wing bloc in the Legislative Assembly in 2006. In February all charges against the activists were dropped, but the case demonstrated internationally the repressive nature of the current right-wing ARENA government. Meanwhile, other possible political murders – such as the slaying of FMLN mayor Wilber Funes in January – have yet to be resolved, raising the specter of increased political violence during the lead up to the 2009 Salvadoran elections.

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