- Aug 19, 2003
- Reaction score
Doresn't look good.
Concern is growing in Mexico about an environmental activist and expert on the monarch butterfly who has been missing for more than a week.
Homero Gómez manages a butterfly sanctuary in western Michoacán state, a region which is notorious for its violent criminal gangs. Rights groups fear illegal loggers may have targeted Mr Gómez for his activism to conserve the local forest which is the home of the monarch butterfly. He was last seen on 13 January.
Sixty thousand people have disappeared in Mexico since 2006.
Many of them have fallen victim to criminal gangs which control large areas of Mexico and kill anyone who could interfere with their illegal activities, which range from drug and human trafficking to extortion, logging and mining.
He's dead as is a colleague of his.
Homero Gómez was one of best-known guardians of the monarch butterfly in Mexico. His body was found in a well last month. Three days later, another guide at a monarch butterfly reserve was also found dead.
Mr Gómez's colleagues and family, who believe he was murdered for his work protecting the threatened species from illegal loggers, are living in fear. They spoke to the BBC's Will Grant in Michoacán. Since Homero Gómez's body was found down a well, the atmosphere among the guides at El Rosario is one of grief and fear.
"We had many years of working together," said Mr Miranda as he wept at the side of the trail, tourists passing by oblivious to his tears. "We can't let what Homero taught us collapse. We have to keep the sanctuary going without him."
The drug cartels that rule Michoacán are involved in a range of different criminal enterprises, including illegal logging of protected tropical hardwoods, firs and pines.
One theory in the community is that Homero Gómez was murdered for hindering the cartels' activities. He organised a large-scale reforestation programme and set up teams of guides to patrol the reserve day and night. Pushed on whether he thought his friend's activism had got him killed, Mr Miranda did not want to say, partly out of fear of reprisals against others at the sanctuary.
But the Gómez family have few no qualms about speaking out. "The whole family believes it was murder," explains his 19-year-old son, also called Homero, whom I met inside the reserve.