A group of fishermen from an Indigenous community in Guatemala demanded to know more about the environmental impact of a ferronickel mine established on their ancestral land. One of them was killed, and a local reporter was criminalized for covering the story.
Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world, joined forces to continue the reporter’s work. This is part of the “Green Blood” series, a project pursuing stories of journalists who have been threatened, jailed or killed while investigating environmental issues.
If it were not for a journalist taking pictures that day, some might claim that it is unclear how Carlos Maaz’s last moments unfolded. There was a cloud of tear gas, the chaos of an improvised protest, the echo of bullets and rocks flying through the crowd.
In one photograph, he is seen standing in the middle of the road among protesters, his hands at his side, holding no weapon. In a photo taken one minute later, the body of the fisherman is lying on the pavement and a police officer, recoiled in the back of a pickup truck, gun drawn, is aiming toward the camera.
For a long time, the series of photographs was the only concrete piece of evidence of what happened that day. According to his wife, Maaz’s body was left there for half a day before villagers, realizing authorities would not come to move the body, picked him up themselves and buried him.