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The very first time Honduran environmental activist Berta Càceres met the writer Nina Lakhani, Càceres said, “The army has an assassination list with my name at the top. I want to live, but in this country there is total impunity. When they want to kill me, they will do it.” In 2015, Càceres won the Goldman Prize, the world’s most prestigous environmental award, for her leadership of indigenous organisations against illegal logging and the construction of four giant dams. The next year she was murdered.
Lakhani tracked Càceres’s remarkable career in the face of years of threats—two fellow environmental campaigners were killed before her—and the journalist also endured threats and harassment herself. She was the only foreign journalist to attend the 2018 trial of Càceres’s killers, where security officials of the dam builders were found guilty of orchestrating her murder. Many questions about who ordered the killing remain.
Drawing on years of familiarity with Càceres, her family, and her movement, as well as interviews with company and government officials, Lakhani paints an intimate portrait of a remarkable woman as well as a state beholden to both corporate control and US power.