Who Killed Berta Cáceres?

Who Killed Berta Cáceres?:Dams, Death Squads, and an Indigenous Defender’s Battle for the Planet

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Deeply affecting and polemical portrait of the life and death of a courageous environmental activist

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.

Reviews

  • Lakhani’s book meticulously unpicks a Gordian knot of corruption, impunity, and violence, to show how the struggle against the dam is deeply-rooted in historical power dynamics in Honduras.

    Julia ZulveropenDemocracy
  • Nina Lakhani is a brave reporter. She had to be. Since the coup in Honduras, 83 journalists have been killed; 21 were thrown in prison during the period when Lakhani was writing her book. She poses the question “would we ever know who killed Berta Cáceres?” and sets out to answer it.

    John PerryCouncil on Hemispheric Affairs
  • Who Killed Berta Cáceres? offers the inside track on a case that is not only emblematic of the struggle for rights and representation in Honduras, but of the global battle for rights and the environment in the face of corrupt governments and irresponsible business.

    Ben LeatherGlobal Witness