Berta Cáceres, a hugely influential Honduran indigenous rights activist, was killed in her hometown of La Esperenza, Intibucá, on Thursday. She would have turned 46 tomorrow.
Cáceres was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize after she led a peaceful campaign to stop one of the world’s largest dam builders from pursuing the Agua Zarca Dam, which would have cut off the ethnic Lenca people from water, food and medicine.
La Prensa of Honduras reports that Cáceres was currently working to stop a company from building a hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque river, which the Rio Blanco community said would fundamentally change their way of life. Authorities, the paper reports, said she was killed during a robbery, but her mother said that Cáceres was killed “because of her struggle.”
Cáceres had faced threats for her environmental activism. So much so that the the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights had called on the government of Honduras to provide her with protection.
La Prensa reports that police say Cáceres was killed at a house they were not surveilling.