Nina Lakhani's new book WHO KILLED BERTA CÁCERES? tells the story of an Indigenous environmental activist murdered in Honduras. Berta Cáceres was a celebrated champion of her indigenous Lenca community and fiercely opposed the construction of a dam on their land. Ultimately, her defiance put her at lethal odds with the companies and Honduran government supporting the dam's construction. On the 3rd of March 2016 she was assassinated by gunmen later linked to the construction of the dam. Nina Lakhani's book details her investigation into the complex power structures at play in Cáceres' murder and elaborates on the reality that so many more were responsible for Berta Cáceres' assassination than just those who pulled the trigger.
Before the book’s publication by Verso, Lakhani had been a Latin American correspondent for The Guardian, reporting on Berta Cáceres’ campaign among other regional affairs. Lakhani’s reporting often came with much personal risk. As John Perry points out in his review for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs “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.”
The book has been released to international acclaim. Many reviews have praised its success in detailing how systemic corruption works against indigneous communities and activists like Cáceres. In openDemocracy Julia Zulver said “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.” Ben Leather in Global Witness writes that the book “…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.”
As well as reviews in Ms Magazine, Eurasia Review, Counter Punch, Jacobin Magazine, and Americas Quarterly, Lakhani herself has been doing the rounds. She has since appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, The Red Nation Podcast, and in Foreign Policy magazine to talk about Berta Cácere’s life and work. The book continues to garner international acclaim for its fearless reporting on this tragic murder, and the relevance of Berta Cáceres’ life and death to on-going indigenous and environmental struggles on-going throughout the world.
Read an extract of Who Killed Berta Cáceres? in The Guardian here. For your copy of Who Killed Berta Cáceres? Dams, Death Squads, and an Indigenous Defender’s Battle for the Planet head to the Verso website, where you can get 40% off for the rest of June.