Farmer wins ma­jor En­vi­ron­men­tal Prize

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

GUATEMALA CITY | Ro­drigo Tot, a 60-year-old farmer and ac­tivist, was awarded the pres­ti­gious Gold­man En­vi­ron­men­tal Prize on Mon­day for work in his Guatemala home­land, an honor that comes af­ter two pre­vi­ous Latin Amer­i­can win­ners were mur­dered in the last year.

The diminu­tive, soft-spo­ken evan­gel­i­cal pas­tor was rec­og­nized for de­fend­ing his in­dige­nous Q’eqchi com­mu­nity’s lands against a min­ing com­pany and the govern­ment.

In March 2016, Gold­man hon­oree Berta Cac­eres of Hon­duras was killed by armed men who in­vaded her home. And in Jan­uary 2017, Mex­i­can in­dige­nous leader Isidro Baldene­gro, an­other re­cip­i­ent of the prize, was slain in Mex­ico’s north­ern state of Chi­huahua.

Mr. Tot, from Guatemala’s east­ern depart­ment of Iz­a­bal, has fought for decades to try to make the govern­ment rec­og­nize lo­cals’ right to fer­tile farm­lands that are also cov­eted by min­ing in­ter­ests for nickel and gold de­posits that lie be­neath.

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