Farmer wins major Environmental Prize
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.