Aniana Ondina Vargas Jáquez, or Madre de las Aguas, was a badass environmental and political activist. Her nickname came from her later work defending the countryside of the Yuna and Blanco river basins.
Vargas was a member of the 16 de Junio resistance movement against Trujillo. She had a brief time of exile in the US, but returned to her country to fight for the freedom of her people from the oppressive regime.
In 1965, she was one of the few women to fight in the Guerra de Abril, a Dominican civil war, in one of the most intense conflict zones of the capital.
Vargas later founded the Federación de Campesinos hacia el Progreso to unite farmers against efforts to displace them from their land.
She led the charge against the Falconbridge mining corporation to protect Dominican natural resources in 1989.
The Aniana Vargas National Park (among many landmarks and street names) honours her life’s work, and is located near Bonao where Vargas died in 2002.
The national park is a site of special cultural interest due to its 21 caves, in which many hundreds of petroglyphs and pre-Columbus paintings are preserved in the rock.