Environmental and indigenous groups in Ecuador are protesting as the government moves forward with a plan to auction off over three million hectares of the Amazon to Chinese oil groups. According to an article in The Guardian, a U.S. based non profit, Amazon Watch, reports that seven groups of indigenous people who live on the land in question have not given their consent and report the move would destroy the local environment as well as their way of life:
“We demand that public and private oil companies across the world not participate in the bidding process that systematically violates the rights of seven indigenous nationalities by imposing oil projects in their ancestral territories,” a group of Ecuadorean organised indigenous associations wrote in an open letter last autumn.
In an interview, Ecuador’s secretary of hydrocarbons, Andrés Donoso Fabara, accused indigenous leaders of misrepresenting their communities to achieve political goals. “These guys with a political agenda, they are not thinking about development or about fighting against poverty,” he said…
“What the government’s been saying as they have been offering up our territory is not true; they have not consulted us, and we’re here to tell the big investors that they don’t have our permission to exploit our land,” Narcisa Mashienta, a women’s leader of Ecuador’s Shuar people, said in the report.
For more information, including how the auction deal may relate to Ecuador’s outstanding debt to China, please read the full article.