The case, Aguinda v. ChevronTexaco, began on November 3, 1993, when 30,000 people from Ecuador’s Amazon filed a class action suit against Texaco in New York federal court. The trial was then forced to move from New York to a local court in Ecuador in 2002, alleging that any decision required national jurisdiction. Monday Superior Court Judge Nicolás Zambrano ordered Chevron to pay $8.6 billion in damages and twice that amout if they refuse to “publicly apologize to the victims of the Ecuadorian Amazon for the crimes committed.”
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Ecumenical Commission for Human Rights (CEDHU), the Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation (INREDH), and the Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CDES) express their concern for growing criminalization against social protest of indigenous communities in Ecuador, which are mobilized in defence of their rights due to the presence of large scale mining activities on their territories.
“This morning we filed this lawsuit to defend the rights of Nature, in particular the rights of the Gulf of Mexico and the sea, which were violated by the BP oil spill,” said Vandana Shiva, who is one of the plaintiffs. “It’s about universal jurisdiction beyond the boundaries of Ecuador because Nature has rights everywhere, and that is why a global coalition were the first signatories to say: we as citizens of the earth have a duty to protect Nature everywhere.”
In this video interview, journalist Ben Dangl looks at Ecuador and Bolivia, where some of the most influential social movements have become vociferous critics of the governments they helped bring to power.
The recent right-wing coup attempt in Ecuador shed light on the rupture between President Rafael Correa and the country’s indigenous movements. This rocky relationship demonstrates the challenges of protesting against a leftist leader without empowering the right. […]
A process of change, as weak as it may be, runs the risk of being overturned or overtaken by the right, old or new, if it does not establish alliances with organized social and popular sectors, and deepen progressively. The insubordination of the police, beyond their immediate demands, lays bare at least four substantial things.
There are currently reports of a possible attempted coup d’etat underway in Ecuador. There have been violent protests by police and some elements of the military, reports that President Correa has been injured, and reports that the air force has closed down a number of airports.
Only days after small-scale and artisanal miners pronounced themselves in favor of land use planning and against large scale mining in Ecuador’s southern Amazon, a heavy deployment of police and military was ordered to evict a group of these miners for alleged environmental damages. Approximately 1,500 police and military officers took part in the September 15 operation, or roughly one officer for every resident of the small county of Paquisha in the province of Zamora Chinchipe, where confrontations took place.
I met up with Luis Macas in his office at the Instituto Científico de Culturas Indígenas (Scientific Institute of Indigenous Cultures, ICCI) in Quito, on July 14, 2010. Macas, arguably the most renowned indigenous leader in Ecuador, was born in 1951 in Saraguro, in the Province of Loja. A lawyer by training, he is currently executive director of ICCI. Macas is an ex-President of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), and former congressional deputy (in the late 1990s) and presidential candidate (in 2006) for the Movimiento Pachakutik (Pachakutik Movement, MP) party.