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Ecuador

Digging Free of Poverty

By: 
Thea Riofrancos

On March 8, 2012, a few hundred marchers set out from Pangui, Ecuador, a town in the southeastern Amazon, near the construction site of the massive, open-pit Mirador Mine. Just days earlier, a consortium of Chinese state-owned companies had signed a contract to exploit the mine’s copper reserves, the first agreement of its kind in the country’s history.

The demonstrators zigzagged through the southern Andes, where more mines are planned throughout the highland wetlands, which supply water to rural farmers and urban consumers. Reinforcements from the northern Amazon joined the march along the way, intentionally traversing the route of crude oil that has for decades flowed through notoriously faulty pipelines. After a seven-hundred-kilometer trek, on foot and in unwieldy caravans, the two-week long March for Water, Life, and the Dignity of Peoples reached its end in Quito, where the state coffers, voters, and armed forces form the complex of economic incentives, democratic legitimacy, and military repression that activists contend keeps the country’s extractive model in motion.

By Blood and Fire Mining and Militarization in the Ecuadorian Amazon

By: 
Jake Ling

Before dawn on the Dec. 21, 2016, dozens of police raided the headquarters of the Shuar Federation (FISCH) in the Ecuadorian Amazon and arbitrarily detained its president, Agustin Wachapá. The indigenous leader was thrown to the ground and repeatedly stamped on and ridiculed beneath the boots of police in front of his wife. The police then razed the Shuar Federation’s office—turning over furniture and carrying away computers. According to the indigenous leader's wife, her husband was taken away without any kind of explanation. An arrest warrant for Wachapá was never presented.  

The New South American Political Map

By: 
Raúl Zibechi

The New South American Political Map

The election results in Venezuela and Argentina, the Brazilian crisis, and the erosion of the “citizens’ revolution” in Ecuador are part of a change in political climate that puts the transformative processes underway on the defensive.

In the past weeks four progressive governments in the region show unmistakable signs of weakness. Rafael Correa will not compete for re-election, in the context of an uncertain economic outlook for his country. Dilma Rousseff may face impeachment by parliament. Nicolás Maduro suffered the first Bolivarian electoral defeat, leaving his government at the mercy of parliament, and Cristina Fernandez’s candidate was defeated by the right-wing Mauricio Macri.

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