“The Amazon does not have to pay for the external debt the government has with China,” was the message delivered by Shuar leaders last week in a special assembly convened by Isabel Huambaquele, as a Shuar woman, and mayoress of Huamboya.
Together with representatives of 54 Shuar communities, this assembly declared the government responsible for selling their territory to China in exchange for loans that lacked terms, and without even consulting them.
They added that the socialization process the Ministry of Hydrocarbons has recently begun is an illegitimate consultation process, carried out to simply justify the exploitation of their land, a fact masked by government propaganda slogans such as “Oil is life now, and benefits the Amazon.”
Unity in Times of Transformation
This assembly was a testament to the unity of the Shuar people, and their firm position against extractivism within their territory. They continue to demand their collective right to self-determination, and ask the government to stop insisting on oil exploitation.
Francisco Shiki, president of the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Centers (FICSH), encouraged everyone in the room, as well as the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador and Amazon Indigenous Nations, to maintain the unity they have accomplished because no one can face this oil threat successfully alone.
Outcomes of the Meeting
The participating indigenous organizations demanded the development of an organic law that re-establishes the rightful procedures for previous consultation, and counteracts the process imposed by the decree 1247 – the catalyst behind the socialization process.
In addition to this, Franco Viteri, president of the Confederation of Ecuador’s Indigenous Nationalities, called for:
- a reflection on the role of women in their communities, the vision of the elders, the strength of the young ones, and the work of Communications Lead of all Amazon nationalities, and
- an alliance with Ecuador’s mixed race population, since they too will be impacted by the XI Oil Round.
Altogether, the Shuar nation demands the immediate cessation of the so-called consultation process the government has begun.