Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Ecuador: Sarayaku.org, Blogging from the Amazon

[All links lead to sites in Spanish, unless otherwise stated.]

José Santi, 27, is one of the people in charge of the communication team that administrates the blog Sarayaku: El Pueblo del Medio Día. José spoke to us online from Pastaza [en], in the Ecuadorian Amazon, to explain how information is managed in the blog.

José also tells us about his people's constant struggle against transnational corporations who aim to exploit the oil beneath their territory. In his interview José also refers to the case that Sarayaku brought to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R.) against the state of Ecuador.

Global Voices: Who came up with the idea of starting a blog?

José Santi: esto nace en una reunión del Consejo de Gobierno de Tayjasaruta, donde se hizo un análisis profundo sobre la importancia del manejo del blog, [con la finalidad de que todos los problemas que aquejan a la comunidad sean conocidos en el país] y de que en el mundo se conozca la realidad de nuestro pueblo. [Así] nace la idea de crear un medio en las redes sociales, el blog de Tayjasaruta.

José Santi: It started at a meeting of the Governing Council of Tayjasaruta to analyse the importance of the blog's management [so that the country is aware of the problems afflicting the community] and the world will know the reality affecting our people. [That's how] the idea to create a medium through social networks came about, and the Tayjasaruta blog was born.

The Tayjasaruta blog is the predecessor of the current blog, Sarayaku.org. It explains the Quechuan origins of the name Tayjasaruta:

Explicación de la sigla TAYJASARUTA:

TATAYAK. Significa “Los primero hombres y mujeres del pueblo Kichwa de Sarayaku”

Y. YUYAYTA. Significa. El conocimiento,  sabiduría y la fuerza espiritual para construir la armonía entre los ayllus (famillias) y la naturaleza. (Sumak Kawsay = Buen Vivir).

JAJATACHIK. Significa. El que se levanta para construir el camino de la identidad cultural.

SASARAYAKU. Nombre de nuestro pueblo, que significa Río de maíz  (pueblo de medio día).

RURUNAKUNA. Personas con éticas y principios de la cultura.

TA. TANDANAKUY. Fuerte Unidad por la defensa de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas.

Explanation of the acronym TAYJASARUTA:

TA [TAYAK]. “The first men and women from the Quechuan village of Sarayaku.”

Y [YUYAYTA]. “Knowledge, wisdom and the spiritual strength needed to create harmony between ayllus (families) and nature (Sumak Kawsay= Live Well).”

JA [JATACHIK]. “The person who builds the path to cultural identity.”

SA [SARAYAKU]. “The name of our village, which means River of Corn (midday village).”

RU [RUNAKUNA]. “People with the ethics and principals of our culture.”

TA [TANDANAKUY]. “A strong unity in defending the rights of indigenous people.”

GV: What did you want the Sarayaku blog to achieve?

José Santi participating in Conectándonos Ecuador in Loja, Ecuador. Photo by Silvia Viñas, adapted with permission (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

JS: Nació con el fin de hacer conocer al mundo lo que pasaba en Sarayaku con el tema de violaciones de derechos humanos, pueblos indígenas de Latinoamérica; y lo que defiende Sarayaku es para todo el mundo.

Con el blog se pretende lograr que la sociedad del mundo conozca la vida social, cultural, ambiental, [y] nuestra lucha contra las transnacionales, en defensa de nuestro territorio. Mostrar todas las realidades que pasa en nuestro pueblo.

JS: We wanted the world to know what was happening in Sarayaku in relation to human rights violations and indigenous peoples in Latin America; what Sarayaku stands for is worldwide.

The blog aims to let the world know about the social, cultural and environmental life here, as well as our fight against the transnationals to defend our territory. We want to show the world what is happening in our village.

GV: What does the name Sarayaku mean?

JS: Sara (maíz) yaku (rio), entonces significa rio de maíz.

JS: Sara means “corn” and yaku means “river”, so it means river of corn.

GV: Who writes the blog?

JS: Las personas responsables somos los técnicos en coordinación con los dirigentes.

JS: The leaders and us technicians are the ones responsible.

GV: What is the blog's mission?

JS: Estar informando la realidad del pueblo Sarayaku desde la amazonía ecuatoriana hacia el mundo.

JS: To tell the world about the reality affecting the Sarayaku people.

GV: What issues does the blog deal with?

JS: Los temas más tratados en el blog son el caso que llevamos ante la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, la educación, la cultura, la vida organizacional y otros temas importantes.

JS: The blog mainly deals with the case we are bringing to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, but it also mentions educational, cultural, organisational and other important issues.

In 2003, the Association of the Quechuan People of Sarayaku, who had the support of various national and international organisations, presented a report to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R.). The report was based on the state of Ecuador's violations of the rights of the community related to property, freedom of circulation, integrity, religion, health and culture. The court ordered the state to investigate the acts of violence and take the necessary provisional protection measures. However, the measures proposed by the court were not implemented.

The following video explains a little more about the case:

Last Wednesday, 25th July, the court's decision was announced. It was recognised that after a long fight lasting more than a decade, the village's rights had been violated.

GV: Do you think it was necessary to go to the international court in order to be heard?

JS: Si, fue necesario ir a esta corte, para que nos escuchen, para que vean la realidad de lo que hacen las empresas extractivistas en los pueblos, y el mundo está viendo lo que es importante: la amazonía.

JS: Yes, it was necessary to go to court for them to listen, for them to see the reality of what extractive companies do in villages. The world is seeing what is important: the Amazon.

The first decision of the court says [en] that the State has to “neutralize, deactivate, and dig up the pentolite (explosives used to search for oil) on the surface and buried within the Sarayaku people's territory.” In addition, it establishes that the state should first consult the Sarayaku people if it wants to conduct activities or projects related to the extraction of natural resources in its territory.

The Sarayaku blog published a letter from José Gualinga, President of Sarayaku, in which he celebrates the result of the sentencing:

Sarayaku manifiesta su satisfacción por esta victoria alcanzada gracias al esfuerzo de su pueblo y al apoyo de personas y organizaciones solidarias y comprometidas con los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y manifiesta que estaremos atentos a que la sentencia sea cumplida y que los territorios de los Pueblos Indígenas sean respetados frente a actividades extractivas dañinas como la explotación petrolera. Viva Sarayaku y los pueblos indígenas del continente.

Sarayaku would like to express its pleasure at this victory which has been reached thanks to the efforts of its people and the support of people and organisations involved with the rights of indigenous peoples. We want to stress that we will ensure the sentencing is carried out and the territories of indigenous peoples will be respected in the face of harmful extractive practices such as oil exploration. Long live Sarayaku and the indigenous peoples of the continent.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site