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Ecuadorian Women March in Defense of the Amazon

[All links lead to Spanish-language pages unless otherwise noted.]

The Ecuadorian president's decision to suspend the Yasuní ITT environmental plan [en] continues to generate mobilizations [en] and initiatives from civil society and activists interested in the preservation of the Amazon. This time, it is the women leaders of the various communities of the Pastaza [en] who have organized and launched a “Mobilization for Life”.

A press release from the organizers of the mobilization, which was republished in the blog Amazonian Commune Youth Organization (Organización Juvenil Comuna Amazónica), states among other things:

Hoy somos las mujeres quienes tomamos la posta en esta lucha como dadoras de vida. Somos las abuelas, madres, hijas y hermanas quienes hemos decidido salir en defensa de la vida por la femineidad que nos conecta con la fuente primordial de la existencia humana. Nosotras, desde las bases, buscamos revivir el vínculo fundamental que nos une a este vasto organismo vivo y cuyo ultraje solo ha creado situaciones de miseria para quienes vivimos en la selva.

Today it is we, the women, who take the lead in this struggle as givers of life. It is we, the grandmothers, mothers, daughters and sisters who have decided to stand up for life for the womanhood that connects us with the primordial source of human existence. We women, from the grassroots, seek to revive the fundamental link that joins us to this vast living organism, the affront to which has only created situations of misery for those of us who live in the rainforest.

Prior to the mobilization, the assembly “Women Keeping Vigil for Life” was held on October 10th and 11th in Fátima parish in the city of Puyo, to socialize the proposal of mobilization towards the city of Quito, as well as to discuss other issues. After the assembly they declared:

1. Nosotras las mujeres de las nacionalidades amazónicas nos declaramos en movilización hacia la ciudad de Quito en oposición a la explotación petrolera y demás formas extractivistas, por ser atentatorio contra toda forma de vida en nuestra región y en defensa de la vida, de nuestros territorios y de nuestros derechos.

2. Exigimos al Gobierno Nacional la no ampliación de la frontera petrolera, en el marco de la XI ronda petrolera (Ronda petrolera Centro Sur), la expansión del bloque 10, la concesión inconstitucional de los bloques 28, 78 y 86, a la empresa estatal Petroamazonas ni la explotación del parque nacional Yasuni (bloques 43 y 31).

1. We, the women of the Amazonian nationalities, declare ourselves in mobilization toward the city of Quito in opposition to oil exploitation and other extractive forms, for being prejudicial against every form of life in our region and in defense of life, of our territories and of our rights.

2. We demand that the National Government not engage in the enlargement of the oil frontier, in the context of the 11th oil round (Centro Sur oil round), the expansion of block 10, the unconstitutional concession of blocks 28, 78 and 86 to the state-owned company Petroamazonas nor the exploitation of Yasuní national park (blocks 43 and 31).

The Huangana Collective, “a channel of self-mobilization of the AMAZONIAN WOMEN of Ecuador in defense of their ancestral territories and against oil exploitation”, made the following video:

On Saturday, October 12th, the mobilization was initiated, departing from the city of Luyo and arriving at night on the same day in Tungurahua. On Monday, the approximately 110 marching women were in the city of Ambato, and then in Latacunga.

Finally, on the morning of Wednesday, October 16th, the march reached the capital city of Quito, beginning their circuit from the locality of Guajaló, in the south of the city, and finishing in Arbolito Park, in the northern part.

On Twitter, the account @Yasunidos has been one of the most active ones spreading the march and its details:

[Photo: “Walk with us (Oct 16) Guajaló Bridge: 8:00 Arbolito Park: 12:00”]
#MujeresPorLaAmazonia (Women for the Amazon), for your home, for your life, for the Yasuní to receive them with wide open arms!!!

Felipe Bucaram for his part made a comparison with the recent ranking of the Ecuadorian football team for the World Cup:

Women for the Amazon arrive this morning in Quito to defend their land! This makes me MUCH more proud than classifying [to the World Cup].

Various users were tweeting photos of the route of the march on Wednesday:

in minutes a press conference will start, mobilization of women of the Amazon in defense of life

[Photo: “Only we, the WOMEN of the AMAZON RAINFOREST, know what life is in the rainforest - NO MORE OIL EXPLOITATION!”]
the atmosphere on Guajaló bridge

Look at those faces, of courageous women, Sarayacu, who do represent me

We share our photo with you. Women of the Amazon start a march.

“We've got chicha, we've got corn, oil companies out of our countryCOUNTRY”, shout the Women for the Amazon

Women for the Amazon advancing towards Arbolito Park

“We can't let our women down… They are the protagonists of this march.”

Women living in cities also joined the march:

Thus we walk struggling, being born, growing up in the struggle!

Although one of the objectives of the march is to gain an audience with Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa and representatives of the National Assembly to deliver the manifesto to them, so far it is unknown whether such meetings will take place. Some media report that the march has impeded vehicular traffic in some parts of the city.

More photos of the march in this set on Facebook, and up-to-the-minute happenings under the hashtag #MujeresPorLaAmazonia on Twitter.

  • Tiwonnia Rougeau

    It’s unfortunate how the world has been consistently raped. The vessel of life is consistently overlooked and mistreated.

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