Small tribe with a big voice vows to stop Chinese oil drilling in the Amazon

March 14 2019, Source:
Indian Ecuador

Wearing a traditional headdress and a white vest woven from the bark of an Amazonian tree, Manari Ushigua held a megaphone to his mouth to denounce Ecuador’s latest oil deal: A multi-million dollar contract that will allow oil drilling on his tribe’s territory for the first time in four decades.

“We don’t want oil drilling in our lands,”

said Ushigua, one of the most well-known leaders of Ecuador’s tiny Zapara tribe.

“Our culture is at risk of disappearing; so is our language and our way of relating to the rainforest.” 

For several years Ecuador has been trying to increase oil production by inviting foreign companies to drill in the Sur Oriente, a largely untouched area of the Amazon rainforest that’s about the size of Massachusetts and considered one of the most biodiverse places on earth. 

On Jan. 25, the government signed one of the first concessions in this remote area: A four year deal that allows Chinese consortium Andes Petroleum to operate on two parcels of the jungle covering 45% of the Zapara’s ancestral lands. 

Read more: Small tribe with a big voice vows to stop Chinese oil drilling in the Amazon

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