Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer
Respected author, public speaker and spokesperson for indigenous rights John Perkins expressed outrage today that the government of Ecuador has violently closed down the rainforest protection activist group, Pachama Alliance, which Perkins helped to create in 1995. Strongly condemning the government’s actions as illegal
“This is an outrage! The Pachamama Alliance organization, that I co-founded in 1995, has been brutally and violently attacked by the Ecuadorian government because of pressure from international oil companies and the corporatocracy. What has been done is blatantly illegal. It must be addressed immediately.” – John Perkins from a Facebook post
Perkins has a unique perspective on the struggle between indigenous people and the international corporate/government siege of the Amazon and it’s land and resources. He personally played a major role in economic takeover of Ecuador, as detailed in his must read novel, Confessions of an Economic Hitman:
“Knowing the part I had played in destroying this beautiful country was once again taking its toll. Because of my fellow EHMs and me, Ecuador is in far worse shape today than she was before we introduced her to the miracles of modern economics, banking, and engineering. Since 1970, during this period known euphemistically as the Oil Boom, the official poverty level grew from 50 to 70 percent, under- or unemployment increased from 15 to 70 percent, and public debt increased from $240 million to $16 billion. Meanwhile, the share of national resources allocated to the poorest segments of the population declined from 20 to 6 percent.5” -John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman
According to other conservationists and earth allies in the exacerbating struggle to prevent the total devastation of the Amazon, tensions in Ecuador are rising between activists and corporate interests. Earlier this year Ecuador announced the failure of the government’s Yasuní ITT initiative, which attempted to attract international investment for the preservation of the rainforest as an alternative to selling portions of this breath-taking area off to international investors for oil rights.
Since the failure of the Yasuní ITT initiative, the Ecuadorian government has been quick to put this remaining region of the world’s natural wonders up for sale to corporate oil, gas and farming interests. The pollution and demise of this region of the world is one of the greatest tragedies of modern life, and widespread international resistance to this wanton waste of the rainforest is growing vehemently.
Activist and conservationist Jonathon Miller-Weisberger, author of Rainforest Medicine: Preserving Indigenous Science and Biodiversity in the Upper Amazon, in a recent trip to capital city Quito expressed concern that the nation of Ecuador might be close to experiencing a civil war, as the rights of indigenous peoples and the earth are being totally savaged by the unethical relationship between the state and international industry. Miller-Weisberger works directly directly endangered tribes of the upper Amazon and invites Ayahuasca medicine shaman to Costa Rica for sacred plant-medicine ceremonies and cultural exchange with Westerners as a means of outreach to help the world understand the importance of protecting this sacred area and it’s cultures. For over 20 years, he has been a witness to the takeover, devastation and poisoning of this region, pointing out that lands once pristine and cultures unmolested are forced into selling off their land to corporations and abandoning their ancient customs in favor of drug and alcohol abuse and prostitution.
This is a critical struggle for planet earth, and the Pachamama Alliance has played important role in bringing the voices and concerns of people to the debate over the balance between ecology and economy. According to John Perkins:
“You can help by “liking” Pachamama Alliance on Facebook and joining the conversation on twitter: @FPachamama_Ec and the hashtag #SolidaridadPachamama.” -John Perkins, author of The Secret History of American Empire
In an online post by the Pachamama Alliance, the story of this illegal closure of its operations is recounted below:
This morning, the government of Ecuador entered the offices of Fundación Pachamama in Quito and shut down their services. Backlash against our indigenous allies and partners at Fundación Pachamama has heated up since last Thursday’s announcement of the failure of the XI Round oil bidding process. On Saturday, in his weekly telecast to the nation of Ecuador, President Correa accused our allies of fomenting dissent and violence. In defense of its work to defend human rights and the rights of nature, Fundación Pachamama released the statement below on Monday. Please stay tuned as we learn more.
Quito, December 2, 2013 – Fundación Pachamama, an Ecuadorian non-profit organization with 16+ years working in defense of the Human Rights of Amazon Indigenous Peoples and Rights of Nature, exercises its democratic right to freedom of speech and considers it necessary to state its position regarding the XI Round and the opinions expressed in the Enlace Ciudadano No. 350 regarding our organization:
Fundación Pachamama regrets, in the first place, that the Ecuadorian government convened the XI Oil Round that affects more than three million hectares of mega-diverse Amazon rainforests, which constitute the ancestral territory of seven Amazon indigenous nationalities. It is worrisome that the government continues fostering exploration and exploitation in the Amazon without having adequately implemented free, prior and informed consultation processes with the indigenous nationalities. Furthermore, the development of this process has generated conflicts and has divided the Amazon population, indicating clearly the lack of respect of the democratic indigenous governance system, which is a product of the democratic expression of the base communities. On November 28th, 2013, we saw how the oil industry did not respond favorably to the XI Oil Round, which we believe should lead the authorities to reflect on whether or not the bidding process should continue with such conditions.
We have the right to dissent the decision of the authorities, the process that has been implemented and alternatively propose that the oil remain underground to preserve one of the greatest riches of our country, its cultural and biological diversity. The current Constitution obliges the government to find a new development model that respects our country’s Pluri-nationality, Human Rights, Rights of Nature and “Sumak Kawsay” or “Living “Forest.”
Fundación Pachamama also extends its solidarity with the Amazon nationalities and peoples defending their territory. We believe it is illegitimate to implement processes affecting indigenous territories and not include the presidents of indigenous nationalities and peoples that have been elected by their people and are recognized by the “Development Council of the Nationalities and Peoples of Ecuador” (CODENPE).
Our support is grounded in the tools that the government and the rule of law provides to safeguard constitutional rights. We have been doing so throughout the years as we have stood by, among others, the struggle of the community of Sarayaku in the Inter-American System of Human Rights. Under no circumstances, do we support actions outside the rights granted by the Constitution. We defend the right to protest peacefully and reject the use of violence from any side.
Dissenting to government policies and defending constitutional rights are inherent to democracy and we are not willing to give up their exercise. We consider this position to be coherent with the mission of our organization, therefore we reject any act that seeks to impede or make our work difficult.
Please share this story and take a moment to express your concern to the institutions involved.
About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an avid student of Yoga and life.
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