Patricia Gualinga and Sarayaku advocates
(LEA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO)
Today, we have borrowed the title of our post from Eriberto Gualinga’s reflection in the closing of his documentary Children of the Jaguar—a brave testimony of resistance by the Sarayaku nation (2002-2012) against the Ecuadorian State’s project of oil extraction in the Amazon. In the presence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica, Jose Gualinga, Eriberto’s brother and Sarayaku President, explains the connection between his community and the forest:
We’ve come from our distant lands in Sarayaku, from the River of Maize. We’re descended from the Jaguar, children of Amazanga Runa, sons and daughters of the People of the Midday.
Children of the Jaguar shows the courage of indigenous filmmakers as they use video and creativity as a weapon to protect their territories. In 2002, the Ecuadorian government violated the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization when it did not consult the Sarayaku nation in its plans of oil exploration in their territory. With the support of lawyers from the Pachamama Alliance, and allies such as Amnesty International, seventeen representatives from the Sarayaku nation traveled to Costa Rica in 2012 and won a long legal battle. This victory has stood as an example for other communities facing similar struggles in the Abya-Yala.
Beyond the economical value of oil and minerals, Patricia Gualinga, representative of Sarayaku women and family, explains the sacredness and ritual meaning of protecting water and nature:
The worldview of the Sarayaku is about respect for all the other living things in the rainforest. It’s also about defending our land and about the equilibrium that we must maintain in Sarayaku. That’s what we want to share with the rest of humanity.
Today, besides oil extraction, as Nora Álvarez-Berríos and T. Mitchell Aide explain in Environmental Research Letters, there is a link between the 2008 economic crisis, and the rising price and global demand for gold (see John C. Cannon’s analysis in “Amazon Gold Rush Destroying Huge swaths of Rainforest”) Thus, between 2001 and 2012, 1680 square kilometers have been destroyed by gold mining in the Amazon.
Since the 1990’s, however, Ka’apor activists in Maranhao (Brazil), Karapó activists in southern Pará (Brazil), and Kichwa and Achuar activists in Peru and Ecuador have resisted the siege of the lungs of the planet by the “mining creatures”. (See the article “Amazon Indigenous Activists Occupy are taking direct action – And it’s working!”).
Thank you to the Sarayaku nation, and to all of the Amazonian advocates, for your bravery and humility.
We hope our waterandpeace community enjoy Children of the Jaguar as much as we did (watch => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma1QSmtuiLQ)
Until next week!
“Estamos convencidos de que en la vida hay que luchar por las cosas que importan”: Sarayaku
José Gualinga, presidente de Sarayaku en 2012
Hoy hemos tomado prestado el título de nuestro post de la reflexión de Eriberto Gualinga en el cierre de su documental Hijos del Jaguar, un testimonio de resistencia de la nación Sarayaku (2002-2012) contra la extracción de petróleo en el Amazonas por parte del estado ecuatoriano. Al principio del documental, José Gualinga, del hermano de Eriberto y presidente de Sarayaku, explica en presencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en Costa Rica:
Hemos venido desde lejanas tierras de Sarayaku, del río de maíz. Nosotros somos desciendentes del jaguar, hijos de Amazanga Runa, hijos del pueblo del mediodia.
Esperamos que ustedes, nuestra comunidad virtual, disfrute como nosotros Hijos del Jaguar (ver => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma1QSmtuiLQ).
Hasta la próxima semana!