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Criminalization of the social struggle in the Ecuadorian

Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities
Nacionalidades Indgenas
of the Ecuadorian Amazon

Confederacin de
de la Amazona Ecuatoriana

Puyo, Pastaza
January 2016
We are subject to new forms of repression in Ecuador.
The indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon are currently suffering unprecedented
amounts of repression and criminalization. This is directly related to the advancement of
extractive industrial projects into our territories. During the whole year of 2015, we have
continued to resist the expansion of capitalism in our lands to a great cost for our freedom
and safety.
Repression of civilians has become a state policy institutionalized in multiple facets.
Criminalization of dissidence has been used as a mechanism of social control, to
intimidate, neutralize, inhibit and harass any conduct that might jeopardize or question the
prevailing powers. Especially in the amazon region state interests are interwoven with the
interests of multinational corporate powers like mining companies, oil, timber and other
extractive industries. Already in 2009 institutionalized state repression has been
denounced by the national Ombudsman.
This State repression is notorious; it ranges from normative aspects and discriminating
discourses, to the judicial system, deployment of the military forces into our communities
and the assaults on social protest. In Ecuador there is a frontal attack against those who
claim their rights and propose changes in the political system.
The balance after nine years of Rafael Correas presidency is that 300 people have been
criminalized for their political expressions. Two hundred of those cases occurred in the
second half of 2015. Of these, 50 people come from the Amazonian regions. This
coincided with the increasing popular uprising and the national strike last year.
But this is not the end. We fear that the recent reforms to the constitutional and justice
system will generate a larger wave of repression, we are sure that repression and
criminalization will now continue and expand. We fear for our brothers and sisters that
organize and participate in protests because they are now easily criminalized and
In our territory, because of its strategic character, Indigenous and Mestizo people bear the
full weight of repression and criminalization. We have been subject to arrests,
prosecutions, open processes and deaths as a result of fighting against extractive
But we are also aware and proud of our strong history of social protest in our lands, and

we wont be still as there is more potential of resistance. No power will dominate the
rebellious spirit of the Amazon and the Ecuadorian people.
A chronology of accelerating criminalization in the Amazon region.
The death of professor Shuar Bosco Wisum in Macas during the manifestation of the
community of Shuar de Morona Santiago against the water law, la Ley de Aguas. Illegal
and arbitrary arrests of Acacho and other indigenous leaders followed and their cases are
still unresolved.
The death of the young Shuar, Freddy Taish, during a military operation against small
mining activities in the River Bomboiza. This murder is still unresolved.
The start of legal cases against ten indigenous leaders from Pastaza in the context of
resistance against a new round of oil exploitations. (The Dcimo Primera Ronda Petrolera
In the Amazon center south region) This open case includes leaders of mestizos, Sapara y
Kichwas, communities and the president of CONFENIAE, Franco Viteri.
The death of the Shuar leader Jos Tendetza. Killed in the Zamora River two days
traveling from his village Tundayme. He was heading towards Peru, to denounce the
violation of human rights in the Amazon. His death occured in the context of the resistance
of the Shuar people against the Chinese mining company Ecuacorrientes ECSA. The first
mega project of open pit mining in the country.
August 2015
- Brutal repression and detention during the protests of the 13th of August. 34 people
detained in Pastaza, 5 in Morona, 1 in Zamora and 9 in Orellana. Some of them freed
hours later, most in the course of 8 days to 3 months.
- 40 legal cases are opened against leaders and representatives between August and
September. 14 in Pastaza, 9 in Orellana, 16 in Morona and 1 in Zamora.
- Preliminary investigation by the court of Morona Santiago against the indigenous leaders
Franco Viteri, President of CONFENIAE, Agustn Wachapa, President of FICSH y Jorge
Herrera, President of the CONAIE. These investigations are a reply of the accusations in
social networks to the Minister of the Interior, Jos Serrano, as responsible for the protests
in Macas during the National strike.
September and October 2015
The legal cases continue. During these months 8 people in Pastaza and 9 in Orellana
remain imprisoned. The majority is later freed, after two and three months of unjust
imprisonment. The other leaders are free but their cases are still open and they await
- The detention of a Waorani women, Mima Bay, for homicide that happened in the context
of conflicts about oil activities in the area of Bataboro province of Orellana. After keeping
her in prison for a month, she was declared innocent and released because of the lack of

The detention of the vice president of the Achuar, Marlon Vargas, for a supposed crime of
aggression. Marlon Vargas works for the community Radio Voice of the NAE. He has been
a leading figure in the defense of the territory of the Achuar people, against extractive
companies in the south central Amazon. He had been detained for eight days. In the same
judgment they convicted three more Achuar leaders, including former President Jaime
Vargas, of the NAE. This is not the only accusation against Achuar leaders, several of
whom are accused by the Ministry of Hydrocarbons, for supposed abduction.
A sequence of images from the uprising and the strike of the Amazonian people.
The Amazonian people have been resisting the advance of capitalism, for many years.
Continuing into today we struggle against foreign, multinational and national companies.
The current government has pursued a policy of dispossession protecting interests of
extractive industries in our territories and has perfected the equipment and instruments of
persecution and criminalization.
Violence is generated by the state through unpopular economic measures and policy
decisions that affect the fundamental rights of Amazonian peoples, especially the incursion
of mining and oil companies in our territories. Despite this, the people's response does not
diminish and resistance continues.
Towards a repressive government the people respond with more resistance.
To repression the people respond with more resistance and rebellion.