Repression & Criminalization / Free Speech & Right to Protest

“To get the gold, they will have to kill every one of us “

The most-storied warrior tribe in Ecuador prepares to fight as the government sells gold-laden land to China,

“Correa, meanwhile, had pivoted away from the indigenous rights rhetoric of his presidential campaign. In televised speeches, he dismissed Indians as backward “donkey-riders” who were blocking access to the country’s “pot of gold.” Fatal road protests from Zamora to Quito flared back up as it became clear that Correa’s forthcoming mining and water bills would ratify and expand industrial mining and water privatization. After running clashes with police in which a Shuar schoolteacher was killed, the government attempted and failed to shut down the Shuar radio station, Arutam.
In January 2009, Correa reactivated hundreds of mining permits and granted foreign companies access to indigenous territory and resources in any projects he deemed “in the national interest.” All of this occurred just before the start of the Mining World Fair in Ontario, where Correa administration officials told the gathered, “In Ecuador, large-scale exploration has begun.””

“Corriente announced its plan coated in absurd assurances that the mine and the waste pool were nothing to fear. The company even claimed that after the mine had closed, the tailing pond could be converted into a “resort lake” for swimming and water sports. Corriente printed up leaflets showing people swimming in the crystal waters of this man-made lake that once contained millions of tons of cancer soup.”

Editorial by Alexander Zaitchik  – Salon – February 10, 2013
Language: English
link article


“A dream come true for the mining industry: A response to Correa’s proposal to ‘deal with radicals’ “

“In the last few years, Latin American governments have been adjusting their legislation to categorize as terrorism, marches, demonstrations, the occupation of roads and public buildings, and, in general, manifestations of social protest. Correa has taken an audacious step: international, coordinated persecution of social protest related to mining opposition.”

“… it is the genuine demand of communities up against an activity considered one of the most risky and destructive on the planet. At the same time, transnational mining is among those that contributes least to the development of countries dependent on extractive industry.”

Editorial by John Ahni SchertowInternational Cry – January 22, 2013
Language: English & Spanish
link article english   link article spanish


“The Political Prisoners of Rafael Correa (How Ecuador’s president is betraying the people)”

“Surprisingly for a government supposed to be against the US led ‘War on Terror’ the Correa regime has liberally used charges of ‘terrorism’ against its own opponents. According to reports by human rights organizations and the Judicial Ombudsman of Ecuador, there are close to 200 people in the country being prosecuted on ‘terrorism’ related charges, though the government has said several times there are no terrorist organizations on Ecuadorian soil!”

“… the government is willing to put intense pressure on the judiciary to force them into giving the judgments it wants and there is today a climate of fear within the judicial system. Several judges, in recent years, have been themselves prosecuted, sacked from their jobs or even forced into exile due to their ‘inconvenient’ judgments.”

Article by Satya Sagar – 13 December, 2012
Languages: English & Spanish
link article english 1   link article english 2   link article spanish


“Ecuador Using ‘Any Tool in the Box’ to Suppress Protests”

Misuse of judicial system risks setting Ecuador on “course of continued social conflict”

Press release by Amnesty International – July 17, 2012
Language: English
link article


“So that no one can demand anything – Criminalising the right to protest in Ecuador?” 

“Indigenous and campesino (small-scale farmer) communities have taken to the streets in Ecuador to protest at the lack of consultation around government proposed laws and policies on issues that directly affect them.
This report examines the response of Ecuadorian authorities to protests that took place between January 2009 and June 2010, mainly around laws on mining and water. Through individual cases, it demonstrates that all too often Indigenous and campesino leaders have been subjected to unfounded investigations and judicial proceedings.
This has raised questions about whether there is a deliberate attempt by the state to discourage legitimate protest and silence claims by communities to the rights to consultation and to free, prior and informed consent.”

Report by Amnesty International – July,  2012
Language: English & Spanish
 PDF English   PDF Spanish;


“Ecuador’s Assault on Free Speech” 

“Ecuador’s highest court has delivered a staggering, shameful blow to the country’s democracy, siding with President Rafael Correa’s campaign to silence and bankrupt El Universo, Ecuador’s largest newspaper. The court upheld a $42 million criminal libel judgment against Emilio Palacio, El Universo’s editorial page editor, and three of the paper’s directors. The ruling also ratified three-year prison sentences for all of the men.”

Editorial by New York Times – February 21, 2012
Language: English
 link article 


“Large-scale Mining in Ecuador and Human Rights Abuses: The Case of Corriente Resources Inc”

(Executive Summary)

“Over the past decade, a serie of social conflicts has arisen in Ecuador, as a result of the growing presence of actors seeking to develop large-scale mining in the country. These mining endeavors have been encouraged by legislative and economic measures put in place by national governments and international organizations. Mining companies’ activities have led to numerous episodes of human rights abuses, and have given rise to an important national debate on the promotion of large-scale mining in Ecuador.”

Report by International Federation for Human Rights – December, 2010
Languages: English, Spanish (full report & executive summary), French, Chineze
PDF English  PDF Spanish – full report   PDF Spanish – executive summary   PDF French  PDF Chinese