Mes: marzo 2014

Hollywood for #YasuníYoFirmoPorTi

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Benjamin Bratt, Leonor Varela, Dawn Olivieri, Raphael Sbarge, Frances Fisher, Francesca Eastwood, Daryl Hannah, Ed Begley Jr, Michelle Monaghan, Jared Leto, Michelle Rodriguez, Debi Nova apoyan la consulta popular por el Yasuní:

Video realizado por Amazon Watch


Ecuador: The Last Push For A Chance Of A Reprieve On Yasuní

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Yasuní National Park (photo by Pedro Bermeo)

March 13, 2014 |

by Amy Woodrow Arai

“Do you agree that the Ecuadorean government should keep the crude in the ITT, known as block 43, underground indefinitely?”

This is the question that will be put to a national referendum in Ecuador if 584,000 signatures are collected (5% of registered voters in a country of 15 million people) before the deadline of 12th April 2014. Over 50% of the signatures required, have been collected so far but a concerted effort will be needed to meet the target over the next month.

The collection of signatures is being led by YASunidos, a newly formed alliance of groups seeking to overturn president Rafael Correa’s abandonment of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative which is a proposal to leave crude oil unexploited in the Ecuadorian Amazon, in the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil fields in the Yasuní National Park, thus protecting one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth as well as indigenous peoples who live within the park.

I have been following the Yasuni-ITT Initiative since I first heard about it in 2007 and was devastated to hear the announcement of its annulment in August last year – see here for my response then, and more detailed information about the Initiative: Yasuní-ITT Initiative to be scrapped.

Lacking Spanish language skills, not on the electoral role in Ecuador, and feeling impotent in London, I spoke with Josephine Koch from YASunidos about their campaign to collect signatures and what we can do to support Ecuadorians to sign on for this critically important referendum.

Tell us a bit about YASunidos and how the alliance formed after Correa’s announcement

JK: After president Correa cancelled the Yasuní ITT-Initiative on 16 August 2013, people started to demonstrate in many parts of the country. Despite this, the national parliament, where Correa’s Alianza País holds an absolute majority, approved the president’s oil exploitation plans in October of the same year – without consulting Ecuadorian citizens.

Flashmob, protest in front of the National Assembly (Photo by Josephine Koch)

In response, civil society came together to call for a national referendum and founded YASunidos – a word play of Yasuní and ‘unidos’, Spanish for, ‘united’. This alliance has quickly become a national movement, consisting of different environmental, animal protection, feminist, and indigenous groups as well as individual volunteers of all ages and social backgrounds. United, we share the goal to save both the pristine jungle of the Yasuní, and its indigenous peoples in order to take one step further toward a society without oil exploitation. The Yasuní-ITT Proposal, to leave 900 million barrels of oil underground, is  a concrete expression of the Andean concept of ‘Buen Vivir’, or Sumak Kawsay in the Kichwa language, a holistic proposal for ’good living’ in harmony with nature, and an alternative to Ecuador’s expanding extractivist model for national development. According to opinion polls in Ecuador’s major cities, 85% of Ecuadorians supported the Yasuní-ITT Initiative and over 60% are in favour of a referendum about oil exploitation.

What is happening now?

JK: Since mid October last year, we’ve organised brigades of signature collectors in all provinces of the country. Hundreds of volunteers are dedicating their free time to protect one of the most biodiverse places on earth and some of the last indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation in the Amazon. In every big city we have established collection points where the people can sign or handover filled-in forms. We have also been spreading the message through public talks at universities and schools as well as giving interviews in the media.

Collecting signatures in Carolina park, Quito
Collecting signatures in Carolina park, Quito (Photo by Josephine Koch)

On our website, anyone can download and print out the forms, and social media channels like facebook and twitter are playing an important role in spreading the word about the call for a referendum and the importance of the Yasuní. These networks are vitally important for us because of the lack of independent public information about the Yasuní as well as the counter-campaign of the government. It has been the case that public servants, students and poorer people have been reluctant to sign because of fear that they’ll lose their jobs, scholarships or state social benefits. Just recently, a member organisation of the YASunidos movement was unjustly alleged to have been part of violent protests and was closed down by a state ministry.

However, we are spurred on by the support we have been receiving. When we are collecting signatures on the streets there are always passers-by who congratulate us and motivate us to continue. At least every third person that we ask for a signature signs. We have still one month to go and we feel very positive about reaching 600,000 signatures before the deadline in April.

How can we support this campaign in the UK/Europe (and elsewhere)?

JK: Firstly, we need the Yasuní campaign and the YASunidos’ goal to bring about a referendum to maintain its visibility and to gain attention in the international media, and for support from organisations and individuals. And of course, right now, what we really need in order to reach our goal of 600,000 signatures is some financial help. Although it is a constitutional right to collect signatures to convoke a national referendum, we have to find money to pay for the printing of thousands of signature forms and dozens of pens. The production of informational material and the visits of YASunidos brigades in the provinces also costs money. We can’t count on any money from the state and are hugely dependent on donations and on the support from the people of other countries. Therefore we appreciate every donation!

An easy way to do that for anyone overseas is through the public charity Global Greengrants Fund: Support YASunidos!

Foreigners cannot sign the petition for the referendum, but they can sign the open letter to President Correa on AVAAZ and send a clear message that there are many people in the world that care about the Yasuní and its inhabitants: Save Yasuní, the Last Wonder of the Amazon!

Ecuadorian citizens abroad can download, print out and fill the signature form here:

We are also happy to receive solidarity signs like photos from abroad to motivate us and show the Ecuadorians that they are not alone. We aim to continue to campaign once we have secured a referendum. What happens here in Ecuador is historically significant, because what is at stake is nothing less than a revolutionary move toward a post-oil society. Moreover, this is a civil society-led campaign to defend both the rights of nature and the rights of indigenous people. The Yasuní-ITT Initiative offered the international community the possibility to share the responsibility to save the climate by protecting the lungs of this planet. This referendum is therefore not only a national issue; the Yasuní is already a worldwide symbol for the urgent need for a different relationship with the planet and a new direction for a post-oil world.

It’ll be a close fight, but we can win it.


Josephine Koch is part of YASunidos’ international commission and involved in coordinating signature collections in Quito and the provinces. She studied political science and sociology in Germany and has worked as a project coordinador in small NGOs in the field of environment and climate protection. She is interested in the new leftist-ecological movements and ideas of the Buen Vivir in Latin America and moved to Ecuador in May 2013.

Yasunidos in Jaen University in Spain

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The Yasunidos Campaign were also an issue discussed at the conference of  “international conflicts of recources” in the Jaen University in Spain on 12 of March, 2014.  More Information

Press Conference Monday, March 17 2014

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Friday March 14 the YASunidos, Davíd Mármol, was arrested by the presidential guards for having showed a ‘thumbs down’ to the presidential parade. After being dragged away from his fellow signature collectors and moved to a differnent location in Quito he was forced to apologize for having insulted the president.

As Mármol’s lawyer, Dr. Raúl Moscoso, stated today “showing your disagreement with someone is not an insult” which is why Mármol also refused to apologize on Friday despite successive intimadations from the officials.

3 to 4 minutes after his release from custody of the presidentials guards about 2 hours later he was attacked by 3 men in civilian and was both hit and kicked several times while lying on the ground.

This is just one of the cases of attacks that members of YASunidos has felt during the past week and a half. However, as Mármol stated today “we will continue the signature collection and we refuse to be intimidated and terrorized”!

Dirty campaign to discredit YASunidos

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Last weekend an Ecuadorian newspaper has published an insert with our signature form, a brief instruction on how to fill in and where to handover. It was a GREAT SUCCESS: many people  came to our offices and information points with their collected signatures and offered their  help.

Yesterday, Wednesday  the mayors of President´s Alianza País also launched their question IN FAVOR OF THE OIL EXPLOITATION of the Yasuní-ITT through an insert in the same newspaper  as well. The SCANDAL is: they have copied the design of OUR insert to the last detail. So the two questions can be easily confused. This is a clear plagiarism a20140313_094800nd a contempt of the copyright!

Moreover, these days the number and qualities of harassments and observations increased: They make photos of us while collecting signatures, call us on our private fixed-line phones and pursue us until our homes.

At our press conference today we informed the public about these attempts to intimidate us and the dirty practices of those who want the exploitation of the Yasuní-ITT at any price.

Despite all this, more and more people want to sign to leave the oil underground and we receive great support from the Ecuadorians and from abroad as well.

They will not intimidate us.

Together we can reach 1 million signatures!

Declaración a favor del Yasuní

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Encuentro Latinoamericano

“Mujeres, territorios y medio ambiente en América Latina y el Caribe: mapa de derechos, riesgos y resistencias”

Zapatoca – Santander, febrero 26 a marzo 1 de 2014

Nosotras, mujeres diversas, indígenas, campesinas, negras, garífunas, ambientalistas, intelectuales, feministas y defensoras de derechos humanos provenientes de México, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Perú, Argentina, Uruguay y Paraguay, reconociéndonos como hijas de la Pachamama,

Reunidas en Zapatoca, Santander – Colombia, los días del 26 de febrero al 1º de marzo de 2014, en el Encuentro sobre Mujeres, Medio Ambiente y Territorios, convocado por el Fondo de Acción Urgente de América Latina y el Caribe –FAU-, impregnadas con el espíritu de las mujeres ancestrales que vivieron en este territorio: yariguies, guanes, laches, chitareras; de las mujeres comuneras que dieron la vida por liberarse de la opresión española; de las valerosas mujeres luchadoras del Magdalena Medio asesinadas por defender su territorio; con el profundo respeto de estar en el Cañón del Sogamoso y acompañando la lucha de las mujeres que defienden el territorio,

Evaluamos la situación de la mujer con respecto al territorio -cuerpo y la forma como la violencia se ensaña de forma permanente y progresiva en el sistema biológico de la tierra y en el cuerpo de las mujeres, y de todo lo analizado y vivenciado, denunciamos el modelo de desarrollo económico que continúa imponiéndose progresivamente en los territorios latinoamericanos ocasionando efectos en las personas del campo y la ciudad y que se manifiesta en:

  • La vulneración de la dignidad, de los cuerpos y de la vida de las mujeres y de las niñas
  • La exclusión de las mujeres en los procesos de toma de decisiones sobre sus cuerpo, territorios, ambiente y la naturaleza
  • La migración e inmigración de las mujeres haciéndolas presas de la orfandad estatal de las zonas fronterizas en las que se experimentan diversos tipos de tráfico (armas, personas, drogas)
  • La exacerbación de las violencias de género en las regiones con proyectos extractivos consistentes en agresiones físicas y sexuales, amenazas y estigmatizaciones, persecución, hostigamientos, intimidaciones y criminalización, enfermedades crónicas mentales y físicas; el incremento de abortos, muertes prematuras, malformaciones, cáncer, embarazos de adolescentes y feminicidios.
  • La ocupación de los bienes o el despojo de ellos y de los derechos ligados a la propiedad y el uso de los territorios, como los proyectos tipo REDD + y los relativos a los servicios ambientales y toda actividad extractiva o agroforestal que beneficia a hacendados nacionales y empresas transnacionales
  • La militarización de los territorios con carácter étnico y el acoso permanente a las tierras campesinas para que sus habitantes rurales abandonen las formas tradicionales de siembra, intercambios de semillas y soberanía alimentaria
  • La interceptación, restricción y vigilancia de las comunicaciones de las defensoras de derechos humanos, la naturaleza y los territorios.
  • La amenaza sistemática y la utilización de la violencia jurídica por parte de las autoridades ejecutivas, legislativas y judiciales de los Estados hacia las organizaciones civiles, limitando su capacidad de acción en unos casos, y en otros, suprimiendo su existencia o personalidad jurídica

Ante los efectos desproporcionados de la industria extractiva en el cuerpo y la vida de las mujeres, los daños físicos, sexuales y espirituales que nos causa y como también a nuestras hijas e hijos, rechazamos las acciones y omisiones de los organismos oficiales y privados que llevan al desplazamiento y al despojo de los territorios de las comunidades, y que afectan irremediablemente y de forma irreparable la biodiversidad y los bienes comunes que garantizan la supervivencia de nuestros pueblos y sus culturas.

Por lo tanto, exigimos que cese la criminalización y la estigmatización de la organización social y de la protesta popular, particularmente protagonizada por mujeres, así como todo acto que discipline e irrespete nuestro cuerpo, incluido el fundamentalismo religioso, así como todo acto que afecte el sistema biológico de la tierra, como la introducción, siembra, comercialización o almacenamiento de organismos transgénicos y los agrotóxicos que los sustentan.

Finalmente, reconociéndonos como tejedoras del cambio, nos comprometemos a:

  • Continuar construyendo la soberanía alimentaria, el derecho a la alimentación, al agua, salvaguardando la integridad de las semillas ancestral, legado para el presente y el futuro de la humanidad.
  • Continuar trabajando para unificar una fuerza campo-ciudad.
  • Solidarizarnos con “La Red Nacional en defensa del Maíz de México”, con las semillas y las formas tradicionales de compartirlas y con los centros de origen de esta planta ancestral.
  • A apoyar la lucha de las mujeres de Santander que defiende su territorio frente al embate del proyecto hidroeléctrico del Sogamoso de propiedad de ISAGEN y de otros proyectos minero – energéticos y de infraestructura que atentan contra la vida  de las comunidades y la sostenibilidad de los ecosistemas del lugar.
  • A apoyar y solidarizarnos con el proceso de consulta popular para dejar el petróleo en el subsuelo del bosque ITT en el Yasuni, en la Amazonia ecuatoriana, que recoge la lucha histórica del pueblo ecuatoriano frente a las actividades petroleras en este país.
  • Apoyar y solidarizarnos con las luchas en Argentina y Paraguay en contra de los cultivos extensivos de soja y de las empresas transnacionales que se han apropiado de millones de hectáreas para cultivarla

Presentes las siguientes organizaciones:



TPP – Colectivo por la Autonomía


Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas de Santa María Xalapán Jalapa


Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña – OFRANEH


Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras COPINH
Red de Mujeres de Condega para la Formación y el Desarrollo Integral  FMCFDI




Consumo Ético


Acción Ecológica y OILWATCH


FIAN Ecuador


Pueblos Indigenas Amazonicos Unidos en Defensa de sus Territorios” PUINAMUDT
La Federación Nacional de Mujeres Campesinas, Artesanas, Indígenas, Nativas y Asalariadas del Perú FEMUCARINAP
Unión Latinoamericana de Mujeres


Rapal Uruguay – Rallt


Coordinadora Nacional de Organizaciones de Mujeres Trabajadoras rurales e indígenas CONAMURI


Madres Barrio Ituzangó


Enlace continental de mujeres indígenas de las amércias región sudamérica
Mujeres del Común.


CENSAT – Agua viva y Amigos de la Tierra
Centro de Información sobre empresas y derechos humanos
Féminas Nomadas
Directora del Fondo de Acción Urgente
Responsable de Activismo sostenible Fondo de Acción Urgente
Responsable de Programas, Fondo de Acción Urgente
Responsable de la Iniciativa colaborativa mujeres, medio ambiente y territorio