MANIFESTO IN DEFENSE OF THE YASUNI NATIONAL PARK

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Manifiesto geografos criticosBy Critical Geography Collective of Ecuador See below the manifiesto of the Critical Geography Collective of Ecuador which debunks several myths around the decision of Ecuador´s government to move ahead with oil drilling in Yasuní. The myth, for example, that the “drilling will only affect 1×1000 of the park”, which is based on a simplistic view of the Amazon ecosystem, putting at risk, for example, huge underground aquifers. They also explore the myth that the Amazon is a “demographic void”, ignoring the presence of the Tagaeri and Taromenane indigenous groups in voluntary isolation. The Collective point out that “this is a deceitful strategy that has repeatedly failed in the history of our country.”
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World Action Day to save the Yasuní: Massive support from abroad

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Today, 10th of April, is the WORLD ACTION DAY TO SAVE THE YASUNÍ!

In less than one week we have received  umpteen PHOTOS WITH MESSAGES OF SOLIDARITY from more than 50 cities of 26 countries from all over the world…and every day coming more!

Student groups, environmental organizations, scientists, famous personalities like Oscar-winner Jared Leto, the social activist and idol of the anti-globalisation movement Naomi Klein (“No Logo”) or the Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva as well as many individuals have sent us their greetings and best wishes to convoke a national referendum in order to protect the Yasuní-ITT from the invasion of oil companies.

Thanks so much to everybody!

resumen fotos

..from the Arctic Circle to Argentina, Brasil over North Korea, Vietnam to the UK, USA, Iceland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia. And these are only a few! Have a look to all the lovely and creative greetings that we have got so far: https://www.flickr.com/photos/122028196@N08/

This support is impressive –We all are YASunidos! Please don´t stop sending us more photos! 

Furthermore, in these days Ecuadorian embassies and consulates in various countries are receiving LETTERS FROM YASUNÌ SUPPORTERS  in order to demand to respect the rights of nature, the human rights as well as the constitutional rights of the Ecuadorian civil society to convoke a referendum to avoid the oil spilling in the Yasuní-ITT.

See some of them here:

 

April 10, 2014 – SAVE YASUNÍ: WORLD ACTION DAY

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POSTAL-campañaintlEN

In a view days the civil society alliance ofenvironmental, social, and indigenous organizations in Ecuador, Yasunidos, will hand the Ecuadorian government 600 000 signatures that are needed to call for a National Referendum in order to stop the oil exploitation in YASUNI NATIONAL PARK. If the Ecuadorian government accepts the signatures of the Ecuadorians, this will be the question of the first referendum worldwide to protect the rights of nature: “Are you in favor that the Ecuadorian government keeps the oil underground indefinitely under the Yasuní-I TT, also known as Block 43?”

JOIN THE YASUNIDOS MOVEMENT and support the Ecuadorians in their constitutional right for a national referendum that could save the Yasuní rainforest! Protecting the Amazon and preventing a possible ethnocide of the indigenous people in the area should not know any national borders. Let´s speak worldwide with one voice – for life, against the oil!

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE FROM YOUR COUNTRY:

1. Send us your photos, videos and messages of support saying that the ECUADORIAN´S RIGHT TO A REFERENDUM SHOULD BE RESPECTED. Help to let the Ecuadorian people decide! Use your creativity! Take a picture with your message, the city and country you are from and send it to us TILL 10th OF APRIL 2014, to:

https://www.facebook.com/YASunidos
Twitter: @Yasunidos
info@yasunidos.org

Here are the photos we have received so far from many cities around the world: http://www.yasunidosinternacional.org

2. Sign the petition: https://secure.avaaz.org/es/petition/Save_Yasuni_the_Last_Wonder_of_the_Amazon and remit it to all your friends and family!

3. Visit your Ecuadorian consulate or embassy in your city. Organize a peaceful protest and deliver a personal letter stating why you think it is important to SAVE YASUNÍ. Please take pictures and/or a video of it and send it to us, as well as TILL 10th OF APRIL!

sampleletter-embassy_EN

THANK YOU!

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 | http://www.lifeartsmedia.com

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 Yasunidos.org, 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: http://www.yasunidos.org/que-puedo-hacer/

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”!