Girl Power

Women in Sarayaku, Ecuador, are fighting for their right to remain on their land, facing up to oil companies who are wanting to start oil exploration on their land.

The group of Kichwas live in a province of the Amazon highly sought after by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Mines and Oil, but they have consistently failed to break through the opposition. The local women have played a key part in preventing the invasive investment proposed by the oil companies, threatening their husbands that they will have to look for women elsewhere if they allow the oil companies to work on their lands.

They have faced several violent confrontations, meeting face to face with the companies armed guards in 2003, forcing the army to intervene. Yet still the Kichwas remain remarkably defiant, determined to protect their land.

Oil drilling can be detrimental to the environment and well-being of the local people. Water sources become polluted, killing fish and endangering domestic animals and crops. The pollution can also affect the local population, causing respiratory diseases, birth defects and even miscarriages.

It’s no wonder the Kichwas remain opposed, for they know it will dramatically alter their lands and lives forever. Of course, the battle is not yet over, they face lawsuits, challenges to their land rights and intimidation tactics. Yet, with the Kichwa women standing firm, they have little to fear.

Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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