Those of us who subscribe to and are members of various community media collectives in Abya Yala, gathered in the network CORAL (Colectivxs Reunidos de América Latina), express our concern and outrage over the recent acts of violence that occurred in the sister Republic of Ecuador and the null protection of the State for those who are defenders of their territories and human rights.
We demand free, prior and informed consultation processes for Indigenous peoples in accordance with the provisions of constitutional laws of several countries in the Latin American region.
Murder in Ecuador
The Government of Ecuador has pressured the expansion of oil production, trying to enter the territories of the different indigenous nationalities, but with the sole objective of obtaining the natural resource, without worrying about the development of local communities, which has meant a division in its social fabric, destruction of their culture and loss of territory. What has been described is already a modus operandi of the State and of the oil transnationals in the northern Amazon of Ecuador, and for this reason we denounce this serious act that ended the life of a defender of nature and the collective rights of the Kofán people.
Considering Ecuador as a democratic country, we demand the beginning of the process of prior, free and informed consultation, in accordance with what is established in its Constitution, to determine the use of the territories by the communities that have ancestrally inhabited them; all extractive activity must be suspended, as well as a real investigation to find the whereabouts of the material and intellectual authors of the murder of Eduardo Mendúa.
Ecuador has been the scene of clashes between the population -especially indigenous- and the forces of the State since 2019; one of the main reasons for this has been the unanimous rejection of extractivist projects, managed by international companies, which threaten the lives of the inhabitants themselves and nature.
Disappearances in Mexico
Meanwhile, in Mexico, the disappearance for more than 45 days of Ricardo Arturo Lagunes Gasca and Antonio Díaz Valencia, defenders of indigenous peoples and environmental rights, who were in the state of Michoacán supporting indigenous communities in their struggle against mining. In this country, impunity is a sign that prevails in justice processes and sends a message of permissiveness for those who commit crimes against the guardians of the territory, which, among other things, has caused this violence to continue to increase, putting each time at greater risk to the individuals and communities who carry out this crucial work.
Together, we, peoples of peace weaving the word to communicate the defense and care of life and territories, demand that States,
- Stop violence against leaders and defenders of the Indigenous peoples and communities in Abya Yala, in particular, we speak out against the recent murder of Eduardo Mendúa in Ecuador and the disappearances in Mexico of Ricardo Lagunes Gasca and Antonio Diaz Valencia;
- Stop the murders and disappearances of community public figures in our Abya Yala;
- Respect for the free, self-determination of peoples so that they can decide on their own territories;
- Processes of prior, free and informed consultation must be initiated on the disposition of their territories in Indigenous communities according to what is established by international agreements and the majority of constitutions in Latin America;
- Guarantees of security and physical integrity, as well as justice and reparation for damages to the victims, their families, communities and close organizations.
List of signatories:
- CORAL Network
- Antena Negra TV– Argentina
- Bombozila– Brazil
- Coletivo Catarse – Brazil
- ComoLaCigarraRadio.Com – Colombia
- Maizal– Peru/Ecuador
- Laboratorio Popular de Medios Libres – Mexico
- La Sandía Digital – Mexico
- Proyecto Comunitario Qayaqpuma – Peru
- Radio JGM– Chile
- Radio Kurruf – Chile
- Red de la Diversidad Wayna Tambo – Bolivia
- WITNESS Latin America & the Caribbean
- WITNESS Brazil
To add signatures from organizations and groups, write to email@example.com.
Abya Yala, March 7, 2023.
CORAL is a network of audiovisual groups in Abya Yala (an Indigenous term used to refer to the “Americas”) that from different geographies accompany struggles for the defense of the land, territory and common goods. This articulation of regional scope seeks to share tools to strengthen community communication, with an emphasis on the use of audiovisuals for defense and the construction of their own narratives.
WITNESS Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean programs’ are part of this network. Learn more about CORAL in https://redcoral.la