In the way to Tundayme, a village embedded in the Cordillera Condor Mirador, between Ecuador and Peru , there is a quarry that reveals the dark color of the earth in contrast to the green of the jungle. “Look what you’ve done mining”, says Carmen Suquilanda, representative of the Saraguro indigenous community who opposes the project of large-scale extraction being conducted by the Chinese company Ecuacorrientes, and plans to open the first open-cast mine in 2018.
|Original text by Soraya Constante at:
The march for indigenous dignity departed from Tundayme on August 2. They plan to arrive to Quito on August 13 for an announced national strike against the government of Ecuador. The place was chosen to emphasize the defense of the land and the resistance that characterizes the indigenous groups who will take their demands to the President Rafael Correa. Salvador Quishpe, prefect of Zamora Chinchipe (where the Cordillera Condor Mirador mining project and it sits) and one of the main indigenous leaders, criticized the signs of “private property” that were place in Tundayme. “This belongs to the Chinese, and that’s what the Government calls to ‘recover’ our homeland” he said, speaking on behalf of displaced families in the area and the few people who are reluctant to leave their farms.
These people did not accept the initial offer of the mining (a maximum of USD 2,400 per hectare) and they resist within the estates that are already owned by the Chinese company. Julia Ordonez, 73, is still at home with the only company of the religious figures of Jesus Christ and Mary that were rescued from the church that was outside her home.
The candidates for eviction have been living in the area for more than half a century. Maria Aucay, who also resists, has lived in his house for 70 years. For Maria, mining supporters “have laziness to work the land”, but she is also aware that every time there is less land to work. “¿Where to work, if all the land belongs to the company?” she asks.
It is difficult to resist in Tundayme. Mining for many people represents a fixed salary of USD 300 or 400, and the opportunity to get the money that Chinese workers spend in renting a room or in food services.
There is also fear to resist. Last December there was found the body of Jose Tendetza, a Shuar indigenous who refused to leave the land that belongs to them by ancestral right. His daughter, Rosa Maria, 27, still lives in the Shuar community next to Tundayme. What’s surprising about this case is that the indigenous activist disappeared and was found after several days in a river, tied hand and foot. Then the prosecutor ordered his burial without any investigation.