By Galo Paguay and Ricardo Trujillo
Published 08/08/2023 – 17:02
An oil company puts pressure on the Haorani people, in the Yasuní National Park, in Ecuador, to make them move and be able to continue with the extraction of hydrocarbons. Some of those affected stand up in a more than unequal battle.
Asigned with a long blowgun, Kominta Yate proclaims, from the depths of the Ecuadorian Amazon, to be willing to fight against a giant. Even if it is with darts with curare.
For Kominta, a hunter, the jungle is his home: “For me, the jungle is a free home, it’s my home, and I don’t want strange people to come to my territory. I don’t want oil companies to come to my territory. That’s how I want to live.” , freely, in a healthy place.”
He feels threatened by the presence of oil companies, which are getting closer and closer, and they are exploiting the rich region in which he was born. He lives in the village of Bameno, in the province of Pastaza. It is the southeast of Ecuador bordering Peru.
Some 200 people who live on the banks of the Cononaco River and oppose extractivist activities in the Yasuní National Park, which is part of one of the most diverse biosphere reserves in the world.
The leader of the Huaorani, Elisa Enqueri explains: “My grandmother says that she would face the spear. Although she can’t speak Spanish she says she would face the spear. Most of all she feels still, has the energy and still feels young.”
The decision is in the hands of Ecuadorians. Along with the anticipated general elections on August 20, a binding popular consultation will be held to decide whether to indefinitely suspend the exploitation of crude oil within the Park, from which 12% of the 466,000 barrels per day that Ecuador produces is extracted.
Lawyer Pedro Bermeospokesman for the Park’s defense association, Yasunidos assures that_”Oil exploitation, as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has said, affects their way of life and puts their lives at risk. There is a serious risk of ethnocide, of total extermination of these communities.”_
The Huaorani, with some 4,800 members and owners of some 800,000 hectares in the Amazonian provinces of Orellana, Pastaza and Napo, are divided.
Some support the oil companies and others reject them, as in Bameno, which for now is far from hydrocarbon exploitation.
The Government of Ecuador opposes the referendum, estimates losses of 16.47 billion dollars in 20 years if the decision is to stop extracting oil from the Natural Park.
Moi Guiquita, a member of the Huaorani people explains the impossibility of moving: “It has been a little more abrupt each time, about sixty years ago they were much further away, but each time they are getting closer and closer.” + cut 7 “We cannot go further because there is no more, this is like the place or point, the heart of Yasuní.”