Posts Tagged ‘Ecuador’


Oil Facility Attacked in Ecuador

Waorani Warriors could be tried soon for sabotage and paralysis of public services following attacks on an oil field in Ecuador earlier this month. [Courtesy]

Waorani Warriors could be tried soon for sabotage and paralysis of public services following attacks on an oil field in Ecuador earlier this month. [Courtesy]

In January 2015, seven Waorani warriors attacked an oil facility owned by Petrobell in Ecuador. The attack shut down eleven oil wells, and wounded six Ecuadorian soldiers. The warriors were arrested and tried for “sabotage and paralysis of public services.” Following negotiations with the government, five of the seven warriors were freed, and Waorani leaders promised to refrain from attacking oil facilities in the future.

The Waorani have a history of tumultuous relations with the oil industry, and similar attacks on oil facilities occurred in 2011 and 2012. Oil companies reportedly provide money, food rations, and housing to the Waorani, but this has failed to prevent attacks, indicating need for more effective and sustainable community engagement.

Sources: Indian Country Today

This post is excerpted from First Peoples Worldwide’s Corporate Monitor, a monthly report on key trends affecting companies interacting with Indigenous Peoples. To sign up for monthly e-mail updates, click here.


A #NativeEats Success

As the Native Eats Challenge comes to a close, we are excited to share a few of the Indigenous dishes and recipes our followers shared. While our Challenge lasted only a month, the American Indian College Fund will continue the Challenge into December by collecting recipes for an Indigenous e-cookbook. Share your dishes and recipes with the American Indian College Fund by posting them on Facebook and tagging them with #NativeEats!

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“My attempt at huckleberry bread for the #NativeEats challenge! I used this recipe from the First Peoples Worldwide Pinterest page, but had to replace huckleberries with cranberries.”

Photo Credit: Britnae Purdy

Photo Credit: Britnae Purdy


“Oldie, but goodie recipe for Iroquois White Corn Mush. Simple, two-ingredient, delicious, and lower-glycemic breakfast staple. Bonus: Sneak peek at Iroquois White Corn project photography work.”

Photo Credit: Indigenous Food Revolutionary

Photo Credit: Indigenous Food Revolutionary


 “I am non-Indigenous, but my Anishinabe friend suggested I post this here. Last night I organized a fundraiser (a pie auction) for the organization I work for, Christian Peacemaker Teams. We have a team working in Canada on Aboriginal Justice issues (as well as in Iraqi Kurdistan, West Bank and Colombia). So, since the attendees of the fundraiser were to be mostly Mennonite Christians living in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Treaty #1), I decided to make a Turtle Island (apple and blueberry) pie to remind them that we were all living on Turtle Island, on the land of the Anishinabe. The pie sold at auction for $300..”

Photo Credit: Kathy Thiessen

Photo Credit: Kathy Thiessen


“This hot kakaw from @FirstPeoples is the best I’ve had! So happy they posted the recipe.”

Photo Credit: @kauanykerfuffle

Photo Credit: @kauanykerfuffle


#NativeEats Recipe: Indigenous Hot Kakaw

 By Gabriela Arevalo

Photo Credit: Cafe Kakaw

Photo Credit: Cafe Kakaw

With the cold weather approaching, this Indigenous Hot Kakaw recipe comes from the diverse Maya people of southern Mexico to Northern Central America. They are credited as being some of the first peoples to manufacture rubber, and the first group to cultivate cacao, papaya and the aguacate (avocado pear). The Maya people developed an agriculturally intensive, city-centered civilization consisting of numerous independent city-states, and Mayan descendants continue to practice their rich culture in what used to be the Maya civilization’s lands.

Cacao is abundant in the lands of the Maya, who were the first to roast the seeds of the cacao fruit to make hot chocolate. The ancient Maya drank their chocolate as a ceremonial elixir and a savory mood enhancer. For the Maya, cacao was a sacred gift of the gods, and cacao beans were also used as currency. Ek Chuah, the Maya god of merchants and trade, also acted as the patron of the cacao crop.

The Mayan Hot Kakaw or Hot Chocolate Drink was a beverage to honor Gods and high ranking individuals such as priests and lords. In ancient times, Maya never mixed the cacao bean paste with milk – instead, they only used hot water. When the Spanish invaded Maya lands in the 1500s, they adopted the beverage, adding their influence to it with sugar and milk to make it sweet and creamy. Indigenous Maya people still drink the following ancient hot chocolate, or Hot Kakaw, recipe.

This recipe is great for chocolate lovers who will find a truly rich deep bittersweet chocolate flavor with a pinch of soft chili pepper touch enhancing the deep aroma of this pure and authentic traditional hot chocolate. The quality of the Kakaw or cacao paste you use makes all of the difference when it comes to nutritional value, aroma and flavor. Pure organic cacao butter is filled with antioxidants and mood-boosting polyphenols – especially during a cold winter! If the Maya hot chocolate is too strong and unfamiliar, just exchange the traditional use of water for milk.


vaso maya

Photo Credit: Yucatan Adventure


3 cups boiling water

1 to 2 cinnamon sticks

8 ounces bittersweet Maya Kakaw or Xocoalt (chocolate paste) or

3 tablets Mexican unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons of wild pure honey, or raw sugar to taste

1 pinch of dried red chili; this is what makes the difference so try it!

1 dried organic grown vanilla bean, split lengthwise

l tablespoon roasted peanuts, ground extra fine (optional Aztec hot chocolate taste)

How to Prepare:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the cinnamon sticks to boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 2 1/2 cups. Remove cinnamon sticks; add the vanilla bean and lower the heat a bit, wait until bubbles appear around the edge to reduce heat to low and drop the chocolate pieces and wild pure honey, mix well and whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted. Turn off heat and remove vanilla bean. Whisk vigorously to create a light foam effect, sprinkle the dried chili pepper and serve; and for an Aztec hot chocolate taste, sprinkle the roasted peanut powder.


Sources: Yucatan Adventures, National Geographic


PRESS RELEASE: The Indigenous Rights Risk Report

November 10, 2014
Contact: Katie Cheney,


The Indigenous Rights Risk Report: How Violating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Increases Industry Risks

New report finds that US extractive companies expose shareholders to risks by neglecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – On November 10, First Peoples Worldwide released the Indigenous Rights Risk Report at the SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing, a product of two years of consultations with investment analysts, industry professionals, and Indigenous Peoples. The report analyzes 52 U.S. oil, gas, and mining companies with projects operating on or near Indigenous territories around the globe, impacting some 150 Indigenous communities. These projects were assessed against five indicators (Country Risk, Reputation Risk, Community Risk, Legal Risk, and Risk Management) to determine their risk of Indigenous community opposition or violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. The report found that most of the U.S. extractive companies analyzed are poorly positioned to manage the risks they face when working on Indigenous lands. Furthermore, the Report shows that poor governance and negligible policies for Indigenous peoples in host countries is bad for business. Nearly 60% of all projects operating in high-risk countries were rated as high risks themselves. You can read the full report at

When analyzing risks associated with the operating country, companies’ reputation, the engaged Indigenous community, legal action, and risk management, the report found that 35% of the 330 projects assessed had high risk exposure, and 54% had medium risk exposure. Despite these risks, the vast majority of companies and projects are exhibiting suboptimal efforts to establish positive relations with Indigenous communities, and 92% of the companies assessed do not address community relations or human rights at their board level in any formal capacity. Companies with high risk scores at 100% of their projects on or near Indigenous territories were Alpha Natural Resources, Kosmos Energy, Southwestern Energy, and Whiting Petroleum. Other companies with high risk scores at 50% or more of their projects on or near Indigenous territories were Anadarko Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Continental Resources, Murphy Oil, Royal Gold, SM Energy, Southern Copper, and WPX Energy. A searchable database of the 330 oil, gas, and mining projects assessed under the new methodology is available on First Peoples’ website at

FPW also analyzed risks associated with Indigenous recognition by host governments, land rights, and community consultation, demonstrating how resource-rich countries’ negligible or non-existent policies towards Indigenous peoples affect the companies that work within their borders. This is becoming increasingly evident in Canada, Indonesia, Ecuador, Peru, and other emerging resource economies. In 2013, a consortium of Canadian leaders (including industry representatives) warned that Canada is “heading for a gridlock in energy development that will rob the country of future wealth unless it can solve vexing environmental and Aboriginal conflicts.” Indonesia has become saturated with violent resource conflicts, with more than 2,230 Indigenous communities requesting investigations into violations of their land rights. Also in 2013, auctions for oil and gas concessions in Ecuador and Peru encountered both vehement opposition from Indigenous Peoples and “underwhelming” interest from companies – raising speculations that the Indigenous protests influenced companies’ decisions. Poor governance is bad for business – governments that disregard Indigenous rights are propagating volatile business environments that threaten the viability of investments in their countries.

Not only are Indigenous voices becoming louder, the media spotlight on Indigenous Peoples and resource extraction is shining brighter: 126 projects were exposed to negative attention from the media in 2014. Legal risks are also becoming more prominent, as legal protections for Indigenous Peoples’ rights around the world continue to strengthen. Indigenous community opposition is an especially perilous investment risk because Indigenous Peoples have the international legal framework for Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) – the right for a community to give or withhold consent to projects that may affect their lands. Over the past several decades, Indigenous Peoples have secured unprecedented recognition of their rights from governments, but these impressive legal gains are matched with chronic gaps in implementation, especially as they relate to resource extraction. Using market forces to financially incentivize business practices that respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights – including the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent – presents opportunities for communities to exert powerful leverage over corporations operating on or near their lands.

First Peoples Worldwide is an Indigenous-led organization that builds upon a foundation of Indigenous values and rights to achieve a sustainable future for all. Our Keepers of the Earth Fund provides grants directly to Indigenous-led development projects. Since 2007, we’ve given $1.7 million in grants to hundreds of Indigenous communities across 58 countries. Our corporate engagement program makes the business case for respecting and upholding Indigenous Peoples’ rights through vigilant monitoring of corporate practices, affecting policy change, and advocating best practices in Indigenous community engagement.

View the full report online at

Contact Katie Cheney at First Peoples Worldwide for media inquiries at (713) 560-6378

Learn more about First Peoples Worldwide at


IR3 FB Cover


Conflicting Perspectives to Treaty on Business and Human Rights

In June 2014, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution, drafted by Ecuador and South Africa, to “establish an intergovernmental working group with the mandate to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with respect to human rights.”

Human Rights Watch criticized the resolution for being “too narrow since it only focuses on transnational corporations and will not address national or other businesses.” Contrariwise, the International Organization of Employers (IOE), the world’s largest private sector network, stated that it “deeply regrets that the adoption of the Ecuador initiative has broken the unanimous consensus on business and human rights achieved three years ago with the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.” The IOE appears concerned that a treaty would muddle the roles for companies and states outlined under the “protect, respect, and remedy” framework, but provides few additional details in its statement.

Companies are frequently implicated in, or disrupted by, human rights abuses that are linked to states, and should welcome the onset of stronger legal frameworks for human rights. The resolution secured more support from states where human rights violations are likely to occur, and less support from states where most transnational corporations are headquartered. The twenty votes in favor came from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, while the thirteen votes against came from Europe, Japan, South Korea, and the US.

Sources: Business and Human Rights Resource Center


Chinese Presence in Ecuador Affects Indigenous Peoples

Since 2009, China has loaned $9 billion to Ecuador, and has promised to loan an additional $7 billion to the country. These loans amount to nearly one-fifth of Ecuador’s GDP, and their conditions and stipulations give China access to approximately 90 percent of the country’s oil reserves, most of which are on Indigenous territories. Despite China’s recent adoption of Green Credit Guidelines and Foreign Investment Regulations, the country has a sustained record of resource extraction with little to no regard for the environment or human rights. For this reason, Chinese investments in Ecuador are expected to have negative implications for Indigenous Peoples, including communities living in voluntary isolation. Despite China’s rapidly growing demand for energy, approximately 70 percent of the oil it produces in Ecuador is sent to the US via private shipping and trading firms. Because the actions of state-owned and/or private companies are generally more difficult to monitor and regulate, stronger public awareness and transparency protocols are needed to enable US consumers and investors to “trace” oil derived from Chinese investments in Ecuador, and take the actions necessary to ensure that operators respect the principles of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
Sources: Amazon Watch


Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa Brings Criminal Charges Against Critics


By Ela Arevalo

Criminal charges have been brought against three Ecuadorian men, opposition legislator José Cléver Jiménez Cabrera, physician Carlos Eduardo Figueroa, and journalist Fernando Alcíbiades Villavicencio for allegedly slandering President Correa. They were convicted in early April of this year with the following sentences and fines; Jiménez and Villavicencio were sentenced to 18 months, Figueroa to six months, and the three were collectively fined US$145,000 (£86,000). They are accused of defaming Correa by accusing him of crimes against humanity for ordering his military to use force to rescue him from a blockaded hospital during a 2010 Police riot.

The uprising happened on September 30th, 2010 when Ecuador’s government declared a state of emergency after the riot ensued on the heels of the passage of a Congressional law that cut benefits to police. President Rafael Correa had water and tear gas thrown at him while he attempted to speak at a police barracks in the Capital. He was then taken to the hospital where, the three men claimed, he requested force be taken in order to remove him from that hospital. During this state of emergency, the Ecuadorian military took control which resulted in roadblocks of burning tires, airports shutting down, suspended civil liberties, and five deaths. With the protests spreading like wildfire, there was a political crisis piling at Correa’s feet, which could have driven him to consider dissolving the parliament and rule by decree until the next elections. Although Ecuador is no stranger to protests, averaging 50-80 protests monthly, having the air force overtake the Quito airport was something never seen before.

Human Rights Watch has since urged Correa to stop using criminal defamation laws to go after his critics and José Miguel Vivanco, HRW’s Americas director, said that “President Correa has long made it clear that he’s willing to go after anyone who criticizes him, from civil society leaders to media critics,” showing a glimpse into just how far Correa is willing to take this issue.

After the charges were filed against the three men, they went to seek refuge among the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, who are famed for their success in resisting oil drilling and are a symbol for resistance in the country. It was in this act that Correa’s threats became more prominent and violent, demanding their return and asking, “Who decided that the Sarayaku community has moral supremacy over the rights of others?”

Ecuador is party to the American Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protect the right to free expression. International human rights organizations have steadily criticized the use of criminal defamation laws, specifically in response to allegations involving public officials for the purpose of promoting the animated public debate needed in a democratic society. The Principles on Freedom of Expression adopted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights affirm that protection of the reputation of public officials should be guaranteed only by civil sanctions, not criminal ones. As a voluntary participant in the public service sector and as president, Correa has exposed himself to more opportunities for public scrutiny and criticism.

The Sarayaku officially announced on April 24th that they would grant asylum to the three Ecuadorians until “the state guarantees their physical integrity and respects their human rights and lives.” This risky decision has brought with it rumors of possible attacks by the government who have mobilized helicopters and canoes of heavily armed police. The Sarayaku have in turn, suspended schools and the community has mobilized to protect themselves and the three Ecuadorians. For the Kichwa, “an attack against one person is considered an attack against everyone. If someone is threatening their ancestral territory – 135,000 hectares – it is considered an attack against their home,” a home that they have already famously protected in the court and will surely do everything in their power to protect once again from the government.

After a police unit attempted to infiltrate the community by helicopter on May 12th, they were threatened by 300 weapons- wielding Sarayaku whose governing council did not grant permission for any outsiders to enter. The reason behind the Sarayaku’s decision to harbor these fugitives is because of their dispute with the Ecuadorian government over a 2012 IACHR ruling that ordered the government to pay US$1.4 million compensation to Sarayaku. While the government did pay the compensation, the Sarayaku insist that the ruling granted the region broad autonomy whereas the government argues that it only implies a prohibition on oil or mining without community consent.

Villavicencio is hoping that the government will mind the ‘precautionary measures’ granted by the Inter-American Commission stating that those measures are “[…] binding, not optional,” and will move to approach other international bodies to put more pressure on the Ecuadorian government to comply with the I-AC ruling. He, Figueroa, and Jiménez are safe for now within the community who has protected them since they consider the three men to be persecuted for political reasons, which is a situation they can relate to.


Changing Legal Landscape in Canada

Two recent Canadian court rulings have potential to majorly alter the legal landscape for Canadian companies doing business overseas.  In July 2013, a court ruled that Hudbay Minerals (TSE:HBM) can be tried for overseas human rights violations in Canadian courts.  Security personnel working for Hudbay’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Guatemala allegedly murdered a community leader, raped eleven women, and shot another man in a Mayan village.  In December 2013, a Canadian appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs in the ongoing lawsuit against Chevron (NYSE:CVX) can seek enforcement of the Ecuadorian government’s $9.5 billion verdict against the company in Canadian courts.

These rulings could prompt legal action against other Canadian companies accused of overseas human rights violations.  Since the 1990s, the McGill Research Group Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America has documented 84 conflicts involving Canadian mining companies and local communities in Latin America.  There could be a connection between these conflicts, and the domestic tensions involving First Nations and resource extraction in Canada.  In both cases, companies are guided by government policies that ill-equip them for modern legal and political landscapes for doing business on Indigenous Peoples’ lands.

Sources: Montreal Gazette


Ecuador Shuts Down Indigenous NGO

In December 2013, the Ecuadorian government shut down Fundación Pachamama, an Indigenous organization opposed to the country’s plans to auction oil concessions on Indigenous territories, for allegedly “deviating from the aims and objectives for which it was created” and “engaging in political activities…that affect the public peace or that interfere in public policies that threaten the internal or external security of the state.”  In his weekly national radio address, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correra accused the organization of “aggression” against a Belarusian businessman and a Chilean ambassador during a protest in Quito.  Correra also read a list of people from other organizations involved in the protest.  Correra insisted that “real Indigenous leaders” support the auction, but there is little evidence to support his claims, as his list of protesters included leaders from the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, the Governments of Original Nations of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and several Achuar, Kichwa, and Zápara organizations.

Ecuador, like Peru, is receiving lukewarm interest in its auctioning of oil concessions on Indigenous territories.  The government’s decision is probably intended to quell Indigenous dissent in the short-term to make the country appear more attractive to foreign investors, but will ultimately generate more community resistance and further jeopardize the long-term returns of oil activities in the country.

Sources: Amazon Watch, Indian Country Today, Amnesty International, Fundación Pachamama


Ecuador Halves Chevron Judgement

In November 2013, an Ecuadorian court upheld its earlier ruling against Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) for environmental devastation in the Ecuadorian Amazon, but eliminated punitive damages that were imposed due to the company’s refusal to apologize, reducing the fine from $19 billion to $9.5 billion.  The court’s decision is unlikely to end the seemingly interminable legal battle, with Chevron claiming that the judgment is as “illegitimate and unenforceable today as it was when it was issued two years ago.”  Chevron is countersuing the Ecuadorian plaintiffs for allegedly using fraudulent means to influence the judgment, and bringing charges against the Ecuadorian government before an international arbitration panel in The Hague.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Reuters