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Action Alert: Ecuador Tribe Will "Die Fighting" to Defend Rainforest #IdleNoMore

Please support Ecuador's Kichwa villagers, who the Guardian newspaper reports vow to resist oil prospecting by the state-backed company Petroamazonas at all costs. The Kichwa tribe has said they are ready to fight to the death to protect their rainforests, which cover 70,000 hectares, adjacent and part of Yasuni National Park, and huge additional Ecuadorean rainforests are threatened by new industrial oil auctions as well. Industrial development of rainforests for oil in the Amazon has a long history of destroying ecosystems, including fouling water. Tell President Correa that standing, intact old-growth forest ecosystems are a requirement for local advancement and for local and global ecological sustainability; and demand that the invasion of indigenous nations' rainforests be halted.

By, a project of EcoInternet - January 19, 2013

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Additional Background

An indigenous community of about 400 villagers is preparing to resist the Ecuadorean army and one of the biggest oil companies in South America. The Kichwa tribe on Sani Isla say they are ready to fight to the death to protect their territory, which covers 70,000 hectares of pristine rainforest, adjacent to and part of Yasuni National Park. The region is one of the most biodiverse on Earth, and the large intact ecosystems power local and global sustainability. The Ecuador government has received much acclaim for plans to protect biodiversity rich Yasuni from oil development in exchange for compensation payments. Yet much of the rest of the nation's rainforests remain threatened by oil development, including a new round of leases, and indigenous peoples continue to lose control of their rainforest homes.

Petroamazonas – the state-backed oil company – has told the Kichwa it will soon begin prospecting, backed by public security forces, paying only $40 per hectare. Residents of Sani Isla have built up an arsenal of weapons – spears, blowpipes, machetes, guns, sticks and stones – to fend off Petroamazonas, in a confrontation which has been delayed but not yet won. Community leaders have stated "we have decided to fight to the end. Each landholder will defend their territory. We will help each other and stand shoulder to shoulder to prevent anyone from passing… We will not start conflict, but we will try to block them and then what happens will happen." Community members are appealing for outside help protesting the oil invasion, assistance in their legal battle, and in efforts to find long-term economic alternative to fossil fuels.

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