Can Ecuador do palm oil right? Jurisdictional RSPO commitment stirs hope (Mongabay)

QUITO, ECUADOR -  Ecuador’s oil palm industry has taken what many see as another step forward by committing to a jurisdictional RSPO system as a way to transform the entire sector by making it cleaner and more sustainable. But some wonder if a commitment to RSPO is enough, considering the industry’s questionable reputation in some parts …

Advertisements

Community vs. company: A tiny town in Ecuador battles a palm oil giant (Mongabay)

WIMBI, ECUADOR - When Yessenia Padilla heard that her community crops were being destroyed, she and about 70 of her neighbors rushed out to intervene. They grabbed large boards, rocks, the machetes they use to harvest their fields, and took off yelling. She said that when they arrived, they saw workers from the oil palm …

‘I can’t get out’: Farmers feel the pressure as Ecuador’s palm oil sector grows (Mongabay)

LA CONCORDIA, ECUADOR - Jorge Jurado has been farming oil palm on Ecuador’s coast for almost 20 years, and has seen the industry go through many changes. But over the last few years, he and hundreds of other small-scale farmers have been hit by two major plagues: abnormally low market prices for palm oil over …

When the “Cure” for Homosexuality Is Torture (In These Times)

QUITO, ECUADOR - When Donato Sanchez, a transgender man, walked into a “gay rehab” clinic for the first time, he didn’t know he was going to stay. His father had convinced him to “check out the facilities,” nothing more. Sanchez had been told that if he chose to enter the clinic, it would “be of …

FARC fears after rightwing Duque elected (New Internationalist)

ICONONZO, COLOMBIA -  A handful of former guerrilla fighters met Sunday at La Tienda (The Store), the only store and social area in the FARC reintegration zone near Icononzo, Tolima, to watch the election results. But the space that is normally full of laughter and banter was grim Sunday afternoon. Many wondered what will be …

Piedad Cordoba: Colombia’s election could tear Peace Deal to shreds (New Internationalist)

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - Piedad Cordoba has long been a well-known Colombian human rights activist, lawyer, former congress woman, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was once named the most influential Ibero-American intellectual by Foreign Policy magazine. She also briefly ran as a candidate in this year’s presidential elections, but dropped out of the race in March. …

Ecuador’s indigenous Waorani launch petition to save the Amazon (Al Jazeera)

NEMONPARE, ECUADOR - The Amazon rainforest is not an oil block and it is not for sale, says Ecuador's Waorani community in a new petition. The indigenous community has been living in and fighting for their jungle territory for thousands of years, but they could soon see the entire region auctioned off to the highest …

Three journalists are kidnapped in Ecuador, signaling the violence spilling over from Colombia (The Washington Post)

QUITO, ECUADOR — Every night since March 26, when three Ecuadoran journalists were kidnapped near their country’s border with Colombia, their colleagues have gathered to demand their rescue. “We’re missing three! We want them back alive!” they have shouted while protesting in front of the presidential palace in the capital, Quito. The kidnappings of Javier …

Why are former FARC rebels leaving reintegration camps? (Al Jazeera)

EL ESTRECHO, COLOMBIA - For more than 35 years, Blanca Ducuara Gomez lived in Colombia's mountains, patrolling the countryside as a member of the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But today she lives in a FARC disarmament camp (also known as reintegration areas) in the southern state of Cauca, …

Indigenous Amazonian women demand end to extraction (Mongabay)

QUITO, ECUADOR -  Nearly 100 indigenous women of the Ecuadorian Amazon spent five days protesting outside the country’s Presidential Palace last week. They were demanding a meeting with President Lenin Moreno and to personally deliver their political mandate. Authorities eventually agreed to a meeting between the protesters and the president, currently set for March 22. …