‘Trapped again’: Quarantined Ecuador indigenous groups fight Amazon oil spill (Reuters)

QUITO, ECUADOR - When the Kichwa community closed off their village near the Coca River in Ecuador's northern Amazon rainforest in March to protect themselves from the coronavirus pandemic, they planned to live off fishing and whatever food they could grow. But about two weeks into their quarantine, two damaged oil pipelines leaked thousands of …

Escaping coronavirus in Ecuador’s Amazon (Al Jazeera’s The Take, Podcast)

QUITO, ECUADOR - In May, Al Jazeera interviewed me for their podcast The Take about how indigenous communities in Ecuador's Amazon were forced to deal with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, lock down, environmental disasters, and oil spills in their communities all at once. This is the outcome of that talk: https://podcasts.aljazeera.com/the-take-episodes/2020/07/27/escaping-coronavirus-in-ecuadors-amazon (Photo Credit: Jeronimo Zuniga/Amazon …

‘I’ll never be ready for this port,’ locals say of Colombia’s proposed project (Mongabay)

TRIBUGÁ, COLOMBIA — Aida Leides Palacios Moreno strolls through the narrow dirt streets in the Colombian town of Tribugá surrounded by palm and plantain trees rustling in the seaside breeze. She’s trying to round up her neighbors for a meeting to discuss yet another ecotourism project. It’s a quiet morning in February. Most of the …

Coronavirus pandemic exposes inequality in Ecuador’s Guayaquil (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR - When Victoria Sanchez and her mother, Eufemia Nicolaza Sanches Pin, showed up at their local public hospital in Ecuador's Guayaquil for Sanches Pin's weekly dialysis treatment last month, hospital staff refused to let the mother, a diabetic, in because she had a runny nose. Hospital staff worried it could be COVID-19 and …

The hidden toll of lockdown on rainforests (BBC Future Planet)

QUITO, ECUADOR -  You might be forgiven for thinking that the global lockdown measures keeping us all at home can only have been good for the environment. Pollution in cities has decreased, wild animals have increasingly been spotted entering urban areas, and many new cycle lanes have opened up worldwide. But in the world’s tropical …

Visions of a Crisis: Difficult days in Ecuador (Literary Review of Canada)

QUITO, ECUADOR - The first time I cried was Saturday, March 21. It was a beautiful morning, and I was sitting at my window, staring at the sun-kissed Andes Mountains around Quito. But I couldn’t hear cars honking on my normally bustling street. There were no car alarms, either. The furniture store next door wasn’t blasting reggaeton …

U.S. allies, encouraged by Washington, said goodbye to their Cuban doctors. As coronavirus surges, some are arguing for their return. (Washington Post)

[Co-written with Anthony Faiola] The doctors and nurses began boarding planes late last year, Cuban professionals who had come to aid Ecuador’s health-care system, their time cut short by a government that no longer wanted them. Ecuador is one of a handful of U.S. allies that fell in step with the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy on Cuba, …

Indigenous race into Ecuador’s Amazon to escape coronavirus (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Nemonte Nenquimo, an Indigenous Waorani leader from Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, watched as her Indigenous colleagues, family and friends rushed back to their territory this past week, attempting to escape the threat of the coronavirus engulfing the region. Some travelled by car or bus, others flew by charter plane or travelled by boat …

Ecuador’s vanishing jaguars: the big cat vital to rainforest survival (The Guardian)

QUITO, ECUADOR -  Across the American continent, from the north of Mexico to Argentina, the jaguar has long been revered for its strength and power. But in some parts of Ecuador, the largest cat in South America is increasingly at risk as roads, mining and agriculture take over the rainforests. The loss of habitat is …