Mining concessions in Ecuador stalled over compliance with indigenous rights (MongaBay)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Indigenous communities in Ecuador celebrated this week after President Lenin Moreno announced Monday that the government would come down harder on oil and mining companies that don’t comply with the country’s social and environmental laws. New mining concessions are now stalled until the companies can prove they’ve complied with all regulations under …

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FARC’s Insurgent Feminism Moves from the Battlefield to Society (Upside Down World)

COLOMBIA - Diana Lozado was 21 when she left her home city of Nieva and fled into the jungle to fight with the FARC. She had always been fascinated by the guerrilla movement and its fight against inequality in the countryside, and Lozado wanted to be part of it. “I only knew the FARC in theory, …

When the Government Orders You to Burn Your Crops (In These Times)

MADRIGAL, COLOMBIA - Each day at 6 a.m., Jorge Moreno walks to his coca field to harvest leaves that will eventually be made into cocaine. He inspects the leaves by hand and cuts them with a machete—his only tool—while swatting away mosquitoes. He started recently, because there were few other options. The only thing he was …

Could fungi provide an alternative to palm oil? (Mongabay)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Fungi – a kingdom grouping that includes mushrooms, mold and yeast – have long been heralded for their beneficial properties. They’ve been used to soak up oil spills, boost your immune system and lower cholesterol, among other environmental and medical feats. Now, researchers have found one more use for fungi – as …

Signs of lasting trauma in people evicted to make way for giant mine in Ecuador (The Guardian)

TSUNTSUIM, ECUADOR - Months after they were evicted from their homes to make way for a mine, almost half the population of an Ecuadorian village is suffering from psychological damage, experts have said. Psychiatrists found 42% of the indigenous Shuar people of Tsuntsuim village suffering from mental health problems and trauma. Many of the villagers …

Earthquake In Ecuador: Women In Crisis Band Together (Argot Magazine)

BAHIA DE CARAQUEZ, ECUADOR - Andrea Quijije Garcia lost her home in the earthquake that hit Ecuador’s coast last year, and spent almost two weeks sleeping on the floor of a local church. She shared the small space with at least 40 other families. Most of them had to stay long after Garcia left, since …

Abortion Escorts in Ecuador are Breaking the Silence (Ms. Magazine Blog)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Las Comadres—which loosely translates as The Godmothers, or “a very close friend”—is a feminist group fighting back against the nation’s restrictive abortion laws. Members accompany women through their abortion procedures and provide them with medical and legal information. Last weekend, they ran their first national workshop walking women through the process. The …

What would you do if you had “nature’s pharmacy” in your backyard? (Mongabay)

  TAMIA YURA, ECUADOR – Benjamin Mamallacta Alvarado and his wife Dalia Tapuy were both recently sick, but instead of going to a pharmacy to pick up medication, they went into their backyard, which just happens to be in the Amazon rainforest. Born and raised in the Amazon, Alvarado has been using medicinal plants all …

Amnesty: A Win for Colombia’s Peace Process? (The New Internationalist)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Liliany Obiando is finally free – after nine years. For almost a decade, Colombian sociologist, human rights worker and former political prisoner Liliany Obando has been engaged in a long and complex battle with the Colombian state and judicial system. She was charged with ‘rebellion’ in 2008, but this March the state officially …

Colombia’s Cane Industry Efficient but Potentially Damaging (Mongabay)

CALI, COLOMBIA - Colombia’s Pacific coast state of Valle del Cauca, home to at least 80 percent of the country’s booming sugar cane industry, continues to rebound after excessive and damaging rains in 2011-2012. In fact, recent USDA Foreign Agricultural Services report found that the country’s cane industry continues to reach “historical averages.” The rebound isn’t …