Conaie will hold anti-mining protests tomorrow; Galapagos sovereignty not at risk in debt swap, Gov’t says; Babahoyo woman comes back from the dead

Jun 12, 2023 | 6 comments

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) will hold marches throughout the country on Tuesday to protest government mining policies it says are unconstitutional. The marches are being organized in conjunction with the filing of a lawsuit at the Constitutional Court that seeks to declare certain areas of the country mining-free.

“On June 13, we will march in coordination with the National Anti-Mining Front in the capitals of all Ecuadorian provinces to insist on the defense of life, water and nature,” said Conaie President Leonidas Iza.

Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands are not at risk of losing their sovereignty, according to the Ecuadorian government.

Iza said the lawsuit insists Executive Decree 754, signed by President Guillermo Lasso, is illegal since it restricts environmental consultations in local jurisdictions. “The right to such consultations is guaranteed in the constitution and we insist that the court recognize the illegality of government actions to stop them,” he said.

According to a Conaie statement, all governments since the 2008 constitution was adopted have attempted to bypass the right of local communities to decide on mining projects in their jurisdiction. “The administrations of Rafael Correa, Lenin Moreno and Guillermo Lasso share the blame for the violation,” Conaie said.

Galapagos sovereignty not at risk in debt swap, government says
Ecuadorian authorities Saturday denied that a recent debt swap through the creation of the Galapagos Life Fund trust entailed the loss of sovereignty over the Galapagos Islands as a newspaper claimed.

“Ecuador has not ceded any type of sovereignty control over the Galapagos Islands,” said the Secretariat of Communication of the Presidency of Ecuador in a statement. The Government explained that the board of directors of the Galapagos Life Fund has eleven members, of which eight are Ecuadorians and three are foreigners, with funds coming from foundations and “in no way implies the use of public funds.”

The Ecuadorian members include eight government representatives from ministries and the Galapagos Governing Council, as well as the Artisanal Fishermen’s Association, academia, with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) as its representative, and the Galapagos Chamber of Tourism.

On May 9, the Ecuadorian government announced, “the largest debt-for-conservation swap in history” and assured that the operation also represented an opportunity for the international community to join in the protection of ocean biodiversity.

In the debt swap operation, with the participation of the government, financial institutions, development banks, and nature protection organizations, Ecuador converted US$ 1.628 billion of existing commercial debt into a new loan of US$ 656 million. This loan was issued by Credit Suisse, has a US$ 85 million guarantee from the Inter-American Development Bank, and a US$ 656 million political risk insurance provided by the US Development Finance Corporation.

Babahoyo woman comes back from the dead
There was shock in Babahoyo, Ecuador last week after a woman who was pronounced dead by a doctor revived in the middle of her own wake to the astonishment of relatives. She was taken to the Martin Icaza hospital where she is being treated. A day earlier, she had been declared dead at the same hospital and the body was handed over to the family for the wake and burial. “It’s a miracle of God,” said Gilbert Montoya after the “resurrection” of his mother.

“You can practically see the power of God, when God wants someone and when it is not the time for this person, God is giving her a new opportunity and we hope that the doctors do something for this person,” another family member said another witness.

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