Ecuador’s environmental ministry rejects request to dissolve Acción Ecológica

Jan 12, 2017 | 3 comments

Supporters and members of Ecuador’s largest environmental organization are crediting international pressure for keeping the group in business.

On Thursday, Minister of the Environment Walter Garcia rejected a request from the Ministry of the Interior to dissolve Acción Ecológica for activities it claimed promoted violence during a mining protest in Morona Santiago Province, east of Cuenca.

Acción Ecológic members at Thursday’s hearing. (El Comercio)

After examining the evidence, Garcia said he found no connection between violence resulting from an indigenous protest at a Chinese copper mine and Acción Ecológica, which supports the protesters. During anti-mining protests in December, a policeman was killed and several other officers were injured. A number of Shuar protesters were also injured in the confrontation.

Joshua Graham, a consultant with the United Nations and several international environmental organizations, said that pressure from international media played a key role in the decision to dismiss charges against Acción Ecológica. “As I understand it, the order to scuttle the dissolution came from President Correa himself,” he said. “Although we appreciate today’s action on behalf of the Ecuadorian government, we wish it did not require outside pressure for them to realize their error.”

Acción Ecológica president, Alexandra Almeida, also credited the international community for helping to stop the dissolution. “We are happy that the environmental ministry realizes the charges against us were false,” she said. “We feel justice has been served and we thank our friends around the world for coming to our defense.”

Almeida added that Acción Ecológica will continue to fight for the “rights of people and nature,” and will oppose mining projects that it believes violates those rights.

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