The YASunidos – the defenders of the Yasuní – know from bitter experience that oil drilling inevitably leads to irreversible damage to fragile rainforest ecosystems.
Oil is already being extracted in parts of Yasuní National Park. Now, a further drilling license is about to be issued for Yasuní, which has become a worldwide symbol of resistance against the fossil fuel industry. The license for Block 55, or Campo Armadillo, is currently being processed by the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment.
YASunidos spokesperson Pato Chavez demands that the ministry categorically reject all forms of resource extraction in Yasuní to protect the uncontacted indigenous people living there. Oil drilling would also have “disastrous consequences for the fragile and threatened existence” of the territory, says attorney Pablo Piedras. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), 33 species in the area are threatened by extinction.
As recently as 2009, the Ecuadorian government sought to protect “Armadillo Country”, as the territory is commonly known, and put a stop to oil exploration due to evidence of uncontacted Tagaeri and Taromenane peoples living there. Article 57 of the Ecuadorian constitution describes resource extraction in Taromenane territories as “ethnocide”.
In 2013, however, the Ecuadorian government revised their assessment of the presence of Tagaeri and Taromenane in area and publicly stated that no uncontacted people were living in Campo Armadillo, clearing the way for oil drilling there.
Numerous organizations that have spent years working to protect indigenous people living in voluntary isolation have written an open letter to the Ecuadorian government. Please support their call for a stop to oil drilling in Block 55.