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Pachamama Politics: Campesino Water Defenders and the Anti-Mining Movement in Ecuador (Review)
A new book traces the rise of Indigenous and peasant demands for a moratorium on mining in Ecuador. It has been a year and a half since Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador, voted to ban mining projects within the nearby watersheds. The historic referendum affected 43 concessions including the Loma Larga mega-mining project, which, if carried out, would have a dramatic impact on the páramo wetlands of Kimsacocha, an ecosystem that supplies water to numerous Indigenous, campesino, and urban communities in southern Ecuador. However, despite the fact that 81 percent of Cuenca’s electorate said “no” to mining, in July 2021 the conservative government of Guillermo Lasso transferred the Loma Larga project to Dundee Precious Metals, a Canadian company that already declared it will not respect the referendum results. Lasso also enacted decree 151 , which seeks to expand mining exploration to 72 percent of the national territory. The decree is part of the government’s plan to aggressively expand the extractive frontier of oil and mining projects, all in the hope of generating revenues to alleviate Ecuador’s foreign debt and ongoing recession.
Confronted with the advance of the extractive frontier and a political, economic, and social crisis, different social […]