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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Ecuador Bans Oil Drilling on Section of Indigenous Land

Amazon rainforest in the Park -- Image via By ALAI - Agencia Latinoamericana de Información - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

By Saurav Sarkar

“Democracy Now!” reported that Ecuadorian voters in the country’s presidential election on August 20 also passed a referendum banning oil extraction in the Amazon’s Yasuní National Park. The land has traditionally been occupied by Indigenous peoples.

“It sets a crucial precedent for all Indigenous territories in the Amazon, as well as for the world, because this is the first time that people actually get to vote on an oil project, let alone an existing oil project,” said Helena Gualinga, an Indigenous environmental activist who spoke to the program from Ecuador.

According to Gualinga, the state-owned oil company Petroecuador will be prevented from establishing a new contract. Its current contract, she said, expires in one year. However, she said, there are eight other oil projects underway in the park notwithstanding the referendum’s decision.

Saurav Sarkar is a freelance writer and editor who covers political activism and labor movements. They live in Long Island, New York, and have also lived in New York City, New Delhi, London, and Washington, D.C. Follow them on Twitter @sauravthewriter and at



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