Indigenous, green movement resists Ecuador’s pro-mining politics

Ecuadorians voted for their next president on Sunday 7 February, but it wasn’t the only significant decision on ballots. Cuenca, the third largest city in the South American country, voted to ban mining projects within the nearby drainage basins of five rivers. There are over 4,000 large and small bodies of water in the sensitive Páramo ecosystem, which acts as a reservoir in the Andes. The land, which is directly adjacent to a national park, has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. 

Nevertheless, corporations from Canada, Australia, Peru and Chile had already been granted 43 concessions for the mining of various metals. Fourteen grassroots organisations were behind the referendum, approved by the constitutional court last September via the Cuenca city council....

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