Paolo Manzo


Strange that apart from The Guardian, nobody else cared much about the murder of an indigenous leader

9 Dicembre Dic 2014 0421 09 dicembre 2014
  • ...

Few mainstream and alternative medias reported the killing of this man

His name was José Isidro Tendetza Antún. He was a leader of the Shuar people, Ecuador second-biggest indigenous group. Since 2009, Tendetza was struggling against CRCC Tonnguan Investment Limited. A peculiar "private" mining corporation. First because it is 100% controlled by Beijing through two huge Chinese state-owned multinationals. The Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group and the China Railway Construction Corporation. Second because CRCC does not work in China nor in any other country in the world. All its activities focus on the "Cordillera del Condor", the region where Tendetza loved to live. CRCC exists only because the government of Ecuador wanted and allowed to.

CRCC has one active mine and seven new exploration projects. All of them strongly supported by Quito and Beijing. All of them open pit. The mining firm behind which CRCC "hides" itself is EcuacorrienteBehind the native name, although, the property is 100% "made in China". CRCC main project is Mirador, a copper, gold and silver huge mine. Part is still in construction at 70 Km from Cuenca, a beautiful city where Panama hat was invented. Cuenca has a unique micro-climate and its surroundings remember Switzerland. Maybe that's why so many US retired people have chosen to move there. The other seven forthcoming CRCC mines will be in Mirador Norte, Panantza/San Carlos, San Luis, San Marcos, San Miguel/La Florida, Sutzu and Trinidad/Dolorosa.

Enough to strip 450,ooo acres of land in the next few years. Land where the Shuars lived happy and in peace since the beginning of times. "They will destroy our beloved Cordillera del Condor", denounced Tendetza. "They want me to go. I will just when dead" said few days before he went missing, last Nov 28. Bribes were offered to him to leave his land. Then his crops were burnt and finally he was killed.

Tendetza had to speak in Lima at the UN climate talks called COP20. He would have denounced Ecuacorriente at the Rights of Nature Tribunal organized by NGOs, on Dec 5. He couldn't because two days earlier his body was found floating in the Chuchumbletza river. "His legs and arms were tied with a blue rope" denounced his son. Tandetza was tortured, his bones broken.

Ecuador government tried to minimize his murder. Authorities seem "not interested to investigate in a proper way" Shuar leaders blame. According to them, Tendetza was killed because of his struggle against CRCC/Ecuacorriente. Like in the past, today Latin American governments support most of the actions of these "big corporations". The only difference is that those governments of the past were often right-wing dictatorships. Today they are often left-wing democracies.

South America newcomers like China state-owned multinationals are acting today  the same way Western multinationals did for decades in the past. With total disregard of human rights and destroying the surrounding nature. Strange that apart from The Guardian, nobody else cared much about the murder of an indigenous leader that had to speak at the COP20. Or not strange at all.

Who cares if global environment is at risk and climate changes are killing more people every year? When big interests comes - being Chinese state-owned corporation or US private ones doesn't make much difference - human rights and environment are all but the priority.

Sad but so.