Updated 06:59 PM EDT, Thu, Oct 21, 2021

Amazonian Tribe in Ecuador Fend Off Oil Corporations

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Yet another indigenous tribe is being displaced due to foreign investors digging up oil in the Amazon rainforest.

According to Global Post, indigenous groups like the Huaoranis of Ecuador are promised incentives like food and clothes and even weapons to allow international corporations to dig the ground they stand on.

By 1991, a group of Huaoranis educated outside the community made an agreement with oil companies that gave them access to the land.

Unfortunately, the presence of oil corporations changed the local culture and practices, and the Huaorani tribe's existence is in danger as industrial pollutants have contaminated their area and introduced diseases like cancer.

Before They, a website discussing different tribes noted that by 2012, the tribe was left with only 6,800 square kilometers of land -- which amounts to about a third of the total area they originally occupied.

Things only got worse from there: in 2013, Ecuador's president Rafael Correa made an agreement with oil corporations to drill into the Yasuni Park -- an area boasting more flora than any place else in the world.

This is especially something to be concerned about. The World Wildlife Fund previously reported that the Amazon's incredible diversity accounts for 90 metric tons of carbon and up to 140 billion metric tons, helping in the stabilization of the local and global climate. Damage in the protected area can cause consequences nothing short of catastrophic.

To be able to put forward the drilling projects expected in Ecuador, Correa had to throw away the key initiative that prevented companies from extracting oil in their area of the Amazon. This initiative, called the Yasuni Ishpingo-Tambococha Tiputini (ITT), has been scrapped for the exchange of international donations that could help Ecuador pay for part of their growing debt.

There are few Huaoranis left today that haven't been influenced by Western culture. The Daya family, for instance, have been adamant about wanting to stay as they are, saying that the gallant promises of large corporations will not be enough to buy them out. Today, they are still selling traditional crafts and bags to tourists that eco-tourism agencies bring to their lands.

The Huaoranis are not the only tribes affected by President Correa's agreement with oil companies, either. The Sapara tribe, which now only consists of around 300 members, also fear of being displaced.

Still, there are big issues that Correa has to address, like the fact that Ecuador is currently in a large debt that could result in the country defaulting. Mint Press News said that despite the protests and criticisms of the natives, the country may have no choice but to auction off pieces of their land to start paying for their government's incurred debts.

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