This afternoon, Land
is Life spoke by phone with two of the indigenous women leading Mobilization
for Life; a march which intends to awaken Ecuador's conscience to defend
indigenous rights and the environment and inspire action by authorities
and civil society.
We spoke with Gloria Ushigua, president of the Association of Sapara Women and a leader of the march, which is currently passing through the town of Latacunga, Ecuador. "Tomorrow we are waking up at 3am to go to Quito. This march is to stop the oil exploitation in our territory; it is for everyone, for Yasuní, for all of us."
The group of Amazon indigenous women set out from the town of Puyo, Ecuador, to march over 250 kilometers to the capital Quito. The march, called “Movilización de Mujeres Por La Vida” or, Mobilization of Women For Life, has quickly expanded along the way as family, friends, and members of the public have joined in a collective now numbering in the hundreds.
Though well-organized, the group is now facing a variety of challenges as they are constantly on the move, using up the little resources they had to begin with and facing the cold weather. This is where support from global citizens and the international community can play a vital role.
"We need money for food; there are many of us, about 170. We need money to buy thicker blankets and more quilts to sleep on the floor; without money how are we going to mobilize?" Ushigua asked.
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"Our mother gave birth to us and that is why Mother Earth is sacred to us, the indigenous women," expressed Rosa, who is also marching. "We are here to defend the air, the water, the animals, the forests, all of that. That is why we march."