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Ecuadoran Government Alleges Mafia Involvement In Small-Scale Mining

ISSN:1060-4189
LADB Article ID: 79183
Category/Department: Ecuador
Date: 2014-01-10
By: Luis Ángel Saavedra

Early last November, an incident between a military platoon and Shuar communities living on the banks of the Río Zamora, in southern Ecuador’s Amazon region, resulted in the death of an indigenous man named Freddy Taish. Later that same day, in a nationwide broadcast, the government blamed the incident on foreign "mafias" involved in arms and drugs trafficking and money laundering. Authorities say the outside criminal groups have infiltrated the Zamora area’s artisan (small-scale) mining industry. Artisan mining is a subsistence activity traditionally carried out by local indigenous and campesino communities. Domingo Ancuash, a longtime Shuar leader, believes the crackdown resulted from his community's vocal opposition to mining concessions granted in the region to multinational mining interests.

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