Community leaders in the biodiverse-rich cloud forests of Ecuador have been courageously fighting a large-scale open pit copper mining project for two decades.
On April 11th, Javier Ramirez, president of one of the communities that would be most directly effected by the mine, was arrested by Ecuadorian authorities and charged with 'Sabotage' and 'Terrorism.' A father of four children, he was at home nursing a swollen knee when six community residents prevented a vehicle belonging to the state mining company from transporting employees. Though a car windshield was broken, eye witnesses from the communities flatly deny anyone was hurt at the road blockade. Javier was arrested shortly after this incident.
Knowing that Ramirez is a respected leader in Junín and throughout the Intag region, local leaders affirm that his detainment and imprisonment is the latest tactic on part of the government to intimidate opposition to the Llurimagua mining project. The lawyer's fees, at this stage, are $9,500 and growing. Three lawyers are involved, including the best criminal defense lawyer in the country, who is based in Quito.
If convicted, Javier could spend up to 13 years in jail.
This is an opportunity to directly assist Ramirez, his family and other community leaders in their fight against this mine and for the survival of their community.
The funds will be managed by the Cotacachi Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal (http://www.asambleacotacachi.org), an umbrella organization made up of several civil society organizations from Cotacachi County. Our friend Peter Shear, who lives in Intag and as been leading eco-tours in the region for over 10 years, works closely with this organization.
Video of the confrontation (Part I) http://bit.ly/1sxuKpg
Video of Javier speaking about Intag: http://bit.ly/1mMoBSF
Video about Intag http://bit.ly/1nyVZ0s (English)
Mining and Alternativies Recent Video about Intag (Spanish) http://bit.ly/1majAF4
Web sites www.decoin2.blogspot.com (English and spanish)
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