One of the most troubling aspects of Ecuador’s mining crisis is the way communities are systematically excluded from determining their own fates. The government recently sold the mineral rights for huge swaths of the country without consulting or gaining the consent of the people living within them. This happened in closed-door sessions with politicians—some with corruption convictions. Many communities are still unaware that the lands they occupy are available for mining.
The government of Ecuador has a controversial human-rights track record when it comes to the mining industry: activists have been jailed or just disappeared, entire villages have been forcibly relocated, and indigenous people have been gunned down in intertribal conflicts fomented by oil companies with little to no accountability from the State. Currently, new legal action proposes to restrict the ability of local governments to ask their people if they want mining.
We understand the complexities involved and have seen the damaging effects of highly polarized media on both sides of the issue. In contrast, our film clearly delineates the costs of mineral extraction in environments like Ecuador’s Chocó rainforests. We build empathy for those who work in mining to support their families, while we also examine the ethicality of mining companies and governmental bodies perpetuating the current crisis. We critically examine the implications of their actions, not only for Ecuador, but for the entire world.