Dark clouds loom over the Tundayme bus station where José Isidro Tendetza Antún said goodbye to his family for the last time. The moody skies above the Cordillera del Condor would have been a familiar sight to the indigenous leader as he set out on 28 November to join a protest meeting against a huge Chinese-backed mine being carved out of his ancestral homeland. He never arrived. Four days later, his son Jorge found Tendetza’s body in an unmarked grave, showing signs of torture and strangulation. Six months on, that murder continues to reverberate among the residents of this jungle mountain range straddling Ecuador’s Amazon frontier with northern Peru. Tendetza was a prominent critic of President Rafael Correa’s government, which he accused of making a U-turn on its pledge to respect nature and indigenous lands. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to legally recognise the rights of nature in its constitution, but it has since approved a series of mega-projects, including large-scale mines and hydroelectric dams – mostly in Chinese hands. One of seven siblings, José Tendetza grew up in the Cordillera del Condor, learning to farm, hunt and fish just as his forefathers had. This… Read full this story
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