Pachamama Assault

May 9, 2009  |  Ecuador, News

On Wednesday 22th April 2009, at about 7 p.m., Rosa Etelvina Misacango Chuñir, aged 49, was attacked both verbally and physically at her home in Barrio 13 de Abril, Molleturo Parish. A member of the Front of Women Defenders of the Pachamama, she has become yet another victim of the violence generated in the communities by the presence of transnational mining companies.

The attackers – Raúl Gutama and Wilson Gutama, sons of Felipe Gutama, and his daughters-in-law Mayra Gutama and Isabel Gutama – began by insulting Rosa Etelvina Misacango, saying, “You’re a lazy no-good, that’s why you go around causing problems”, “Can’t you see that the mining companies will bring work”, “You lazy good-for-nothing, all you do is stir up trouble”. Then they entered Rosa Etelvina’s house, physically attacking her and her son in front of her grandchildren, aged 2 and 5. When the children saw their grandmother and their father, who was defending her, being beaten up they began screaming in terror.

The attackers kicked and punched Rosa Etelvina, then dragged her out into the street by her hair. The attack ended when other people intervened to stop the beating.

As a result of the savage battering she received, Rosa Etelvina’s left hand was injured. Her body aches all over, her head is covered with swollen bumps and the area where a clump of her hair was yanked out is very painful. On 23rd April, 2009 she lodged a complaint in the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Cuenca.

Given this new act of violence against a member of our organization, we would like to point out that on the 25th of December 2008 our colleague Gloria Livia Jiménez Berrezueta, aged 50, was attacked both verbally and physically in the Parish of Victoria del Portete. So far Gloria Livia’s attempts to secure the arrest and trial of the two mining supporters who attacked her have been unsuccessful.

These facts prove that we are not the ones who generate violence. On the contrary, we are victims of the on-going conflict created by the presence of the transnational mining companies in our communities.

We demand that these reprehensible acts of violence against peasant women who are defending their rights must be punished. Or does our country’s legal system exist solely to persecute us and criminalize our struggle?




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