In Ecuador, Eduardo Mendúa, an A’i Cofan Indigenous leader who fought against oil extraction in the Amazon rainforest, was assassinated Sunday. He was a member of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador. The group said Mendúa was shot 12 times by two armed men wearing hoods while he was at his home garden in the town of Dureno. Mendúa’s murder is believed to be linked to the community’s fight to block Ecuador’s state-owned oil company, Petroecuador, from expanding its drilling in the region of Sucumbíos.
Indigenous communities in the Ecuadoran Amazon have for decades dealt with the horrific health and environmental impacts of oil production. Over a decade ago, they won a lawsuit against Chevron over the spilling of billions of gallons of crude oil, which contaminated the water and soil and caused cancer rates among locals to skyrocket.