This morning in Quito, Ecuador, indigenous, campesino, and civil society organizations delivered an international sign-on letter to the Chinese embassy expressing concern over Ecuagoldmining, a Chinese mining company allegedly involved in the kidnapping, illegal detainment, violent assault, and assassination attempt of three indigenous leaders in Molleturo, Ecuador last month. The letter was signed by 132 organizations and individuals around the world, including forty-three winners of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.
On May 9, 2018, the indigenous leaders were trapped in their car after the assailants slashed their tires and threatened to set the car on fire near the Rio Blanco gold mining site, which is owned and operated by Ecuagoldmining. For over 7 hours, the three men were forcibly held against their will until they were finally released in the afternoon. According to local Ecuadorean communities and organizations, workers of the mining company carried out these acts of violence and intimidation in order to frighten and terrorize those who speak out or oppose the Rio Blanco gold mine. Already, other Chinese-owned mining companies are associated with the deaths of indigenous peoples who seek to protect their homes.