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Quechua resist oil spills!


ACTION • El Triunfo Verde


Indigenous women’s organization FMAIE demands Pluspetrol pay for restoration of Quecha land after oil spill.

Ecuador - indigenous people - oil

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On Aug. 7, 2023, an oil spill occurred in the residential areas of Indigenous communities in Ecuador. The Indigenous women’s organization Fundación de Mujeres Indígenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (FMAIE) successfully fought against the multinational Pluspetrol for remediation.


A leak in an oil pipeline from Pluspetrol, a letterbox firm registered in Amsterdam, contaminated acres of land and several water sources. Many plants and animals died from the pollution, and some of the 71 thousand residents of Triunfo, Canelos and Colonia Bolivar, both Quechua and settlers, fell ill.


It is not the first time this has happened. Pluspetrol is notorious in the Amazon as the largest and most irresponsible polluter, with as many as 344 oil spills to its name between 2000 and 2019. For context, that’s 95 percent of all oil spills in Ecuador in the time period. The company is notoriously negligent, not only for refusing to fix their obviously substandard pipelines, but also for invariably refusing to pay fines or fix the damage caused. Even the National Contact Point of OECD Guidelines in the Netherlands has investigated environmental damage in Peru and found that there is a plausible chance that Pluspetrol is not complying with the guidelines. The NCP offered to mediate between the Quechua and the oil company, which of course the company refused without sanctions.

The Indigenous women’s organization Fundación de Mujeres Indígenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (FMAIE) continues its fight against the multinational for a livable housing area. Through protests and sit-ins, among other things, they are demanding that Pluspetrol refurbish affected areas, clean up water sources, and sponsor reforestation programs that the Quechua devise and implement in order to restore biodiversity.


Their efforts have led to great results. After persistent protests and meetings with Pluspetrol, the company agreed to immediately carry out remediation works in the affected communities. FMAIE sees it as a successful struggle: “Right now, the oil company is implementing proper remediation procedures and clean-up activities for the spill in these communities.”

Het Actiefonds is proud of our support for FMAIE. Indigenous communities have been resisting multinational corporations and settlers for centuries, who do everything they can to drive them from their home so they can extract everything of value from the area. This has disastrous consequences for Indigenous culture and knowledge, as well as for the biodiversity of the Amazon and for the heating of the planet as a whole. Decolonization is the only sustainable solution to the climate crisis.