Latin American Struggles| Extractive Politics, Media Power, and New Waves of Resistance Against Oil Drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon: The Case of Yasunidos
This essay examines a highly mediated socioenvironmental conflict between the Ecuadoran government and a social movement called Yasunidos. The dispute focuses on the government’s proposal to drill for oil in the Yasuní, one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, located in the Ecuadoran Amazon. Whereas the government has argued that oil drilling is necessary to reduce poverty and develop the region, Yasunidos has argued that such policies lead to environmental damage, increased poverty, and the extinction of indigenous peoples. I chart the emergence of this movement, examining how Yasunidos has contested not only the decision to drill for oil but the notion of development deployed by the government. It has done so in the streets, plazas, political institutions, and diverse media platforms.