Gloria Chicaiza, an Ecuadorian social and environmental activist, was a fervent defender of land and water. She defied the status quo, fighting against a model of development based on extraction and worked tirelessly for ecological justice and the rights of communities affected by mining.
In diverse areas of Ecuador, Gloria was part of resistance actions in favour of protecting the ecosystem. With passion and dedication, Gloria supported the indigenous and environmental movement, its communities and organizations who oppose mining projects and protect their territories and collective life projects. She spoke out, in local and international foras, against the criminalization of dissent and resistance, the pressure and violence being enacted against community activists, in particular, women human rights defenders and in support of community led efforts for food sovereignty and sustainability.
She was the Mining Justice Coordinator at Acción Ecológica, member of the Latin American Network of Women Defenders of the Social and Environmental Rights and a Board member at the Observatory of Mining Conflicts of Latin America.
In October 2010, Gloria was accused by the mining company Curimining / Salazar Resources S.A. (with Headquarters in Vancouver, Canada) of sponsoring an act of terrorism, sabotage and illegal association to commit a crime. Acción Ecológica believed this to be “in retaliation for her work of denouncing the impacts of mining activities in the country.”
In 2014, Gloria supported the coordination of a delegation to the UN COP 20 Dialogue on Climate Change. The group consisted of 25 Indigenous women from Latin America.
Gloria passed away due to complications from a lung transplant on December 28, 2019. She is remembered for her resistance and tireless work.
"The fastest way to achieve sustainability is still resistance." - Gloria Chicaiza (2010 interview)
“Para GLORIA. GLORIA Agua. GLORIA Tierra. GLORIA Madre. GLORIA Revolución. GLORIA Hermana. GLORIA Cielo. GLORIAmiga. GLORIAstral. Thank you for weaving us together.” -Liliana Gutierrez
“Thank you Glorita, for sustaining hope, for keeping the fabric strong, for connecting the community, for the united hands, for solidarity, thank you Glorita for standing with us in the most difficult moments. Thank you for teaching us that throughout life, nobody gets tired.” (Chakana News)
“Gloria Chicaiza cherished and flourished in being one of many. And as humble as she was, she had an uncanny ability to lead and maintain a steady and thunderous beat, a life-affirming pulse that guided, mobilized, and inspired communities and networks in the protection of Mother Earth. She denounced all forms of violence against cuerpos-territorios. She endorsed el buen vivir.” - Gabriela Jiménez, Latin America Partnerships Coordinator, KAIROS
“Thank you Gloria Chicaiza from infinity we are sure that you will continue to support our struggle. You who continued to struggle with us despite your failing health. You will live on in the forests and the water that you defended with such courage. You will live on in our hearts.”- The community of Intag in Ecuador