Oro Verde



testimonies and stories

Francisco Baren Salazar, Ecuador


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Los Alamos is one of the Ecuadorian banana plantation owned by the country's richest man lvaro Noboa Pontón. The Noboa Corporation is the world's fifth largest exporter of bananas and yet its workers endure amongst the worst pay and conditions in Latin America.

The Noboa Corporation does not permit freedom of association although this is a right enshrined in Ecuadorian law. I worked in Ecuador with an organisation called FENACLE (Federation of Rural and Agricultural Workers and Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador) who are behind a drive to organise banana plantation workers.

At the end of April 2002, 1200 Los Alamos workers inaugurated three trade unions. On May 6th workers declared a strike about low pay and the appalling working conditions. This portrait is of one of the workers who present on the picket line on the first day of the strike. Ten days later masked armed men entered the plantation and violently evicted the workers injuring many with gun shot wounds. One man lost his leg (see Mauro portrait). A subsequent attack on workers took place 18 hours later. I documented this and if you would like to see a film that follows these events please contact me.

Order a copy or organise a screening of Bonita, a film which tells the story of the strike

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Francisco Baren Salazar: Woodcut by Jan Nimmo