The Siona are a binational people, with their territory straddling two countries: Sucumbíos province in northeastern Ecuador and in the Putumayo department in southeastern Colombia. But the forest they depend on and even their very lives are under increasing threat due the growing of coca crops to produce cocaine and the armed groups that are trafficking it. “The quarantine has only worsened the problems they already had before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrés, a member of the Siona Indigneous group who prefers not reveal his real name for fear of reprisal. He added that, “the pandemic has put the whole world into quarantine, but in fact it has not quarantined some of the extractive activities in the territories.” Two Indigenous territories belong to the Siona: Buenavista in Colombia and the smaller Wisuyá in Ecuador. While both territories have seen a rise in deforestation rates over the past several years, Adriana Rojas, from the Colombian Gaia Foundation, says the Wisuyá area is the more affected of the two. The Indigenous Siona live in the Colombian and Ecuadorian Amazon, on both sides of the Putamayo River. Photo by Mateo Barriga Salazar / Amazon Frontlines. Sources say oil drilling, mining, logging and, in particular, the cultivation of illegal crops are behind the territories’ rise in deforestation. Lawyer María Espinosa believes that this “has a direct relationship with the coca business and with the expansion of extractivism.” Andrés said there are illegal coca crops in his territory, as well as “cooking facilities” — mobile…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer