Thank you all for your patience and support through this difficult time. We cannot begin to express our disappointment in canceling our fundraiser, especially after meeting our goal. We have dedicated over three years of work to this project, focusing particularly on building solid relationships with our Ecuadorian partners. Unfortunately, with days to go in our Kickstarter campaign we were presented with information suggesting that certain members of our Ecuadorian team may have previously engaged in illegal activities, including misappropriation of non-profit fundraising dollars, black-market dealings, and involvement with questionable death. We were shocked to receive this news and initially responded with disbelief due to the depth of our personal relationships with members of this community.
As we researched these allegations, uncertainty grew and while we cannot personally confirm nor deny these charges they are substantial enough for us to question our collaborators and worry about the potential future misuse of funds and hazards to personal safety. The potential risks eliminate any possibility for sound, responsible moves forward with this particular project.
We were previously unaware of these allegations due to the fact that our partners had apparently operated under aliases. Furthermore, no one in our network of associates, which included a leading indigenous government agency as well as local Ecuadorian businesses and community members had hinted towards such issues. Regardless, the allegations are numerous and involve several independent parties.
After much deliberation, we decided that continued collaboration is not in the best interest of Amazon Voice and its mission. Because we had worked so closely with our indigenous partners and our entire Kickstarter campaign was based on their dream, using their images, songs, and words, we felt our only option was to bring our entire Tawasap pilot project to a close. In doing so we have returned all funds raised through our Kickstarter campaign. Additionally, we are returning audio and video recordings taken of our indigenous partners to the villagers from which they came to ensure that these cultural assets are not misappropriated.
Regarding Amazon Voice, we are still committed to the mission, as media and communications are vital tools for preserving the Amazon and empowering its people. For the time being, however, we are taking a step back to consider new prospective partners and communities.
In the meantime, we are continuing our sister project, Critical Beats, which uses music to raise funds for Amazon Rainforest preservation and partners with long-standing organizations that have completed tremendous work in the field. We are excited to share that Critical Beats is in preliminary planning and development for projects with Tito la Rosa in Peru. For more information or to donate check out CriticaBeats.org.
The Team at Amazon Voice/Critical Beats