Andrés Arce is a rural worker, human rights and environmental defender of Chillaví part of the Barranquilla commune, located in the parish of San Javier de Cachaví, Esmeraldas province.
As an Afro-descendant leader, he has a long history of defence and peaceful struggle for the respect of the communal and collective territory of the black communities. Together with other inhabitants of the region, he participated in the process to obtain a collective property title over 1,500 hectares of communal territory made up of the tropical rainforests of Chocó, one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Since 2005, Andrés Arce has been key in the process of peacefully defending his community's territory and environment against logging and palm oil companies that have attempted to appropriate community lands in order to extract tropical timber and use the land for oil palm plantations. Members of the Barranquilla community have seen their traditional sources of livelihood related to the forest affected and have denounced that the rivers are being polluted.
On 8 September 2021, Andrés was convicted and criminalised along with his companions and community leaders Samir Mina, Andrés Arce and Luis Quintero for exercising their legitimate right to peaceful defence and protest against the activities of companies that have illegally installed themselves in collective territory, causing permanent impacts on the health of the people and the local fauna