In recent times a growing number of Latin American rural groups have achieved extended ethno-territorial rights, and large territories have been protected by progressive constitutions. These were the outcomes of extended cycles of national and transnational contentious politics and of social movement struggle, including collective South–South cooperation. However, the continent has simultaneously ... [Show full abstract] experienced a resource extraction boom. Frequently the extractivism takes place in protected areas and/or Indigenous territories. Consequently economic interests collide with the protection and recognition of constitutional rights. Through a review of selected demonstrative cases across Latin America, this article analyses the (de jure) rights on paper versus the (de facto) rights in practice.