Tag Archives: Oil Exploitation

A Silent Ecocide

Gustavo. Photo courtesy of Samuel Remerand. Evolve to Ecology.

Gustavo. Photo courtesy of Samuel Remerand. Evolve to Ecology.

While many are quite understandably distracted by the war and genocide unfolding in Gaza and the Ukraine, the rainforest of Ecuador is quietly being destroyed on an epic scale.

Petroamazonas, a national Oil Company is now responsible for one of the largest terrestrial oil spill’s that has just taken place in one of the world’s most biodiverse hotspots, over 600,000 barrels of crude oil have contaminated several rivers in the Amazon, rivers that four indigenous tribes depend upon for fishing, bathing and drinking. Some of these communities are still recovering from the Chevron oil spill twenty years ago. Now, the crude oil has reached Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and three weeks later, no action has been taken by the Ecuadorian environmental ministry.

In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to include Rights for Nature in it’s Constitution, however this been completely ignored and despite the attempts of Yasunidos.org and international environmental activists uniting to request a referendum several months back, the result was that the Ecuadorian government denied the request after tampering and destroying 800,000 signature petitions that were collected, the international request was simply ignored and drilling commenced earlier this June in Yasuni National Park.

President Correa made false promises several years ago to keep the oil in the soil for an impossible sum of money from the international community, however the Ecuadorian government had at the same time promised China access to oil under Yasuni national park.

Indigenous groups in Ecuador have been recognized under the United Nations to which there exists a non-binding agreement, which gives indigenous groups in Ecuador the chance to defend their lives, land, and culture. Guaranteed throughout the Declaration is the right to a process of “Free, Prior and Informed Consent” for indigenous peoples when faced with decisions, projects, or legislation that may affect their people and/or territory.  Article 57, point 7 of the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador guarantees free, prior and informed consultation, within a reasonable period; however, this does not require consent (and is not binding). Article 82 refers explicitly to environmental consultation, in the case of a state decision which might affect the environment, and specifies broad and timely information for those affected. However, even if there is a majority opposing the project in question, it may still be carried out on the condition that the impact on those affected and the ecosystem is minimised (art. 83 see this link for further details on the Ecuadorian Constitution)

It has only been a short time that drilling has commenced and already we are looking at large scale irreversible ecocide which is likely to get far worse if the international communities do not intervene now. To add further concern to this horror, there are several uncontacted tribes in Yasuni National Park that are extremely vulnerable to disease upon contact and traumatic displacement upon invasion of their territories by Oil companies. Scientists have estimated there is only twenty years supply of oil left under the soil in Ecuador. Therefore, we need to be looking at sustainable solutions in place of short-term gain that will create long-term impact of environmental devastation and possible economic collapse when the oil has gone.

By Evolve to Ecology.

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Yasuni signatures lay in suspense


Saturday 12th of April, Yasunidos, present 756 000 signatures in the CNE.Photo- Eduardo terán / El Comercio

Signatures collected to protect Yasuni National Park from Oil exploitation lay in suspense whilst waiting for approval and funds to cover costs for Consejo National Electoral to validate them, there is also only a time period of 15 days to validate them.

 The Front Total Amazon Defense of Yasunidos , gave their relevant headings to 5% of the electoral roll to request a vote that the government preserve Yasuni ITT and keeps the oil underground. The signatures were submitted on Saturday.

President Raphael Correa doubts that Yasunidos reached complete signatures, he estimated 30 percent cannot be validated. If they pass this phase for collective signatures, the next step will wait be for the Constitutional Court rule on the legal validity of the questions. If the Court finds that one or all three questions are not constitutional, this process will take more than six months time lapse. “It would be a mockery for Ecuadorians” said Jorge Espinosa of Yasunidos.

                 ‘But given that we pass the signature validation phase, this would be the first time that the CNE is put in front of an order emanating from the will of citizens”.

All referendums , since 2007, have been at the initiative of President Rafael Correa. The CNE has not defined how much the validation and consultation would cost, because there was no certainty that the signatures will be accepted. In three referendums since 2007, costs ranged between USD 31 and 36 million. On this basis It has been estimated that the CNE Yasuni ITT signature validation will cost : USD 790 525.93 for technology spending, personal ( about 300 people are receiving training ) , transportation , logistics, etc. This sum of costs needs to be explained further by the government.  Does this mean that these signatures will not be processed if the costs are not met, what is the fate of the referendum? How will it be affected and ignored, if there is a lack of funds to cover such huge estimates. The fate of Yasuni ITT and the rest of the Ecuadorian Amazon is still unsecured.

Source translated from El Comercio Ecuador at the following address : http://www.elcomercio.com/politica/Ecuador-Yasuni-ITT-firmas-CNE-Rafael_Correa-politica-yasunidos_0_1120087987.html.


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Correa loses his first battle against the Ecuadorian environmentalists


Photo credit EFE – Huaorani Indians in the march that preceded the submission of signatures for referendum on oil exploration.


Environmentalists in Ecuador have succeeded in raising over 700,000 signatures against the oil exploitation of Yasuni to demand a referendum.

The first global attempt to avoid exploitation of the largest protected reserve in the world failed eight months ago. After six years of hard fighting , the president of Ecuador , Rafael Correa, announced in August the death of the Yasuni ITT Initiative , an original commitment proposed by the Andean country to leave underground 920 million barrels of oil valued at 18,000 million in exchange for 3,600 million dollars that the international community should provide . But it was a failure . “The world has failed us ,” said a dejected day Correa announced the demise of the project.

Since then, the political atmosphere of Ecuador has been fraught with conflict . The alarm went off in February when Alianza País , the president’s party suffered the biggest electoral setback since coming to power in 2006 . “Clearly the issue of Yasuní has taken its toll but it is not alone. The point is that the right wing of the party has done much of the executive power and influence to break with the social movements that led to the birth of the Citizen Revolution , “a university professor who prefers to hide his name.

These social organizations have become a big stone in the shoe of the Government. A few weeks ago , hundreds of people marched through the streets of Quito demanding the decriminalization of abortion law strictly prohibitive in a country where the influence of the Church remains capital. However, the most incisive urban activism has grown around the collective Yasunidos , a conglomerate of environmental organizations about who have rained criticism as they dared to question the reasons for Correa on “necessary evil” which is finalize the Yasuní Initiative .

“Do not be vague , collect signatures if they have so much support ,” said the president on more than one occasion to refer to this collective crusade to force a consultation on the project announced by the Government. The campaign has spread across the country with the sole purpose of collecting the signatures of at least 5 % of the electorate . At the expense of the official verification that begin Monday , has amassed 727,947 , 145,000 more than required headings for the National Assembly to convene a referendum.

Roque Sevilla was the first president of the technical committee of the ITT Initiative until January 2010 and is convinced that the query is not held . The reason adduced is that this holding ” is linked to the construction of the Pacific Refinery , a work of which $ 12 million will be profitable only processing heavy crude oil from the ITT. ” When I was chairman of the committee , I made ​​a presentation of the origin of 100,000 barrels which would need to run the refinery and have the documents that proves so “he says.

A global perspective

Daniel Ortega is the representative of Ecuador to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC) and an environmental expert who knows almost every inch , valleys and rivers National Park, and the fatal traps lush jungle to get lost is easy. In his view, the debate should be analyzed from a broader perspective : “Criticism is not Yasuní yes or no, but what is done to curb avoidable emissions that cause global warming, why rich countries do nothing to reduce consumption of natural resources but require investments to the poor. ”

Ortega stressed that the international commitment of the Government of Ecuador is in renewable energy to not depend on oil. “But without international collaboration without touching the Yasuni oil is very difficult to articulate . I say with a broken heart “he says.

However , doubts extraction project presented are broader . Correa has ensured that the industrial impact ” only affect 1 per 1.000″ of the protected area and the controls will be ” permanent and relentless .”

One of the promoters of the Yasuni ITT Initiative fiercely critical of this decision as Alberto Acosta has raised hackles for their comments against this version of the insignificant cause damage to the project. The former Minister of Energy of the first government of Correa calls ” lies” all promised guarantees ” because there is no technology that can avoid .”

For irritation President Acosta uncovered that seismic exploration will be done by the use of dynamite and in the exploitation of the great water aquifer that supplies a vast jungle area will be used. ” Road construction has already started and the noise will cause the constant helicopter flights will be other factors that end up liquidating a fragile environment like Bohemian crystal ,” he says .

Daniel Ortega censorship of Acosta for this apocalyptic vision ” because besides being inaccurate, it creates a dangerous confusion in public opinion.” Ortega , who has studied the project to be undertaken by the public company Petroecuador , indicates that the social benefits to be gained will far outweigh the damage caused . “It has required the latest technology and has determined that the autonomous governments of the Amazon receive 12% of the surplus of the project ” sentence.

Despite intense campaigning by the government in recent months , the movement against the exploitation of the reserve has grown unabated . Hundreds of people joined Saturday Yasunidos collective symbolic delivery of the firms in the CNE. The atmosphere was mourning, almost silent , even though young people who have defied the strong charisma of Rafael Correa and his publicity machine have won the first phase of the battle. Waorani indigenous people , originating in the Amazon, shared the head of the march with Kichwa , Shuar and Creoles.

The president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities , Humberto Cholango admitted that the Amazonian communities ” prepare to defend the Yasuní actions if the government rejects a query ” and criticized official references to his alleged violence . A month ago , President scorned the campaign collected signatures ensuring that never would achieve and their promoters accused of creating ” the mattress to create incidents.” But none of that has happened but the jungle is alert .

Photo credit EFE – Huaorani Indians in the march that preceded the submission of signatures for referendum on oil exploration.

Evolve to Ecology. http://www.evolvetoecology.com

El Dario es. http://www.eldiario.es/internacional/Correa-primera-batalla-ecologistas-ecuatorianos_0_249175081.html

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