This is a letter from some of the people that Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s neo-capitalist, authoritarian president, calls “infantile” and “romantic”, probably because they didn’t go to the fancy white man’s schools that the fine president attended to learn that most anti-human of trades called economics, which is some sort of brain washing thing where you are taught that the human being is an entirely self-interested, rational agent who just wants to go shopping and doesn’t care for her community.
The letter is from the Waorani women who are getting systematically killed by the oil industry, which is enjoying strong protection from the Ecuadorian state, led by Correa:
“Manuela Omari Ima, who is the new chairperson of Waorani women’s organization, Amwae, has first hand experience in the devastating consequences of oil exploration. “The indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon have been decimated in just a few decades,” she says. “The Waorani people alone numbered around 16,000 at the end of the 1960s, when the oil exploration began. Today, there are no more than about a thousand of us left… I don’t know how much longer we can survive under the current conditions. Perhaps the industry will out-live us – judging by how it has wiped out other tribal peoples in the Amazon. Maybe the earth will have nothing left to give when the companies leave.”
Altogether, an estimated 90% of the indigenous peoples in the Amazon region of Ecuador have been wiped out over the past few decades, according to the FDA. Contamination from the oil industry, forced relocations, militarized violence and civilization-borne diseases are the critical factors behind the process of extinction.”
Letter of WAORANI women to the Government of Ecuador
Lago Agrio, 6th of November 2008
We, as women, made this document in paper and in your language. We cannot speak to you because we live far away and because you don’t understand our language.
Look at this paper Mr. President, it contains our words, the words of the Waorani women.
We want to live in a large territory, our culture is based on a large territory, it is ours, not because the State decided so, but because God gave it to us, therefore we talk of our land, our children, our language. As our ancestors told us: without land, we cannot live.
Rafael Correa is the poster boy of neo-socialism – he wears Quechua shirts and bathes himself in the limelight of indigeous peoples’ struggle in the global media, makes promises to the poor and the illiterate (and also delivers on some of his promises) – but more than anything he is increasingly despised by the indigenous peoples and the campesinos “who mean nothing to him” and who he represses violently if they organise against the foreign companies that Correa contracts their land away to. Also known in international socialist and even environmental circles as the saviour of the Yasuni national park. But nothing could be further from the truth – as has been reported by the colonos blog since before Correa entered office.
I have just returned from a meeting where yachaks (shamans) from various regions of “el Oriente” (basically the Ecuadorian Amazon) have gathered all weekend to discuss, among other things, Correa’s rejection in the constituent assembly processes of collective rights and a range of specific demands made by the indigenous movements as part of the rewriting of the Ecuadorian constitution. Talks are of strikes and some suggest that another uprising is brewing – at any rate Rafael Correa is very unpopular with indigenous people and campesinos, because he arrogantly have stated that he cares not about their demands since “they only constitute a few percent of his voters“.
So what does Mr. Correa care about – well, like the Clintons he seems mostly fascinated by inscribing himself into the white man’s history of conquest of the world through an industrial economy that is essentially based on exploitation of labour and pachamama (mother earth).
BRASILIA, May 23 (Xinhua) — Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said here Friday that the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) will boost programs to help realize financial self-sufficiency in the region.
After signing the bloc’s constitutive agreement in the Brazilian capital, Correa said it was “a historical day for South America, which brings great expectation and hope.”
“We can do like the European Union (EU). As the EU has to explain why they united, we will have to explain to our children and grandchildren why we took so long to do it,” he told a press conference.”“
Correa’s vision and that of UNASUR is about entrance into an economy that many ever since its inception – with the conquest of new worlds and the industrial production apparatus that makes wars for more profit possible – have been fighting. And for quite some years it has been quite clear that it is a very unsustainable economy that the planet cannot sustain.
Of course it is the rich and the powerful who mostly have to change their wasteful ways, but to happily join that horrible economy that Correa is so blinded by and which accelerates climate change and destroys civilization is plain stupid. However, the middle classes who get better roads (this, the year where it seems like we have to take drastic measure and actions to counter climate change, is the year of asphalt in Ecuador), nicer cars to drive them on and bigger supermarkets to park them by and shop in, and of course the capitalists that exploit the natural resources that he so happily gives to foreign and private interests are laughing all the way to the bank while the earth cries.
The rest of the chinese article follows.
On January 1 of this year, a major oil spill occurred in the Yasuní UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve as part of the workings of Spanish oil giant REPSOL. REPSOL is working in the oil fields of concessionary Block 16, which happens to overlap Huaorani ancestral territory.
Even though several months have passed since the spill was detected, and despite the severity of the event and the insistent pleas of the Huaorani community Dícaro that the company may undertake the necessary clean up and remediation, no action has been taken by REPSOL. Read the rest of this entry »
The Ecuadorian National Park and UNESCO Worldwide Biosphere Reserve, Yasuní, has recently become the main stage for discussions alluding to, insisting on, and negotiating pathways to an oil-free future – or rather to a future where oil remains undisturbed in its subterranean place of origin. Some oil at least. The “Leave the oil in the soil” proposal, instigated by environmental grassroots organisations, and taken on by Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, who announced it at the UN High Level Meeting on Climate Change last September, is to not drill for oil in some parts of the Yasuní National Park. Ecuador will leave the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil fields untouched in exchange for international compensation. Compensation of about US$ 450 million per year for ten years would entail a commitment by the South American state not to exploit nearly 920 million barrels of petroleum, and hence has been presented as preventing the emission of around 111 million tons of carbon. (At the moment Ecuador is South America’s fifth-largest oil producer, with a daily production of about a half-million barrels of crude.)
It seems that the neo-socialist revolution in Ecuador has found its sunshine story that has already inspired similar proposals with regard to oil and other natural resources in several other countries. But behind this glamorous initiative lurks the reality of the wider project of Ecuadorian reform in the context of contemporary geopolitical change. Read the rest of this entry »