culture boat

Esperanza Martinez on Yasuni and the ITT proposal.

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This article by deserves to be reproduced in full:

Yasuni – Our Future in Their Hands?

Ecuador proposes to claim compensation in exchange for leaving crude oil in the ground. Esperanza Martinez examines what this means for resource sovereignty.

Oil, for countries that possess it, is often centre stage when it comes to issues of sovereignty. Invasions have been launched to access it and military and political interventions pushed through to control it, leaving the door wide open for corruption.

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Invitation to Expedition in the Napo-Ucayali Corridor: June/July 2008

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It is still early days of planning, but a small group of people are planning to travel, for the second time, down the Napo river – doing workshops relevant for indigenous peoples’ struggles, such as shamanic civil rights, and healing sessions in communities along the 1000km long and very exciting route from the beginning of the River Napo in Tena, Ecuador to Iquitos (where it meets the Amazon and the Ucayali rivers). The journey goes through one of the most biodiverse regions in the world – right past the Yasuni National Park, before crossing the border into Peru. After visiting The 4th International Amazonian Shamanism Conference: Magic, Myths and Miracles, which will be held in Iquitos, Peru – July 19th – 26th, 2008, we might continue to Pucallpa….

Sunrise on the River Napo

Contemporary developments in the global economy are very significant for the Amazon rain forest. While this might be said to be true for anywhere at any point in time there are nevertheless good reasons for paying special attention to what maybe the last battle for the survival of the largest rain forest in the world, the loss of which it should need no further justification to lament – and that is the basis upon which this invitation is written….

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Correan corridor contradictions: speaking with two tongues.

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See the entry below for further information about the Manta-Manaus corridor – which is not exactly the kind of project that one would consider commensurable with the “values” of the environment expressed in Correa’s favourite pet environmental project:

A key part of this initiative is to avoid oil extraction activities in Yasuni National Park, home to at least two indigenous tribes that live in voluntary isolation and one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Ecuador proposes to leave the nearly one billion barrel ITT oilfield unexploited in order to preserve Yasuni’s astounding biodiversity, ecosystem services, and the cultural integrity of its indigenous inhabitants.

Correa’s and Lula’s future corridor – or commodity highway – planned to criss-cross the Andes and the Amazon to bring plastics one way and natural resources the other includes the River Napo, which flows right past Yasuni, as an hidrovia or waterway (that is, more or less: river + concrete = stable route). Hardly what you’d call preserving “the cultural integrity of its indigenous inhabitants” if you destroy their river upon which they in great part depend.

Home Sweet Home: Reflections on the Amazon – Part One of ?

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Seeking refuge in Europe, to breathe and to reflect, the long, light evenings and the friendliness of the forest (that is the absence of the eternal threat of creatures out to get you) have besieged our imaginations.

The loved ones, the long-time friendships and the new friends are the medium of reflection – telling stories, observing reactions and thinking about it all at a distance ….we get high on our own anecdotal supply with a little help from our friends.

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Two steps forward, one step back – is that improvement in a nutshell? Half a revolution in Ecuador?

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The people of Ecuador, a diverse crowd of indigenous nationalities, communities, tribes, mestizos, colonos, and old fashioned gentlemen and lady’s with Panamas, yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a constituent assembly – popularly called the asamblea constituyente:

Asamblea Nacional Constituyente Plurinacional y Popular


Quito, 15 de marzo del 2007

Nuestra declaración es una voz colectiva que recoge el sentir de las organizaciones sociales, de los movimientos políticos, de las mujeres y hombres comprometidos con la transformación social y la liberación de nuestra Patria. Expresa la convicción de que es la hora de construir una sociedad justa, libre y soberana.”

Early Sunday evening the result was beyond dispute:

“An exit poll by CEDATOS-Gallup showed that 78.1 percent of voters approved the election of a constitutional assembly while 11.5 percent rejected the proposal and 10.4 spoiled their ballots or cast blank ones.” (AP)

So far so good; and well done Correa & Co. Good choice!

With such wind in the sails, Correa announced that the IMF can stuff it! Two days ago Venezuela rejected an IMF report, and Correa joined in on the chorus:

Check out what he said….

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Comprehensive Corridor Critique.

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Just came across a comprehensive article about the current globalisation from above projects to, finally, cut the Amazon into pieces for profit. It is a good, useful addition to the corridor critique in this blog, and here I merely want to “parrot it”:



Arteries for Global Trade Threaten Amazonia…

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Cultural Corridor Letter to the world!

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Hi World,

This letter was sent in an email to a conference organiser, but it looks like it could be read by anyone interested in these matters:

One of the projects that I am fiddling with here (on the side of my PhD) concerns a network of community-based botanical gardens in the Napo-Ucayali corridor.

As you might be aware, Correa, Lula and Chavez (for instance an oil pipeline to Argentina), as well as of course the Peruvian state, have great plans for “corredores inter-oceanicos” which will essentially, finally, cut the Amazon apart in order to bring cheap consumer goods, in the short term, to the Brasilian cities, and in the long term to all of the continent, of course, –and the last trees and oil and other natural resources back to China, so that they can produce the plastics to come here….

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Calling on all Globalisation Pirates and Cultural Rebels: the boat is leaving any minute!

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Calling on all Globalisation Pirates and Cultural Rebels: the boat is leaving any minute!

Having realised that political organising (in Amazonia, everywhere?) all too often falls prey to the lures of power corrupting even the best of intentions once the gap between representer and the represented grows to an irreconcilable division of minds, bodies and communities, or, even worse, realising that political organising simply bores people (refer in particular to the previous point for justification of that sentiment), and simply does not cut deep enough (how could technocratic thinking actually reach communities embedded in a poetic cosmovision?), we call for a story-telling, myth-carrying, ideas inter-changing and multifariously cultural boat to float down the river!

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A Road of Destruction: the Manta-Belém corredor

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The projected trade route from the Pacific port town Manta in Ecuador to the Atlantic port Belém in Brasil is a serious threat to the rain forest and its humble inhabitants. The main purpose of the corredor is to bring commodities from Asia to Brasil, the “justification” that this poor under-developed area needs improvement (= capitalist, economic development).

The world is already criss-crossed by roads, covered in a thick crust of asphalt, which is “sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits.

But this road is not made of asphalt alone.

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