ITT

What does a Christian of the Left do when the people protest?

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The answer is easy: DECLARES A STATE OF EMERGENCY, SENDS IN THE ARMY, THROWS PEOPLE IN PRISON!

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa removed the head of the state-owned oil company, saying the government needed to re-establish order at PetroEcuador after protests shut $3 million of daily production in the country. PetroEcuador President Carlos Pareja was fired today and replaced by Fernando Zurita, a Navy admiral, the government said in a statement. Oil produces about a quarter of state revenue…. Correa declared a state of emergency for the company, saying it was so badly run he was left with no option other than bringing in the Navy. An emergency order may be applied to Orellana province, Ecuador’s main oil-producing area, if the protests over jobs and environmental concerns don’t end, he said….“It is necessary to urgently intervene in the whole of the PetroEcuador system to safeguard national interests,” Correa said today in the statement. Correa named Pareja to the post when he took power in January…. Protesters demanding jobs, better roads and environmental cleanup forced the company to shut 47 oil wells at the Auca and Cononaco fields this week, trimming 20 percent of production at PetroEcuador’s biggest unit. Ecuador is South America’s fifth- largest oil producer, with average daily output of 500,000 barrels….“A lot of money is being lost daily” because of the protests, said Zurita, speaking at the presidential palace in Quito. He said his first task will be to establish order in Orellana and arrest protesters, PetroEcuador employees or anyone else who hampered oil production.”

Reuters managed to report on Correa without mentioning that he was a “leftist” – perhaps in shock and awe, after all this is a proper job that only few right-wingers can match:

“Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Thursday declared an Amazonian province under a state of emergency to quell a protest that has slashed the state’s oil output by 20 percent, said a presidential spokeswoman….He also removed Interior Minister Gustavo Larrea, a close adviser, for not stamping out the protest of villagers in the oil-rich province of Orellana, the spokeswoman said. They are demanding more funding for infrastructure projects….The state of emergency bans public gatherings and marches and sets curfews.”

It was still in the early days of Correa’s presidency – back in April – that more powers were invested in the army and the police for these purposes – he obviously knew what the increased development with the Chinese partners in the Amazon would mean: environmental protest against the exploitation and labour protest against not getting any jobs as part of new developments (the jobs mostly go to crews from the outside). It was that same week that Correa first spoke of leaving the oil in the soil……. What oil is to be left in what soil?? one thinks as part of the Ecuadorian Amazon sinks into a state of emergency and the control over the oil is left in the hands of the army..

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Esperanza Martinez on Yasuni and the ITT proposal.

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This article by CarbonWeb.org 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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A summary of the Ecuadorian revolution: the rise of the Constituent Assembly

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Roger Burbach’s informative piece called “Ecuador’s Popular Revolt: Forging a New Nation“, although dated October 8 seems to be written before the landslide victory of Correa’s alliance became clear:

Final results won’t be known until late October, however preliminary results indicate that Correa’s party, Alianza Pais, won around 70% of the vote, giving it some 80 of the 130 assembly delegates. Correa can also expect support in the assembly from representatives of the Socialist Party of Ecuador — Broad Front, the Movement for Popular Democracy and indigenous party Pachakutik — Nuevo Pais.

The outcome was a huge blow to the right-wing opposition, whose traditional parties all scored pitiful votes. The Social Christian Party, the country’s largest party, scored less than 4%. The “anti-corruption” PRIAN of Alvaro Noboa — Correa’s opponent in the presidential election run-offs last year and Ecuador’s richest man — scored around 6%.

However, this does not make it any less valuable – it provides a summary of the Ecuadorian revolution that is well worth a read. Whether it quite warrants such a conclusion is another matter:

In Ecuador, as well as in much of Latin America, we are witnessing a revolution from below, a popular awakening that is challenging the traditional political parties and demanding a new system of governance that responds to the interests and needs of the popular classes. It is this rich mixture of forces at the grass roots that is opening up new vistas as the 21st century advances.

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Free Software in Ecuador: Correa’s got that one right!

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Rafael Correa is taking quite some critical heat for his double standards or disregard -even- for the general livelihood of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and the rain forest that they live in – but here’s something that he’s got right: use Free Software, says the President (naturally speaking in Spanish):

But take a look at this video, too, and consider the natural beauty that will have to be destroyed in order to pave the way, literally, for the Latin American integration, as the neo-socialist improvement or progress based on capitalist commodity forms is called (in English):

The YouTube initiatives are part of the hip strategies of Correa’s government, appealing to a whole new demographic class in Ecuador – a middle class consuming the remittances that their migratory family members send back from, mainly, the U.S. and Spain. Both the cash and the migrant workers are in the millions – only oil and bananas in that republic are greater posts in the economy. These are the people behind Correa – and they want more cars, more roads to drive them on (Quito is already suffocating with cars, which have more then doubled in recent years!) and more plastics from China and more sausages from Spain – that is the essence of Latin American integration: global capitalism and commodity circulation.

Correa’s sunshine story: ITT

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Like the World Bank, the IOM et al. have their sunshine stories (white-, green- you name it wash), so does the neo-socialist revolution in Ecuador:

The innovative offer by the government of Ecuador to refrain from exploiting its largest oil reserve, in exchange for international compensation for nature conservation, is attracting increasing support”, according to an August 23 IPS article. The initiative relates to the untapped Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil reserve, which is located in Yasuni National Park in the Amazon. According IPS, the park is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. It was created in 1979 and covers 982,000 hectares”.

But behind this glamorous project – instigated by a radical environmental group – lures the reality of the wider project of Ecuadorian reform: more oil, more refineries, more roads, less forest and the crazy destruction of the Napo River that the construction of the Manta-Manaus corridor threatens. There is already a road straight into Yasuni – for the exclusive use of petroleras (and presumably the military). Yasuni might be “conserved” – but it will be circumscribed by concrete and asphalt, tending towards an indigenous zoo in the outskirts of town.

Correa takes control of the constituent assembly: Ecuador’s revolution steams ahead

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Reliable sources note that Correa and allies have assumed control of the constituent assembly in Ecuador that will discuss a draft for a new constitution, written by a group of select lawyers.

That is the information we are getting. We could have more than 70 assembly members,” said Minister of Coastal Affairs Ricardo Patino, a close aid to Correa. Three other ministers also confirmed the details.

Correa had promised/threatened to resign (and leave the country in a right state of affairs) if his movement (of middle-class, remittance consumers) did not gain an effective majority of the assembly – but it seems that they did.

He has not detailed his reforms, but Correa is expected to call for the closing [of] Congress and replacing it with a parliamentary commission until a legislature is elected under a new charter.” – which is, all things even, a choice action. The chambers of old and evil – the edifices of patriarchy – must be torn down, to be sure.

…..but scroll down the page to see what kind of other and problematic things Correa et al. have on the agenda. I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too.