Six years ago, Ecuador President Rafael Correa’s government denounced the 10 percent in annual interest the country paid on its bonds as “usury.” So when the 51-year-old former economics professor was willing to pay 10.5 percent in a sale of notes this month, it raised speculation the OPEC nation may be running short of cash after oil prices collapsed. Read more>>
Armed Amazon tribesmen briefly seized an Ecuador oilfield Wednesday, halting production before clashing with soldiers who reclaimed the facility, the defense ministry said. Read more>>
The economic climate is becoming less friendly for Mr Correa. A steep fall in the price of oil, the main export, has cut into government revenues. That will make it harder for him to continue buying support by offering government employment to middle-class voters and subsidies and jobs in infrastructure projects to poorer ones. Read more>>
Perhaps the most spectacular example is the aforementioned case of Chevron, which has washed up on the legal shores of Canada. The case dates back to the operations of Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2002, more than twenty years ago. Texaco in fact paid government-agreed remediation for its activities, and the area in question has since been comprehensively developed/ravaged by State oil company PetroEcuador. The Amazonian natives on whose half the suit is being brought are mere puppets for its main promoters: a corrupt, government-controlled Ecuadorian justice system, and a New York lawyer named Steve Donziger, whose case has been dubbed racketeering by U.S. courts. Read more>>
For years, authoritarian Latin American presidents have censored in-country publications critical of their actions. Ecuador’s Rafael Correa is no exception. Correa, who has a Masters and a PhD from the University of Illinois, goes much further. He has companies and government officials going after anyone who publishes or airs anything anywhere in the world that he considers disparaging. In simple terms: Correa wants to control what the world media has to say about his government. Read more>>
These kinds of deals threaten president Rafael Correa’s reputation with Ecuadorean citizens—he has pledged to cut out private oil traders and middlemen from the country’s oil sector, but allowed a Chinese state firm and a private Hong Kong partner to control and sell as much two thirds of its oil. Activists are criticizing deals to trade drilling access in the Amazon for loans. Read more >>
In 2005, the environmental ministry of Ecuador ruled that oil drilling in the park would only be allowed if no roads were built. However, in May 2014, a group of scientists argued that Petroamazonas, a huge oil firm in Ecuador, built a road into the park, violating an environmental impact study. Read more >>
After Ecuador issued a permit to drill for oil in Yasuni National Park in May, there’s already been one of its largest oil spills. On July 2, state-owned oil company Petroamazonas spilled 660,000 gallons of oil into the Amazon, contaminating the Aguarico and Parahuaico rivers where the indigenous Cofan, Secoya, Kichwa and Shuar communities drink, bathe, and fish, reports Amazon Watch. Read more >>
Parables help us make sense of a mysterious world. Slow and steady, the tortoise teaches the hare a lesson in overconfidence. David has a surprise for towering Goliath. Lawyers and environmental activists fighting Chevron (CVX) in a closely watched oil pollution case in Ecuador invoke an inherently appealing theme of poor, rural underdogs taking on a rich, cosmopolitan foe. Fresh filings with the U.S. Department of Justice provide a reminder, however, that the rain forest-contamination conflict is more complicated than a fable.
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The government of Ecuador is paying more than $6.4 million for the services of two U.S. public relations firms, a stunning figure in the niche business of foreign government lobbying.
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Called to testify before a government media oversight commission, editorial cartoonist Xavier Bonilla–known by his penname Bonil–showed up with a pair of four-foot-long mock pencils. But rather than having a small eraser on the tip, one of Bonil’s giant pencils was nearly all eraser.
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Under President Rafael Correa, Ecuador has defaulted on its international debt, expropriated assets and changed oil contracts to service agreements, resulting in a flight of capital and the departure of a number of oil firms including Brazil’s Petrobras and US-based Noble Energy.
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