For leaders of countries with Amazonian territory, economic development and environmental preservation are eternally at odds with each other. Former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, famously said, “We can’t be beggars sitting on a mine of gold,” referring to the untapped resources in the Amazon. But what if the environmental costs don’t outweigh the profit?
A study by Claudia Azevedo-Ramos, former Director of the Brazilian Forest Service explains that attempts to profit from the Amazon do not bring true development, employment, better income distribution or environmental benefits to locals. In fact, these Amazonian regions often have much higher percentages of citizens living below the poverty line.
“The Amazon regions in Ecuador that extracted petroleum over 50 years ago were the regions that had the highest levels of poverty in the country,” Jorge Acero, a lawyer for NGO Amazon Frontlines told Latin America Reports. “Today, these regions are still the poorest in the country. [Exploiting the Amazon] doesn’t create a real benefit for the people – or the state.”
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