The most alarming aspect in the granting of these concessions is that the communities were not consulted. In the national mining company’s 2013 environmental impact study, mention was made of a survey of the region’s inhabitants that recognized that 75 percent of the population rejects mining activity at the Ingapi concession, and 60 percent rejects the one at Urcutambo.
With calls to return power to the bases and to mobilize the grassroots in defense of the rights of community access to water resources, Ecuador’s largest and most powerful Indigenous federation has inaugurated its leadership for the next three years. At a two-day congress in Ambato on May 16-17, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) elected Jorge Herrera as its new president.
The most recent report published by the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) found that Ecuador was the largest recipient of bilateral south-south cooperation projects in Latin America. However, the report also noted that Ecuador has become an increasingly important provider in bilateral cooperation projects, specifically in the area of social assistance programs which accounted for 35 percent of all south-to-south projects carried out by the Ecuadorian government.
Denying the referendum means that a progressive government, when forced to seriously discuss its appetite for petroleum or mining, must shed its clothes and reveal its most intimate mercantile thoughts. Public debates on oil exploration in the Amazon promoted through public referendum could raise discussion about issues much more far-reaching than the government’s petroleum strategy. There would rapidly also be discussion about development, government practices, etc., revealing their contradictions.
In 2008, the government of President Correa suspended servicing part of the foreign commercial debt, but not the entire debt. This suspension of payments, or moratorium, was marked by a clear and preconceived programmatic position to seek out better conditions for renegotiating the debt, not because it was impossible to service. However, there are backward steps now being taken, a long way off from the transformative alternatives that were proposed in the beginning.
“In its most general sense, buen vivir [Sumak Kawsay] denotes, organizes, and constructs a system of knowledge and living based on the communion of humans and nature and on the spatial-temporal harmonious totality of existence. That is, on the necessary interrelation of beings, knowledges, logics, and rationalities of thought, action, existence, and living. This notion is part and parcel of the cosmovision, cosmology, or philosophy of the indigenous peoples of Abya Yala.”
In August 2013, President Rafael Correa announced that the world had “failed us” for not giving Ecuador enough money to save Yasuní-ITT. When the deal went sour social, indigenous, and environmental organizations responded by launching a campaign to gather 600,000 signatures in six months, as stipulated by Ecuador’s constitution, to push for a National Referendum and to let Ecuadorians decide the fate of Yasuní-ITT.
In the latest twist in a 21-year-old environmental pollution case, a U.S. federal judge Tuesday ruled that the victims of massive oil spillage and their U.S. attorney could not collect on a nine-billion-dollar judgement by Ecuador’s supreme court against the Chevron Corporation.
After seven consecutive electoral victories in seven years, Ecuador’s progressive president Rafael Correa suffered an unexpected reversal of fortunes in the country’s local elections on February 23. This defeat for the ruling Alianza País (AP) came only a year after Correa trounced the conservative opposition in the 2013 presidential and legislative elections.