Ecuador auctions off Amazon to Chinese oil firms

Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China’s insatiable thirst for energy.

On Monday morning a group of Ecuadorean politicians pitched bidding contracts to representatives of Chinese oil companies at a Hilton hotel in central Beijing, on the fourth leg of a roadshow to publicise the bidding process. Previous meetings in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and in Houston and Paris were each confronted with protests by indigenous groups.

Attending the roadshow were black-suited representatives from oil companies including China Petrochemical and China National Offshore Oil. “Ecuador is willing to establish a relationship of mutual benefit – a win-win relationship,” said Ecuador’s ambassador to China in opening remarks.

According to the California-based NGO Amazon Watch, seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land claim that they have not consented to oil projects, which would devastate the area’s environment and threaten their traditional way of life.

“We demand that public and private oil companies across the world not participate in the bidding process that systematically violates the rights of seven indigenous nationalities by imposing oil projects in their ancestral territories,” a group of Ecuadorean organised indigenous associations wrote in an open letter last autumn.

In an interview, Ecuador’s secretary of hydrocarbons, Andrés Donoso Fabara, accused indigenous leaders of misrepresenting their communities to achieve political goals. “These guys with a political agenda, they are not thinking about development or about fighting against poverty,” he said.

Fabara said the government had decided not to open certain blocks of land to bidding because it lacked support from local communities. “We are entitled by law, if we wanted, to go in by force and do some activities even if they are against them,” he said. “But that’s not our policy.”

Amazon Watch said the deal would violate China’s own new investment guidelines, issued jointly by the ministries of commerce and environmental protection last month. The third clause of the guidelines says Chinese enterprises should “promote harmonious development of local economy, environment and community” while operating abroad.

Fabara said he was not aware of the guidelines. “We’re looking for global investors, not just investors from China,” he said. “But of course Chinese companies are really aggressive. In a bidding process, they might present the winning bids.”

Critics say national debt may be a large part of the Ecuadorean government’s calculations. Ecuador owed China more than £4.6bn ($7bn) as of last summer, more than a tenth of its GDP. China began loaning billions of dollars to Ecuador in 2009 in exchange for oil shipments. More recently China helped fund two of its biggest hydroelectric infrastructure projects. Ecuador may soon build a $12.5bn oil refinery with Chinese financing.

“My understanding is that this is more of a debt issue – it’s because the Ecuadoreans are so dependent on the Chinese to finance their development that they’re willing to compromise in other areas such as social and environmental regulations,” said Adam Zuckerman, environmental and human rights campaigner at Amazon Watch. “The message that they’re trying to send to international investors is not in line with reality.”

Last July the inter-American court on human rights ruled to prohibit oil developments in the Sarayaku, a tropical rainforest territory in southern Ecuador that is accessible only by plane and canoe, in order to preserve its rich cultural heritage and biodiversity. The court also mandated that governments obtain “free, prior and informed consent” from native groups before approving oil activities on their indigenous land.

A TV news report broadcast by the US Spanish-language network Telemundo showed members of Ecuadorean native groups – some wearing traditional facepaint and headdresses – waving protest banners and scuffling with security guards outside the Ecuadorean government’s roadshow stop in Houston.

“What the government’s been saying as they have been offering up our territory is not true; they have not consulted us, and we’re here to tell the big investors that they don’t have our permission to exploit our land,” Narcisa Mashienta, a women’s leader of Ecuador’s Shuar people, said in the report.
[divider]
By: Jonathan Kaiman | TheGuardian

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

Outrage after horrifying dashcam video shows white Chicago cop shooting black teen SIXTEEN times point blank while he lies on the ground

City officials on Tuesday released police dash-cam video showing an officer shooting teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, continuing to fire well after the youth...

“It’s Not The Zika Virus” – Doctors Link Monsanto Pesticides To Birth Defects

Has the world become accustomed to massive, dangerous, and possibly deadly outbreaks of terrible diseases? It certainly seems that way, as every year brings with it...

What's New Today

Racial wounds rip open under a president with a history of exploiting them

President Donald Trump has spent much of his adult life building his brand around racial divisions.

Bill Gates is the top target for coronavirus conspiracy theories

Bill Gates has been one of the most outspoken public figures about the coronavirus pandemic. But the...

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

An alarming number of Americans say they will not get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available

As Big Pharma races to develop a COVID-19 vaccine that could save millions of lives globally, nearly...

MOST READ

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Outrage after horrifying dashcam video shows white Chicago cop shooting black teen SIXTEEN times point blank while he lies on the ground

City officials on Tuesday released police dash-cam video showing an officer shooting teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, continuing to fire well after the youth...

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

Here’s What Happened In Indiana As Soon As The Media Stopped Paying Attention

According to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), who spoke to reporters on Tuesday, the “difficult time” for the state is over. He was referring to...

This 84-Year-Old Refused a Million Dollars and Forced a Shopping Mall to Build Around Her House

In 2006, developers wanted to build a shopping mall in Seattle, Washington, over Edith Macefield’s house, but she wasn’t going to give it up. After...

Putin Just Issued a Chilling Response over Ambassador Assassination

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to the murder of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, is disturbing, to say the least. Putin jumped at the...

15 Mind Blowing Technologies Invented By The Nazis

Nazi Germany developed a huge amount of technology that was either suppressed after the war or became the stuff of conspiracy theories. Some of this...

Ferguson and the False Promise of “Revolution”

When faced on the battlefield with a numerically superior enemy, one must attempt to divide his enemy into smaller, more easily dispatched opponents –...

Canadian Teenager Discovers Lost Mayan City by Studying the Stars

At just 15 years old, William Gadoury has blown the minds of some of Canada’s top astronomers, scientists and researchers by locating an ancient...

Venezuela on the Verge of Revolution: A Quick Overview

Venezuela, a country with only $10 billion left in reserves to run on, is in trouble. The people are starving. The government has gone full-on...