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Old 02-13-2013   #1
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Danville, California
Paddling Since: 1970
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An important article on Ecuador from Salon.com

A very worrying story by Alexander Zaitchik was posted on Salon recently regarding the (very corrupt) government's efforts to lease off huge swaths of rainforest to a Chinese gold mining concern. Of course, we all know what great stewards of the environment they are, so perhaps we should not lose sleep....
We don't usually post links here so hopefully this works-

“To get the gold, they will have to kill every one of us” - Salon.com

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Old 02-14-2013   #2
Land of Lovin, Colorado
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Heartbreaking It's a repeat of what happened in North Dakota in the 1950's except a dam filled in all of the remaining good land on their reservation instead of a mine.

“We have been coming to these sacred cascades since before the time of Christ,” said Ankuash, preparing a palm-leaf spread of melon and mango. “The government has given away land that is not theirs to give, and we have a duty to protect it. Where there is industrial mining, the rivers die and we lose our way of life. They want us to give up our traditions, work in the mines, and let them pollute our land. But we will give our lives to defend the land, because the end is the same for us either way.”

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. - Voltaire
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Old 02-15-2013   #3
Denver, Colorado
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Thank you.Great article! One thing they alluded to but could have emphasized more was the massive debt the country has as a result of rightwing mismanagement prior to Pallacio.I remember reading an interview with Pallacio where he equated thr terms for servicing the debt with a death sentence .Meanwhile the oligarchs fled to Miami with a good. chunk of the national treasury.Ecuador only got to keep something like 10 % of the proceeds of the money generated by the massive concessions to foriegn developers.Pallacio and Correa have their backs to the wall as a result of debt accrued before they ever came along.

It is unfortunate that Correa is backtrackkng on his original policies.I believe he genuinely wants to improve the conditions of the bulk of Ecuador 's poor far more than his predessors ever did.As in the US, Mexico, and pretty much everywhere, the indigenous people are seen as obstacle to developement.Protect 7000 Indians or feed millions of poor mestizos? But even if his intentions are semi good the lenders call the shots.Chavez was lending money (founded Bancosur) until VZ 's economy faltered with the worldwide depression /recession and oligarchs in Venezuela orchestrated a capital strike for political purposes.

Sounds like an awesome place to explore by kayak too!!
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Old 02-15-2013   #4
Denver, Colorado
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So many rivers and wilderness areas threatened and so much need for poverty reduction, but we can 't seem to find ethical responsible modes of developement that fairly balance all considerations.Instead money reigns supreme.
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Old 02-15-2013   #5
Denver, Colorado
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This link is to a great interview with Alberto Acosta, who was the former minister of mines and energy under Correa in the beginning of his administration.

Money quote that highlights the issue that Ecuador, and many other South American countries, are running into.
"There has been a series of very interesting processes in Latin America – in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. However, none of these new processes have managed to overcome the economic structures of extractivism. Bolivia continues to be dependent, even more dependent than before, on natural gas. Bolivia is making concerted efforts to extend oil, gas, and mineral extraction. In Ecuador the orientation is toward ongoing exploitation of oil. Although, one has to highlight the proposals of Ecuador to leave the oil under the ground in the National Park of Yasuni, which is positive. But, in general, it’s clear that there is no coherent position against the extractive model. There is a lot of talk of transformation and revolution, but it continues to be more of the same.

As I suggested, I don’t think there’s anything to what they’re calling socialism of the twenty-first century. What we’re witnessing instead is a neo-extractivism of the twenty-first century.

What we need to do in the medium- to long-term is overcome this model of accumulation. We need another way to organize the economy, which is not so dependent on the exploitation of natural resources. We need to move from an extractive economic model, to one based in the knowledge, and forces, and needs of human beings, individual and collective. We also need another way of inserting ourselves into the world market that is more intelligent than simply providing raw materials. We need to start producing other kinds of products for the international market. But more than anything, fundamentally, we need to strengthen the internal market and to strengthen regional integration in Latin America. Ecuador needs to break with the extreme concentration of assets and income, and change the pattern. We need to achieve equality if there is to be justice and freedom. This is what we need. And this requires a lot of democracy. Always more democracy, and never less."
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Old 02-15-2013   #6
Denver, Colorado
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book with the lowdown on Ecuador 's debt

Greg Palast 's 'Armed Madhouse ' chapter 3 'The Network :The World as a Company Town',gives a fairly detailed history of the events leading up to this.He calls out a lot of big name people and institutions directly involved (including prominent US pols of both parties) in fucking over Ecuador.

Marco, Yes the new left are still trying to extract resources as a way out of poverty compromising the environment, but their distribution of the proceeds is a lot more ethical at least.
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Old 02-15-2013   #7
Denver, Colorado
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Money quote from Palast

"Nowhere is the world flatter or more tilted than the part of the world that hangs down from Texas :Latin America.Mother. Nature has stocked these nations with a wealth of resources from gold to oil to cropland to hydropower, creating an El Dorado richer than any in the most extravagant dreams of the Conquistadors.Yet 132 million South Americans live on less than $2 a day :and just a couple of years ago you could find school teachers from BuenosAires hunting through garbage cans for dinner.Why? Because one resource was mined from their land until it was exhausted : capital."
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Old 02-15-2013   #8
Denver, Colorado
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Then there is a seperate problem that I would assume is also happening in Ecuador...poor mestizo independent gold miners illegally mining, they have no concept or concern for the environmental damage they do...maybe the Shuar can keep them out with force, if so the miners will arm up more and have a little mini war for gold...in Belize they outgun what little military force can be mustered in the uninhabited (except by the squatters, illegal miners, guacqueros, xateros, and log poachers) Chiquibul...search "Guatemalan gold fever in the Chiquibul " this area is about as remote as it gets in Central America, the upper Chiquibul has been run., another Belizean /Guatemalan run that had IV - whitewater but class V adventure VI - if you take dangerous people into account...I have explored the lower reaches of the Rio Blanco they talk about. Mayan villages downstream would be affected badly if they pollute this watershed...
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Old 02-16-2013   #9
Abron Cabron
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Wow. enlightening.and heartbreaking..... Thanks for sharing this article. I have wanted to go paddle in Ecuador for a while, but this article made me realize how little i know about the country....

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