Monday, August 19, 2013

Ecuador Asked the World to Pay it Not to Drill for Oil. What was the World's Answer?

Time to check on the news from Ecuador.

Last year, our World Politics/Global Issues classes read of the estimated 840 million barrels of the oil under the Yasuni Rainforest National Park, one of the most pristine and biodiverse ecoystems in the world.   The oil under Yasuni represents an important revenue source in a country that despite marked achievements in quality of life still has nearly a quarter of its citizens living in deep poverty.   However, drilling in Yasuni raises obvious environmental concerns that trouble many Ecuadorians and people around the world.   In 2007,  Ecuador's President, Rafael Correa presented wealthy country donors with a bold proposal: pay Ecuador $3.6 billion and it would leave the Yasuni oil in the ground.

Now, nearly six years later, President Correa has his answer:  No.

In a televised address to the nation, President Correa announced the end of his Yasuni initiative, noting that "the world has failed us."  Oil exploration in the region is scheduled to begin within weeks.

The story is fascinating and important, with global implications stretching well beyond Ecuador.   Reading the articles at the links above are well worth your time.

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