Ecuador: Politics, environment and the continuing challenges for indigenous communities


Rochester Committee on Latin America


Politics, environment and the continuing challenges for indigenous communities


Paola Macas Betchart

Paola Macas Betchart is an Environmental Anthropologist who was born and raised in Ecuador. For more than 10 years, she has been researching natural resources management, focusing on conservation and development issues in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and organizing volunteer community projects and educational workshops in various towns in Ecuador. Recently, this effort became the Ecuadoran Support Network (RAE in Spanish).

Ms. Betchart will discuss the political background of legislation for the protection of natural resources in Ecuador as well as a brief history of the indigenous movement. She will also explore the challenges of enforcing the protections that became part of the avant garde 2008 Ecuadoran constitution, including the Texaco case and the Yasuní-ITT Initiative to conserve natural resources.

Wednesday, May 7th, 7:00 PM
Downtown United Presbyterian Church
121 N. Fitzhugh St., Rochester, NY

Free and open to the public.
Wheelchair accessible and looped for those with hearing loss.

Ecuador’s Campaign: “The Dirty Hand of Chevron”

Truthout Wednesday, 25 September 2013 09:49 By Sally Burch, Truthout | Op-Ed

Ecuador’s president has launched a call for people around the world to boycott Chevron products, in rejection of the company’s evasion of responsibility for oil contamination in the Amazon basin. In recent months, Chevron has targeted Ecuador with a barrage of defamatory publicity questioning the country’s legal system, in an attempt to elude the sentence under which it is ordered to pay out almost $19 billion to clean up the area and provide health care and clean drinking water for the affected population.

Ecuador’s campaign titled, “The dirty hand of Chevron,” was presented by President Rafael Correa on September 17, in a visit to a contaminated pit near the Aguarico 4 oil well, operated decades ago by Texaco. The company, which merged with Chevron in 2001, left behind almost one thousand of these pits over three decades of oil exploitation in the Amazon rainforest (1964-1992), covering an area of more than a million acres, where an estimated 18 billion gallons of water, contaminated with oil, has continued to seep from unprotected pits or to overspill during heavy rains. The seepage has contaminated the streams and rivers used by the local population for drinking water, destroyed wildlife and negatively affected agriculture.

Correa estimated the damage to be far greater than either the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill or the Mexican Gulf BP spill. “This is one of humanity’s most serious disasters,” he announced.

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