Skip to main content


Ecuador's President Rafael Correa is full of good ideas this week. On his visit to Italy this week he is reported to have proposed that the UN publish a list of environmental terrorists whose reckless actions are putting the world in danger. He also agreed to let the US maintain its military base in Manta, if the US is willing to allow Ecuador to build a base inside the US. If sovereignty isn't the issue, he asks, what's the problem?

The two statements simultaneously show off his environmental credentials while sticking it to Uncle Sam at the same time. Correa is on tour winning the hearts and minds of Europe by taking communion and criticizing the US. What better combination?

It would all the more meaningful if Correa would ask for a list of the environmental terrorists whose reckless actions are putting Ecuador at risk or look at how his own actions are destabilizing Ecuador's economy, scaring off much needed foreign investment.

On the environmental front, Ecuador's environmental policies are nothing to shout about. Just because they haven't industrialized yet and consequently don't produce the same amounts of pollution as the US is no reason for Correa to brag about environmental stewardship. Have you ever drank the water in Quito, Sr. Presidente? What's going on in the Galapagos?

How about oil extraction in the Orient? I have seen the leaky oil pipelines running out of the jungles in Coca. They follow the same route as the road and routinely leak small quantities of petroleum onto the ground that eventually works its way into local water supplies. The water we were offered to drink by an Huarani community near Tiguino had oil scum floating on top. What's happening to them these days, Don Rafael?

While President Correa has inherited all of these problems and can't be blamed for causing them, it could take a serious professional attitude toward managing the country that doesn't involve scaring off foreign investment.

For example, Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim was in Ecuador two weeks ago to discuss ways his country could invest in the country. Correa took this opportunity to announce that Ecuador would no longer split windfall oil profits 50-50 with pertroleum companies, but will now distribute these profits 99-1. AND, he added, if there are any complaints those companies could lose even that 1 percent. While I am no great fan of oil extractors, the announcement was a diplomatic slap in the face of Brazil and its state-owned oil company PetroBras, who operates several oilfields in eastern Ecuador.

So, while I applaud Correa's call for a public list of environmental terrorists, I would love to see more of this type of creative thinking inside of Ecuador where the need to immediate action is also great. Perhaps now that he has a vice-grip on national politics he will be able to move forward with more constructive ideas and less political jib-jab.


  1. Also, one of the oil companies that has polluted the most in the ecuadorian jungle is our own Petroecuador, the pollution at Tiguino was from a Petroecuador extraction plant and nobody says anything about it. I hope the president opens his eyes to this reality and stops hiding behind his populist insults towards developed countries, a trick that is getting too old in the new south american populists


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

In 1503, the Spanish monarchy issued its first decree for the resettlement of indigenous groups in the Caribbean so that they would “live together” and “not remain or wander separated from each other in the backcountry.”[1]

As the European conquest spread to North, Central, and South America, these new settlements – known as reducciones and congregaciones in Spanish and descimentos in Portuguese – became sites of forced labor, evangelism, experimental agricultural, and refuge. Through a series of imperial policies decreed over the next decades and centuries of colonial rule, Spanish and Portuguese officials attempted to reshape the New World, including its human and natural landscapes. How colonial historians explain this process and indigenous peoples’ reactions to it is the focus of this essay.

In a review of the recent historiography of reducciones, several trends emerge that signal a shift in our understanding of the practice. As this paper will show, one common element is that …

"Open" and "Closed" Regionalism Theories

(Apr. 3, 2008) The terms "Open" and "closed" regionalism refer to the degree in which regional blocks allow nonmember nations to access their markets. In this sense, an "open region" is one with few, if any, external trade restrictions while a "closed region" can be defined as one whose external trade policies seek to restrict commerce with nations outside the region.Closed regionalism as practiced in Latin America grew out of the policy suggestions made by UN ECLAC/CEPAL school of dependency theory in the early 1960s. As discussed earlier, proponents of this policy argued that states should form regional alliances with a series of trade barriers against foreign products to foment regional industrialization and assure captive local markets for these manufactured goods. The failure of this system of integration to meet Latin America's economic goals became apparent during the 1980s and was further highlighted by the strong economic performanc…

Greetings From Gringolandia

Bloomberg Businessweek, March 28 — April 3, 2016
Susan Lamy and her husband, Jean Pierre, owned a successful interior design business in Westport, Conn., but they still worried about how they would make ends meet in retirement. “Just paying for the basic necessities was killing us, and we could see that there was no way that we would ever be able to stop working,” says Lamy. 
The search for an affordable retirement spot led the couple to Cuenca, a Unesco World Heritage site in Ecuador’s southern Andes. They settled there in 2013 and now live in a spacious apartment with a terrace overlooking the Yanuncay River. Lamy says she and her husband enjoy a high standard of living in Cuenca for around $2,500 a month, paid for by their Social Security checks: “This seemed to be the best possibility for having a really terrific life on a fixed income.” 
The combination of a subtropical climate, well-preserved colonial architecture, and low cost of living has made Cuenca a magnet for North Ameri…