Will the Amazon resist Directed Democracy & President Correa’s oil & mining policies?
THE AMAZON PINK DOLPHIN’S VOICE
Ecuador left opposition reacts to Correa re-election
But Correa is meanwhile seeking changes to the country’s mining law and foreign investment law that would enable him to close a deal with Canada’s Kinross for develop a large gold reserve at Fruta del Norte (which actually lies in the country’s south, straddling Loja and Chinchipe provinces). Especially at issue is 70% windfall-profit tax that the company wants dropped as a precondition for the project.
Said an assessment from risk consulting firm IHS: “Correa’s electoral-victory statements suggest he would single out domestic economic groups, as part of his policy to support the poor. The sectors most likely to be affected by Correa’s renewed radicalism would be the banking, media and banana industries. On mining, however, we expect Correa to ease conditions as he is very keen in attracting foreign direct investment to this sector.”
Correa won at least 57% of the vote, compared to 24% for his closest rival, Guillermo Lasso, a former banker from the coastal city of Guayaquiil. Also challenging Correa from the right was former president Lucio Gutiérrez, and banana magnate and five-time presidential hopefulAlvaro Noboa. A populist challenge came from Correa’s his former ally Alberto Acosta, candidate of the Plurinational Unity of the Left, an alliance of the Popular Democratic Movement (MPD) and the indigenous political party Pachakutik.
In the lead-up to the election, Acosta accused Correa of betraying his progressive base. He told one interviewer: “The government of Rafael Correa is similar to a bad bus driver… the kind that puts directional left when it actually turns right.” After the vote, he told the BBC: “I don’t recognise the current Correa. He is a different person. He is not the friend I used to have, that I used to love like a brother.” (La Linea de Fuego, Ecuador, in English at UDW;Reuters, BBC News, Feb. 18; Mining.com, Kinross Gold Corporation press release via 4-traders.com, Feb. 17; Viento Sur, Spain, Feb. 1, in English at UDW)
Kinross gold mine
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) issued a statement following the elections saying it “deeply respect[s] the popular will of the Ecuadorans,” but emphasizing “that we fight for a different democracy, one where people make decisions on core issues and where society plays a protagonistic role.” The statement pledged, “we will continue our historic struggle for the construction of a Plurinational State and for the Sumak Kawsay [Good Living] as a model for fairness and equality that expands democratic freedoms, favors the de-privatization of water and its consequent redistribution, implements land reform to revive agrarian production, and strengthens Latin American unity.”
The statement said “we wish luck to President Rafael Correa,” but also: “We hope that the criminalization and terrorism charges against indigenous and popular leaders come to an end, and that concessions of indigenous territories are no longer granted arbitrarily to transnational corporations.” The statement called for “the democratization and socialization of the economy,” and a halt to oil expansion in the Amazon basin, especially naming the Yasuní-Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini protected area, or Yasuní-ITT. (CONAIE statement, Feb. 21 viaAcosta2013, in English at UDW)
Production pools 2012
Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras
Gustavo López Ospina
Pieter Jan Brouwer
Assistant: Emilia Romero
The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.
SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer.