Ecuador Internacional

Outspoken Ecuadorian Tribe Vows to Bring the Fight to China's Amazon Oil Exploration

With China's impending oil-drilling exploration activities in the Amazon seemingly unstoppable, a leader from one of the Amazon's smallest tribes, Manari Ushigua, vowed to do everything in his power, to stop the deal, according to Fusion News.

Latin Post - Peter de Jesus 03/02/2016

Photo: Latin Post

Photo: Latin Post

Ecuador's government had recently granted Andes Petroleum Ecuador, a consortium of two Chinese state-owned oil firms, China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., complete rights to explore two oil blocks in the Amazon jungle, which cover an area of about 500,000 acres.

With the deal signed, the Chinese oil company would be able to fully explore the land and harvest its oil for the next four years. In order to earn the exploration rights, the Chinese conglomerate paid the Ecuadorian government about $80 million, a rather small amount for a massive piece of pristine, untouched jungle.

This is exactly what Ushigua, the leader of the Zapara tribe, which currently number about 350 to 500 people, are pointing out. For the sum of $80 million, the Ecuadorean government has given Chinese oil companies free rein to exploit the riches of the Amazon jungle, reported The Los Angeles Times.

Apart from the dangers the oil exploration will pose to the environment, the way of living of indigenous tribes who live in the Amazon would be compromised. For people who depend on the riches of the forest to survive, having the balance of the forest tipped to one side heralds a lot of problems.

"If they put an oil well in our land, it would be like they are destroying our laboratory, our knowledge," Ushigua said.

The tribe leader's resistance to the oil exploration activities of China, however, does not mean that the Zapara tribe is against progress. It simply means that if progress is to be attained, the welfare of those who will be affected by it should be taken into careful consideration.

Ecuador actually has a law which requires the government to hold consultations with the indigenous tribes in the area before initiating extremely sensitive environmental projects. In the case of the Amazon exploration, indigenous groups have stated that the national government manipulated the consultations in their favor, even cracking down on those who opposed it.

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Fuente Original