The world media are reporting that the government secured a $117 Million downpayment (well over the 100 million needed) before December 31st 2011 to protect Yasuni National Park from being drilled for oil.
Firstly this is fantastic news that this important issue is still in the international spotlight.
It means more scrutiny for reports on corrupt dealings like Chevron Texaco using “blood money” to bribe the Ecuadorian government with $500 Million for the Yasuni ITT protection in exchange for forgetting its $18 Billion in damages it needs to pay for creating a “Chenobyl in the Amazon” 30 years ago.
“Given Chevron’s toxic legacy and the debt it owes the people and rainforests of Ecuador, the fact that this ‘bribe’ is even on the table is an aberration of justice. “This is a multi-billion dollar bait and switch, it’s illegal, and can’t be allowed.” said the Ecuador program coordinator for Kevin Koenig for Amazon Watch.
Why then are my friends who work at the Ministry of Environment and the Provincial Council for Coca in Orellana Province which controls Yasuni National Park not convinced?
Reaching the 100 million dollars may have saved Yasuni National Park for another year but my friends say the prospecting continues as usual. Its encouraging however to see that Rafael Correa donated the proceeds of the $40million lawsuit against the newspaper El Universo even though it challenged Freedom of Expression in Ecuador.
Lets hope that what the ex-president of the Yasuni ITT initiative Roque Sevilla said about President Rafael Correa in his Yasuni interview is not true.