A previous post on Climate and Capitalism, from Inter Press Service, introduced Ecuador’s proposal to block the exploitation of oil reserves in its Amazon region in exchange for compensation from the global North.Stuart Munckton is a frequent contributor to the Australian newspaper Green Left Weekly. His comment of the Ecuadorian proposal was posted on Left Click
by Stuart Muncton This is a very interesting and important initiative from Ecuador, initiated by a social movement and taken up by President Rafael Correa. It combines the urgent need to halt environmental destruction with the economic needs of an impoverished underdeveloped country that, as Hugo Chavez has repeatedly pointed out about Ecuador and the rest of Latin America, has been bled dry for centuries by imperialism.
The principle underpinning this initiative is the way forward for humanity as it confronts the two, intertwined, great threats to the planet — environmental catastrophe and imperialist oppression. It is a creative solution to the problem that, as a result of imperialism, many underdeveloped countries are economically dependant on environmentally destructive industries and practices.
It is the height of hypocrisy to insist that countries like Ecuador should be made to pay the price of stopping such practices. This would bring utter catastrophe down on the head of the poor majority in such countries. However, continuing such practices will bring catastrophe down on all our heads. Underdeveloped countries must be compensated by the wealthy countries. (In fact by the wealthy corporations based in the wealthy countries as they are the ones who have profited from and worked to maintain the imperialist system. However, how the wealthy countries raise the money is beyond the control of the Ecuadorian people and up to the working people in the First World to struggle for).
Ecuador has a very generous offer, asking only for half what they would earn if they mined oil in this environmentally sensitive area of Amazon. It is important that it is explicitly presented as part of a struggle for a new development model, as well as the rights of the traditional owners.