Ecuadorian Politician/Activist Talks about Yasuni

Yes, I’m back. I know I’ve been neglecting this blog, unfortunately. So this is a follow up to this post.

To sum it all up (in case you don’t want to check the link), radical environmentalists have been accusing Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, of polluting the environment. Why? There’s an area in Ecuador called Yasuni, it is famous for having quiet a biodiversity of several rare species of fauna and flora, as well as its Native American inhabitants.

It happened that there’s also oil under it, and there was the dilemma facing the Ecuadorian government: preserve nature, or extract oil to boost the country’s economy (that basically relies on oil for its income)?

Then, president Correa came up with this plan called Yasuni ITT Initiative, in which the UN funds the country by half the estimated value of the oil under the Yasuni park (around $3.6 billion), by 2020 as a deadline, and in return, Ecuador “leaves the oil in the soil”. But this initiative failed, because governments of other countries weren’t cooperative. The Yasuni ITT Initiative was thus cancelled (in 2013) and oil drilling in that national park started, and environmentalists complained.

Now this Ecuadorian politician addressed this issue in an interview with an Arab channel, responding to the environmentalist claims about pollution in the drilling process.

interview

Her name is Ivonne Abdel Baki (and yes she’s of Lebanese origin), and here are some background info about her to make sure that she’s more credible than those who call themselves”environmental activists” to address this topic:

  • Activist/environmentalist/former ambassador of Ecuador in USA
  • Former president of the Andean Parliament
  • UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Dialogue of Civilizations
  • Former minister of Foreign Trade Industry, Fisheries and Competitiveness
  • Primary negotiator and presidential envoy in the Yasuni ITT Initiative in 2007, appointed by Correa himself.

So she is an environmentalist, and also a practicing politician with experience, not some random tree-hugging vegan whining on the internet. Anyone with common sense would rather believe her in this matter.

This is the interview (in English with Arabic subtitles). In case you don’t want to watch all of it, at 9:35 she talks about Yasuni as follows:

“They are taking it (oil) but they are doing it in a very conscientious way, which I’m really very pleased to hear, that they are doing it in the way it should be done, with the latest technologies, with a lot of considerations (to the environment). The Yasuni will never die, it will always be there… They are doing it in a very unique way that it’s the latest technologies that will not effect the biodiversity that is in the park… The place is going to be staying, open for visitors, for tourism, but what we’re doing, what the government is doing now, which is very good, is that biodiversity that is over the ground…”

Q: “can we say now that Yasuni is in the clutches of oil companies?”

A: “No, we are getting the right people to do it and it’s the Ecuadorian government that is taking care of it, and we’re bringing, as I said, the technologies for doing it in the right way, instead of opening different places to drill the oil out. It would be done in one place, opening only one place, this is the technology that is being done now, newly, and then they will take the oil out and they will not pass it except for outside, from the river, take it to a place, instead of creating new roads, no roads”.

She also mentions that Ecuador is the only country in the world that gives priority to preserving nature in its constitution, in the very first chapter, which stresses on living in harmony with the environment, the indigenous people, and protecting “Pachamama” (Mother Earth in indigenous beliefs). So next time, before you scream “omg stop killing my Mother!!!1111”, take into consideration what actual environmental experts have to say, find out if the damage actually exists, before issuing judgement.

So this is the last post in 2016, see you next year!

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