protest against the building of the oilpipeline in Equador
protest in front of financial investor
protest on top of OCP building
protest in Equador
occupation of the building site
burning of spilled oil in the environment
Before last year’s elections, Gutierrez undertook a clear stance, attacking Ecuador’s dollarization, the IMF and the FTAA. Since he became a president, the economic policies have been based upon an agreement with the IMF that proposed the same neoliberal reforms proposed by previous presidents. In order to make payments on the foreign debt, the IMF calls for increasing oil production, and new investment in oil fields in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon and new exploration in the ancestral indigenous territories in the south. This means that Gutierrez’s devoted oil policy has developed into the same approach taken by President Jamil Mahuad over four years ago. The common factors are opening up the doors for foreign multinational oil companies to invest in new extensive explorations in the Amazon rainforest, privatisation of oil production, and limiting of the involvement of Ecuador’s state oil company, Petroecuador. Interestingly enough, Mahuad was overthrown by an alliance of military officers headed by Gutierrez and Ecuador’s indigenous movement. Currently, the indigenous movement, lead by CONAIE, is objecting to the privatisation of oil production, the failure to appropriate oil income for investment in health and education, and proposals to carry out new drilling in indigenous territories where those activities are opposed.
Indigenous organisations that have been affected by oil concessions in Blocks 23 and 24 in the southern Ecuadorian Amazon, had high hopes for resolving their conflict after Gutierrez's installation in January of 2003, but over the last six months any hopes of impartial prohibition by the government have been almost totally lost. The indigenous have held meetings with President Gutierrez earlier this year; thus the agreements discussed in these meetings quickly broke down due to political instability within the administration. Recently, the Government has stated that the exploration in the Block 23 and 24 must go forward, while at the same time they have invited indigenous organisations to engage in negotiations to deal with the issue. So far, the indigenous groups occupying the affected areas have refused the proposal, due to the Government’s failure to recognise their position and the various national and international legal decisions in favour regarding Block 23 and 24.