November 18, 2009

Crude reality

This summer I went to the (Ecuadorian) Amazonas, as you might remember. I enjoyed the trip a big deal, was amazed of how interesting it was, but somehow it has been a long time to process all impressions.

I was not impressed by poverty. People living in the rainforest are indeed poor but not as poor as in Guatemala or Mexico. In Amazonas people are poor but I didn't see misery.

But I indeed was impressed by the HUGE impact of oil companies since the 60s, when they started working there. Texaco was the first one to start working in the area.

The whole area is terribly polluted by the oil wastes. Pink dolphins had to leave the Napo river, people are having health problems, it is a big mess. I made this pic of "eternal" torches: they burn the gas, instead of storing it, and millions of mosquitoes die every night, because they are attracted by warmth.

There are still billions of barrels down there, but at least in Yasuní National Park they won't take them out. That's what the government says.

Local people are suing now Chevron (Texaco's owner) because of the damage. The whole thing is a mess: on the Chevron side, they are all liars, they just want to ignore the damage they had done; on the Ecuador side, there is a lack of know-how, and some Americans are helping them doing, for instance, even documentary films like "Crude".

This a first impression of the problem:

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