In http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2013/10/why-is-the-economist-chortling-over-the-prospect-of-oil-pollution-in-ecuador/#idc-container a U.S. lawyer, William “Bill” Black, has made a failed attempt to whitewash the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who is violating environmentally fragile areas of the Amazonia to drill for oil. When The Economist criticized this move lawyer Black immediately attacked the publication.
Who is W. Black? He is made to sound like a highly charismatic personality by the site that published his article. His profile reads like this:
EconoMonitor Profile: William K. Black, J.D., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City…. He was interviewed by Bill Moyers on PBS, which went viral. He gave an invited lecture at UCLA's Hammer Institute which, when the video was posted on the web, drew so many "hits" that it crashed the UCLA server. He appeared extensively in Michael Moore's most recent documentary: "Capitalism: A Love Story." …. etc.
In his article Dr. Black quoted The Economist criticism of Correa: “The Yasuni National Park in Ecuador’s slice of the Amazon contains countless endangered species of animals and birds. For that reason Rafael Correa, the country’s president, hatched a scheme under which he would forebear from extracting the oil that lies beneath the park’s northeastern corner, if the rest of the world put up $3.6 billion, or half its estimated value. The world spurned this offer and last month Mr. Correa cancelled it, saying that the estimated 840m barrels of oil in the area, which he now values at $18 billion, would help him to continue to cut poverty. …In a bid to deflect the anger of environmentalists at his U-turn, Mr. Correa this month turned his rhetorical fire on Chevron.” - See more at: http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2013/10/why-is-the-economist-chortling-over-the-prospect-of-oil-pollution-in-ecuador/#idc-container.
Mr. Black went after The Economist as follows: “Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa of Ecuador are the two most popular leaders in the western hemisphere, according to a survey by the Mexican polling firm of Consulta Mitofsky…. Correa proposed an innovative plan that provided the ideal solution to the Yasuni dilemma. The Yasuni’ s oil should not be developed because the world does not need its oil and because developing the oil will be harmful in at least three ways……Ecuador was offering a deal under which it would share the “opportunity cost” of not producing the oil. In short, Correa’s plan was a win-win…”. - See more at: http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2013/10/why-is-the-economist-chortling-over-the-prospect-of-oil-pollution-in-ecuador/#idc-container
Mr. Black’s perspective is not substantiated by the evidence. He starts by claiming Correa is one of the two most popular leaders in Latin America, according to a polling company based in Mexico. Another polling company, Latino Barometer, based in Chile, ranks Mr. Correa in the 11th position among 18 Latin leaders (last, in 2012, was Hugo Chavez). He is below Funes, Chinchilla, Santos, Mujica, Roussef, Humala, Ortega, Piñera, even Lugo (former president of Paraguay). Correa’s popularity is currently seriously threatened, precisely because of his decision to drill for oil in the Yasuni National Park.
What Rafael Correa did in relation to the Yasuni Park was to demand money from European nations in order not to drill for oil. He claimed drilling for oil in that fragile ecosystem would be harmful to the environment and, therefore, asked for almost $4 billion no to do it. Meanwhile, however, he had already authorized Petro Amazonas, a state-owned oil company, to drill in Block 31, located near or, even, inside the park.
Correa’s money demands sounded very similar to that of a kidnapper who demands a ransom not to harm the kidnapped. It is actually worse, since the kidnapped is a member of the kidnapper’s own family. His attitude and double standards made it impossible for him to receive any money. He, then, full of spite, authorized the drilling in the Yasuni Park and intensified his harassment of ChevronTexaco, another case of extortion by Correa and his accomplices.
In authorizing the entry of drilling equipment into the national park he lied to Ecuadorians. See: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2013/oct/15/ecuador-president-misleading-yasuni . He said that only less than 1% of the area would be directly involved, basing this estimate only in the amount of land required to drill the first group of wells. But drilling these wells will be just part of the invasion. To drill the oil wells, roads will be needed, open pits, tanks and pipelines will have to be built and, if there is commercial oil there, many more wells will be drilled in order to develop the oilfield. A considerable portion of the ecosystem will be eventually affected.
Behind Correa’s actions in Amazonia there is a selfish, short-term political and economic motive. He needs money to consolidate his grip on power. In: http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/13279/ecuador-s-amazon-drilling-plan-raises-concerns-over-environment-oil-dependency we can see how Ecuador already owes $9 billion to China and needs oil to pay back this huge loan. Correa is using the same suicidal, anti-national, oil policy being followed by the regime that controls power in Venezuela.
Dr. Black’s defense will not absolve Mr. Correa.