from Weekly News Update on the Americas

On Aug. 25, Ecuador’s Congress voted 56-0 with 15 abstentions for a resolution calling for the end of a state of emergency in the Amazon provinces of Orellana and Sucumbios. President Alfredo Palacio had declared the state of emergency on Aug. 17, two days after residents of the oil-producing region went on strike to demand attention to their basic needs. The resolution also urged Palacio to dismiss Minister of Government (Interior) Mauricio Gandara.

The two-week strike ended officially on Aug. 25 with the signing of an agreement between the oil companies, the government and residents of the two provinces. Under the terms of the pact, the private oil companies will pay 16% in taxes directly to the provinces, out of a total 25% in income taxes, and will pave 260 kilometers of local roads within three years. The oil companies also pledged to hire local workers, goods and services.

But at an Aug. 28 meeting in El Coca, capital of Orellana province, strike leaders gave the government two days to force the oil companies to comply with the accord; otherwise, they said they would resume the strike. Leaders of the two provinces accused representatives of the multinational companies of meeting separately with the government after signing the accord and modifying some of its requirements. (Adital, Aug. 29; El Nuevo Herald, Aug. 29, 30, both from AFP; Hoy, Quito, Aug. 26)

“The oil companies and the [cabinet] ministers met in another assembly and came up with a new agreement, ignoring what was signed, and now they say it’s the same thing and expect us to sign it,” said Jose Rosero, president of the civic action board of Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja), capital of Sucumbios. Rosero said the changes to the text would allow the companies to pay less in taxes and take more time to pave the roads. (ENH, Aug. 29 from AFP)

On Aug. 30, the threat of a renewed strike dissipated after local authorities from Sucumbios and Orellana met with government and oil company officials at the Ministry of Energy to ratify the text of the original agreement, without changes. (Hoy, Quito, Aug. 31)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 4


Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #113


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Oct. 1, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution