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- 1 Population
- 2 Social interests
- 3 Oil interests
- 4 Media
- 5 U.S. military base in Ecuador
- 6 Leaders
- 7 Related SourceWatch articles
- 8 External links
In July 2006, Ecuador's estimated population was 13,547,510: 
- 65% mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white), 25% Amerindian, 7% Spanish and others 7%, and 3% black
- 95% Roman Catholic and 5% other
- Spanish is the official language but there are also Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
Ecuador is a country in which the "Indigenous movement proposes to assume its own power. ... Given the rejection by Ecuadorian president Alfredo Palacio of the demands made by the popular sector, the indigenous movement is today to assume power itself and convene a popular consultation on the Free Trade Agreement." 
Ecuador is a country which could produce vast wealth through its oil industry. However those prospects are problematic because, in "the northern Amazon, Indians are suing (ChevronTexaco) a U.S. oil company over environmental damage they say ruined their land and made people sick. Further south, indigenous demonstrators have led violent protests to keep firms off their property. ... Ecuador is one of Latin America's least stable nations and has a powerful Indian movement. But it is also one of the region's most promising nations for oil development with a government eager to tap five billion barrels in reserves." 
- "The lawsuit so far hasn't put off investment, analysts say, citing a new $1.4 billion pipeline built this year by private oil firms. But companies are keeping an eye on an eventual ruling that could affect the industry, they said.
- "Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, says it followed accepted procedures during its two decades in the Amazon and paid for a $40 million clean-up that was approved by the Ecuadorean government after its contract to produce crude with state oil company Petroecuador ended in 1992. ... Texaco no longer operates oil blocks in Ecuador."
- "Ecuador's government is hoping for a second oil boom now that the new pipeline has been built -- which could double the nation's crude output -- to reduce the poverty blighting the lives of 60 percent of its people.
- "But more than 125 miles further south, Argentine oil company CGC and U.S. Burlington Resources Inc. have had government contracts to explore for crude for more than three years and neither has been able to drill a single well. ... Achuar Indians have protested against oil development by kidnapping workers and holding demonstrations, saying they must protect the pristine forest where they've lived for decades. They are betting on an ecotourism project instead of oil."
- "One reason Ecuador has been unable to convince jungle dwellers of the benefits of oil is that the cash it generates is channelled to the central government instead of the Amazon region, where 78 percent of people are poor."
- The constitution provides for freedom of speech, and journalists are able to report without hindrance. However, some self-censorship, especially regarding politically-sensitive issues and stories about the armed forces, is exercised. Also, defamation is a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison. Thus the media are generally non-confrontational and measured in tone.
- Under a law which requires the media to give the government free space or air time, governments can and have required TV and radio to broadcast programmes produced by the state.
- Internet use is limited by high access costs. Less than 10% of Ecuadorans have web access.
U.S. military base in Ecuador
The U.S. has a naval and air force base at Manta since signing a ten year lease in 1999. In November 2006, left-leaning Rafael Correa was elected president, promising not to renew the lease when it comes up for renewal in 2009. He said, "We can negotiate with the U.S. about a base in Manta, if they let us put a military base in Miami."
Luis Angel Saavedra writing for the Fellowship of Reconciliation said, "Seven years of U.S. military presence have shown that the base’s main activities are not related to fighting the drug trade. Instead, it provides logistical support for the counterinsurgency war in Colombia, giving real-time information on the movement of guerrilla forces that operate there. It also exercises immigration control by locating boats with people trying to reach the United States in search of the so-called "American dream."
"Although the agreement restricts maritime interdiction to the Ecuadorian Navy, U.S. military ships have conducted more than 45 illegal actions, boarding boats that carried immigrants or were at work fishing, as well as sinking or causing damage to at least eight Ecuadorian boats between 2001 and June 2005.
"Ecuadorian media have also uncovered several attempts by the U.S. company Dyncorp to convert Manta into a center for recruiting mercenaries. Since March 2002, Dyncorp has had a work force of 134 people on the Manta base.
"In August 2005, media documented the existence of a company called EPI Security & Investigators, owned by Jeffrey Shippy, a former fireman tied to the Dyncorp team in Manta. Shippy maintained a Web site that recruited Colombian mercenaries to be sent to Iraq. EPI had hired nearly a thousand Colombians and had received files of several Ecuadorian ex-soldiers interested in working as mercenaries in Iraq. They were offered salaries from $2,500 to $5,000 a month, depending on their “operational capacity.” But EPI Security & Investigators disappeared from the Web, and its supposed owner also disappeared, so that Dyncorp again remained safe from any connection to these events." 
Related SourceWatch articles
- Chevron Plays 'Victim' To Deflect Media Coverage of Goldman Award for Ecuadorian Activists
- Coordinating Body for the Indigenous Peoples' Organisations of the Amazon Basin
- Free Trade Area of Americas (FTAA)
- Global insurgency for change
- Imperial terror in South America
- International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries
- Peter Mountford
- Plan Colombia
- U.S. military bases overseas
- Yolanda Kakabadse
- Heather Hodges - US Ambassador
- Ivonne A-Baki - Ambassador to the US
- Government of Ecuador.
- Ecuador Presidency.
- Ecuador Supreme Court.
- ViveEcuador.com (Official Tourism Site).
- Texaco in Ecuador.
- Background Note: Ecuador, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
- A Country Study: Ecuador, Library of Congress.
- Country Profile: Ecuador, CIA The World Factbook.
- Ecuador, Geographia.
- Country Profile: Ecuador and Ecuador Timeline, BBC.
- Ecuador, Human Rights Watch.
- Ecuador in the Wikipedia.
- Ecuador, Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas at Austin.
- Ecuador, WorldAtlas.com.
- Ecuador, Holt, Rinehart and Winston World Atlas.
- Cortney Hamilton and Deb Tullmann, "Ecuador: Flower Power - Fair trade roses for Valentine's Day", PBS/Frontline, February 14, 2008. (10 mins). Fair trade roses have been available in Europe for over ten years but are now slowly becoming available in the U.S.
- Marc Becker, Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador’s Modern Indigenous Movements (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008). (review in Monthly Review)
- Educador, Amazon Watch. Press releases, updates, and news clips (2003-current).
- Country Briefings: Ecuador, The Economist.
- "Coup declared in Ecuador," BBC, January 2, 2000.
- "Bank approves Ecuador dollar plan," BBC, January 11, 2000.
- "Ecuador switches to US dollar," BBC, September 9, 2000.
- "Accord follows Ecuador fuel protests," BBC, February 8, 2001.
- "Ecuador adapts to the US dollar," BBC, February 20, 2001.
- ChevronTexaco Corporate Responsibility Report 2002 Update.
- "Protest threat to Ecuador oil," BBC, February 26, 2002.
- "Ecuador looks to renew IMF ties," BBC, November 27, 2002.
- ChevronTexaco Corporate Responsibility Report 2003 Update.
- "Ecuador set for fresh IMF funds," BBC, February 7, 2003.
- "Ecuadorean Indians sue Texaco," BBC, May 8, 2003: "They accuse the company of destroying large areas of rainforest and contaminating local land and rivers. ... They are also alleging the company's activities have led to an increased risk of cancer among the local population."
- "Texaco faces $1bn lawsuit," BBC, October 22, 2003: "A trial has begun in Ecuador's jungle town of Lago Agrio of the US oil giant ChevronTexaco, which is accused of polluting the country's rainforest and water resources."
- Alex Kirby, "Oil drilling can protect forests. Countries which exploit their oil and mineral wealth are likelier to save their forests, researchers say," BBC, June 26, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "Ecuador Lawsuit Could Lead to Clamp-Down on Multinationals," Inter Press Service, October 23, 2003.
- Gonzalo Solano, "Scientist Recommends Petroecuador Face Pollution Trial," Associated Press (ChevronToxico.com), October 29, 2003.
- Amy Taxin, "Battle Rages with Ecuador Indians Over Jungle Oil," Reuters (Common Dreams), December 19, 2003.
- ChevronTexaco Corporate Responsibility Report 2004 Update.
- Elliott Gotkine, "Ecuador's economic hopes," BBC, January 21, 2004.
- Michael Voss, "Ecuador Indians embrace eco-tourism," BBC, May 4, 2005.
- Letter to ChevronTexaco Corporation and Enclosed Resolution, Amnesty International, November 22, 2004.
- "Ecuador – Oil Rights or Human Rights?" Amnesty International, March 2005.
- Michael Voss, "Ecuador tribes vow to fight oil threat," BBC, March 3, 2005.
- William Baue, "Oil Spread Upon the Waters of Ecuador May Return Harm for ChevronTexaco Shareholders," SocialFunds.com, April 8, 2005.
- William Baue, "Asphalt Jungle: Did Oil Drilling by Texaco Create Environmental and Social Harm in Ecuador?" SocialFunds.com, April 11, 2005.
- William Baue, "Ecuadorian Attorney General Tells ChevronTexaco Shareholders Remediation Agreement May Be Invalid," SocialFunds.com, April 12, 2005.
- "Ecuador Congress sacks president," BBC, April 20, 2005.
- "Q&A: Ecuador's latest upheaval," BBC, April 24, 2005.
- Texaco in Ecuador: "ChevronTexaco Statement on 'SocialFunds.com' Report on Ecuador Environmental Litigation," Texaco.com, April 25, 2005.
- David R. Baker, "Environmentalists to challenge oil giant. 2 resolutions address ChevronTexaco's role in Ecuador, Arctic," San Francisco Chronicle, April 27, 2005.
- "Chevron Shareholders Submit Resolution Addressing Ecuadorian Contamination Controversy," Amnesty International, December 2, 2005.
- Joan Kruckewitt, "Oil and Cancer in Ecuador: Ecuadoran villagers believe high rates of disease are tied to petroleum pollution, a contention that Chevron disputes," San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2005.
- Alonso Soto, "Petroecuador Suspends Oil Exports Amid Protest," Reuters (The Epoch Times), February 8, 2006.
- "Protesters in Ecuador Oil Region Declare Truce," EFE News Services (RIGZONE), February 23, 2006.
- "Ecuador Declares State-of-Emergency Due to Oil Strike," EFE News Services (RIGZONE), March 8, 2006.
- "Ecuador Oil Workers Strike Ends, Output Gradually Recovers," BNAmericas (RIGZONE), March 10, 2006.
- "FACTBOX-Key proposals from Ecuador's leftist Rafael Correa," Reuters, November 26, 2006. re Rafael Correa
- Chris Kraul, "Leftist is well ahead in Ecuador's runoff. Win could add to erosion of US influence in region," Boston Globe, November 27, 2006.
- Daniel Schweimler, "Ecuador votes for break with past," BBC, November 27, 2006.
- Tyche Hendricks, "Controversy mires choice for Goldman Prize", San Francisco Chroncle, April 15, 2008.
- "Ecuador says ties with U.S. not to sour over stoppage of military base contract", Xinhua News Agency, April 16, 2008.