The use of oil

How do you propose to balance the exploitation of Ecuador’s natural resources with preservation of its amazing ecological diversity? 

Rafael Correa: “It is madness to say no to natural resources, which is what part of the left is proposing—no to oil, no to mining, no to gas, no to hydroelectric power, no to roads. This is an infantile left, which can only legitimate the right. In the classic socialist tradition, I don’t know where Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh or Castro said no to mining or natural resources. This is an absurd novelty, but it’s as if it has become a fundamental part of left discourse. It is all the more dangerous for coming from people who supposedly speak the same language. With so many restrictions, the left will not be able to offer any viable political projects.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that the main objective of a country such as Ecuador is to eliminate poverty. And for that we need our natural resources. There are people here who seem ready to create more poverty but leave those resources in the ground or who even see poverty as something folkloric—as if children in the central highlands should keep dying of gastroenteritis and life expectancy should stay at 35. That is criminal. 

“What is more, if you look at the capitalist countries that successfully overcame poverty through development—South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore—they all imposed large doses of labor exploitation over a long period of time in order to accumulate the required human talent, science, technology and so on. Thanks to its natural resources, Latin ­America doesn’t have to put up with that kind of exploitation. … We will never allow it, and we won’t have to. What we need to do is exploit those resources in the right way.”

But there have been many disasters with oil and mining.

“Of course that’s true. But it’s one thing to say there have been bad singers and another to say the song is bad. There is another fallacious argument from parts of the left—that, because things have been done badly in the past, they will keep being done badly. Oil has caused a lot of harm, and mining has practically destroyed entire countries, but it doesn’t have to be that way. … 

“If we exploit natural resources carefully, it can even benefit the environment, in two ways. Firstly, poverty harms the environment: I can’t tell a poor family living next to a forest not to cut down the trees. If we reduce poverty, we can conserve the environment. Second, there are a series of delusions: that oil destroys the jungle, for example. What does the most damage to the jungle? The expansion of the agrarian frontier. To avoid this we need to create alternative sources of employment and income. Then there is the idea that mining contaminates the water supply. Not true: The main source of water pollution is sewage from Quito, which is still dumped into the Machángara River, now totally contaminated. In order to change the situation we need hundreds of millions of dollars. We can obtain those resources from mining. That is to say, the proper exploitation of natural resources can help to conserve nature rather than destroying it.”

 

Photo: Flickr.com/Presidencia de la República del Ecuador

Solution News Source

The use of oil

How do you propose to balance the exploitation of Ecuador’s natural resources with preservation of its amazing ecological diversity? 

Rafael Correa: “It is madness to say no to natural resources, which is what part of the left is proposing—no to oil, no to mining, no to gas, no to hydroelectric power, no to roads. This is an infantile left, which can only legitimate the right. In the classic socialist tradition, I don’t know where Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh or Castro said no to mining or natural resources. This is an absurd novelty, but it’s as if it has become a fundamental part of left discourse. It is all the more dangerous for coming from people who supposedly speak the same language. With so many restrictions, the left will not be able to offer any viable political projects.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that the main objective of a country such as Ecuador is to eliminate poverty. And for that we need our natural resources. There are people here who seem ready to create more poverty but leave those resources in the ground or who even see poverty as something folkloric—as if children in the central highlands should keep dying of gastroenteritis and life expectancy should stay at 35. That is criminal. 

“What is more, if you look at the capitalist countries that successfully overcame poverty through development—South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore—they all imposed large doses of labor exploitation over a long period of time in order to accumulate the required human talent, science, technology and so on. Thanks to its natural resources, Latin ­America doesn’t have to put up with that kind of exploitation. … We will never allow it, and we won’t have to. What we need to do is exploit those resources in the right way.”

But there have been many disasters with oil and mining.

“Of course that’s true. But it’s one thing to say there have been bad singers and another to say the song is bad. There is another fallacious argument from parts of the left—that, because things have been done badly in the past, they will keep being done badly. Oil has caused a lot of harm, and mining has practically destroyed entire countries, but it doesn’t have to be that way. … 

“If we exploit natural resources carefully, it can even benefit the environment, in two ways. Firstly, poverty harms the environment: I can’t tell a poor family living next to a forest not to cut down the trees. If we reduce poverty, we can conserve the environment. Second, there are a series of delusions: that oil destroys the jungle, for example. What does the most damage to the jungle? The expansion of the agrarian frontier. To avoid this we need to create alternative sources of employment and income. Then there is the idea that mining contaminates the water supply. Not true: The main source of water pollution is sewage from Quito, which is still dumped into the Machángara River, now totally contaminated. In order to change the situation we need hundreds of millions of dollars. We can obtain those resources from mining. That is to say, the proper exploitation of natural resources can help to conserve nature rather than destroying it.”

 

Photo: Flickr.com/Presidencia de la República del Ecuador

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