You'd better have a box of Kleenex handy, 'cause this will make you cry.
Lesbians Escape from Ecuador's "Ex-Gay" Torture Centers
Read the above article, then sign this petition to make it stop.
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
An Ecuadoran judge today fined Chevron Corp. $8 billion in a bitter, 18-year-old lawsuit over oil-field contamination in the Amazon rain forest.
The judgment, however, does not mark the end of the marathon court case, closely watched by environmentalists and oil executives worldwide...
A Norwegian newspaper has revealed the following classified document, dated 30 January 2008, which pertains to Ecuador. I won't pretend to understand its significance, but here it its, for what it's worth:
ECUADOR: CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY FOCUS UNCLEAR
C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000090
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018
TAGS: PGOV, EFIN, SNAR, KCOR, EC
SUBJECT: ECUADOR: CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY FOCUS UNCLEAR
REF: A. QUITO 55
B. 07 QUITO 2580
Classified By: Ambassador Linda Jewell for reason 1.4 (B, D)
1. (SBU) Summary: As the Constituent Assembly reaches the
two-month mark, members are meeting with various interest
groups and holding private committee meetings, but have yet
to debate publicly any constitutional language. The Assembly
has approved six laws or other documents, including the
controversial tax reform. President Correa´s speech to the
Assembly marking his first year in office and the
government´s denunciation of bribery attempts have been
highlights. End Summary
60 DAYS AND COUNTING
2. (SBU) Since its inauguration on November 29 in
Montecristi, the Constituent Assembly has sometimes appeared
more interested in legislating than in drafting a new
constitution. So far it has approved the tax reform law (Ref
A), three "constituent mandates," and two resolutions.
Democratic Left Assembly member and former Finance Minister
Diego Borja explained to poloff the differences between these
legal instruments: Laws are equivalent to those that the
suspended Congress would approve, constituent mandates are
approved under an expedited process and last only as long as
the Assembly is in session, and resolutions are the
Assembly´s internal rules.
3. (U) The Assembly´s legislative and oversight committee is
currently analyzing two additional bills submitted by the
executive branch. One would regulate land transport,
transit, and road safety. The other deals with restructuring
management of public finances, including bringing the
petroleum funds into the central budget.
4. (C) Proud and Sovereign Fatherland (PAIS) political bureau
member Augusto Barrera, who is serving as a liaison between
the Executive and Assembly on substantive matters,
acknowledged to the Ambassador on January 24 that each law
the Assembly passes has a political cost. While claiming
that 80% of past constituent assemblies in Ecuador have also
legislated, he said the government would seek consideration
of only a minimum number of laws, namely those necessary for
5. (SBU) The constituent mandates have addressed diverse
topics. One approved mandate regulates salaries in the
public sector so they do not exceed that of the President.
It sets a monthly ceiling of $5,000, with the exception of
personnel representing Ecuador abroad and "specific strategic
jobs." Another mandate suspended the elections of members of
congress representing two new provinces, Santo Domingo de los
Tsachilas and Santa Elena, until after the official results
of the referendum on the new constitution. Ref B described
the first constituent (or constitutional) mandate, which
affirmed the Assembly´s full powers.
INTEREST GROUPS SWARM TO MONTECRISTI
6. (C) The work of the Assembly´s nine
constitutional-drafting committees has centered thus far
around consultations with interest groups, plus executive and
judicial officials, and private committee discussions. The
committees and Assembly leadership have been besieged by
requests for meetings on every imaginable constitutional and
legislative topic. Several committees are also holding
meetings outside of Montecristi to solicit citizen input in
specific constitutional areas under their jurisdiction.
Barrera mentioned that PAIS was struggling with how to
balance being responsive to citizen groups with the need to
focus on substance ) he cited a recent meeting between a
group that believes in UFOs and the Sovereignty committee as
an example of how things were out of control to the point of
7. (SBU) There are indications that the committees are hard
at work debating constitutional issues behind closed doors.
For example, after a draft text leaked to the press, PAIS
assembly member Betty Amores, the vice president of the
Committee on Reform of State Structure and Institutions,
explained during a January 22 television interview that the
committee is contemplating a number of changes, including the
elimination of the vice presidency and extension of the
presidential term from four to six years. Amores stated that
the committee had not yet reached a consensus on whether
immediate reelection of the president would be allowed under
the new constitution.
8. (SBU) An encouraging sign of seriousness as well as
open-mindedness on at least some issues, the international
donor community has been approached for technical assistance
in several areas, in most cases by request from ministries
working with given committees on specific policies. USAID,
for example, has been asked to provide technical assistance
on several issues under review by the Environment committee.
CORREA SPEAKS TO ASSEMBLY
9. (SBU) On January 15, President Correa delivered a speech
to the Constituent Assembly describing his government´s
accomplishments during his first year in office and detailing
ambitious plans for the coming year. Perhaps harking back to
his days as a professor, Correa spoke for more than two
hours, accompanied by a 133-page PowerPoint presentation. A
system for governing through seven regions was among the new
proposals. Correa also urged amnesty for several groups
involved in protests and release from prison of individuals
charged with carrying small amounts of drugs as "mules."
Some opposition Assembly members walked out at the start,
arguing that the Constitution required that the President´s
annual speech be delivered to the Congress, not the Assembly.
A WEEK OF CONTROVERSY
10. (SBU) Minister of Government Fernando Bustamante and
Anticorruption National Secretary Jose Luis Cortazar
announced January 22 that a bribery attempt in the Assembly
had been discovered. Authorities detained Bolivar Lopez and
Cao Lay Munoz after PAIS assembly member and former
Anticorruption Secretariat employee Gabriel Rivas claimed
that they had offered him USD 3 million to obtain 25 assembly
votes against the new constitution and for re-opening
11. (SBU) A video recording that is being used as evidence by
the authorities mentions Patriotic Society Party (PSP)
Assembly member Julio Logrono, which triggered angry
responses from the PSP. During a press conference, Minister
Bustamante cast blame on former PSP President Lucio
Gutierrez, who categorically denied any involvement in the
12. (C) Suspicions that PAIS already has a written
constitution in its pocket continue to worry commentators,
although PAIS leadership strongly denies it. The
government´s investigation of acts of corruption implicated
the second largest bloc in the Assembly, which in turn gave
the latter ammunition to claim political persecution. With
the perceived lack of results thus far and with corruption
rearing its evil head, the Assembly needs to demonstrate a
greater focus on constitution drafting if it is going to
retain a wide measure of public support.
Original article (translated into English) here:
Wikileaks documents: your input, our search results
He alleged that the uprising was not just a dispute over benefits.
"There were lots of infiltrators, dressed as civilians, and we know where they were from," the president said.
"The people of Lucio Gutierrez were there, provoking, inciting to violence," he added, referring to the leader of the opposition Patriotic Society Party (PSP).
"The courts have said, 'You didn't follow the law. You are going to be polluting communities a whole lot more than you are disclosing," said Tina Andolina, legislative director for the Planning and Conservation League, a Sacramento environmental group. "This company broke the law, and now they are coming to ask for an exemption to the law they broke."
"A recent delegation led by the Amazon Defense Front traveled to Louisiana in attempt to draw a parallel between a lawsuit backed by U.S. trial lawyers against Chevron and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
There is no question that the people of Oriente face difficulties. However, there is no valid comparison with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the trial that is currently taking place in Ecuador. It is disappointing that the Amazon Defense Front (the named financial beneficiary in the Ecuador trial) and its supporters would take advantage of the people of the Gulf and their tragedy in an attempt to legitimize their fraudulent lawsuit against Chevron..."