Big Oil, Romania & The Amazon

There is still time to sign up for my trip to Peru in December and/or Guatemala in January to experience some of this for yourself. Space is limited: http://www.johnperkins.org/trips/
Peru in December, 2014: http://www.johnperkins.org/peru-trip-december-2014/
Guatemala in January, 2015: http://www.johnperkins.org/a-journey-to-the-lands-of-the-maya-guatemala/

I’m now in Romania traveling across the country and speaking to audiences who face challenges and threats from Big Oil and other members of the corporatocracy, like so many countries around the planet. The problems the Romanians are dealing with remind me of how Latin American nations have responded to such challenges and what we all can learn from them. In the coming months I will take some of you to Peru and Guatemala where you will personally experience the power of the indigenous people and their determination to create a better world for all our children. (See more information here.)

As discussed in my last newsletter, Guatemala has shown courage in the face of Monsanto and CAFTA-DR, and other Latin American countries are showing signs of shaking off the baggage from decades of exploitation and abuse by multinational oil companies. Latin America is awakening into the Consciousness Revolution in very practical ways, though sometimes the growing pains of this revolution take a while to produce the desired results.

Money and power can corrupt any good intentions. While some governments and organizations both in the US and in Central and South America have been caught up in controversy and scandal involving oil drilling and profits, many citizens of these countries are growing more alert and more vocal about protecting the resources we still have and the future that is possible.

In Ecuador the battle between the Amazon and the corporatocracy is long and bitter. For decades the oil company Texaco (now owned by Chevron) took oil from the ground and left behind a disaster that has ruined landscapes and lives.

Ecuadorians are determined to hold Chevron accountable for the damage it has done in its pursuit of profit, and have ordered the company to pay billions of dollars to clean up the Amazon and to provide clean water and health care to the people who have been harmed by their decades of oil drilling in the region. True to form, Chevron is trying to avoid paying for the consequences of its actions, and the US is shamefully allowing it, at least for now. Men like Steven Donziger and his team of lawyers have awakened and are fighting the corporatocracy in both Ecuador and the US.

At the same time, the Ecuadorian government is tragically allowing more damage in the Amazon region. Even while Justice Minister Ledy Zuniga apologizes to the indigenous people of the Sarayaku community and their neighbors for the damage caused by oil drilling in their territory, President Rafael Correa is clearing the way for further exploitation.

In an unsuccessful bid to keep oil in the ground, the President attempted to preserve the Yasuni National Park instead of allowing oil drilling on the land – a lofty, well-intentioned goal, but one that has recently failed. An international trust fund was set up to allow other nations to participate in protecting the earth and preventing climate change by keeping this national park off limits to oil companies. It is a complex story with many twists and turns; however, in the end the fund did not succeed. Earlier this year Correa signed off to end it, and he is now promoting oil drilling in the reserve.

It is heartbreaking to see Ecuador allow oil companies to ravage the rainforest; the government’s claim that the oil industry will work differently this time and share profits with the indigenous people is a step in the right direction but still short-sighted and deceptive. Destroying our planet can benefit no one, especially not the ancient people who have called that part of the world home for so long.

As I travel in Romania, talking with the people here about the global economy and the consciousness revolution that is happening now, I see their struggle with Chevron, as well. Watch out, Romania. Chevron and giant corporations have screwed Ecuador and other Latin American countries. Learn from them and don’t let it happen to you. We in the US should make every effort to force Chevron to pay to clean up the damage it has done in Ecuador and to keep its dirty hands off of other nations’ resources.

A few brave individuals – like Steve Donziger – stand up for the environment and those who can’t speak for themselves. They may not be popular for doing so, but those of us who share their vision can stand with them. The indigenous people of the Amazon, with their intimate relationship to the earth, know that drilling for oil in the rainforest is a disastrous mistake. Let’s stand with them and with people everywhere who champion the cause of protecting the planet.

NOTES:
Upcoming Events:
December 6-16, 2014: Peru – Journey to Peru
January 16-23, 2015: Guatemala – A Journey to the Lands of the Maya
February 20-22, 2015: Pendle Hill, PA – Dream Change workshop with Charles Eisenstein

About John Perkins

John is a founder and board member of Dream Change & The Pachamama Alliance, non-profit organizations devoted to establishing a world future generations will want to inherit & the author of the NY Times bestseller, Confessions Of An Economic Hitman.

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