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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ecuador suffering huge losses from oil protests: president

People's Daily Online,

March 24, 2007

Ecuador is losing 500,000 U.S. dollars every day as a result of protests by local residents at Amazon-based production sites of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, President Rafael Correa said Friday.

Petrobras stopped pumping crude oil eight days ago in the Amazon area when local people started protesting and damaging pipelines at oil production sites, demanding the hiring of local residents, rehabilitation of local roads and other services.

"We have several anarchic situations, such as the crippling of Block 18, and the country is loosing 500,000 dollars every day because of such disruption," Correa told the press.

Warning provincial prefects and mayors who had played key roles in the protests, Correa said, "We will not tolerate any more acts of force. We will not be intimidated. There are prefects who seize oil wells and organize invasions, but we will not allow it."

"Anarchy must end in this country and the principle of authority must be respected. We are exhausting the dialogue channel in order to solve the problem," he added.

The Amazon region contains Ecuador's largest oil reserves, and is home to some of the poorest provinces in the Andean country. Local residents often stage protests asking foreign oil companies to hire more local workers, to invest more on local roads, schools and other services, and to meet some of their crucial needs for local development.

Source: Xinhua

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