The falsified evidence that led to inaccurate claims about Ecuador in The Guardian.
27 de Mayo de 2014 - 09h26
Tiempo de lectura 2'06'' | No. de palabras:583 | 160 visitas
In February, The Guardian published a false allegation that Ecuador had been
“negotiating a secret $1bn deal with a Chinese bank to drill for oil under the Yasuni national park in the Amazon while pursuing a high-profile scheme to keep the oil under the ground in return for international donations”
This claim relates to the ground-breaking international proposal that Ecuador had made to leave oil in the ground in the Yasuni area of the Ecuadorian Amazon in exchange for international compensation worth half the value of the oil. This scheme came to an end in 2013 after failing to attract sufficient levels of international support.
The Guardian’s article suggested that Ecuador was never serious about the Yasuni Initiative and had been negotiating all along to explore for oil in the Yasuni area. Its evidence was an alleged document that it posted on its website. The Guardian claimed that this contained a“Last minute clause” stating “the Ecuadorian party has said it will do all it can to help Petrochina and Andes Petroleum explore ITT [Yasuni area].” This clause was key to The Guardian’s allegations. Without it, its claim is baseless.
The government of Ecuador has strongly denied that Yasuni was ever up for negotiation. It has stated that this was a falsified document and that the falsification came from a political opponent of President Correa. The Guardian has since published a clarificatory statement by the Ecuadorian Ambassador Juan Falconi (see here: http://www.ecuadorembassyuk.org.uk/announcements/the-guardian-issues-clarificatory-statement-by-ambassador-falconi-over-its-false-claims-on-yasuni)
Below we look at the evidence showing that the document cited by The Guardian was falsified.
Firstly as can be seen on the image below, the original document from 2009 (on the right hand side) does include the clause cited by The Guardian. However it appears with the words crossed out. This crossing out was made by Ecuador in order to show the unacceptability of any proposal for Ecuador to “do all it can to help Petrochina …explore ITT [Yasuni area]”. This proposals had been made by Chinese negotiators during discussions over a development loan totally unrelated to Yasuni. In fact it was over this difference that the talks failed.
Yet the version of the document posted on The Guardian’s website had removed this crossing out – an alteration that is easy enough to achieve.
There is also evidence that the author of this falsified document is Fernando Villavicencio, a convicted slanderer and opponent of Ecuador’s current government. This can be seen from the file properties of the document that The Guardian had originally posted (but which it has since taken down and replaced with a version with this evidence removed).
Likewise there is evidence that this falsification was carried out years after the loan discussions had ended. The original document, with the crossing out, was created in 2009 (the year the discussions were taking place). Yet the document on The Guardian’s website was created on 7 February 2013. Obviously it is impossible for an authentic document from 2009 talks to be created in 2013.
The evidence showing the date of creation and the name of the author of the document originally uploaded on The Guardian can be seen in this video:
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