The Guardian issues clarificatory statement by Ambassador Falconi over its false claims on Yasuni
02 de Mayo de 2014 - 11h25
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In February The Guardian newspaper made a serious claim about Ecuadorian government’s conduct regarding the Yasuni Initiative.
The Guardian wrongly alleged 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 false claim was based on a falsified document. Evidence, including the file properties of the document, clearly suggests the falsification was the work of a political opponent of the government of Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa.
After negotiations with The Guardian, the following statement has been added to the original article on The Guardian. “Ecuador pursued China oil deal while pledging to protect Yasuni, papers show”.
Statement by Ambassador Juan Falconi Puig appended to The Guardian article on 25 April 2014:
You claim the Ecuadorian government “was 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 according to a government document seen by the Guardian”.
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Yasuni was never up for negotiation. Your claim is totally baseless and was made without any credible evidence. The 2009 “government document” that you cite as proof for this claim is fraudulent.
It was with a heavy heart that Ecuador last year cancelled the Yasuni Initiative launched in 2007, a ground-breaking idea based on sharing responsibilities in the important battle against climate change. Under it, Ecuador would have forgone half of the oil revenues that it would have received for exploiting oil in this area of the Amazon if, as compensation, it received the other half through international donations placed in a UN administered trust.
As I wrote in The Guardian at the time: “Without international political will to give the financial support, the Yasuní initiative was never going to succeed. Tragically, it was the fundamental reason it did not. Despite strenuous efforts by the Ecuadorian government, including establishing a secretary of state devoted to this scheme, the financial backing fell way short… In fact, just 0.37% of the target was provided by international donors. This made the scheme unworkable.”
The allegation that Ecuador was negotiating oil exploitation in Yasuni with a Chinese company whilst simultaneously pushing the Yasuni Initiative wrongly implies that Ecuador was never serious in making the scheme work. More widely, it is designed to portray the Ecuadorean government as duplicitous.
You allege as evidence for your claim a so-called “Last minute clause” in a document stating “the Ecuadorian party has said it will do all it can to help Petrochina and Andes Petroleum explore ITT and Block 31 [the Yasuni area]“.
But Ecuador never agreed to such a clause. This was an idea proposed by the Chinese party during discussions on a development loan totally unrelated to Yasuni. Ecuador immediately rejected that idea. To emphasise this, Ecuador even included a reference to this unacceptable clause in documents with the words that you quote crossed out. In fact, it was over this difference that the talks, at that time, ended.
Evidence also suggests that the author of what we believe is a modified document is an opponent of Ecuador’s government. Such distortions about Ecuador are increasingly stemming from powerful opponents – as we believe has this document – at home and abroad. They are designed to damage the reputation and undermine international support of both, Ecuador’s Citizens Revolution and a government that has approval ratings of over 70%, the highest in Latin America.