Eye on the Amazon: The Official Blog of Amazon Watch

Women Speak as Crimes Against Women Rise Around Belo Monte

March 8, 2013 | Maíra Irigaray

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On this International Woman's Day, 24 woman stopped traffic in the city of Altamira, Brazil for two hours in protest against the Belo Monte dam and the sharp increase in violent crimes committed against women as the project has developed.

Teenagers to elders claimed their rights as women against violence, prostitution, sexual abuse, and chaos created by the construction of the dam.

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XI Round Campaign Launches in Ecuador

La Amazonia que nos Queda

March 7, 2013 | Alex Goff

XI Round Campaign Launches in Ecuador

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Amazon Watch and Ecuadorian partner organizations Fundación Pachamama and CDES (Center for Economic and Social Rights) held an event yesterday evening at the Mindalae Museum in Quito to launch a joint campaign against the XI Oil Round in Ecuador. The grassroots campaign, roughly translated as "Ecuador's Last Remaining Rainforest", is a combined effort to raise awareness in Ecuador of the destructive impact the Ecuadorian government's proposed XI Round would have on the pristine rainforest environment of the south-central Amazon and the indigenous peoples who live there.

The event was timed to coincide with Yasuní Day in Ecuador. So much national and international attention has focused on the protection of Yasuní National Park and the government's Yasuni-ITT program that proposes refraining from extracting oil from under the park if enough funds are paid by wealthy nations to Ecuador. Meanwhile in the south central Ecuadorian Amazon, an area of unspoiled and highly biodiverse rainforest many times larger than Yasuní National Park is greatly threatened by the XI Oil Round.

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Chevron's Kangaroo Court: Citizens United on Steroids

March 4, 2013 | Adam Zuckerman

Kangaroo Court favors Chevron. Surprise, Surprise!

President Rafael Correa is no stranger to hyperbole, but his recent comments about Chevron's private corporate arbitration panel were right on the mark:

"It's the end of sovereignty, the end of our independence; we have become colonies with these rulings from international courts."

There has been a growing trend of transnational corporations capitalizing on investment treaties to subvert the sovereignty of the countries in which they operate. The Transnational Institute recently documented that a small circle of corporate lawyers that some refer to as an "inner mafia" – just 15 lawyers have decided 55% of all disputes – receive up to $1,000 per hour per lawyer to sit on the panels.

Over the last 15 years these arbitrations have increased more than tenfold with 38 in 1996 and 450 in 2011. In over a third of those cases corporations have sued countries for over $100 million. Some of these arbiters are former board members of multinational corporations that have sued developing nations. They are agents of what writer Naomi Klein has dubbed "disaster capitalism," targeting countries in the Global South and capitalizing on nations in the midst of crisis. They sue governments when corporations believe that governments have treated them unfairly by adopting environmental protections or public health laws.

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To Paris: Don't Let Ecuador Sell You the Amazon!

March 1, 2013

XI Round protest in Paris

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Donning hard hats and face masks alongside our allies at Avaaz and Planète Amazone, Amazon Watch helped lead a theatrical "oil drill" stunt in front of a Parisian luxury hotel this week to challenge the Ecuadorian government's attempts to transform its southern Amazon into a vast oil field. 

As Ecuadorian ministers met with European oil executives and investors inside to auction off huge oil concessions as part of the country's XI Round (Ronda Sur Oriente), French activists took to the streets to call attention to the disaster oil drilling represents for the forest and seven threatened indigenous communities. 

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Belo Monte Dam Update: CCBM Spy Discovered in Activist Strategy Meeting

February 26, 2013 | Maíra Irigaray

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Today we thought it would be just another day of long meetings; however, we were in for a shocking surprise. Who could have imagined that among the 35 people sitting in our circle to plan this year's strategy was a traitor? Luckily one of the activists with sharp eyes realized that someone was recording the meetings using a spy camera hidden inside a pen.

This man recording these meetings with his hidden camera had been working as a volunteer with the Xingu Alive Forever Movement since last year. It turns out he was being paid by the Belo Monte Construction Consortium (CCBM) to infiltrate the Movement's meetings in order to gather information on its leaders and activities. His role was to inform these details to the Brazilian government's national intelligence agency, ABIN.

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