Ecuador to China Oil Barons: Amazon Rainforest for Sale

Indigenous groups not happy

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 27, 2013 4:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Tree-huggers will be really displeased to hear this: Ecuador is planning to auction off more than 7 million acres of the Amazon ... to Chinese oil companies. Politicians pitched bidding contracts to oil company reps in Beijing on Monday, the Guardian reports. Needless to say, indigenous groups living on the land are not happy. Seven of the groups say they haven't consented to the plan, which they say would destroy their way of life.

The groups have protested previous meetings between Ecuadorean politicians and oil companies, and are demanding oil companies not take part in the bidding process. But Ecuador's secretary of hydrocarbons says the groups just have a "political agenda" and "are not thinking about development or about fighting against poverty." The deal may have more to do with national debt than anything else: Ecuador owes China more than $7 billion.

This undated photo provided by the Yachana Foundation shows the Yachana Lodge in Ecuador.
This undated photo provided by the Yachana Foundation shows the Yachana Lodge in Ecuador.   (AP Photo/Yachana Foundation)
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