10:00:25 SYNCPenti MAP: Once this was a green jungle here, our old territory. Now, only a small part of Ome, our ancestral lands, is left inside what they call Yasuni National Park.





10:00:36 SYNCPenti: MAP Therere several oil fields here. In the 43rd, the work goes on to get the last barrels. 




For us, it means destruction and death.




10:00:51 SYNCPentiINVISION: We dont want life to end. Were humans who live with nature.


10: 00:58 COM: After much controversy, in 2017, Ecuador, a South American oil-rich country, started to drill in a new oil field inside Yasuni National Park.






Yasuni holds one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world and is home to indigenous people.




It also contains a third of the countrys oil reserves.


Ecuador once proposed to leave the oil in the ground in exchange for international compensation.


10:01:30 SYNCEsperanza It was an ecological appeal on behalf of biodiversity and climate change.


10:01:42 SYNCAlbertoAcosta:  A new word appeared; Yasuni” meaning something sacred. And Yasunizar- to make something sacred.  We must make sacred the whole Planet. Its the only way to prevent the ecological disaster that threatens us all.



10:01:58 COM: It was a revolutionary idea to fight global climate change.


But it clashed with potent interests.





Cash-rich China emerged a strong player in Latin America.



In Ecuador, it became a major stakeholder in new oil deals.


10:02:15 SYNCFernandoSantos: The Chinese arrived as conquerors. Like Spaniards who came here 500 years ago to take everything.


10:02:25 COM: But Chinas plan to grab Ecuadors riches met resistance.



10:02:32 SYNCManari Were not going to allow the Chinese companies that arrived from another continent, to own our resources.


10:02:47 SYNCManari: The big corporations do not longer value the Earth. The Earth is becoming a dustbin.



10:02:58 COM: The extraction of fossil fuels drives the world but it causes climate chaos.






The story of Yasuni forces a question:



Should we leave the oil in the ground?

























10:04:48 COM: The Huaorani people were hunting and fishing in their corner of the earth long before oil became a global obsession.


10:05:27 SYNCPENTI: This tree, the ceibo, we call it Gemenebe in Huoarani. It's ancient.




People were hiding under these roots. It saved those who came close to it.






SYNCPenti : This tree is very significant. It is sacred for us.




It's nice to talk to it because it is alive. It has hair and hands like a human.



10:05:59 COM: Penti Baihua is the leader of the Huaorani from Bameno.


Theyre the more recently contacted tribe living deep inside Yasuni National Park.


Penti was a boy when oil was discovered on Huaorani lands.


He remembers how foreign companies invaded their territory and started dividing it into oil fields.


10:06:21 SYNCPenti: It was a free land where my parents and my grandparents lived. It was Huaorani territory.




10:06:32 The company took advantage of it. Nobody knew what was going to happen next.







10:07:04 SYNCPENTI: It wasn't a peaceful and willful contact. The life became sad.  How to say? In suffering. Our family died.




10:08:01 COM: Texaco, a US oil company, came to operate here in the late 60s.


It discovered that Huaorani were sitting on commercial quantities of oil and had to be moved.


Texaco allied with evangelical missionaries, Ecuador’s government and the state-owned oil company.



Huaorani were forced to live in a protectorate. 


It shattered their world.



10:08:28 SYNCPENTI: When the oil company entered, it cut trees and built a road. And it brought people to colonize.









SYNCPenti: It was difficult to relate to the oil world; to the smell of clothes, smell of food, taste of things from the outside. And to the salt, they gave us to eat.




SYNCPENTI: The western world brought us diseases like fever, vomiting diarrhea, polio, and bronchitis.















10:09:51 COM: For most Ecuadorians, the black gold meant a magic cure for the ills of the past.


The arrival of Texaco promised unknown prosperity.




ACTUALITYVOICEOVER: The people cant contain their emotions. They stain their hands, hardened by work, with black oil, a symbol of their hope.






10:10:16 COM: The first barrel of oil became a national treasure.



10:10:21 SYNCSantos: We had a military dictatorship at that time. The uniformed army went out to parade on the streets of Quito. 

They put this first barrel inside the Temple of Heroes, where the remains of wars heroes rest.



10:10:55 SYNCAlberto: We felt we were about to overcome our position as an old banana republic.



I remember a magazine with a title:  "Ecuador, a new Kuwait of the Andes."




10:11:25 SYNCAlberto: Once I went on a trip to the Amazon with my partner, Ana Maria.  I watched with enthusiasm how were lining the Trans-Ecuadorian pipeline.

I said:  “Ana Maria, this is the jugular of the Ecuadorian economy. Here flows the wealth of our country, a source of our financing. "





Ana Maria, a biologist and an environmentalist, said: " No, here doesnt flow our wealth. Here runs the blood of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Were bleeding the Amazon.”

















10:12:02 COM: Environmental campaigners claim they have evidence to prove the guilt of big oil in damaging the Amazon’s lifeblood - its water.


10:12:13 SYNCDonaldMoncayo: This is the fresh water that Chevron had left us in the Ecuadorian Amazon.




In this sector, people dont have drinking water.  They make a hole up to six meters deep to capture water for human consumption. The underground waters are contaminated.








10:12:31 COM: Chevron, an American oil company, had bought Texaco after it departed from Ecuador in the 1990s.


Flare stacks left behind by the oil industry still claim lives.




10:12:47 SYNC: DonaldMoncayo:

Thousands of animals, nocturnal insects, burn here every day. 




They believe that it is the moon and they perform a dance of love.




They come attracted by the light, the heat is very intense, and they burn.


10:13:10 COM: Pablo Fajardo is a lawyer in a case against Chevron.


He claims that during its 26 years of operation Chevron Texaco was responsible for throwing more than 60 billion liters of toxic water into the rivers of the Ecuadorian Amazon.




10:13:28 SYNCPabloFajardo: It built more than 1000 pits to store toxic waste. It spilled crude on more than1500 kilometers of roads.




10:13:45 Texaco technicians taught classes around the world how to operate the oil industry without significant impacts. They never applied what they knew and preached in Ecuador.





10:13:57 COM: Chevron Texaco is accused of leaving in its wake a disaster dubbed “Rainforest Chernobyl”.


But the company says it acted in compliance with Ecuadorian law and Texaco spent more than 40 million dollars in clean-up operations.


It claims it now has no liabilities after Ecuador’s government at the time signed off their clearance.


The people of Ecuador are still battling the corporation in the international courts.




10:14:35 COM: Much of northern Ecuadorian Amazon was affected by the rush for oil.


Entire tribes of indigenous people disappeared.


Those who live here continue to suffer.


10:14:49 SYNCDonald: The illnesses and deaths of many people buried here had possibly to do with the oil activity.




10:15:02 There is a severe problem in this area. We have lately obtained the results of a survey, carried out in the families. We have 200 cases of cancer per year.


10:15:16 COM: Chevron says that there is no proven link between high rates of cancer and oil activities in this area.











10:15:34 COM: In the 90s, Ecuador discovered new oil reserves in the Yasuni National Park.



For the local tribes it was a curse of abundance they wanted to break.


The indigenous people, traumatized by the previous oil activity, demanded that the oil stayed in the ground.


Out of this resistance, a bold idea emerged within civil society.


10:15:59 SYNCEsperanza We would stop exploiting oil in Yasuni and the international community could or should collaborate with Ecuador.




We wanted to appeal to the world to support a moratorium.





10:16:17 SYNCRoqueSevilla: We planned to ask the developed countries to collaborate.





They had contaminated the air that belongs to everyone from the time of the industrial revolution.





The rest of the states were not polluting because they were not industrialized.




10:16:39 SYNCTARSICIO The developed countries have a historical debt, an ecological debt, and a climate debt, which needs to be paid so that together we can face climate change.


10:16:50 COM: Alberto Acosta was one of the main architects of the proposal.


When he became an oil minister, he took it to a cabinet meeting.


10:17:00 SYNCAlbertoAcosta:  There was a huge tension. I said: "We must leave the oil in the ground" and the president of Petroecuador said: "No - we must exploit it." Behind my back they’re looking for deals with the Chinese, Chileans and the Brazilians to exploit oil quickly.


10:17:19 COM: But the plot failed.


A civil society proposal, inspired by the indigenous people protest, became an official government initiative.



In 2007, the newly elected president, Rafael Correa, spoke to the world.





CORREA: For the first time, Ecuador, an oil country, where a third of the State's resources depends on oil exploitation, renounces this income for the welfare of all humanity.




And it invites the world to join this effort and compensate us fairly so that together we can lay the foundations of a more humane, just and sustainable civilization.


10:18:08 COM: it was a big idea that came from a small country trapped in a petro-curse.


10:18:16 SYNCHans It is something really noble. This is innovative because it is different from all weve heard about nature protection and climate action. It was a really good idea. It came from a developing country and not from the colonial forces, states and powers. Nothing looked as promising as Yasuni.




10:18:46 COM: Ecuador asked for $3.6billion in compensation - half the value of the Yasuni oil.


The money, managed by the United Nations trust fund, would help Ecuadors transition towards a post-oil country.





10:19:12 COM: The proposal became known as Yasuni ITT Initiative, after three oil fields of Ishpingo, Tambococha, and Tiputini or field 43 inside the Yasuni National Park.













10:19:35 SYNC: KellySwing:  

Wow! This is just absolutely fantastic. This is gonna to change not just the landscape for conserving nature in Ecuador. But this can be a model for the world. So we were just up in arms, you know, literally dancing on the street.




10:19:53 COM: Kelly Swing came to Ecuador from America in 1990, for a year, to study nature in Yasuni and stayed.


Today, he speaks for the rainforest


10:20:10 SYNCKellySwing: the fauna is disappearing from this region. And it depends on the stage of intervening by the oil industry. As oil expanse more and more in Yasuni, we are loosing tremendous number of species on per hectare scale here.



10:20:34 SYNCKelly: You have an opportunity to see many organism that we see as absolutely emblematic, iconic for the rainforest, and the kind of things that people only dream



10:20:52 SYNCKellySwing:

The best estimates for the whole amount of species for the planet are less than ten million. Yasuni very likely has one million species.


SYNCKelly:  We can save 10% or maybe 15% of all species for the planet. Why on earth would we not do that? How could we possibly be so stupid?





10:21:18 SYNCKellySwing:  Only a small proportion of species here have even been given scientific names. Something like 80% doesn’t have scientific names. We dont even know who they are, much less what their value might be.


There is probably some plant out there that can treat everything from cancer to high blood pressure or problems with cholesterol. 


10:21:43 COM: Leaving the oil in the ground would also protect humans.



10:22:03 SYNCKelly: Yasuni is one of those few places that still have uncontacted people. There are several clans scattered across the southern part of Yasuni who are living in a voluntary isolation


In most cases we see those few brown people as being in the way of the happiness and wellbeing of the masses.  Do we go for the money or do we let these people continue to live their lives as they have for thousands of years?








10:22:44 SYNCKelly: The last Da Vinci paining sold for $450 millions. Why is it worth so much? Because it is one of very few.




10:23:15 This idea of rarity means value. But somehow we dont value humans as much as we value things.





















10:23:51 COM: Ecuador’s Initiative was seen as benefiting the whole planet.



10:24:00 SYNCHans: The rain forest is the most productive actually ecosystem in the world when it comes to carbon storage. If you destroy rainforest you have an immediate addition to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


Secondary, you kill very important carbon sink on this planet.


10:24:20 COM: Ecuador’s rainforest is a small, but important part of the Amazon Basin.


And Yasuni plays a critical role in mitigating climate changes because of its unique biodiversity.


A study from 2015 confirmed it.


10:24:37 SYNCKristen:  Here is an animation of a forest patch in the Ecuadorian rainforest. What we see here is the growth of these trees and how they collapse under the climate change.


10:24:56 SYNCKristen:  To recover the entire forest structure and also a biomass it stores it would take a long time. Several centuaries.


SYNCKristen: Biodiversity really contributes to the resilience of the Amazon rainforest. It shows us that this is a must have. Not just nice to have.


SYNCKristen: The National Park has the highest plant diversity as we know and it is important for the entire Amazon region because of its biomass and its role as the carbon store.



10:25:32 SYNCKristen: Because it is a rainforest, it is a huge producer of water and clouds and has an important role in regional and also global climate.

We need it as a lung for our world climate and for sustainable future.





10:26:19 SYNCHans: You cannot benefit from globalization and at the same time think that climate change will not affect you at all. This is just morally unacceptable. It is plain stupid.


10:26:45 SYNCHans: If we lose Yasuni to the oil, we more or less lose hope of a new way of protecting the climate.














10:26:56 COM: Saving Yasuni became a global mission.


Ecuadors revolutionary

Idea raised hopes for a future free from oil dependence.


10:27:06 SYNCFanderFalconi: The international community received very well the Initiative. It generated great recognition. The world debates where to stop extracting fossil fuels, and the answer has to be; "in places where biodiversity and culture have greater value and where people live in voluntary isolation”.



10:27:26 SYNC: Alberto:  The Initiative received a massive boost in the German Parliament, the Bundestag.




All the parties told the First Government of Angela Merkel "we must support this Initiative.



10:27:40 COM: With such backing maybe the Huaorani could continue to practice their traditions such as hunting for turtle eggs.



But the Yasuni Initiative attracted some dissent too.


10:27:57 SYNCRoqueSevilla: Other countries had doubts: “If we accept this, what will we do if Saudi Arabia proposes the same, or Russia, the biggest oil producer?




Will we have to give them tens of billions of dollars for leaving the oil in the ground as well’?















10:28:21 COM: Ecuador was the first nation in the world to put the rights of nature and protection of uncontacted tribes into its constitution.


The Initiative exposed a country torn between its green ambitions, economic reality, and big oil interests.



10:28:42 SYNCFanderFalconi:  On the one hand, there is at stake an extraction of nearly one million barrels of heavy crude oil, and the reserves seem to have expanded. Or you can save a whole set of social, cultural and environmental values. It is a dilemma of nature conservation.













10:29:14 COM: Huaorani from Bameno became the protagonists of the Yasuni official campaign.


Except, they didnt know it.



They found out about the Initiative by chance.



10:29:54 SYNCPenti: The government used the images of my family, my wife, my image, those of my father and of my uncle Kemperi without consulting us.




It showed this film around the world, but never had permission to use our images in its Yasuni campaign.


10:30:13 COM: The Huaorani became suspicious of the Initiative. They’re used to being on the alert and watching out for possible danger.


10:30:37 SYNCPenti: I said:  The government wont keep the oil in the ground. It will extract it because it needs resources.




SYNCPenti: The government will cheat.


















10:30:51COM: It sounded like an ominous prophecy.


Perhaps not without reason.


There was a catch in Ecuadors revolutionary idea.



10:31:03 SYNCEsperanza There were two Plans. Plan A and Plan B.




President Correa said that the Plan A would give the international community a chance to support our Initiative.



The Plan B was developed better and meant oil extraction.





Both plans started to compete. It was a race between Ecuador the oil country and post-oil Ecuador.


Each launched its battle.


10:31:34 SYNCAlbertoAcosta: it was a somewhat macabre competition. We had pressures from the Brazilians and the Chinese.






The Chinese were becoming the main creditor of the Ecuadorian economy.
















10:31:51 COM: Critics say China wanted to paint red the whole of Latin America.


Its influence started to emerge not only in Ecuador.


10:32:03 SYNCPaulinaGarzon: in 2008, the year of the global financial crisis, Chinese banks had already prepared themselves financially, technically and politically to go outside. They had the entire going out strategy of China and got ready to be a cash machine for Latin America.



10:32:22 COM: At the same time, Rafael Correa reduced Ecuadors dependence on the United States.


He broke with the World Bank, the IMF and defaulted on foreign debts.



The president’s trip to China

started a new era of partnership.


Chinese loans were on the way.


10:32:47 SYNCPaulinaGrazon:

2009 was the moment when a rocket race started in Ecuador and the rest of Latin America for loans from the Chinese banks.

Ecuador went into a massive debt with China as of 2009.


10:33:03 COM: Chinese banks became a cash dispenser and dictated the terms.


Ecuador went into a new dependence with unforeseen consequences.



10:33:13 SYNCPaulina:  Foreign debts are paid with oil, not with money. Ecuador compromised its future capacity to produce oil.

The majority of Chinese loans are tied to the hiring of Chinese companies and Chinese workers.










10:33:34 SYNCESPERANZA: The Chinese started entering and buying some of the oil fields. China and its companies kept increasing their power over our country.













10:34:07 COM: In 2009, Rafael Correa sent his Commission to Copenhagen to sign a deal with the UN.


Many countries gathered in hope to break a deadlock on the climate change.



BarackObamaActuality “ I came here not to talk but to act”


10:34:25 Ecuador was ready to lead common efforts.



10:34:30 SYNCNataliaGreen: Many called it Hopeenhague. It was a critical moment to make much more ambitious decisions than ever before.







10:34:41 SYNCNataliaGreen: And our small country offered a solution; let's talk about the gasoline and the oil we all put into our cars. This causes the climate change.




10:34:55 SYNCNatalia: There was a feeling that leaving the oil in the ground was the solution. At last, someone was telling the truth.


But people were reticent that it was Ecuadors proposal. Will they comply? The country didnt pay its debt, and has a corruption problem. People also felt it was blackmail. Some European parliamentarians asked: “If they dont get that cash, it means they will exploit?





10:35:19 SYNCNatalia: We were ready to sign the trust fund, the UN was ready. Everybody had that beautiful illusion.


10:35:28 COM: Then a phone call came from Rafael Correas legal secretary.


10:35:32 SYNCNatalia: “ Don't sign."



The president said through Alexis Mera: "We cant sign a document that violates the sovereignty of the country."


10:35:42 COM: Plan B, which was pushing for oil extraction score a victory.


10:35:52 SYNCRoqueSevilla: Those interests weighed more than anything else. Another reason was president’s unprecedented push to grasp power and control everything. 


SYNCRoqueSevilla: For him it was unacceptable to have a trust fund he could not control.




10:36:16 COM: The Copenhagen Summit turned out to be a disaster.


There was no meaningful agreement.



10:36:16 SYNCHans: China, because of their land grabbing strategy, simply didnt want this to happen. The Chinese simply said: We insist on our position. It is your problem to reduce greenhouse gases emission, so we dont want to have any agreement.” They are a developing country, that means they are entitled to emit whatever they like to emit.


10:36:59 SYNCHans: Copenhagen was just such an unhappy event where everything went wrong in the end. We came together in Copenhagen to save the world and endedd up with more or less nothing. You physically felt this collapse, I recall very well this last night. How could you think of a wonderful Initiative like Yasuni to flower? Many flowers were killed during that night. Yasuni may be just the most beautiful of all.

















10:37:43 COM: Ecuador and the UN signed a deal on the Yasuni Trust Fund in the end.


But it came too late.


The biggest donors backed off, disappointed with not enough guarantees.


No one else was coming forward.


In 2013 president Correa again spoke to the world.






"We did not ask for charity. We asked for co-responsibility in the fight against climate change.




Ecuador is a marginal polluter, and yet it proposed to sacrifice 3,6 billion dollars in oil revenue.




Unfortunately, we have to say that the world has failed us.



10:38:32 COM: The president cancelled the initiative.


A few months later the government signed permits for drilling for oil in Yasuni ITT oil field.



10:38:43 SYNCHans: If you decide for yourself and your country, that the life and happiness of future generation is worth nothing what can we do? Then you go for destroying the planet.


SYNCHans:  What is going on in Yasuni is going on in Brazil, in Peru. The same driving forces that tend to destroy the rainforest.



SYNCHans:  We are killing our best friend, namely the natural carbon sink at the same time when we destroy forests. Thats the most stupid thing you can do. You kill your friend.  The Yasuni Initiative was a narrative how we could preserve our friends and diminish our enemies.



10:39:37 COM: The idea of saving Yasuni started to fade in the world.


In Ecuador, people were not giving up.
















10:39:37 SYNCAntonella:  We decided to take to the streets the day the president cancelled the Initiative. We began to work and struggle together for a single cause




SYNAntonella: We were outraged. And we asked what do we do to prevent it.


10:40:02 COM: Out of this anger Yasunidos- a movement of young Ecuadorians emerged.


They were determined to rescue the Initiative and called for a referendum.


10:40:14 SYNCAnyonella:  We initiated a debate in the whole of society. But we faced a government that was not interested in this democratic process and started to discredit it.




10:40:43 SYNCAntonella:  It dismissed us as liars and said we didnt know the reality of this country, thats why we dont want to exploit the oil.





10:40:54 SYNCAntonellaCalle: The government infiltrated our group, our conversations and our meetings.


10:41:07 SYNCAntionella: With all these obstacles that the Government put us, we managed to gather more of the percentage of signatures then it was required.


10:41:18 COM: But the government invalidated many signatures and dismissed the request for the referendum.




The official narrative of Plan B: “Ecuador needs oil money to fight poverty scored another victory.


10:41:34 SYNCAntonellaCalle: OK, we need the money to get out of poverty, but fossil fuels extraction and climate change will not cause poverty as well?



10:41:46 SYNCAntonella: The government mishandled the Initiative. It took credit for it but didn’t recognize it was a collective process. It hijacked the Initiative and killed it off.




10:42:04 SYNCAntionella: The government never had a genuine interest in the idea of leaving the oil in the ground. Rafael Correa never gave up on oil economic interests.




















10:42:21 COM: This document emerged after the president canceled the Initiative.


It says Ecuador was negotiating a $1billion deal with the China Development Bank.


It included a request to help two Chinese companies to conduct oil operations in the Yasuní Park.


Both parties talked as Ecuador was seeking donations to forgo oil exploitation.


The government insisted the

document was fraudulent.




COM: This list of loans based on Ecuadors own data confirmed the country had got $1billion from the Chinese bank towards Investment programs.















10:43:24 SYNCJoseMIguelGoldaraz:  

Where is this money that, according to president Correa, should be spent here to help Ecuadorians to get out of this stagnation?


Such nonsense!


10:43:36 COM: Jose Miguel Goldaraz, a Capuchin priest, arrived here more than 40 years ago.


He helps the indigenous people to fight for their rights

and knows how the official narrative works.


10:43:49 SYNCJoseMIguel: It is a carrot policy. The government promises everything: people will have jobs, education, health service, development, canoes and beer. And the indigenous believe it. If they dont believe, there comes a stick. The government uses the militaries and the police as forces of repression.  It is a state terrorism on behalf of the companies to silence the communities.


10:44:17 COM: The government denies it.


It argues that for the Amazon people Life is Better with Oil as says this upside down poster.



10:44:26 SYNCJMGoldaraz: This is one of the poorest provinces in Ecuador. And it has the most oil.



10:44:37 SYNCJMGoldaraz: Young people commit a lot of suicides here. But people dont talk about it because it is against their culture. They say that someone died.  It stays covered up. The situation is terrible.




10:44:50 COM: Jose Miguel insists the Yasuni Initiative was a utopia.


10:44:56 SYNCJMGoldaraz:  The proposal was so beautiful that even the most blind believed it. Why do I say blind? Because no one visited this area. Nobody knew what was going on here.












10:45:22 SYNCMassimo: We are inside the oil field number 31. Beyond, there is a field number 43, also known as the ITT.


SYNCMassimo: This is a road that leads to the oil rig. The black spots are tanks for oil sludge. This grey is the soil prepared to support the platform. The green of the Amazon jungle was cut down to set up this structure.




10:45:56 COM: In 2011 Massimo De Marchi went to Yasuni with a group of environmental investigators.


At that time, Ecuador was still promoting the idea of leaving the oil in the ground


10:46:11 SYNCMassimo: In Yasuni and around, all the structures were already mostly set up for oil exploitation. We saw gas flairs, pipes and connections.




10:46:11 SYNCMassimo: We bought more detailed images and discovered that there was a road inside the 31st block, close to the ITT field.


10:46:38 COM: The government insisted the road was an ecological trail built with care for the environment.


10:46:46 SYNCMassimo: They demolished an area of ​​60 meters to build a 5-meter lane. This road should be 15 meters wide and it reached 60 meters.








SYNCMassimo: There are heavy trucks moving. It is a road to serve oil activities. We can call it as we want:  a road or an ecological path. It secures the movement of people and materials.




SYNCMassimoInterview:  A discovery of the road and all the activity confirmed that the Plan B, which should have been secondary, was the main plan.





10:47:31 SYNCPenti: This is not an ecological trail. It is a proper road. I walked there. There was a tremendous noise, a lot of car traffic. Many people were drilling. I saw the spills with my own eyes.

There was a spill inside the field number 31 over one hectare of territory. We found dead animals such as anaconda, deer, tapir. But nobody wants to inform the world.

If you damage a small part of the territory, the rest dies as well.

We are left with just a tiny area and we want to defend it because our life depends on it.








10:48:13 SYNCPenti: How can I persuade the government to leave us in peace? Let us live! We want to live as Huaorani. We dont want more oil exploration here.












10:48:30 COM: Huaorani appeals can fall on government’s deaf ears.



10:48:36 SYNCTarsicio:  And where would we get four billion dollars a year the ITT field produces? It is our right to extract oil. The state offered an alternative; compensation or we will drill. There was no compensation, so the state proceeded to exploit the ITT field.




10:48:58 SYNCTarsicio: Well force them all: Chinese, non-Chinese, Ecuadorians, French or Germans to do things properly.

If you exploit oil in a right way, you dont harm the ecosystems, let alone the traditional culture and life.






10:49:16 SYNCAlberto: It is a grave mistake to think that a cutting edge technology is a solution.




It is like believing that Dracula will turn a vegetarian and we can entrust him with a blood bank.












10:49:50 COM: And there is some evidence to suggest that Dracula may be indeed on the loose.



These are some secret filming images, taken in late 2017, inside Yasuni field number 43.


There is no sign of a cutting edge technology.


Dead insects are like those found in the north of the Ecuadorian Amazon.









The government insists it monitors oil exploitation here and says there’ll be no mistakes from the Chevron Texaco era.


















10:50:29 SYNCBasilio: We had everything on the rivers banks. We had animals and families lived nearby. Now the company occupies here and takes our farming away. People are leaving, but they do not know where to go. 




10:50:47 COM: Basilio Mamallacta lives in Boca Tiputini, a community inside tightly controlled Yasuni oil field number 43.


Petroamazonas, one of Ecuador’s state oil companies, operates here.








10:51:03 SYNCBasilio: When the company arrived, it promised to use advanced technology to avoid contamination. It was a lie. One watercourse on the left is coming from the platform another on the right goes to the river.  Heavy trucks pollute here. When it rains everything goes to the river. The river turns around and comes here.


Before the river was clean, there were fish. We had wild animals, flora, and fauna. Everything is contaminated with fuels from those engines of company’s barges.


10:51:52 COM: A group from Yasunidos movement stages a protest against companys operations.


They help the locals to collect evidence of the oil damages.


10:52:14 Petroamazonas set up the oil infrastructure and works here.


But the Chinese company is a subcontractor, according to the terms of the loans.






10:52:28 SYNCBasilo: The Chinese are even in this field. They are drilling. There are four platforms, forty oil wells. Each platform has about thirty or forty wells.


It is Sinopec.


And Sinopec pollutes the most.

The subcontractors contaminate the most.



10:52:49 COM: Sinopec is not just accused of destroying nature here.



10:52:57 SYNCBasilio: The Chinese take work from us. They even work here as cooks, do secretarial and domestic work. We are not just one community in need of work. The whole Aquarico District needs it.


SYNCBasilio: If the company stays here, there will be a crisis. There will be no more forest and no more fishing. Imagine! The animals are already moving away to other communities that protect their forest.


10:53:32 COM: Sinopec keeps a low profile and doesn’t respond to public criticism.


Oil companies elsewhere in the Ecuadorian Amazon are also under fire.



















10:54:12 SYNCManari: Lets say they will enter into this territory and put every 15 meters pentolites with explosives that measure more or less 12 meters, and they will drill 50 meters deep.



They will put pentolites at the distance of 15 meters, measured from here to here, and down here is also 15.


10:54:42 COM: This is a plan to search for oil.


10:54:50 In 2016 Ecuador signed an exploration contract with Andes Petroleum, another Chinese company, inside the fields 79 and 83.



They are in the southern province of Pastaza.




It is one of the last parts of the Ecuadorian Amazon untouched by oil activities.




10:55:11 MANARI: It means they will put dynamites of 10 meters long, 50 meters deep and they will explode them with a machine. It will be like putting dynamite into our life, into our knowledge. If they detonate, they're going to kill us.



10:55:34 COM: Manari Ushigua is a leader of the Sapara nation.



There are only about 500 Sapara left and they speak a unique language.


The UN has recognized the group’s cultural importance.


Oil fields 79 and 83 cover most of their land.


Sapara watched in horror how other tribes fell victim to the oil.


They are determined to keep the Chinese companies out of the their territory.




10:56:14 SYNCManari:  the Chinese told us that theyd bought those two oil fields. And that land already belongs to them.




SYNCManari: We have argued in a thousand ways: "The country doesnt need to exploit the oil here. It is already drilling in the north and has so many problems there they cant solve.




Do they want more troubles here?


SYNCManari: Our position is firm; We are saying Noto oil exploitation in our territory.




And with that "No" we made a campaign within and outside the country.












10:57:02 SYNCManari: We fought at the international level. We presented a denunciation to the Inter-American Court. We put a denunciation before the United Nations and we made our voices heard in the world.




But the Chinese told us: " Whatever you do, the Ecuadorian government had already taken the money."



10:57:24 COM: The constitution in Ecuador says the state owns the resources, but the government must consult with local communities before granting concessions. 


10:57:36 SYNCManari: But the government entered with threats. The constitution doesnt say, “ to put threats.” It says you have to ask: “Do they want or they dont?”




SYNCManari: We received many threats to kill us. They said that we were terrorists and saboteurs.






10:57:54 SYNCManari:  The government told us itd militarize our territory to get the oil, if we dont allow it.




It already tried to bring the military here, passed helicopters. It threatened us in a thousand ways.







10:58:13 COM: Saparas resolve to fight against the oil is rooted in their unique cosmology.


Its an alien perspective to the western world, but it fuels their crusade to keep the oil in the ground.



10:58:34 SYNCManari: Oil is a natural resource that maintains the balance of nature.


10:58:46 SYNCManari:  Earths natural resources are alive and deserve respect, like us.







10:59:04 SYNCManari:  In our vision, if we connect at this moment with a place where the oil is, we see spiritual beings living there.  They are connected with the plants, with a space and with the stars. They create balance, in which we can exist.


10:59:25 SYNCManari:  Our determination to keep the oil in the ground will keep us strong in our fight until we convince those who say that they must exploit the oil.




















11:00:06 COM: Most of the oil barrels buried in the fragile areas of the Ecuadors Amazon are already committed to the Chinese companies.


Ecuador has to pay back billions of dollars it owes to China with oil, according to the loansterms.


The current balance is forcing the country to drill until 2024.





11:00:28 SYNCPaulinaGarzon:  Ecuador has mortgaged its future, because its level of debt to China forces the country to exploit oil in places of high environmental sensitivity.


Right now, the country, due to its tough economic situation, can hardly meet the payments to China. Its position is precarious. It also depends on the Chinese investors in other areas.


11:00:57 COM: In 2016 Ecuador and China signed a strategic partnership.


Its one of the highest levels of relationship China has with any country in the region.


Oil remains high on the Chinese list of interests.


Next is mining for Ecuadors rich minerals.


11:01:17 SYNCPaulinaGarzon: China made a map of Ecuadors mineral resources and knows exactly where the different types of minerals are. China also made a plan to manage watersheds in Ecuador.






11:01:35 China is not just a lender, an investor and a commercial partner. It is a country with a technical capacity to map where the natural resources are and plan its future investment strategies.




11:01:52 SYNCAlbertoAcosta:  We believed that wed liberated ourselves from the North American imperialism and were free from the diktats of the IMF and the World Bank and didnt have to fulfill the conditions from the Washington consensus. It was false. We fell into the clutches of China.
















11:02:08 SYNCManari:  We will not allow that.




11:02:14 We are not afraid if someone points a rifle at us and says: "Hey, I'm going to kill you." Kill me. I am going to die, but people will fight.





The Chinese can enter by force, but we are here. For each step they make, we also make one.





11:02:37 Oil means economic development for the modern world. For us it means death.












11:02:52 COM: Drilling of new oil wells is well under way deep inside Yasuni National Park.


Environmentalists say it is the most intrusive development yet in the field 43, or ITT, area of Yasuni.


Like Manari, the Sapara leader, Penti from Bameno is ready to face a new challenge from the oil companies.


11:03:14 SYNCPENTI: We don’t want oil extraction here. My parents fought against it, my grandparents did, and I am here to lead my community to defend this territory and the culture, so that the future generations of Huaorani can live in this jungle for many decades. 













11:03:46 SYNCEsperanza a decisive battle is taking place around the world. The idea to leave the oil in the ground is no longer crazy and surreal. It is absolutely necessary.


11: 04:07 We refuse to accept that we lost Yasuni. Yasuni for us was like the “U” of utopia. It was a place where we could make this great step, and I think we can still make it.


11:04:20 COM: The Initiative proved to be ahead of its time.


But people who still fight for Yasuni believe their efforts are not in vain.


In Ecuador, Yasunidos are now taking a lead in new battles and they dream big.


11:04:34 SYNCAntonella:  The older generations planted that seed so we can carry on fighting.  We decided to live differently and we believe that things have to change in this country and in the world.




11:04:59 SYNCAntonella: the struggle to stop climate change begins in your own country, but it has to be expanded worldwide. We are planning an international ecologist movement.  It doesn’t work if you just plan for Ecuador. You have to go global.

















11:05:28 SYNCAlbertoAcosta:  It gives us hope. People are much more responsible than the governments, stuck in the logic to treat nature as a commodity that secures the accumulation of capital. And we need to subordinate our lives to its demands. But people react, organize themselves, and protest in all parts of the planet.



11:06:04 SYNCHans:  if things like Yasuni fail and the symbol of hope gets destroyed, and we really wreck havoc on this planet, and we destroy the rain forest, the climate turns mad, the sea levels rise, icecaps melt and the deserts extend and increase, what will happen to the 10billion people who are on Earth?



11:06:34 COM: Incredibly, it will take the world only several days to burn Yasuni oil.


It is our Earth and we decide.











































© 2024 Journeyman Pictures
Journeyman Pictures Ltd. 4-6 High Street, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more info see our Cookies Policy