Secoya pin their hopes on consultations


For years, relations between northeast Ecuador’s 350 Secoya Indians and Occidental Petroleum fit an all-too-familiar indigenous-vs.-multinational mold. As the U.S. oil company sought to explore the Secoya’s Amazon rainforest lands, the Secoya accused it of breaking promises and offering paltry reimbursement such as pots, pans and an occasional outboard motor. Occidental, for its part, complained that agreements it made with the Secoya leadership too often collapsed amid second-guessing by community members. Trust, to put it mildly, did not abound. But then the Secoya, drawing on the advice of experts here and abroad, last year negotiated a code of conduct with Occidental, the first such accord of its kind in Ecuador. The code by no means guarantees specific outcomes, but it... [Log in to read more]

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