Saturday, January 09, 2010
AVATAR and the Amazon Oil Fields
Ecuatorian Indians of the Amazon Oil Basin are sueing Chevron and other Oil Companies (which have been expulsed from the area) to pay reparations for environmental crimes. With some personal knowledge of the area and the people, it is absolutely clear to me that this is a blackmail operation. After 500 years of European conquest and occupation, no authentic Indian tribes are left in Ecuador, Amazonas people speak Spanish and are Christians, they have not the remotest idea what ecology is except what American missionaries and NGOs told them, and walking in the area, there are no visible signs of Chevron ever having been there. If crude was spilled on the soil, it has long been biodegraded and consumed by natural organisms. Pre-AVATAR Hollywood films have created an image of the noble savages in the rainforest, and the poor peons are trying to fill that image, encouraged by American and European NGO volunteers. Once I was treated to an Indian ceremony spectacle, and the Indians were dressed exactly as Hollywood imagined them in the thirties (see pic), a phantasy mix from the mind of Korda Zoli and other Hungarian directors.
We are now facing the fourth generation of these noble rainforest Indians (BTW heir ancestors were called chuchos and wee the most miserable af all creaurs walking on two), they have organized in faux tribes with agreed faux traditions of sacred burying fields and mountains. A new generation of American eco-turists pay to see the already traditional Indian dances and spiritual ceremonies, believe they are thousand years old and authentic, and we have a feed back vicious circle where the computer-created Na'vi and the blood and flesh mestizos are all mixed up in the public's mind.
I would say Chevron should pay now and run, because AVATAR is reinforcing an anti-colonialist environment where American companies have no chance of fair hearing. Their fields are now being operated by PETROECUADOR, a corrupt and inefficient State-owned dependency, who pollutes at wish because the faux-Indians know well that the Ecuadorian State doesnt believe in made up tribes nor sacred valleys or rivers. And Ecuador is now a "Bolivarian" state aligned with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela and Evo Morales's Bolivia, who are the "good" guys in the AVATAR story.
Conclusion: Amazonas Oil fields will be unexploited till the AVATAR phantasy passes away.