Ecuador's Authoritarian Drift

Correa Cracks Down on Environmental Activism

Guillermo Granja / Reuters

During his visit to Ecuador last month, Pope Francis delivered a speech on environmental stewardship and urged the administration of President Rafael Correa to “open spaces for dialogue” on how to manage the country’s resources. The 4,000-square-mile Yasuní National Park is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet but also contains vast untapped oil reserves. Correa assured the pope that he shared the pontiff’s concern for nature but has instead taken aggressive steps to curtail public debate: harassing, intimidating, and punishing environmental activists and indigenous leaders who object to his plans to expand exploitation of the Yasuní’…