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The Sarayaku forest at dawn

Last month Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa issued an apology for the oil spill that wreaked havoc on communities and ecosystems throughout the Amazon Basin. The 420,000-gallon spill flowed downstream to Peru and has impacted at least 32 indigenous communities in the Amazonian province of Loreto, prompting the Peruvian government to threaten legal action. Brazil, worried that the spill will reach its border, has alerted its navy, and Ecuador has hired U.S. company Oil Spill Response to test for contamination in Brazil and Colombia.

What the media narrative has largely missed is that there is an oil spill nearly every week in Ecuador. Just between 2000 and 2010 there were 539 oil spills. So why is this spill gathering international media attention while hundreds of others go unreported?

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