Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Heather Williams

Reader 2

Brinda Sarathy

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2013 Rachel Conrad

Abstract

Ecuador was ‘refounded’ at the turn of the 21st century, with the articulation of progressive and inclusive ideals in a new Constitution. Social movements and leftist intellectuals in Ecuador have expressed that president Rafael Correa has failed to uphold the 2008 Constitution’s goals and values. President Correa and his Alianza PAIS government have utilized the rhetoric of the revolutionary ideals articulated in the Constitution, but in practice, they have continued to implement the status quo Western development model, and a large part of their development strategy involves ‘neo-extractive’ activities. Hydroelectric energy production is contributing to the ‘neo-extractive’ development model in Ecuador, and its implementation has often violated Constitutional rights. This thesis is an analysis of natural resource extraction in Ecuador and its social repercussions, with a focus on hydroelectric energy production. It is shown that the hydroelectric industry in Ecuador is not as “clean,” sustainable, or non-extractive as it is purported to be, through a case study of the San José del Tambo hydroelectric project and the exploration of an international support for hydroelectric extractivism, the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism, and its misleading framing of extractive projects as “sustainable development.” Social movements in Ecuador are acting to reverse the perversion of their originally revolutionary ideals, and to implement a post-extractive model informed by those revolutionary ideals.

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