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LatinNews Daily - 26 January 2021

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In brief: European banks to stop financing oil operations in Ecuador

* Three European banks – Switzerland’s Credit Suisse, France’s BNP Paribas, and the Netherlands’ ING Group – have announced that they will stop financing oil operations in Ecuador, following pressure from campaigners who have highlighted the damage done by the industry to the country’s ecosystems, including the Amazon rainforest. The banks were among those named in 2020 by US-based NGOs and Amazon Watch as the main financiers of environmental destruction in the Ecuadorean Amazon. ING has said that it is currently reviewing its investments in Ecuador, but noted that “in the meantime, we have decided not to participate in any new contract for the financing of the commercial flows of oil and gas”. Marlon Vargas, the president of indigenous organisation Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana (Confeniae), which has long campaigned against oil extraction in the region, described this withdrawal of financing as “a historic achievement”. It will be less well-received by the country’s oil sector (a key pillar of the national economy), and could represent an important precedent for resource extraction in the Amazon more broadly.