ECUADOR The president of the Dallas-based Maxus Energy Corporation, Roberto Monti, got an unexpected bouquet of rose flowers while addressing the recent Inter-American Petroleum and Gas Conference in the us. Only the roses, presented by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) activists, a group which works to protect rainforests worldwide and also supports the rights of its inhabitants, were drenched in oil; a sign of protest to convey Maxus' destruction of the Ecuadorian rainforests.

Maxus got its approval in 1991 to operate in an area classified as Block 16 situated perilously inside Ecuador's ecologically fragile Yasun National Park, which is also home 'to the indigenous Fluaorani tribe. While it had pledged to*carry out the project under environmentally sound conditions, the present evidence indicates otherwise. Several oil spills have already taken place in the Park accompanied by the deforestation of nearly 21,060 ha. Further, the oil and other toxic fluids have found their way into the park's waterways allege the members of organisations like CEDENMA, a coalition of over a dozen environmental organisations in Ecuador, CONFLNAIE, the regional Amazon Indian federation and RAN. Maxus is now being urged to part with its environmental records on the Ecuador project and submit to a full environmental audit.

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