Ecuador: Jungle Tensions

Kelly Hearn explores the social, environmental and political problems along the bi-national jungle border of Ecuador and Colombia as the two nations engage in a diplomatic war of words over a cross-border military raid by Colombian forces. In March 2008 Colombian military forces crossed into northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon, bombing an insurgent military encampment belong to The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The attack killed a top rebel leader and some twenty others. Diplomatic relations between the two nations has reached breaking point. Ecuador condemns the attack as a violation of its territorial sovereignty. Colombia, in turn, accuses Ecuador of giving refuge to enemy insurgents. Kelly Hearn reports from Ecuador's northern Amazon, highlighting problems from cocaine manufacturing, gas smuggling, oil contamination, and the social and environmental fallout of the $5 billion U.S.-backed antinarcotics programs known as Plan Colombia.

The New Law of the Jungle

Chevron is accused of having dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador’s Amazonian rainforest, and local residents are determined to hold them accountable.

Oil and Justice in the Amazon

Pulitzer Center grantee Kelly Hearn talks to NPR On Point about the historic environmental lawsuit filed by indigenous people of Ecuador's Amazonian rainforest against U.S.-based oil company Chevron.

Drug Cartels Siphon Pipelines

Colombian cocaine cartels are tapping into pipelines in Ecuador, stealing thousands of gallons a day of "white gas" that can be used to process raw coca into cocaine.

FARC Threats Stalk Ecuadorean Border

A flux of Colombian refugees escaping FARC threats into Ecuador heightens humanitarian concerns as well as security ones, intensifying tensions along the Colombia-Ecuadorean border.

Round four: Winning essays

In July 2008, The Pulitzer Center partnered with Helium to produce its forth round of the Global Issues/Citizen Voices Writing contest. Contestents chose from multiple writing prompts related to international issues and Pulitzer Center reporting projects to sculp their winning essays. Read the winning essays below.