"Many people said that an Ecuadorean court would never rule against a big transnational corporation," Juan Pablo Sáenz told Tierramérica. He is the youngest on the Ecuadorean prosecuting team against Chevron in the environmental case of the century.
The plaintiffs in the case against Chevron tried in Ecuador, who won a historic 9.5 billion dollar verdict after a nearly 18-year struggle over environmental and health damages caused in a quarter-century of oil operations in the Amazon jungle, are not disheartened by the road still ahead.
Major progress has been made in Ecuador over the last few years in reducing child malnutrition and expanding educational coverage.
"Good morning. I've come to see a friend," says a young man in a brown cap carrying a small plastic bag of apples. The receptionist opens the iron-barred door and lets him in to the aged, third-rate hotel in Quito's historic centre, rented in its entirety by the Ecuadorian state to house undocumented immigrants.
Seven of the 16 foreign oil companies operating in Ecuador have decided to pull out of the country in disagreement with a reformed oil law that turned the firms into providers of services to which the government will pay a fixed tariff for operating the fields.
Ecuadorean immigrants have been put in an even more vulnerable position by the lingering economic crisis in the industrialised world, especially in Spain and the United States, the main destinations for migrants from Latin America.
Outside the modest two-story adobe house, a flag of Ecuador flutters alongside a large sign that reads "Ikat: weaving demonstrations and sales." Hanks of yarn and colourful fabrics hang from the handrail running around the edge of the courtyard and balcony, and weaving looms can be seen inside.
"This year there haven't been many 'dorados', but they're beginning to appear now," Ramón Díaz says hopefully as he disembarks with his fellow fishermen after spending the entire night out on the water.
Although domestic consumption of seafood is low, Ecuador has a large fishing fleet, and is home to the main port for tuna and white fish in the eastern Pacific.
A referendum on reforms to the new constitution and criminal law is to be held in Ecuador in response to the mounting public security crisis, giving left-wing President Rafael Correa an opportunity to canvass public opinion on these thorny issues.
On a clear day, hundreds of families pull over in their cars and snap pictures of the column of smoke spewing out of the Tungurahua volcano in central Ecuador.
Approximately 300 Cuban and 30 Venezuelan volunteer "brigadistas" have departed Ecuador, marking the end of the first phase of the "Manuela Espejo Mission," conducting a complete study of disabilities in this country over the past year and a half.
As the dust settles following contract negotiations with foreign oil companies, Ecuador is looking at a new map for its petroleum industry and trying to determine what it will mean in economic terms for this OPEC-member nation.
The office is chaotic. Huge piles of T-shirts and boxes of ballpoint pens are piled high on desks where indigenous men and women are busy packing these articles, together with placards, leaflets and fliers, at the headquarters of their National Commission on Statistics.
"It is essential for the amnesty law to be repealed" in Uruguay, Argentine poet Juan Gelman told IPS after hearings at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ended in Quito, in the cases of the murder of his daughter-in-law and the kidnapping of his granddaughter.
The Spanish government is "analysing mechanisms to contribute" one million euros (1.3 million dollars) to the Yasuni-ITT initiative, one of the few definite contributions received by Ecuador for a scheme to leave oil reserves untouched in a highly biodiverse area of the Amazon jungle.
A decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate Ecuador's complaint against Colombia for the killing of an Ecuadorean citizen in a 2008 cross-border bombing raid came just as the two countries appear to be on the verge of restoring diplomatic relations.
Tens of thousands of Ecuadorians are set to visit cemeteries on Tuesday, the traditional "Día de Finados" (Day of the Deceased). But while city residents tend to spend the day in mourning, for many indigenous peoples it is a day of celebration, of reunion with their ancestors.
"What lies ahead in Colombia is an increase in the number of refugees and displaced persons, while in Guatemala and Mexico people are going to continue leaving their countries in difficult conditions in which they face dangers to their lives," said Nelsy Lizarazu, one of the spokespersons for the Fourth World Social Forum on Migration.
Besides the hundreds of police who were rioting, Ecuador's air force and navy were the biggest headaches for the government of Rafael Correa in the 11 hours that the president was held captive on Thursday, Sept. 30, IPS was told by civilian and military sources close to the action.
Ximena Carrera discovered a new world at the university. After years of experts who had ruled out the use of hearing aids, she finally tried them -- and her life completely changed. That is what she now hopes will happen for many more hearing-impaired Ecuadoreans.