National Geographic : 2013 Jan
118 national geographic • January 2013 he speaks with the easy laugh of an old combat veteran recounting his younger days in the war. But what about today, what if the men with the hard hats and uniforms return? “If they come back, we will kill them,” he says matter-of-factly. “We will do as our parents and grandparents taught us.” AFTER NEARLY THREE WEEKS of traveling by truck, boat, and bush plane through Yasuní, I head for the capital city of Quito, high in the Andes. I’ve been offered the opportunity to speak directly with President Correa about his struggling Yasuní-ITT Initiative. Guards snap to attention as I pass the colonnades of the colonial-era Carondelet Palace and enter a lavish room of gold-trimmed furniture and brocade curtains. Charismatic, articulate, and intelligent, Cor- rea, 49, gets right to the point during our talk.