"QUITO, Ecuador — Pope Francis on Tuesday called for increased protection of the Amazon rain forest and the indigenous people who live there, declaring that Ecuador must resist exploiting natural riches for “short-term benefits,” an implicit rebuke of the policies of President Rafael Correa.
In his final stops of a busy day, Francis made environmental protection a central theme, invoking the biblical tenet for humans to be guardians of creation, while praising the way of life of indigenous peoples living in the rain forests. Several indigenous leaders attending Francis’ final event of the day have been fighting the policies of Mr. Correa to expand oil exploration in the Ecuadorean Amazon.
“The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits,” Francis told a group of civil society leaders at his final stop of the day. “As stewards of these riches which we have received, we have an obligation toward society as a whole, and toward future generations.”"