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Chevron Disrespects Community Leaders Exposing True Cost of Chevron

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Indigenous and global leaders ignored by Chevron decision-makers, expect showdown at shareholder meeting
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hi res photos available at http://rainforestactionnetwork.smugmug.com

Houston, TX – After traveling from as far as Australia, Burma, Nigeria, Ecuador and Alaska, community leaders and authors of the newly released report “The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report” were rebuffed by Chevron CEO John Watson when they tried to deliver their report at the company’s Houston office today. The report details Chevron’s human rights abuses and environmental destruction around the globe.

“Chevron refuses to face its own true cost. Community and Indigenous leaders came from around the world from the locations where Chevron operates, and they were left waiting in a lobby,” said Antonia Juhasz, lead author and editor of the new report and director of the Chevron Program at Global Exchange, calling the Chevron actions “disrespectful.” She and the rest of the Coalition await the shareholder meeting tomorrow, where a Chevron representative agreed to a “point by point rebuttal” to the new report.

Indigenous community leaders Guillermo Grefa (Kichwa) from Ecuador and Emem Okon from Nigeria accused Chevron’s operations of causing the extinction of indigenous peoples, while Debora Barros Fince (Wayuu) added that Chevron supports the paramilitary operations of the current government in Colombia. Grefa asked, “Chevron, when are you going to clean up what you have contaminated?”

Many of the leaders demanded that Chevron be held accountable for the deaths of their community members, such as Reverend Ken Davis, from Richmond California, who said, “Chevron takes out profits, and I have to see people to their graves.” T.J. Buonomo, a former U.S. Army military intelligence officer and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, challenged the Chevron representative on Chevron’s practices lobbying the Iraq government and the U.S. government to allow oil extraction in Iraq while it is still under military occupation. He said, “You don’t consider that inappropriate? You can’t bring those lives back.”

At the press conference preceding the confrontation with Chevron, Elias Isaac of Angola said that “Chevron’s CEO John Watson has said that he is “humbled” by BP’s explosion in the U.S. Gulf, “instead, he should be ashamed of his own company’s offshore operations which cause persistent, ongoing, daily abuses of the environment, our livelihoods, and public health.” The devastation caused by Chevron’s offshore operations was also the focus of remarks given by Tom Evans of Alaska and Emem Okon of Nigeria.

The True Cost of Chevron network leaders, experts and supporters will be rallying outside the shareholder meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, May 26, at 7 a.m., at 15oo Louisiana St in Houston, TX, and over forty will be attending the shareholder meeting at 8 a.m.

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org

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