This week has filled me with immense pride for work of the Indigenous and campesino communities who have been waging a campaign for social and environmental justice in the Ecuadorian Amazon since 1993. On Monday, Luis Yanza and Pablo Fajardo were awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize along with 5 other environmental leaders from all corners of the globe. Luis Yanza has been at the forefront of the campaign and lawsuit to hold Texaco, now Chevron, accountable for the destruction it caused as a result of its operations in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1992. Pablo Fajardo is the very humble lead Ecuadorian lawyer representing 30,000 people who have been affected by Chevron’s destructive operations. They have put their heart and soul, as well as their lives on the line, to ensure that justice is brought to their communities and the once-pristine northern Ecuadorian Amazon. It brings me great joy to see them being recognized for their incredible work and that their struggle is being noticed by the entire world.
Even though I’m not surprised, I’m very frustrated at Chevron’s response to the attention that Luis and Pablo are receiving this week. Chevron is on the defensive and has launched a slanderous attack campaign against Luis, Pablo and all of us who have worked for justice in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The title to their full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday read, “When an environmentalist is no friend to the environment”. In an attempt to discredit Luis and Pablo, Chevron has brought more attention to the reality of the situation on the ground and in the legal case against them. The reality is that Chevron is losing!!! Two weeks ago the court appointed expert advised the court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador that Chevron should pay between $8-16 billion for social, cultural and environmental damages. The truth is out! Shame on Chevron for, once again, trying to misconstrue the truth!
As Chevron ramps up its PR against justice, our friends at Amazon Watch and the Amazon Defense Coalition have also ramped up their campaigns for justice and accountability in alliance with Mark Fiore and MOFILMS.
Check out and Spread the Word about “Chevron’s Amazon Abu Ghraib” by Mark Fiore:
-One People’s Fight Against Big Oil-
-La Lucha de un Pueblo Contra Las Grandes Petroleras-
The San Francisco Premiere is TONIGHT, April 17
8pm @ The Roxie, 3117 16th Street (near Valencia)
Sliding scale donation at the door
Introduction by Atossa Soltani, Founder & Executive Director of Amazon Watch
Q & A with filmmakers and Mitch Anderson (Amazon Watch) to follow screening
A documentary about ChevronTexaco’s toxic legacy in the Northern Ecuadorian region of the Amazon rainforest; & a courageous group of people called Los Afectados (The Affected Ones) who are seeking justice for the ensuing cancer, sickness & death in the largest environmental class action lawsuit in history.
Featuring Pablo Fajardo, Luis Yanza, Daryl Hannah, John Quigley & Stuart Townsend