Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Connecting the Dots in Ecuador

"All the companies gave us was contamination, sickness, and death. Strange diseases that we never knew before. People are dying of cancer and that's why the Cofan People are continuing to fight against Chevron in this lawsuit."

- Cofan Leader

"Keeper of the Mountains" Larry Gibson and Board Member Bill DePaulo are currently in their Third Day of traveling through Ecuador. They are traveling with Amazon Watch to lean from, educate, and connect with community leaders who are fighting for justice in their communities, much as we are in ours. Indigenous Nations in the Ecuadorian Rain Forest have been poisoned by the massive oil drilling operations that Texaco, now Chevron, undertook to profit from their people.

Bill DePaulo is writing of his and Larry's time in Ecuador and had this to say,

"Day 1 was primarily in Quito and no one could describe it as strenuous. common if interesting tourist stuff in many respects But distinguished by the fact that Ecuador has taken extraordinary steps at preservation of it's cultural and architectural heritage

Second day we flew over the Andes to Lagos Agrio, the town Texaco built in the jingle out of nothing for oil exploration. Plus we went to Texacos first drill sites.

From ChevronInEcuador.com
Later in the day we crossed Rio Aqua Rico to meet with leaders of the small indigenous group Cofan who are plaintiffs in the multiple billion dollar lawsuit against Chevron/Texaco over oil spills at more than 900 pits they created at 350 drill sites from 1964 to 1990.

The leader who spoke to us lost two small children after they drank water from local streams polluted by Texaco.

Today we went to one of the more dramatic open pit sites that shows the grossly negligent manner in which Texaco operated. Dumping raw waste water from drill sites into open pits designed too overflow into fresh water streams and pollute the water table, animal and fish life.

We are headed to a local clinic that treats victims, young and old, of oil pollution

Tomorrow we go to the Yasuni National Forest, one of the biologically diverse sites on earth, threatened by oil exploration."