Mohawk Loran Thomson Witnessed Chevron’s Dirty Hand in Ecuador

August 9, 2015

Following the historic Eagle and Condor encounter in Washington, when over 100 Haudenosaunee people came to show their support for the indigenous peoples of the Amazon negatively affected by Chevron, Mohawk Kanasaraken of the Bear Clan, Akwesasne (aka Loran Thompson) visited Ecuador to see Chevron’s legacy of pollution for himself.

He witnessed the oil pollution made by Chevron at the Aguarico pit, near Lago Agrio in the northeastern part of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Chevron, (at that time known as Texaco), as a “standard operating procedure” used to dispose the waste from oil production in unregulated pits that flowed directly into streams and swamps to keep the pits from overflowing when it rained. This practice created an ecocide and caused an epidemic of cancer, miscarriages, and many healths problems among thousands of peasants and indigenous peoples.

“The people of Ecuador deserve to enjoy each and every moment of their lives, without industrial pollution taking away their environmental freedom. Their fight against the petroleum contamination of the Lago Agrio oil fields and the regional waterways is a struggle on behalf of human beings everywhere. If it can happen to them in their beautiful country, it could happen anywhere and anyplace. We must support their desire for a healthy existence.”

“The year of 2015 will be known as the year that North and South America came together as one people. It is through the passion of the Ecuadorian people that we came together. We will never forget your pride in your homelands and the love for your people. We stand together with you now and into the future. Our Unity as brothers and sisters of one people cannot be broken. Your voices make us proud to join you in this responsibility”, asserted Kanasaraken.

Kanasaraken was joined on his tour by the vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, Juan Carlos Alurralde, scholars, researchers and politicians from Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico and Ecuador as part of the Forum: “Public Policies against Transnationals”.

“This catastrophe happened over four decades ago, is proof that life lost is never recovered and is a worthy struggle of a sovereign state seeking to remediate the damage it caused to the people and mother Nature”, asserted the Juan Carlos Alurralde, vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia.

After over 20 years of legal battle, the Ecuadorian Indigenous plaintiffs successfully won a lawsuit against Chevron for $9.5 billion in 2011. Unfortunately, Chevron has pulled all of its assets from Ecuador and has used all available “legal” resources at its disposal to avoid compensating those affected in Ecuador. In 2013 alone, Chevron spent $400 million on “legal services” that have been deemed unethical. In addition to the ‘legal’ means to defeat the case, Chevron has also employed a whole series of other dirty tricks to undermine the lawsuit, including harassing the plaintiffs’ legal team, issuing bribes, and attempts at entrapment of the judge overseeing the case in Ecuador.

On December 17, 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that Ecuador’s Indigenous communities have the right to pursue Chevron’s assets in Canada to enforce the $9.5 billion Ecuador judgment, since Chevron no longer has assets remaining in Ecuador. Chevron’s assets in Canada are currently valued at $15 billion, thus the entirety of the Ecuador judgment can be collected in Canada if the communities prevail in their enforcement action.

On December 11th, 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) held a hearing relating to jurisdictional debates in the case 35682, Chevron Corporation, et al. v. Daniel Carlos Lusitande Yaiguaje, et al. A final ruling is expecting this fall 2015.

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