Below, Friends of Ecuador publishes an open letter from prominent signatories in support of the Ecuadorian people who have been fighting a 20 year legal battle against oil company Chevron. They are seeking compensation for the severe oil damage that an Ecuadorian court has found Chevron guilty of causing. You can add your name here.
We deplore the on-going attempts of Chevron to avoid paying compensation to the communities in the Ecuadorian Amazonian severely affected by the oil giant’s dumping of billions of gallons of toxic waste there over decades.
Between 1964 and 1990, oil company Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – caused one of the world’s greatest environmental disasters. The oil in the waste product dumped in the Ecuadorian Amazon over this period is estimated to be 30 times the amount spilt in the Exxon Valdez disaster.
This created a social disaster for the poor farmers and indigenous people living there by contaminating the rivers used for drinking, bathing and fishing.
Twenty years ago, tens of thousands of local people organized themselves and filed private legal actions to demand compensation. Twenty years on justice is still being denied.
After decades of campaigning, in 2011, an independent Ecuadorian court ordered Chevron to pay billions in compensation and remediation.
But this corporate giant refuses to pay and reports indicate that Chevron is spending hundreds of millions of dollars – more than it has paid on any clean-up – on lawyers and political lobbying. It has even taken action against Ecuador seeking to make it liable for any compensation that Chevron must pay, a move that if successful could devastate Ecuador’s public spending on health, education and other services.
As we mark the 20th anniversary, its time Chevron compensated the Amazon communities for the vast damage it caused.
Baroness Sue Miller, Liberal Democrat
Natalie Bennett Leader, Green Party of England and Wales
Professors Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, co-authors of The Spirit Level
Brian Eno, musician
Chris Williamson MP
Peter Kennard, artist
Bruce Kent, peace campaigner
Owen Jones, writer and commentator
Linda McAvan MEP
Catherine Stihler MEP
Jean Lambert MEP
Claude Moraes MEP
Elaine Smith MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament
Neil Findlay MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament
John Finnie MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament
Jenny Rathbone AM, Welsh Assembly Member
Julie Morgan AM, Welsh Assembly Member
Julie James AM, Welsh Assembly Member
Mike Hedges AM, Welsh Assembly Member
Mick Antoniw AM, Welsh Assembly Member
Darren Johnson AM, London Assembly Member
Grahame Morris MP
Baroness Jenny Jones and London Assembly Member
Michael Mansfield QC
Louise Christian, human rights lawyer.
Richard Harvey, Lawyer, Garden Court Chambers
Professor Bill Bowring, Barrister and School of Law, Birkbeck
John Hilary, Executive Director, War on Want
Nick Dearden, Director, World Development Movement
Tony Juniper writer, campaigner and environmental advisor
Sarah Burton, Director of Programme Functions, Greenpeace International
John Williams, guitarist
Drew McConnell, musician
John Pilger, filmamker
Ken Loach, filmaker
Victoria Brittain, writer and journalist
Linton Kwesi Johnson, poet
Dr Ha-Joon Chang, Economist, University of Cambridge
Professor Doreen Massey
Professor Robin Blackburn, author
Grazia Ietto-Gillies, Emeritus Professor of Applied Economics, London South Bank University
Dr Kaveh Moussavi Moussavi, Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford,
Dr Michael Derham, Northumbria University.
Dr Steve Ludlam, University of Sheffield
Dr Julie Hearn, University of Lancaster
GC Harcourt, economist
Dr Francisco Domínguez, University of Middlesex
Dr Diana Raby, Senior Fellow, University of Liverpool
Dr Nick Potts, Southampton Solent University
Michael Joffe, Professor of Economics, Imperial College
Dr Andy Denis Department of Economics, City University London
Stephanie Pearce, Doctoral candidate, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Peter Lambert, University of Bath
Dr. Steve Keen, Author, Debunking Economics
Professor Francesco Pezzella Oxford University
Dr Julia Buxton, Swansea University and CEU Budapest
Andrew Simms, New Economics Foundation
Ann Pettifor, economist
Richard Gott, writer and author
Hugh O’Shaughnessy, author and journalist
Billy Hayes, General Secretary CWU
Steve Turner Assistant General Secretary, Unite
Bob Crow, General Secretary RMT
Sally Hunt, General Secretary UCU
Gerry Morrisey, General Secretary BECTU
Megan Dobney, Regional Secretary of the TUC in London
Doug Nicholls , General Secretary GFTU
Tony Woodhouse, Chair Unite Executive Council
Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, GMB
Neal Lawson, Director Compass
Kate Hudson General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Sue Branford, Latin America Bureau
Maggie Bowden, General Secretary Liberation
Lindsey German, Convenor ,Stop the War
Martin Mayer, Unite Executive Council and Labour Party NEC member
Juan Carlos Piedra, Ecuadorian Movement in the UK
Matt Stanley, National Union of Students National Executive
Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students Officer
Enrico Tortolano, campaigner and researcher on Latin America
Bernard Regan SERTUC International Committee Chair
Chris McLaughlin, Editor TRIBUNE.
Pablo Navarrete, film-maker
Ellie Mae O’Hagan, columnist