Eye on the Amazon: The Official Blog of Amazon Watch
November 2, 2012 | Kevin Koenig
It's been another rough week for Chevron, the second largest U.S. oil company. The San Ramon oil giant reported this morning that its third quarter earnings had dropped by a third. But that's not the worst of it.
Chevron got a rude awaking Wednesday morning with news that Ecuadorian indigenous and farmer communities will seek to freeze some $2 billion of the company's assets in Argentina. This latest legal action is part of the communities' efforts to force Chevron to pay a $19 billion damages award handed down from Ecuadorian courts that found Chevron guilty of massive environmental contamination and rights abuses in the country's Amazon rainforest.
Ever since the 2011 decision – from a court of Chevron's choosing and based on much of the company's own evidence – Chevron has been on the lam, running from the law, and forcing some 30,000 Amazonians to go global to get the long fought justice they deserve. Between 1967 and 1991, the company deliberately dumped more than 4.3 billion gallons of toxic waste water, 18 million gallons of crude, and left behind some 1,000 super fund style sludge pits full of carcinogens. The result? Indigenous communities and their rainforest lands devastated, a public health crisis with no clean drinking water, and an epidemic of cancer and other ailments that have plagued the region for the last three decades. The communities are seeking a full environmental clean up, potable water, and funds for health services.
October 29, 2012 | Darrin Mortenson
Even as indigenous people struggle to cope with current levels of contamination and illness caused by years of oil production in the Amazon, the governments of Peru and Ecuador are preparing to sell off even more Amazonian territory to the oil industry in coming months.
Starting in November, Peru's state-run leasing agency Petroperu plans to start auctioning licenses to 36 new oil blocks for exploration, 19 of them in the northern region of Loreto. Just across the border, Ecuador is set to lease at least 13 blocks on or near waterways that eventually flow south into Peru and join the Amazon River.
Many of the blocks overlap or abut protected areas and indigenous territories and threaten the forests and rivers that indigenous people and other river people depend on for their lives.
October 18, 2012 | Maíra Irigaray
After 35 days of protests and 11 days of occupation, the indigenous peoples and traditional groups occupying the Belo Monte construction site have left, with their heads held high. Last night an agreement was signed between the protesters and Norte Energia, in the presence of governmental agencies. And, although the promises were only promises, people felt confident. Most of them were heard for the very first time; and that fact alone was already a sign of victory.
Join Us for a Historic Week of Public Events with Amazonian Indigenous Leaders from Sarayaku, Ecuador
October 15, 2012
Amazon Watch is honored and excited to invite you to a series of events featuring our indigenous allies and leaders from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon who will be in the Bay Area from October 15-21, 2012 to share news about their major victory for indigenous self-determination in the face of egregious industrial development threats.
October 11, 2012 | Maíra Irigaray
Take Action Now!
Send a message to Chief Justice Ayres Britto today calling on him to maintain the suspension of the
Belo Monte Dam.
Monday, October 8th
With my heart racing and under a light rain, I climb up the Pimental cofferdam, together with the indigenous warriors who are writing their own history here. Within minutes the raised earthen dam bed is taken by people who have lived in this area much longer than we can imagine. I go to sleep under open skies, still stunned by the scope of the destruction around us.