Eye on the Amazon: The Official Blog of Amazon Watch

Kangaroo Court Favors Chevron. Surprise, Surprise!

February 11, 2013 | Paul Paz y Miño

Kangaroo Court favors Chevron. Surprise, Surprise!

So what do you do if you're a massive corporate criminal that has lost in local and national courts and the court of public opinion, been rejected by the U.S. Supreme court, had your assets seized and frozen abroad, and stand teetering on the brink of losing several other suits costing you billions of dollars in assets after decades of telling your shareholders you have ZERO risk in the matter?

Well, if you're Chevron you try to weasel your way out any way you can and look to anyone – no matter how removed from the matter – to declare you're the victim rather than the perpetrator. In this particular case, as we wrote about last year, Chevron has found an obscure private arbitration panel, acting under the mantle of the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty, in an attempt to circumvent justice in Ecuador and threaten that country into interfering in the Lago Agrio case. This weak effort hasn't stopped efforts in Canada and Argentina and despite Chevron's hopes, will not be their "get out of jail free" card. Rather, it has served to shine a light on this process of how non-transparent, unaccountable investor-state arbitration dispute resolution systems are being employed to undermine fundamental human rights. Watch this video just released by Friends of the Earth U.S. to learn more.

To be clear, the tribunal or "Kangaroo Court" exists only to facilitate commercial dispute resolution across international borders in a way that promotes economic development and consistency in the law. But they have no legal authority to decide major questions of international law. A point solidified by the fact that the panel rejected Chevron's key request – that the Ecuador judgment be declared unenforceable as a matter of international law.

Read more »

Your Actions Make the Difference for the Xingu and Its People

February 7, 2013 | Maira Irigaray

Occupying the Belo Monte dam construction site

Greetings Friends,

I am writing on behalf of the magical and mystical Amazon rainforest and the traditional populations that inhabit its sacred places.

Last year you followed our battles and supported us by signing petitions, protesting, sharing messages and by donating. YOUR actions make the difference!

Right now, traditional populations throughout the Amazon are living in a critical moment. We have never seeing so much "D": Disregard, Disrespect, and Destruction. Along the way many people give up when the battle seems lost, or they think that signing a petition or donating few dollars won't change anything. To those people I say: The fight for justice and a fair planet never ends just because a battle was lost. We will always have time to do better, and your actions make the difference!

Read more »

Indigenous Leaders Confront Ecuadorian Government in Houston

February 5, 2013

Jaime Vargas, President of the Achuar Nationality of Ecuador and Narcisa Mashienta, community leader from the Shuar Nationality of Ecuador

Support the Delegation!

Please help us to bring Jaime and Narcisa to Houston to confront the Ecuadorian government at NAPE.


Indigenous leaders from the Ecuadorian Amazon have traveled to Houston to challenge the Ecuadorian government face-to-face during its XI Round oil concession promotional activities around the North America Prospect Expo (NAPE), the oil prospecting industry's semi-annual trade show where government officials scheduled meetings with oil company executives and investors seeking to auction off a vast swath of pristine Amazon rainforest.

Read more »

A Raging River

Waves engulf homes and fish turn up dead, while fishermen go hungry. The Santo Antônio hydroelectric dam changed the river and life in Rondônia.

January 24, 2013 | Ana Aranha

Francisco Souza on the banks of the Madeira river. Photo: Marcelo Min / Agência Pública

As the Brazil government pursues its reckless plans to build mega-dams on major Amazonian rivers like the Xingu and Madeira, we can expect to see their catastrophic social and environmental consequences continue to befall local communities. This article highlights how the construction of the Santo Antônio dam of Brazil's Madeira River Complex in the Amazonian state of Rondônia has unleashed the river's destructive powers, swallowing a riverside community in the city of Porto Velho. It also shows how these dams decimate the abundant fish species that are so crucial to local food security and livelihoods while uprooting thousands of people from their homes.

This is sadly just one of the stories emerging from dam-ravaged communities in the Amazon, one we will see repeated many times over if Brazil continues to pursue its disastrous plans for the region's rivers. 


Read more »

Takin' It to the Richmond Streets

AW's Newest Campaigner Raps to Defend the Amazon  

January 23, 2013

We're thrilled to welcome Adam Zuckerman to the Amazon Watch team as our newest Environmental and Human Rights Campaigner. Adam will be  working to support indigenous community opposition to new oil concessions in the Western Amazon.

Adam blew us away when he rapped about Amazon Watch and Chevron's nasty legacy during his final hiring interview, and it's just so good we thought we'd share it with you.

Adam hit the ground running in his new role, performing that rap and speaking about Amazon Watch’s Clean up Ecuador Campaign at a protest last Saturday at the Chevron refinery in Richmond.

Adam brings a background in human rights advocacy to Amazon Watch. He spent years organizing with activist diaspora communities, and most recently worked in New York for American Jewish World Service, an international human rights nonprofit. Adam has also spent some time in the Ecuadorian Amazon and is eager to meet our partners and get back into the field in middle Earth. 

Read more »

Current Highlights