Eye on the Amazon: The Official Blog of Amazon Watch
April 27, 2012 | Andrew E. Miller
At the outset of an international advocacy mission featuring Amazon Watch's indigenous partners, a million things can go wrong: Visas can be denied, flights can be missed, travelers can be detained by immigration officials, etc. So our team was relieved to see our Peruvian allies appear at the Ottawa airport's baggage claim. They emerged near an indoor waterfall, evoking the sacred waterfall featured in the new documentary Chumpi and the Waterfall. The Achuar had again returned to Turtle Island – as Canada is known by some of its First Peoples – to continue their struggle for self-determination within their Amazonian homeland.
The warm welcome among friends soon collided with the harsh reality of Ottawa's frigid climate. Just outside the airport doors awaited a first taste of the inhospitable and alien environment that the Achuar would have to endure.
April 26, 2012
Take Action Now!
Brazilian President Dilma can save the Amazon from destruction. Tell her to veto the new Forest Code!
Following years of intense pressure from the agribusiness sector, Brazil's parliament yesterday afternoon approved sweeping reforms to the country's forest protection law that spell destruction for the Amazon rainforest.
President's veto power
President Dilma has 14 days to veto this hatchet job before it becomes the law. All eyes are on her now. It is unbelievable that the forest code is being eroded weeks before Brazil hosts the Earth Summit in Rio.
Ecuadoreans In Europe Highlight Chevron Management’s Misguided Litigation Strategy
April 19, 2012 | Mitch Anderson
Ecuadorean indigenous leaders Humberto Piaguaje and Guillermo Grefa began a one week European tour today. They will be educating major institutional investors in Chevron Corporation, including prestigious funds such as the Church of England Investment Fund and the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, about the oil giant's grim environmental and human rights legacy in the Amazon. The fact that European investors are concerned about the American oil company's growing multi-billion liability over its Amazon disaster comes as no surprise.
Chevron was found guilty for environmental crimes in Ecuador in February of 2011 and fined upwards of $18 billion. Since that historic decision, Chevron's litigation prospects in the long-running environmental trial have dimmed considerably.
On January 3, 2012, an Ecuadorean appeals court confirmed the $18 billion verdict against Chevron, and two months later, on March 12th, an appellate court declared that the judgment is final and enforceable. Chevron has appealed the ruling to the National Court of Justice in the Andean capital city of Quito, but simultaneously refused to post a bond that would be required to stop enforceability of the verdict. In sum, after 19 years of litigation, the plaintiffs (more than 30,000 indigenous peoples and campesinos of Ecuador) have won an internationally valid judgement that can be enforced in Ecuador or any other country across the globe.
Message from Jiyukam (Lucas) Irar Miik
April 18, 2012 | Gregor MacLennan
This weekend four Achuar leaders will travel from deep in the Amazon rainforest to Canada to confront Talisman Energy for drilling for oil in their ancestral territory. The group will travel to Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver to raise awareness about how oil drilling threatens their way of life and the health of their rainforest ecosystem, and will visit First Nations in the tar sands of Northern Alberta and on the British Columbian coast to build alliances to defend indigenous territories from destructive extractive industries.
This is an arduous six-day journey for Peas, Jiyukam, Ampush and Puwaanch from their rainforest home to the very different world of Canada, but the Achuar nation have sent them with an important message for the Canadian people: Canadian company Talisman Energy must stop drilling for oil in their ancestral territory and hunting and fishing grounds.
April 15, 2012
Here's unsurprising news hot off the presses from the Department of Every Screw-up Deserves a Raise:
In a company securities filing, Chevron revealed that Chairman and Chief Executive John Watson received about $25 million in total compensation for 2011, up 52 percent from 2010. Last year was, of course, the year in which Watson's company was ordered to pay $18 billion by an Ecuadorian court for oil spills in the Ecuadorian Amazon. What's worse, the company's oil spills off Brazil's coast prompted authorities to file criminal charges against Chevron executives and to propose an $11 billion fine of the company.
Chevron also increased the pay of General Counsel R.H. Pate by 75 percent to $7.8 million. Pate's compensation jumped in part due to his "outstanding management of Ecuador and other major litigation matters," according to the filing.
Not bad for an incompetent year's work, right?