May 21st, 2015 International #AntiChevron Day of Action
Toronto Solidarity Committee – Day of Action
On May 21st, 2015 the Canadian Solidarity Committee, Chevron’s Dirty Hand organized the second #AntiChevron International Day of Action outside of the R.B.C. in downtown Toronto. Allies from Six Nations of the Grand River, the migrant community, and labour movement reps joined in solidarity to raise awareness and support of the Black Hand campaign in Canada directly in the financial district of Toronto. We support the ongoing international fight to hold Chevron (formerly Texaco), accountable for one of the worst man made environmental disasters on the planet.
We are the land and violence against our territories is violence against our people. We are directly connected with our land and water, whether we live in North or South America our people are getting sick due to the poison and devastation left behind in the wake of “development” and progress. This has been going on since contact and together we will rise and lead the way to climate sustainability by making the right choices about what “development” happens in our territories.
“We are here in solidarity from the Grand River. It is now time to fulfill the prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle. The struggle of the Indigenous people of South America is our struggle too, that’s why we are here standing in Solidarity with our brothers and sisters. It’s time to stop Chevron.” said Jagwadeth of Six Nations.
Why This Matters in Canada?
With the Canadian Federal Government entering into agreements such as Canada-China FIPA, this matters because with corporations being accountable to no one in these agreements, we are now facing the same reckless disregard for water, land and people on our territories, while Canada can face multimillion dollar lawsuits for any laws that harm the corporate profits of outside investors.
- Texaco, later Chevron, has been found guilty of causing one of the world’s greatest environmental disasters while drilling for oil in the Ecuadorean Amazon between 1954 and 1990.
Contamination in the Amazon over this period is estimated to involve 80 times the amount of oil spilled in the infamous 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
- Contamination in the Amazon over this period is estimated to involve 80 times the amount of oil spilled in the infamous 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
- Chevron is also accused of overseeing a fraudulent remediation in 1995, which encouraged residents to build homes on top of and near oil pits they thought had been cleaned by the company.
- Challenging Chevron’s actions, 30,000 Ecuadoreans are engaged in private legal action to demand compensation.
- Chevron fought for years to have the case moved to Ecuador, where many have said it believed it would get a favorable outcome.
- In 2011, an independent Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron to pay billions in compensation and remediation.
- In 2013 the Ecuadorean Supreme Court ratified that ruling and set the compensation to US$ 9.5 billion.
- Chevron is accused of spending millions of dollars – more than it has paid for any clean-up – on lawyers and political lobbying in order to avoid paying. A spokesperson for Chevron famously said, “We’re going to fight this until hell freezes over. And then we’ll fight it out on the ice.”
- As Chevron no longer has any assets in Ecuador and refuses to pay, the plaintiffs are seeking to seize Chevron’s assets internationally, including in Canada.
Chevron, formerly known as Texaco, contaminated the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest for over 20 years, leaving pollution 30 times larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, becoming the probably largest oil-related environmental catastrophe in the world. This caused the destruction of great parts of the Amazon Rainforest and the death and sickness of thousands of people and generations. Health issues to the Indigenous peoples in the surrounding regions include cancer epidemics, miscarriages, deformations, skin problems, etc.
This is the reason why 30’000 affected people represented by the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia, sued Chevron in a court in New York, USA. However Chevron fought to have the trial moved to Ecuador.
Finally, in 2011, after nearly 20 years of legal battle, the Ecuadorian court, ruled that Chevron had to pay for the destruction that it caused and to compensate the victims. On December 11, 2013 the Supreme Court of Ecuador ratified the ruling and set the final amount owed at $9.5 billion.
Chevron has retracted their assets in Ecuador so as a result, the indigenous plaintiffs are now trying to gain justice in several Courts across the globe, including Canada. On December 17, 2013, the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled that the Ecuadorian indigenous communities indeed have the right to pursue all of Chevron’s assets in Canada to enforce the $9.5 billion Ecuador judgment (Chevron’s assets in Canada are estimated to be worth $15 billion). Thus, the entirety of the Ecuador judgment can be collected in Canada if our communities prevail on 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 in the fall 2015.
The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa has also exposed Chevron’s pollution and corruption which they are eagerly trying to hide. Further, presidents, activist, political parties and social movements from across the world have shown their support for Correa’s calling for justice.
Given that the legal battle against Chevron now continues in Canada, several organizations and collectives in Toronto created the Canadian Committee in Solidarity with the affected communities by Chevron. Two of their members joined the Ecuadorian School of Good Living (Escuela del Buen Vivir) in a trip to the Amazon Rainforest where they witnessed the destruction left by the oil giant Chevron.
The communities affected by Chevron deserve Justice!
Together we can make this company accountable!
Join the Canadian Solidarity Committee and stand with us, stand with the communities affected by Chevron in Ecuador.
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