Submitted by Carla Loaiza on Tue, 09/17/2013 – 19:25
Santiago Aguilar, correspondent
Aguarico/Sucumbíos, September 17 (Andes).- Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, verified firsthand the pollution footprint left by U.S. oil company Chevron, after 26 years operating in Ecuador’s Amazon.
The President visited this Tuesday morning the Aguarico 4 well, located in the province of Sucumbíos. “They used anachronistic techniques to fill their pockets (with money) without caring about the pollution they caused”, said the President.
“We will fight against this company, against its prepotency, with the people of the world’s strongest weapon: the truth. Everybody join in this Ecuadorian cause”, said Rafael Correa, once he verified with his own hands what he called “Chevron-Texaco’s dirty hand in Ecuador”.
For 26 years – between 1964 and 1990 – the U.S. oil company Texaco exploited Ecuadorian crude oil in nowadays Sucumbíos and Orellana. After they left the country, the company left in that area environmental liabilities of more than 18 million gallons of toxic waste spilled in rivers and streams.
“This is one of the greatest disasters in the history of humanity and this oil company (Chevron) intends to go unpunished. Imagine how they left this if now, after 30 years, this oil is still here. That’s why there is so much incidence of cancer in this area”, added the president.
To increase their profits, the transnational giant did not conduct proper remediation works after leaving the country. Evidence of this are the pools built along oil wells. These pools are meant to collect waste issued after a well is opened. President Correa confirmed that these pools were only used to send toxic waste directly into rivers.
The report by environmental consultant Stratus Consulting, attributes to this pollution the death of 1,041 people who lived in the area nearby oil wells. All of them died of cancer and there are hundreds of cases of miscarriages.
Only those 18 million gallons of toxic waste are 30 time more crude oil than what was spilled in the famous Exxon-Valdez supertanker disaster, in Alaska. Texaco also left 917 waste pools filled with toxic mud and issued millions of cubic meters of poisonous gas that went into the atmosphere.
For those damages – the thousands of deaths of people, animals and vegetation, for the pollution of rivers – the company Texaco, which was later acquired by Chevron, was sentenced to pay USD $19,000 million to remedy their careless environmental management. To avoid paying, the company has dilated the process, threatening advocates and lawyers, and started a smear campaign against the Ecuadorian State, which isn’t even a direct party in the claim that the citizens from the Amazon won against the company.
This smear campaign involves an expenditure of more than USD $400 million in lobbying and legal fees and is plagued with manipulations and falsehoods.
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