(VIDEO+PICTURES) Canadians launch campaign to hold Chevron accountable

Canadians reject Chevron’s Dirty Hand

The first meeting of the Committee in Solidarity with the Ecuadorian communities affected by oil giant Chevron was a great success. The call was made by several organizations from Toronto, and had the participation of social organizations, First Nations, Ecuadorian community and individuals living in Toronto, gathered to denounce the pollution that Chevron left in Ecuador and the serious impact this has had on the health of indigenous and peasants living in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

As attendees were arriving at the meeting, Chevrons Dirty Hand was stamped on a white cloth as a sign of rejection of the contamination left by the oil company in Ecuador. “Pay your debt and clean the Ecuadorian rainforest” said John Kerry.

Recently in December 2013 the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled that Ecuadorian indigenous communities have the right to pursue all of Chevron’s assets in Canada to enforce the US$9.5 billion Ecuador judgment to indemnify and compensate the victims and survivors of the contamination left in Ecuador by the corporation. “This means that those affected have the opportunity to seize the assets of Chevron in Canada totaling around $15 billion and thus ensure that justice is finally served” said Santiago Escobar who gave an overview over the contamination of Chevron during the meeting.

Participants also agreed to launch a series of awareness-raising activities in solidarity with the Ecuadorian people and reporting on abuses of Chevron to the Canadian civil society. “How can it be possible that Chevron colluding with a private arbitration center, wants to make the Ecuadorian government responsible for paying the judgment of US9.5 billion to the affected communities” said Janis Mills, Canadian academic and activist.

The gathering ended with all attendees launching an appeal to the oil corporation to take responsibility and clean up the contamination it left in Ecuador.

Currently, several organizations and alliances in Canada are backing the Indigenous plaintiffs in Ecuador, including the Canadian and Quebec sections of the International League of People’s Struggles; the Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front;  La Red de Amigos de la Revolución Ciudadana; Hispanic Centre of York and Barrio Nuevo. – 

By Denise Cordova