Ecuador’s president has launched a call for people around the world to boycott Chevron products, in rejection of the company’s evasion of responsibility for oil contamination in the Amazon basin. In recent months, Chevron has targeted Ecuador with a barrage of defamatory publicity questioning the country’s legal system, in an attempt to elude the sentence under which it is ordered to pay out almost $19 billion to clean up the area and provide health care and clean drinking water for the affected population.
Ecuador’s campaign titled, “The dirty hand of Chevron,” was presented by President Rafael Correa on September 17, in a visit to a contaminated pit near the Aguarico 4 oil well, operated decades ago by Texaco. The company, which merged with Chevron in 2001, left behind almost one thousand of these pits over three decades of oil exploitation in the Amazon rainforest (1964-1992), covering an area of more than a million acres, where an estimated 18 billion gallons of water, contaminated with oil, has continued to seep from unprotected pits or to overspill during heavy rains. The seepage has contaminated the streams and rivers used by the local population for drinking water, destroyed wildlife and negatively affected agriculture.
Correa estimated the damage to be far greater than either the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill or the Mexican Gulf BP spill. “This is one of humanity’s most serious disasters,” he announced.