Almost 40 years ago, Texaco, a company that merged with Chevron in 2001, began drilling for oil in the Ecuadorean Amazon.  Since then, the company has dumped over 18 billion gallons of toxic waste water from the oil extraction into the rainforest, causing untold amounts of pollution and human suffering that has affected huge swaths of the forest and tens of thousands of Ecuadoreans.

Our allies at Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch, and the indigenous activists who form the Assembly of the Affected have been fighting hard (indeed, for their lives and those of their children) for years to hold Chevron accountable for cleaning up their mess, and earlier this year they experienced a major victory.  In February an Ecuadorean court ruled in favor of the indigenous communities and fined Chevron 8.6 billion to remediate the pollution and suffering the company has caused the rainforest and its people.
Despite this victory, the fight is far from over.  Chevron, a major corporation who has put profits before people and the environment in cases all over the planet, is now refusing to comply saying it will pay up "when hell freezes over".
This week is critical in the fight around the world for corporate accountability, the rights of impacted communities, and an end to fossil fuels that sicken our earth, atmosphere, and people.  We will never have as much money as Chevron, the Chamber of Commerce, or other fossil fuel companies – but united and mobilized to action, we can be more powerful.
Now is the time to stand in solidarity with the small yet brave delegation from the affected communities in the Amazon who have traveled from Ecuador to confront Chevron shareholders at their annual meeting in California this week.  Here's a bit of what their communities have to say in this beautiful and heartbreaking letter (which I highly recommend) that you can read in full on Amazon Watch's site:
We are the mothers of families. We are fathers who work very hard every day. We are grandparents who hold on to many memories. We have blood like all human beings. We feel pain. We cry. We laugh. We suffer.
We do not know you. We imagine that you are the same as we are: with hearts that beat, with eyes that appreciate the beauty of the world around us, with feet that walk on the same planet as ours. 
We have heard that the United States is a country of freedom and democracy; a country where the people have a heart; a country where laws are respected. For this reason, we want to reach your hearts, so that you know the truth – our truth, not just the "truth" according to Chevron. Although Chevron has right to express its opinion, it doesn’t have the right to lie and continue killing more people in Ecuador. Chevron has poisoned us. It has also poisoned the image of the United States and of its citizens. We write this letter to you on behalf of the thousands of affected peoples in Ecuador, so that you can do something, now, and demand that Chevron clean up the poison that it left in our Amazon, and restore the image of the United States and its citizens.
Defend the truth, and defend justice.
In our country, there may not be a legal difference between a corporation and a person – but we all know, and the indigenous communities affected by this environmental disaster can know too, that there is a critical difference – we have hearts and a sense of justice.  Let's show our humanity this week and stand in solidarity with the brave people of the Amazon and communities affected by pollution everywhere – please pass along the letter, and sign the petition from Amazon Watch which will be presented to shareholders tomorrow:
It's time to put an end to letting profits be put before people.  Defend the truth, and defend justice.
p.s. Activists from Rainforest Action Network daringly stood in solidarity yesterday to hold a giant banner off the Richmond Bridge just minutes from Chevron's headquarters in California.  For photo and videos, click here.

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