Thursday, May 9, 2013

NBC Nightly News Airs Segment on Indigenous Peoples' Fight in Ecuador

Reposted from The Chevron Pit

NBC Nightly News Ann Curry recently returned from Ecuador with this account of how impoverished indigenous groups in the Amazon rainforest are preparing to fight – literally and metaphorically – their government's efforts to explore for oil on their native, pristine lands.

Meanwhile, some of these same groups are fighting in a U.S. courtroom 3,000 miles away 2,000 Chevron lawyers and a U.S. federal judge who believe a $19 billion judgment the Ecuadorians won in an Ecuador court is a fraud. Needless to say, The Chevron Pit strongly disagrees, while Chevron refuses to pay the judgment.

Curry's cameras document the beauty and the uniqueness of the Ecuadorian jungle in the Yasuni Park, reminding viewers that this was what another part of the rainforest once looked like before Texaco, now owned by Chevron, explored for oil five decades ago, using substandard drilling practices to maximize its profits. See this video to understand how Texaco, now Chevron, ruined the rainforest and destroyed a way of life for at least five indigenous groups.

Curry features an interesting proposal by Ecuador President Rafael Correa, who is asking developed countries driven by huge oil consumption to pay Ecuador NOT to explore for oil in the Yasuni Park, given that its thick and heavy vegetation helps keep the world's air supply cleaner by soaking up carbon dioxide.

By not developing the area, the rainforest is saved and the global environment improved but potential revenues from oil sales are not realized, depriving poor people of an education, safe housing and job opportunities. Correa believes Ecuador is, so to speak, scratching the developed world's back, but not getting any scratch in return.

On the other hand, Chevron would rather pay law firms like Gibson Dunn, Jones Day and King & Spalding hundreds of millions of dollars to fight the Ecuadorians in court, rather than spend even close to a similar amount on cleaning the soil and drinking water that Texaco contaminated. Chevron calculates that tactic is preferable than setting a precedent of actually helping people.

Though it's unlikely we've forgotten, the Nightly News segment reminds us that money – the ability to make it and not lose it – makes the world go around. Watch the segment:

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