14 June 2011
In 1993, Elias Piaguaje traveled from the Amazon rainforest to New York to represent the Secoya people of the Ecuadorian Amazon. He joined representatives of other indigenous tribes and campesino communities to file a landmark lawsuit demanding that Texaco – now Chevron – clean up contamination that devastated the Secoya people's rainforest homeland.
Last month, almost 18 years after this first visit, Elias' nephew Humberto returned to New York. A Secoya leader in his own right, Humberto traveled to New York and across the nation to press Chevron, once again, to clean up its toxic legacy.
But this time, he carried with him a historic verdict from an Ecuadorian court finding Chevron guilty, and ordering the company to pay to clean up its pollution, and to assist communities ravaged by the company's toxic legacy.
Amazon Watch and our Clean Up Ecuador campaign was proud to support Humberto Piaguaje and his compatriots Servio Curipoma and Carmen Zambrano as they traveled to New York, Washington DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area, meeting with media, lawmakers, activists, Chevron shareholders, and everyday supporters to share their message. And everywhere they went, they were touched by the outpouring of support for their struggle.