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Ecuadorian Indigenous Travel to Midland to Protest Against Chevron

A group of Ecuadorian indigenous and others traveled to the Permian Basin Wednesday to protest and ask Chevron, one of the largest oil companies in the world, to clean up the oil damage in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
A group of Ecuadorian indigenous and others traveled to the Permian Basin Wednesday to protest and ask Chevron, one of the largest oil companies in the world, to clean up the oil damage in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

“We’re looking for justice,” said Humberto Piaguaje, a Cofan indigenous. “Justice for our lives and for the environment.”

The plea stems from oil contamination caused by Texaco, now Chevron. But after the legal dispute a federal judge ruled to block the collection of a $9.5 billion environmental-damage award against Chevron after illegal activity from the plaintiff’s lawyers.

“The case has been litigated. Chevron has proven this case to be fraudulent,” said Justin Higgs, a spokesperson for Chevron. “The individuals here, unfortunately, are being deceived by the trial lawyers and the government in Ecuador.”

But despite the ruling, the indigenous community says they will not give up. They say their only source of fresh water got covered by oil and they had no choice but to drink and use the water.

“Five years after they left we noticed our children started having leukemia, the women has ovarian cancer, the men got stomach cancer,” Piaguaje said.

Chevron said it was open to discussion and opinions.

“We want those individuals to talk about their issues and hopefully learn about our perspective on the matter,” Higgs said. “To be objective about the issue and potentially understand the entirety of the situation be Ecuador or any other issue.”

During the protest, Piaguaje and other wore their traditional indigenous tunics and held signs that read “Ask Chevron to Repair the Damage.”

“I don’t understand how hard their hearts can be that they are not willing to repair the damage,” Piaguaje said.

Higgs repeatedly said that the indigenous and protesters were being “deceived by the government of Ecuador.”

Adding that Chevron strives for zero incidents during their operations.

“We strive to send everybody home safely,” Higgs said. “At the end of the day that’s always the goal.”

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