>From July 5-9, 1993, a series of factfinding visits and public forums were held in Ecuador to draw attention to the cumulative impacts of Texaco's twenty years of operations in the Ecuadorian Amazon. During Texaco Week, Indigenous peoples' organizations, including the coordination of Indian organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), the national Indian organization (CONAIE) and regional organizations including CONFENIAE and FCUNAE, joined with environmental groups forming part of the Amazonia for Life Campaign in charging Texaco with contaminating the Ecuadorian rainforest, and with irresponsibility in not taking actions to clean up their mess.

The coalition has called for an international boycott of Texaco products, and they have initiated a study of the socio-environmental impacts of Texaco's work.

These measures, and the call for actions in the campaign to pressure Texaco, are considered urgent, since a report commissioned by Texaco in collaboration with the Ecuadorian government will be released in September. The report is expected to whitewash the issue of Texaco's pollution.

The following is a summary of the facts surrounding the Texaco case, including a call to action as part of the international campaign to pressure Texaco:

After 20 years of polluting the Ecuadorian rainforest to exploit its oil reserves, Texaco pulled out of the country last year, turning over to the Ecuadorian government their oil facilities as well as serious environmental problems that will persist for generations. In response to a public outcry, the government of Ecuador ordered an environmental audit of Texaco. The proceedings of this investigation, scheduled to be completed in September, have been withheld from the public and are available only to Texaco, the Ecuadorian state oil company, Petroecuador and the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Indications are that the Canadian company responsible for the audit, HBT Agra, is severely limiting its inquiry, following threats from Texaco that they would cooperate only if narrow parameters were used for investigating their environmental record. For example, the victims of Texaco's pollution, Indigenous peoples and farmers in the Amazon, are not being interviewed by the company.

With four U.S.-based corporations descending upon the Ecuadorian forest to start up new oil projects, it is crucial that we hold Texaco responsible for cleaning up its mess. If not, others will follow suit. The impacts of Texaco's presence has been well documented:

An international campaign is underway to open up the discussion of the environmental impacts of Texaco's operations--and to hold them responsible for cleaning up their mess in the Ecuadorian rainforest. A boycott of Texaco products is underway in Norway, and actions against Texaco have taken place in England, Denmark, and Holland.

In May, a new coalition of environmental and human rights groups in the U.S. which work in support of indigenous peoples of the Amazon sent a letter to Texaco's board chairman Alfred C. De Crane Jr., expressing their indignation at the company's recalcitrance. General Coordinator Valerio Grefa, of the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), told the environmental coalition:

Texaco has set a bad example. If we do not establish a clear precedent placing responsibility on them for the damage they have caused, we will have in the future a school for similar bad treatment by other companies in the Ecuadorian Amazon and in other countries throughout the world.

What you can do:

Stop purchasing Texaco products. Cut your Texaco credit card in half and mail it to Alfred C. De Crane, Jr. CEO of Texaco along with a letter written on toilet paper (suggested text follows):

Dear Mr. De Crane

I have cut my Texaco Card in half and refuse to purchase your products until Texaco cleans up their mess in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The inquiry into your company's activities must be open to public scrutiny, and an impartial and independent investigation must be undertaken. Texaco should clean up the Amazon environment it has been polluting for the past twenty years. Where clean up is not possible, the company should provide full indemnification to the individuals and communities affected by its operations. Health care programs and clean drinking water should also be provided. I urge Texaco to repair the leaky oil tanks and corroded pipelines they abandoned, and to install injection wells and pollution controls to avoid further environmental disasters in the future.

Mr. Alfred C. De Crane Jr.
Chairman and CEO
Texaco Inc.
2000 Westchester Ave.
White Plains NY 10650
fax: (914) 253-7753

Join the campaign to pressure Texaco. For more information contact Glen Switkes at Rainforest Action Network, 450 Sansome St., Suite 700, San Francisco CA 94111, USA Tel: (415) 398-4404 Fax: (415) 398-2732 e-mail: en.rainforest

or Paulina Garzon, Campana Amazonia por la Vida, Lerida 380 y Pontevedra, Quito Ecuador. Tel: (593) 2-526-994 Fax: (593) 2-547-516

(Posted to Native-l on Thu, 5 Aug 1993 Rainforest Action Network (rainforest@igc.apc.org))