Amazonian Communities, Indigenous and Environmental Leaders Reject Ecuador-Texaco Agreement

On May 9, as activists from Ecuador and the United States denounced to 600 Texaco shareholders the company's proposed remediation settlement with the Ecuadorian government as criminally insufficient, Ecuadorian officials in Quito went forward and signed t he agreement. This settlement, which outlines Texaco's measures to restore environmental damages caused by its twenty-six years of operation in the Ecuadorian Amazon, has been widely rejected by local indigenous, farmer and environmental groups, chargin g that it addresses only a small portion of Texaco's extensive impacts in the region.

In recent days, umbrella citizen groups, such as the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENAIE) and Amazon Defense Front have published letters in Ecuador's major newspapers, emphatically denouncing the settlement terms . They charge that Texaco and the Ecuadorian government, who worked as an oil consortium until 1992, have failed to include in the settlement the concerns of the very populations affected by the oil operations. As a result, local leaders explain, the pl anned clean-up will not effectively remedy the profoundly negative impacts of Texaco's operations, which include deforestation of more than two million acres of rainforest, displacement of indigenous communities, and extensive water pollution which has cr eated a regional health crisis.

While the details of the settlement have not been completely disclosed, leaders confirm that only some oil areas are considered under the agreement. Texaco's agreement does not include the majority of the wells and waste pits in the company's former conc ession area.

Ecuadorian indigenous and environmental leaders have made a strong statement to Texaco and the Ecuadorian government, making known that this "partial solution" is unacceptable, and that the international fight to hold Texaco fully responsible for the dama ges will continue. "This is not a solution," explains Paulina Garzon of Quito-based Accion Ecologica. "This is Texaco trying to quickly wash its hands of the destruction it caused during over a quarter of a century. The Ecuadorian people will not stand for it."

In addition, some thirty human rights and environmental organizations belong to the Washington-based Coalition in Support of Amazonian Peoples and Their Environment have also denounced the settlement, pledging to continue their work with the Ecuadorian or ganizations in their fight against Texaco.

Addresses and faxes:
President Sixto Duran Ballen
Casa Presidencial
Garcia Moreno 1043
Quito, Ecuador

Alfred C. de Crane Jr., Chairman and CEO Texaco, Inc.
2000 Westchester Ave.
White Plains, NY 10650

Posted to NATIVE-L ( on May 16, 1995 by Rainforest Action Network (