The YASunidos Collecive defends life in all its manifestations and forms. Since our founding as a group and even before, we have supported the struggle of those who denounced the violence executed by the TEXACO company, of indigenous peoples and settler-colonists who for more than 20 years have sustained the most emblematic lawsuit in the history of Ecuador (and in large part, of the planet) denouncing the environmental and social devastation that this company has generated in order to extract crude oil from the northern zone of the Ecuadorian Amazon since the 1990s.
To the Ecuadorian government headed by president Rafael Correa, we declare our outrage over the transfer of 112 million dollars from Ecuadorian citizens to this company. The transfer of the government was authorized despite the fact that the company has not initiated their transfer of funds for the process of reparations it is obligated to complete for being responsible for one of the worst environmental catastrophes in the memory of this country and the world.
We remind President Rafael Correa that the practice of legitimating the expansion of the petroleum frontier in the Amazon has been systematically presented as an economic necessity, which continues to designate more and more territories as zones to be sacrificed to big companies such as CHEVRON-TEXACO. Now we ask ourselves, what is the point of handing over this sum of millions to the company? Why were these resources not channeled towards affected communities for the process of reparations? Why call off this struggle, which has lasted more than two decades, led by people who have given humanity a lesson, and initiate processes to reverse or at least question the legitimacy of this payment for reparations?
Paying TEXACO implies, from our perspective, going against the justice and dignity of those affected, and with that, a reinforcingcolonial and racist politics based in injustice, where a company is rewarded for its irresponsible practices.It implies compromising a historic struggle of humanity in defense of life.
From an economic standpoint, transferring such a large quantity of resources to TEXACO in conjuncture with an economic crisis, which is precisely the government’s favorite pretext to continue with the growing Extractivism in the country, is not only incoherent, but also inhumane. There are thousands who have been negatively affected by extractivist policies – some are still sick with cancer.
The communities and people that carried forward the lawsuit against TEXACO are an example for Ecuador and for indigenouspeoples of the world. They have been one of our inspirations in the struggle to defend the environment and environmental rights. They have demonstrated that it is possible for those oppressed by the capitalist system to make their voices heard and require that corporations produce explanations for their actions before the court. It is the government’s co-responsibility to make those courts a worthy instrument of justice, to leave behind their “submissiveness to capital,” and to prioritize human beings and mother earth.
To all plaintiffs and those affected by TEXACO, we declare our respect and admiration. The struggle will be long, and victory will be possible only if we continue united, fight together, lend our hands so that justice prevails over corporate interests and the fears of the government.
Partners in struggle, continue being an example for those who resist the vanity of the powerful. Continue being an example for us.