True Cost of Chevron Teach-In
Some of the incredible international guests (not all speaking at Teach-In), include:Angola
Sizaltina Cutaia: Program Director at Fundação Open Society, Angola.Cristóvão Luemba: journalist in Cabinda with the Catholic-run Radio Ecclesia. Radio Ecclesia is one of the few alternative news stations in Angola not controlled by the government. They regularly report on government corruption, human rights abuses, and on the oil spills and harm done to Cabinda by Chevron.
Father Raul Tati: Renowned human rights leader and Catholic priest based in Cabinda, the oil-producing enclave in Angola where Chevron operates. Father Tati was wrongfully imprisoned for his political work.
Joao Antonio de Moraes, Coordinator of Federacao Unica dos Petroleiros, the leading union challenging Chevron in Brazil in wake of it’s offshore oil spill. Partner of United Steel Workers.
Luz Trinidad Andrea Cusangua, an ecological farmer of the northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon, an area ravaged by widespread oil contamination. Her home is located within the Sacha oil field, which was developed by Texaco (now Chevron) in the 1970s and 1980’s. The nearest well, Sacha 89, is a scant 100 meters from her home. The nearest source of fresh water, the river Wilya, was contaminated by Texaco’s oil operations during the height of the company’s operations in the Amazon. To this day, the river Wilya remains contaminated.
Luz moved to the Ecuadorian Amazon from the highlands region of Ibarra in 1975. Over the course of the next decade, Luz witnessed firsthand the destruction of the tropical paradise around her. The river Wilya, which her family used for bathing, washing clothes, fishing and drinking, became a source of poisons. Her children suffered from various illnesses including skin diseases. Her mother was diagnosed with skin cancer, which was attributed by health professionals in the area to oil contamination.
Luz is the mother of five children and seven grandchildren. Her husband is deceased . Despite the contamination, she has managed to create a sustainable ecological farm, including coconuts, cacao, coffee, heliconia, orchids, medicinal plants and Amazonian fruit trees.
Robinson Yumbo, president of the National Indigenous Federation of the Cofan Tribe (FEINCE). Born in Lago Agrio, the oil town founded by Texaco, Robinson has lived his entire life in the community of Cofan Dureno along the shores of the AguaRico river. As a child, he witnessed firsthand the environmental devastation caused by Texaco’s (now Chevron’s) operations in the ancestral territory of the Cofan people. What was once the Cofan people’s ancestral territory was transformed by Texaco (Chevron) into a massive oil field, characterized by continuous spills, the deliberate dumping of toxic wastewater into rivers and streams, and 24-hour flaring of natural gas.
Robinson witnessed the onset of a public health crisis within the Cofan community, including spontaneous miscarriages, birth defects and cancer. Texaco’s oil operations also opened up the Cofan territory to uncontrolled migration, in the form of homesteading colonists, a phenomenon which led to large scale deforestation (illegal mining and logging operations), the reduction of ancestral territory, the loss of game, and severe cultural threats.
As the president of FEINCE, Robinson works to advance the Cofan people’s rights in the face of an array of pressing threats, including deforestation, oil contamination, and economic impoverishment. He lives in the community of Cofan Dureno with his wife, Olga, and his four children.
Emem Okon, Founder and Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre. Emem Okon is a women’s rights activist and advocate from the Niger Delta’s oil impacted region of Nigeria. She is a campaigner against all forms of violence including that directed at women and the environment. Women’s rights are inextricable with environmental health, because environmental damage harms the survival and livelihood of women farmers and fisher folks. The destruction of self sufficient lifestyles can lead women to seek wages through sex work, which has resulted in increasing rates of HIV & AIDS.
Ms. Okon is the founder and the Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre. Ms. Okon was a leader of the powerful women’s protests of Chevron Corporation for its environmental and human rights abuses in Nigeria which garnered international media attention when a group of women took over an oil installation and threatened to take off their clothes if the company did not negotiate with them. She has coordinated several women’s networks and coalitions in the Niger Delta region, including Civil Society on HIV & AIDS, Gender and Constitution Reform Network, International Network on Women and Environment, and National Coalition on Affirmative Action, to mention a few.
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