Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chevron Says These People Don't Matter

These moving photos were taken by Lou Dematteis, a photographer and writer who documented the lives of many Ecuadorian indigenous people who have died, lost family members or are sick from diseases as a result of Chevron's intentional contamination of the Ecuadorian rainforest. A Chevron lawyer recently said these people are “really irrelevant.”

Luz Maria Marin holds the head of her husband Angel Toala one day before he died of stomach cancer in his home in Shushufindi.

Chevron says the people in these photos don’t matter.

The oil giant’s lawyer Doak Bishop of King & Spalding recently said:
“The plaintiffs are really irrelevant. They always were irrelevant. There were never any real parties in interest in this case. The plaintiff's lawyers have no clients... There will be no prejudice to [the rainforest communities] or any individual by holding up enforcement of the judgment."

Bishop is speaking of the Ecuadorian indigenous people who won an $18 billion judgment against Chevron for massive oil contamination in the rainforest – a judgment Chevron has refused to pay.

Chevron even went so far as to try and hire a journalist to spy on the Ecuadorians to see if they were telling the truth about being sick. Read this article about it.

Here are just a few of them, photographed and interviewed by Lou Dematteis. You can purchase his book at Lou Dematteis Photography.

At her home in Andina, Amanda Armijos stands in front of a photo of herself and husband Saul Apolo who died of stomach cancer at age 49.

Nine-year-old Jairo Yumbo shows his birth-deformed hand on the road in front of his home in Rumipamba.

Juana Apolo walks out of a cemetery in La Andina where her father, brother and sister are buried, all of whom died of cancer.

Uterine cancer victim Rosana Sisalima with her granddaughter at their home in San Carlos on November 24, 2004. Rosana succumbed to cancer in 2006.

Fifteen-year-old Myra Chicaiza sits with her mother Rosa Mercedes on the floor of their home in Dureno. Myra suffers from sever birth defects due to her mother's exposure to toxic hydrocarbon contamination when she was pregnant with Myra.

Maria Villasis shows the scars from four operations on her liver and gallbladder at her farm near Guanta oil well #8.

Miguel Mashumar and his wife Maria Claudia Antuash sit with a portrait of two of their two daughters who both died as a result of exposure to toxic hydrocarbon contamination.

Carmen Guaman with her fourteen-year-old daughter Veronica at their home in La Primavera. Veronica suffers from a neurological birth defect.

Her leg amputated because of a cancerous tumor, Modesta Briones sits in her house near Parahuaco oil well #2 in the Ecuadoran Amazon.

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