Community Leaders Exposing
True Cost of Chevron
Indigenous and global leaders ignored
by Chevron decision-makers,
expect showdown at shareholder meeting
May 25, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Houston, TX - After traveling from as far as Australia, Burma, Nigeria, Ecuador and Alaska, community leaders and authors of the newly released report The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report were rebuffed by Chevron CEO John Watson when they tried to deliver their report at the company's Houston office today. The report details Chevron's human rights abuses and environmental destruction around the globe.
"Chevron refuses to face its own true cost. Community and Indigenous leaders came from around the world from the locations where Chevron operates, and they were left waiting in a lobby," said Antonia Juhasz, lead author and editor of the new report and director of the Chevron Program at Global Exchange, calling the Chevron actions "disrespectful." She and the rest of the Coalition await the shareholder meeting tomorrow, where a Chevron representative agreed to a "point by point rebuttal" to the new report.
Indigenous community leaders Guillermo Grefa (Kichwa) from Rumipamba, Ecuador and Emem Okon from Nigeria accused Chevron's operations of causing the extinction of indigenous peoples, while Debora Barros Fince (Organizacion Wayuu Munserrat, La Guajira, Colombia) added that Chevron supports the paramilitary operations of the current government in Colombia. Grefa asked, "When are you going to clean up what you have contaminated?"
Many of the leaders demanded that Chevron be held accountable for the deaths of their community members, such as Reverend Ken Davis, from Richmond California, who said, "Chevron takes out profits, and I have to see people to their graves." T.J. Buonomo, a former U.S. Army military intelligence officer and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, challenged the Chevron representative on Chevron's practices lobbying the Iraq government and the U.S. government to allow oil extraction in Iraq while it is still under military occupation. He said, "You don't consider that inappropriate? You can't bring those lives back."
At the press conference preceding the confrontation with Chevron, Elias Isaac of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa in Angola said that "Chevron's CEO John Watson has said that he is 'humbled' by BP's explosion in the U.S. Gulf. Instead, he should be ashamed of his own company's offshore operations which cause persistent, ongoing, daily abuses of the environment, our livelihoods, and public health." The devastation caused by Chevron's offshore operations was also the focus of remarks given by Tom Evans of Cook InletKeeper, Homer, Alaska and Emem Okon of Keebetkache Women Development and Resource Center in Nigeria.
The True Cost of Chevron network leaders, experts and supporters will be rallying outside the shareholder meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, May 26, at 7 a.m., at 1500 Louisiana St in Houston, TX, and over forty will be attending the shareholder meeting at 8 a.m.
They will also attend a Houston community-led toxic tour of Chevron's operations in the Houston Ship Channel immediately following the toxic tour.