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I have a letter from the Amazon for you.

Photo from 2009 protest by David Gilbert of Amazon Watch

It is from thousands of people in the remote rainforests of Ecuador. It is raw and painful, yet it is full of courage and hope.

It tells the terrible story of Chevron’s abuse in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It screams for justice. It seeks to build a bridge between two worlds, the Amazon and the United States, now forever intertwined by the cruelty of history and the prospects of a better future.

It is an urgent letter.

Watch this Open Letter to the United States from the Ecuadorian Amazon – in video form – and please sign this urgent petition to show solidarity with the Ecuadorian people in their fight for clean water and good health.

After nearly 18 years of struggle by the communities in the Amazon to hold Chevron accountable, an Ecuadorian court has found the oil giant liable for upwards of $18 billion in damages for the company’s environmental crimes. Now, in the face of Chevron’s promise to fight the verdict “until hell freezes over,” three courageous Ecuadorian leaders have traveled to the United States to demand that Chevron clean up its toxic legacy in the Ecuadorian Amazon, once and for all.

Please sign and share this solidarity petition, and help us get one signature for each of the approximately 30,000 men, women, and children in the Amazon who continue to suffer from Chevron’s toxic legacy in their homeland.

Today, a delegation of Ecuadorian representatives of the affected communities have arrived in the United States to appeal to shareholders and directly confront Chevron leadership at the company’s annual shareholders meeting next week. Along with our allies at Rainforest Action Network and other supporters, Amazon Watch will deliver your statement of solidarity directly to Chevron at the meeting on May 25th.

Human Rights


About The Author

Mitch Anderson

Mitch has been working in the fields of journalism and human rights since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2003. Currently he is working as the Corporate Campaigns Director at the environmental and indigenous rights organization Amazon Watch. He likes fiction, old newspapers and strangers. He lives in the Mission district of San Francisco.


    This is excellent! I hope everyone signs the petition. 

    And you can DIRECTLY support the delegates on their powerful journey by going to

  • Kate_Sedgwick

     Is anyone going to subtitle this video?

    • Kate_Sedgwick

      Whoops.  Just saw the cc option. 

  • hil

    Can you imagine the uproar from American families if this were happening in their backyards; to their drinking water?  Maybe the BP event of last year rings a bell?  Unfortunately, because it is not, because it does not affect them directly, most will turn their heads and ignore.  Many Americans are too enamored with their oversized gas guzzling cars and therefore are primarily concerned with the price of a gallon of gas.  We need to shift the mindset of those who use (or we may say “need”) Chevron’s products before Chevron will take any responsibility for this disaster.  

  • Josh Mc

    It’s kind of disturbing to me that Matador has posted this. I’m all for indigenous rights and for a clean environment and could not be more against big oil companies but this story has been proven completely bogus by every major new source that has looked into it. And Texaco paid 40 billion to clean up the mess they had created before they ever merged with Chevron. It’s the classic victim mentality forced on indigenous populations by western environmentalist groups  the keeps them from developing naturally and returning to a place of stabilization of their culture. There’s always 2 sides to every story – never trust anyone who only gives 1 side. This story reeks of 1 sided views….

    • Mitch Anderson

      Hey Josh,
      Thanks for your post.  Unfortunately you’ve made some unhelpful and misleading conclusions.   There is not a single major news source that has “proven” anything to suggest that the Ecuadorians heroic battle against Chevron is “bogus”.  The Wall Street journal has been sympathetic to Chevron, which is not really much of a surprise.  In any case, the open letter from the Amazon to the United States is a courageous message from the people who have condemned to suffering by an American oil company…there message should be listened to and respected.   Here’s a link to a 60 Minutes story which came out before the verdict, which may help you understand some of the issues:

      Also, I’m sure you are aware that the Ecuadorian courts found Chevron guilty of massive environmental crimes, fining the company upwards of $18 billion.  Why are you so set on belittling the ruling of the court in Ecuador? 

      Here’s an NY Times story that may help you.

      Also, folks, please sign the petition to Chevron:

      Mitch Anderson
      Corporate Campaigns Director,
      Amazon Watch

      • AugustM

        Don’t forget that CHEVRON insisted that the case be tried in Ecuador instead of the U.S., and they lost anyway.

    • Thatmtnman

      I have to agree…though my complaint is that when I signed up for Matador, I wasn’t siging up for ‘activism porn’-I wanted a refuge from the tedious (among other things). My mailbox is not a place for spam, splogs, and everyones ’causes’.  Shame on Matador for doing that.

      • Abbie

        Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure if you regularly read the Change section of Matador, but we frequently write about social and environmental issues, hence the tagline “be the change around the world.” 

    • themonkeymixer

      this mentality seams to be “somewhat” prevalent here…

  • Doctorc11

    OK , I’m glad to sign the letter, but I’m not going to argue about my email address al l night. 

  • Gigi

    Why won’t the government kick them out? Maybe the United Nations or the World Tribunal for Crimes Against Humanity to make them pay to clean it up. 

  • Bannedthought

    nice. And here I thought that Matador was a travel site. Now its a eco environmentalist action committee spam list? Does Matador have an editorial board that screens content sent out to its community? If ‘yes’ why not just tell everyone Matador is now in the political advocacy business?  At least that way, those of us who wanted Matador for a pleasant diversion from crass spam, could opt out.

    And here I let Matador onto my trusted list, and what do I get?  Activism porn. Thanks a lot.


    • Abbie

      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure if you regularly read the Change section of Matador, but we frequently write about social and environmental issues, hence the tagline “be the change around the world.” Educating yourself on issues around the world can benefit anyone, especially someone who travels.

  • Ayngelina

     Thanks so much for this post. I wrote about the issue when I was in Ecuador as I was shocked it was happening and enraged that no one knew about it.  

    • Abbie

      Hi Ayngelina~ Do you have a link to your article? I’d love to read it!

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