If you care about
rights - you must
stand up for Steven Donzinger.
The fate of the US attorney who won a landmark 9.5 billion dollar case against Chevron on behalf of Indigenous communities in the Amazon Rainforest rests with a judge and lawyers with strong ties to Big Oil and the 1%. How do you think this case will go?
The fate of the US attorney who won a landmark 9.5 billion dollar case against Chevron on behalf of Ecuadorian farmers and Indigenous communities in the Amazon Rainforest, rests with a judge and lawyers with strong ties to the company.
Steven Donzinger has been under house-arrest, forced to wear an ankle bracelet
How do you think this case will go?
December 12, 2014, was a chilly winter day as per usual in Ottawa. I remember that day, years and miles away from the sweat-inducing climate in which I find myself in Southeast Asia today. I bundled up and walked over to the Supreme Court of Canada; a few blocks north of my modest apartment and a mere few steps from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) newsroom where I was employed on a part-time basis at the time.
I made my way to the courthouse, not as a dispatched reporter with an assigned story by my employer at the CBC, but as an independent journalist; who two years prior travelled to the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador to document the plight of the Waorani (Huaorani) community - an Indigenous peoples whose lives and land were being threatened by big oil and wealthy resource extraction companies.
"Interesting but...there isn't an appetite for this type of stuff” I was told in an email by a producer from the national desk at the newsroom after I returned with footage and testimonials from the guardians and defenders of the Amazon.
Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised. This wasn't the first time I failed at trying to convince the gatekeepers of the media to share the voices of Indigenous Peoples. CBC, Canada's public broadcaster funded by Steven Harper's conservative government at the time, had no interest in those types of stories; including those (based on my personal experience) where Canadian companies where directly involved - blatantly violating constitutional and human rights on their very own soil (British Colombia) and beyond (Guatemala).
Working alone out of a personal sense of duty, I didn't have the financial resources to travel to the northern part of the Amazon at the centre of the worst oil-related environmental crimes in history, but on that day in late December 2014, a chapter of this horrific tragedy did make its way to Canada.'s capital.
Representing Indigenous communities and farmers whose lives and land had been devastated by the deliberate dumping of billions of gallons of toxic waste water and millions of gallons of crude into the Ecuadorian Amazon by oil giant Chevron, was US attorney Steven Donzinger - a man who devoted more than three decades of his life to the victims of what could today easily be considered one of the most heinous companies of all.
I met Donzinger, a man of great stature, briefly at the Supreme Court of Canada on that late December day in 2014, where he and his legal team brought an additional piece of this landmark battle for justice to a country where Chevron held billions of dollars in assets.