A BLADE OF GRASS AGAINST THE TAR
Maria Aguinda is the woman who convinced the Ecuadorian courts to award the heaviestpollution damages in history against the US oil corporation Chevron on February 14, 2011.
Maria lived in a little Eden until she was 10. Her people were satisfied with the gifts ofnature and lived in harmony with the forest. Then the oil company came. The population ofthe remote village of Rumipamba, where Maria’s family lived, did not object at first. “When thecompany came,” Maria explains, “we didn’t imagine they would do so much damage. But thenthey started to drill a well. There was oil everywhere. They poured the waste on the groundand poisoned the animals and plants. There was no more hunting or fishing. No more food.”
Soon, skin conditions and respiratory diseases appeared, killing the villagers one by one. In fact,Maria is sure that her husband and two sons died from the pollution.So in 1993, she held a meeting of her neighbors and the people from a nearby village andpersuaded them to start a legal action.
The complaint was registered in the name of “Maria Aguinda et al”.
And Maria won !
• sixty years in the heart of the amazon: the daily routines of theindigenous people whose lives were shattered overnight by the arrivalof an oil company
• a modern-day battle between david and goliath
• A new hope for friends of nature
Maria Aguinda, 61, is a Quichua Native American. She lives deep in the Amazon Forest in Ecuador.
Publication date: april 2012
Rights available: world