From 1972 to 1993, Texaco (now Chevron) conducted oil drilling operations in a swath of the Ecuadorian jungle about the size of Rhode Island. When Texaco ceased operations in Ecuador, it left behind nearly 1,000 open-air waste pits, massive environmental damage and a legacy of public health problems for indigenous people in the area.
In 1993, 30,000 Ecuadorian indigenous people initiated the largest environmental justice case in history, suing Texaco for $27 billion in damages. The wildly eventful case lasted 18 years, until finally in February of this year an Ecuadorian judge ordered Chevron to pay $9 billion in damages.
Crude, which opened at the Sundance Festival in 2009 and has won dozens of awards, tells the story of the people, activists, and lawyers behind the case, and also includes interviews with Chevron representatives. In 2010, Chevron sued the filmmaker as well, so the film has truly become part of the legacy of this massively significant case.
Brandon Wu and Mary Small, two Humphrey School students who worked briefly with Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía, the Ecuadorian organization representing the indigenous plaintiffs, will host the film screening on behalf of IPID and lead a discussion afterwards.
For more information:
http://www.texacotoxico.org/ (Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía; website in Spanish)
http://www.chevron.com/ecuador/ (Chevron's website on the case)