UPDATE! Runners for human rights arrested, Chevron “freaking out” More below.
I arrived in Houston, TX yesterday (yeehaw!) to run for human rights in Ecuador at this weekend’s huge Chevron-sponsored Houston marathon.
We have a rad team of people who are running the marathon for Emergildo Criollo, an Indigenous Ecuadorean man who has had to bury two children and nurse his wife through cancer because Chevron refuses to clean up their toxic legacy in Ecuador. Over 18 billion tons of toxic sludge was DELIBERATELY dumped into the Ecuadorean Amazon (on people’s home, in their water, etc) in one of the largest environmental disasters of all time. Emergildo’s family drank, fished, and bathed in the water that Chevron has refused to clean up.
Check out this great, short video made by our friends at Amazon Watch about the crisis in Ecuador.
While we’re in Houston, besides running, Rainforest Action Network advocates will drop “Change Chevron” banners along the race route, distribute “I’m Running for Human Rights” stickers to runners at the Marathon expo, and host a free screening of Crude – the critically acclaimed documentary about the crisis in Ecuador – for Chevron employees and the Houston community. Stay tuned for more marathon and changing Chevron fun.
Chevron wants the world to believe they are company that cares – and they sponsor community events like marathons and concerts- to hide their real, dangerous impacts on communities around the world. I feel it is important to bring the voice of people and communities that are literally dying because of Chevron’s deadly operations to these events.
That’s why at the Chevron Houston marathon on Sunday I’ll be running for Emergildo and the over 1,400 Ecuadoreans who have died because of Chevron’s negligence.
UPDATE. January 15th at 1:20 pm
The RAN team that is running for human rights in Ecuador at this Sunday’s Chevron Houston Marathon was just kicked out of the marathon’s Expo by Chevron Marathon Managing Director Steven Karpas!
The runners had paid for a table to distribute “I’m Running for Human Rights” stickers and information about Chevron’s refusal to clean up over 18 billion tons of toxic oil sludge they are responsible for in the Ecuadorean rainforest.
At approximately 10 a.m. this morning, Managing Director Steven Karpas told the Rainforest Action Network team, “higher ups at Chevron are freaking out” and threatened to arrest the peaceful runners. Police then ejected the runners from the city-owned and operated building for exercising their right to free speech.
“We are outraged that Chevron would deny marathon participants the right to run for what they believe, in our case, human rights in Ecuador,” said Rainforest Action Network runner Maria Ramos. “It is sad that the Chevron Houston Marathon – which raises awareness and money for many important causes – would deny the rights of participants to appease a corporate sponsor that is clearly ashamed of its human rights record.”
When asked for a reason for their ejection, Steven Karpas told the runners they were being removed for “protest activities.” The Rainforest Action Network team’s objective at the Expo was not to protest, disrupt the Expo or dampen other runners experience at this important race. The runners merely wanted to sit at their table and invite other runners to run with them for human rights.
Let’s “freak out” Chevron even more! Go to http://www.ChangeChevron.org and let Chevron know you’ll be a part of the global movement to mend the oil giant’s evil ways..