Ecuador: Peasant activist assassinated
Ecuadorian campesino and environmental leader Angel Shingre was murdered on November 4. Shingre was a member and leader of numerous peasant and environmental groups in the region. He became involved in the environmental movement because he was directly involved in the ecological damage inflicted by the US oil company Texaco (now ChevronTexaco). At the time of his death, Shingre served as co-ordinator of the Office of Environmental Law in Orellana province, where he was advising communities engaged in a lawsuit against ChevronTexaco. Shingre had reportedly received threats from people linked to the oil industry. Local community leaders and activists have demanded a full investigation of the murder. A civil trial against Chevron Texaco began in October on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadorans who say the company damaged their health and way of life by poisoning their environment. The plaintiffs, represented by former Ecuadoran Supreme Court Justice Alberto Wray and supported by a US legal team, want ChevronTexaco to pay for cleanup and medical monitoring costs. "We have water studies that show that people are drinking contaminated water caused by the oil — that they are drinking contaminants that are known to cause cancer", said US lawyer Steve Donziger.
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