Juana Apolo


Juana Apolo Lago Agrio Ecuador Chevron

Juana Apolo walks out of a cemetery in La Andina where her father, brother and sister are buried, all of whom died of cancer.

Testimonial of Juana Apolo, of La Andina

I’ve lived here in the Amazon for more than 20 years and I am a cook at the San Francisco oil camp. My father, Manuel Ignacio Apolo Ramírez, died in 1992 of skin cancer; he was 68. His first symptom was that he had a little sore below his eye. He had two operations and lost his eyesight. The doctors said the cancer had spread, and when it went into his brain, he would die.

When he got sick, we had a family meeting with all ten of us brothers and sisters, and we chipped in to pay for his treatments.

He was a farmer and grew corn, rice, peanuts, yuca and plantains. Afterwards, when he was sick, he didn’t work, not even on the most beautiful days, he never left the house.

My sister, Carmen Apolo, died when she was 44. She had a tumor and the doctors said it was uterine cancer. They operated, but she didn’t last a year. She was a single mother and the eldest of all of us.

My brother, Saúl Apolo Ramírez, died of stomach cancer when he was 49 [see testimony of Amanda Armijos]. They operated, but the tumor was too big, and nothing could be done. It must have been the contamination that killed him.

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