Testimonial of Maria Villacís and her husband Beningo Martinéz
Maria Villacís: I’m very sick. I’ve had four operations on my liver and gallbladder. My legs and arms hurt, I get headaches, and I become dizzy and nauseated. This has made me anxious and desperate.
The doctors say that I should leave, that the Amazon is bad for me because of the contaminated water, because of the petroleum gases that are burned off. When it rains, the oil gushes down, and you can’t drink river water because it’s contaminated with oil. All of this is really bad for my health.
Beningo Martinéz: We moved from the province of Guayas some 30 years ago. First the Cofán Indians were here, then us. There were no highways, no oil wells, nothing. It was beautiful land then, full of trees. But then came the oil wells, the contamination, my wife got sick, and now she’s had four operations.
The doctors says that it’s bad for her here but we’re poor people, what can we do?
There are four oil wells here, and three toxic waste pits. There’s a pit about 25 yards from my house. When Texaco dug the wells, they dumped the toxic waste into pits and never pumped out the waste; it’s still there. There was one pit almost a hectare in size, and chickens and dogs fell in there and died. Later the pits were covered with dirt and trees.
The oil companies should preserve the environment. People are always telling us farmers that we shouldn’t cut down trees because it depletes the oxygen, and we should take care of the rivers because water is a vital liquid.
Well, I’d tell the oil companies that they ought to take care of Mother Earth, and the environment. As far as the toxic waste pits, its time that all this be resolved, be cleaned up, for the children, the next generation.