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The Union of the People Affected by the Petroleum Operations of Texaco - UDAPT is the organization that gathers and represents the communities affected by the oil contamination of the transnational Chevron, formerly Texaco, which in 1993 initiated the lawsuit against the oil company for the damages caused in the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana.
The UDAPT is directly formed by those affected under a struggle of efforts in search of the repair of the contaminated area. Specifically, it is made up of communities belonging to 6 indigenous nationalities (Waorani, Siekopaai, Siona, A´I Kofan, Shuar and Kichwa) and nearly 80 peasant communities.
Its mission is "To make a dignified, healthy and pollution-free life a reality, by repairing the damages provoked by the violation of human rights caused by the oil operations of Texaco, now Chevron, in the Ecuadorian Amazon.”
Receiving a direct mandate from the plaintiffs, the UDAPT is the only organization that legally represents them in the long lawsuit against Chevron-Texaco, which, in more 25 years, led to multiple verdicts condemning the oil company to the payment of 9.5 billion dollars so that the 480,000 hectares of contaminated land and rivers can be remedied.
This is not about personal financial compensation for any of the plaintiffs or the lawyers defending their rights, but the amount necessary for the bonifica of the contaminated area, as expressly dictated in the judgments. Therefore, UDAPT's interest is collective, and its objective in winning the lawsuit is to be able to remedy the contaminated area for the benefit of the more than 30,000 people who populate it.
While the lawsuit continued throughout the years, the need to provide direct support to those affected in the different areas became ever stronger, as they continued to suffer the impacts of the bad practices of Chevron-Texaco such as the contamination of rivers and what was once drinking water, diseases of various types, and social and cultural disintegration, among others. Therefore, in collaboration with other national and international organizations, the UDAPT began different actions and projects to support the affected communities.
The unity between indigenous nationalities and peasants represents one of UDAPT's greatest strengths. Its struggle does not have a political end but a social one; this is why we do not look at cultural, linguistic, political and ideological differences, but at the common goal of achieving justice for human rights and nature.
The first stages of political organization of the struggle of the indigenous peoples and settlers of the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana affected by oil pollution began in the '80. On November, 3rd 1993, a group of 75 indigenous and peasants , accompanied by their lawyer, filed a lawsuit against Texaco in the court of New York, thus beginning a long trial that currently takes more than 25 years .
While this was happening in the USA, in the contaminated area we began to discuss, in different instances, about how to structure the lawsuit on behalf of those affected . Under an understanding between the different indigenous communities and settlers, on May 15th, 1994 was created the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía (FDA) as an organization in charge of managing the legal process and struggle.
In the year 2001, it was resolved to create a de facto society with the name of Assembly of Delegates of the Affected by the Petroleum Operations of Texaco, which three years later changed its name to Assembly of Affected by Texaco (ADAT). This was made up of representatives of those affected settled in the different fields that were operated by Texaco. Its objective was to represent them before public or private organizations , national and foreign, through their organic instances of representation and decision.
However, ADAT did not legally represent the affected people, since it was a de facto organization and not a de jure one. For this reason, the FDA, which became a member of the Assembly, continued to handle all legal and financial administration related to the case.
This situation gave rise to a growing concern within the affected communities, due to the fact that, when Chevron would finally pay the fine imposed by the Ecuadorian courts, only FDA members would be beneficiaries, and not the plaintiffs who started the lawsuit on behalf of all affected populations.
Thus, after a long collective process, on April 24, 2012 ADAT became the Union of Affected People by the Petroleum Operations of Texaco - UDAPT, which became recognized as legal personality on April 27, 2014. Once this process was completed, the UDAPT remained the only organization fully representing the affected people by Chevron-Texaco contamination, both in the lawsuit against the oil company and in any other instance .
At the beginning, the Front of Defense of the Amazon formed part of the UDAPT, but by its own decision opted to withdraw and disaffiliate from the UDAPT and continue representing autonomously a part of the settlers in 2016.