The photo above shows Maria Aguinda in 1993, walking on an oil-slicked road near her community of Rumipamba in the Ecuadorian Amazon. At the time, she was a young mother. The historic lawsuit bearing her name was filed later the same year in New York federal court.
The photo below, taken last week, shows Maria Aguinda almost 19 years later on the steps of Ecuador’s National Court of Justice in Quito, the court that is hearing Chevron’s final appeal in the case.
According to Chevron, people like Maria Aguinda and thousands of other Ecuadorians who were harmed by the oil giant don’t really exist. Chevron lawyer Doak Bishop said the following before an investor arbitration on February 15th: “The plaintiffs are really irrelevant. They always were irrelevant. There were never any real parties in interest in this case. The plaintiff’s lawyers have no clients… There will be no prejudice to [the rainforest communities] or any individual by holding up enforcement of the judgment.”
Here is an article ( about Maria Aguinda published in 2011, at the time Chevron was found liable for causing an ecological catastrophe and ordered to pay $18 billion in damages. Here is a background memo ( on the overwhelming evidence undergirding the trial court decision.