Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 3rd, 2011

Worst ecological disaster: Who is Pablo Fajardo Mendoza?

Texaco started oil operations in the State of Equator in 1964.  The location was in the Amazon provinces of Sucumbios and Orellana; the main towns are Largo Agrio and Shushufindi up north.  Texaco dug around 356 oil wells.  For every well, Texaco constructed five open-air basins for storing toxic waste and polluted water used for the operations of the wells.  All these basins were located by the river Rio Victoria so that the wastes are conveniently emptied to save on the safety requirements.  Roads were drenched with oil instead of asphalt.  For five decades, water, air, soil smelled and tasted oil. Texaco had built a 550 km pipeline to the pacific shore.

Texaco claimed that oil does not pollute, that the Amazon basin is an oil land and nobody should be living there, that oil is biodegradable and its effects disappear within weeks, that cancer cases were related to the hygiene standards in the region…

Two of the five indigenous tribes in the region, the Tetete and Sansahuari, are extinct.  The other three tribes were forced to join the cheap labor force for lack of fishing and surviving of the forest bounties.  An ecological catastrophe devastated the entire region,  a calamity 30 times larger than the Exxon Valdez in Alaska.

Pablo Fajardo Mendoza was 14 of age, and the fifth of ten kids, when his parents moved from the province of Manabi to the town of Sushufindi, two decades ago.  At the age of 16, Pablo was leading groups of contestants to the ecological catastrophe: He was fired.

Pablo continued his education with the help of catholic Capuchin priests and obtained his law degree by correspondence at the age of 32.  Every time Pablo and his groups file suite, the Equator government would require a lawyer to represent them. Consequently, Pablo figured out that he will be the lawyer.  Pablo was under the strong impression that the government did its best to facilitate Texaco businesses.

As Pablo was resuming his high school education, the lawyer Judith Kimberling published “Amazon Crude” that made a long fire. In 1993, three separate US lawyers filed a suit in New York tribunals.  The US tribunals claimed their incompetence in the matter and suggested that the lawsuit be presented in Equator. In 2002, nine years later, the court of appeal decided that the case can be carried out in Equator.

By 2003, Pablo Mendoza lodged another lawsuit in the province of Sucumbio. 106 expert reports were presented, among them 56 of them financed by Chevron.  The cost of the 30,000 Equatorian plaintiffs was covered by the Philadelphia law firm of Kohn, Swift, and Graf.  The US law firm estimated the victims will cash in $28 billion in damages.

In 2004, 8 days before the start of the expertise phase in the judicial process, Pablo’s brother (28) was savagely assassinated.  Pablo escaped and scattered his family members for security reasons.

In February 2011, the tribunal in Lago Agria issued its verdict: Texaco-Chevron will pay $8.5 billion in damages, the saving that Texaco generated by flaunting the safety and health standards in the oil production.

The US judge Lewis Kaplan of South New York district declared that the verdict cannot be executed in the USA.  Texaco-Chevron have interests in 50 other States around the world, and damages will be collected from everywhere Chevron is doing business.

Note 1:  This article was inspired by a piece published in the French weekly “Courrier International” number 1078

Note 2: Texaco was purchased by Chevron in 2001.  Texaco was replaced by the State operator Petroecuador in 1990.

Note 3: The irony is that Texaco-Chevron invoked in 2010 the Federal law of “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act” to dismiss the case.  The plaintiffs are members of an organized criminal association!

A love affair: San Francisco and the hard copy books

The center of gravity of literary activities in San Francisco has shifted to the Mission District (with high concentration of Latinos). The Mission District has many libraries targeting special interest readers such as Bolerium, Borderlands, Dog Eared Books, Libros Latinos, and Modern Time.  Readers find plenty of restaurants and coffee-shops designed to welcome readers in an appropriate atmosphere of relaxed setting.

I have also a love affair with San Francisco.  For three years I read countless books, mostly of Californian authors such as Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Jack London, Steinbeck… I used to carry a book to the numerous parks that San Francisco is studded with, small and vast like the Golden Gate or the Presidio, and enjoy relaxed days, on mostly sunny days…

There were at least half a dozen parks in a mile radius from where I lived on Sutter Street.  I walked all San Francisco on foot: You hop on a bus and ten minutes later you reach destination, by stages:  There is no rush to reaching destination. San Francisco reminded me of Beirut in the early 70’s:  A city of movable fairs, and parades with exceptions.  I cross the Golden Gate to the northern cozy towns, each town with its own life-style and idiosyncratic architecture, and the majestic forests, and vineyards…I go south to Carmel, Monterrey… I go south-east to the Silicon Valley towns…

Anyway you venture, you are happy with new discoveries.  I walked every street and district North Beach, Chinatown, Barbary Coast, Financial district, Hayes Valley, Haight-Ashbury, Noe Valley, Mission, Richmond, the Embarcadero…

The first center of gravity of literary activities was first located in the Barnaby Coast district during Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce , then to North Beach during the Beat Generation of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg (City Lights library), and then to Haight-Ashbury during the hippies generation in the 70’s (The Booksmith, Bound Together libraries…)

Don’t be surprised to find a book on an empty table: many people have this custom of leaving their books once they have finished reading it.  San Francisco enjoys the highest spending on books, and on alcohol. The trend in reading sessions is to asking questions. Author Jack Boulware said: “The sectors of publishing and entertainments are not well-developed in San Francisco.  An author is not subjugated to constraints as in New York:  He can express, innovate, and experiment…Here people sit relaxed on sofas in cafe an in broad day light”

The yearly reading session festival Litquake (in its tenth anniversary) was launched by a group of authors sitting in a bar and having this conscious realization that “something has to be done”.

There is a private library on Post Street (street parallel to the financial street) that was founded in 1854 and holding 160,000 manuscripts; it is in a nine-floor building called the Institute of Mechanics.

Note 1: The article was inspired by a piece published in the French weekly “Le Courrier International” number 1078

Note 2:  Evan Karp has filmed 1,800 reading sessions and published them on YouTube.

Note 3: Charles Kruger wrote a diary of reading sessions that he attended in 90 days and published them on his blog

Note 4:  The most read magazines published in San Francisco are: the trimester McSweeney’s, the monthly The Believer, Zoetrope, Zyzzyva, San Francisco Panorama, Longshot Magazine, Pop-Up Magazine…

Note 5: The scheduled lecture demonstrations are: The Monthly Rumpus every month in the Mission district (the; Literary Death Match (; the yearly Litquake ( and the festival to be held 7 to 15 of October;;; and




July 2011

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