NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY

True Cost of Chevron in Angola


Sizaltina Cutaia, Program Manager at Open Society Institute in Angola on the impact of Chevron -   July 5, 2012
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

Multipart Episodes

Fossil Fuel
True Cost of Chevron


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support TRNN because it is the closest expression of the ideal of a free press I have seen. - Daniel
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

Bio

Sizaltina Cutaia
 serves as Program Manager for the Open Society Foundation in Angola. The Foundation is one of the few civil society organizations in Angola dedicated to the promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights. Ms. Cutaia has been with the organization for six years. She leads the organization’s grantmaking and development of strategic initiatives aimed at addressing political, social and human rights issues in Angola. The Foundation is one of the few civil society organizations in Angola dedicated to the promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights. Ms. Cutaia has been with the organization for six years. She leads the organization’s grantmaking and development of strategic initiatives aimed at addressing political, social and human rights issues in Angola. Prior to joining Open Society Foundation/Angola, Ms. Cutaia worked at the National Democratic Institute where she focused on technical assistance in electoral and democracy issues, including the training of national observers and civic education promoters in electoral law and human rights. Ms. Cutaia has a BA in Business Management from the PC Training & Business College in South Africa.

Transcript

True Cost of Chevron in AngolaPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.

On May 30, the Chevron annual shareholders meeting took place in a community named San Ramon just outside of San Francisco. Protesters outside and inside the shareholders meeting—and many of them came from around the world to talk about what they said is the true cost of Chevron.

Now joining us is one of those protesters, Sizaltina Cutia, from Angola. She's a program manager at Open Society Institute in Angola and works on human rights issues. Thanks very much for joining us.

SIZALTINA CUTIA, PROGRAM MANAGER, OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE: Thank you for having me.

JAY: So tell me, why did you travel so far to go to a Chevron shareholders meeting?

CUTIA: Because there are some things that need to be told, some truth that need to be told to Chevron's shareholders. For years and years Chevron has been operating in Angola, and it is operating in an irresponsible way as far as the environment is concerned, and while throughout—all along it claims to be respecting laws in countries. So that's why we traveled.

JAY: So what are examples of what you're talking about?

CUTIA: I'm talking about the environmental law. Chevron is responsible for constant oil spills in Cabinda, where they operate offshores. The practice that they do is that they do not report on those spills. And when—the way the communities get to hear about it is through the fishermens. They are the ones that are reporting on the oil spills. When Chevron does report, which is not a very common thing for them to do, they never take responsibilities; they blame it on other companies. And that is affecting the livelihood of those communities.

JAY: And how is it affecting it, and to what extent?

CUTIA: To the extent that accessing resources is becoming very difficult. You know, Chevron has got too many platforms in the seas. So right now, the fisher communities are fighting to access those resources. It's difficult for them with the boats they use for the fishing, which are not very sophisticated. It's difficult for them to go further into the sea. And Chevron's operation prevents them from accessing some [fishing zones].

The other thing has to do with the impact that the spill has into the sea livelihood. Accessing the fish is difficult, and people are—get in contact with contaminated fish. These are some of the impacts that are having at—that Chevron's operations do have in communities in Cabinda.

JAY: Now, I guess Chevron would argue that they pay some kind of royalties to Angola and that the Angolan government should be responsible for these problems.

CUTIA: That's true. Chevron does pay money to the Angolan government. But, unfortunately, Angola is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

And, also, the problem that we have right now is that there is not much available information on the amounts that are paid. And Chevron has been one of the companies that advocates for the secrecy of the amount of money that they pay to the Angolan government. That's also an issue. It's an issue to the extent that being oil the backbone of the Angolan economy, it's very important that there is transparency in the way that its money is handled, in order for the people of Angola to benefit from the resources.

So Chevron is currently—two years ago, the United States department adopted a law which mandates companies that are registered in the United States to disclose the payments they make to governments, governments such as Angola and Nigeria and other governments. Well, Chevron is being one of the—is being—advocating very heavily to weaken that law. And the allegations that they're using is that that law goes against the Angolan legislations. Well, that's not entirely true. So the fact that Chevron refuses to release, to disclose information is also something that has an impact in the way issues around corruption and transparency are dealt with in Angola.

JAY: So Chevron's argument, I guess, is also that they do follow Angolan law, and as long as they do, what's the problem? I mean, I guess your answer to that is that it's—I mean, when you say that corruption's—is the problem, so these laws don't get enforced, whose fault is that?

CUTIA: The power that the oil has. Oil companies—you know, Chevron is a very powerful company, and oil dictates a lot in terms of—as far as politics are concerned. So when Chevron practices secrecy in terms of providing information, it is not helping, it's not contributing, also. I think when Chevron says, "We agree," when Chevron says that it cares for communities, it should—I think it should be acting, conducting itself in a way that it helps communities, that it helps countries and citizens to benefit from the revenues of this, of the soil and of the waters and of the country.

So it's not entirely true that they do follow the legislation, because they do pollute the sea, they do pollute the areas where community live, and that violates the environmental laws that we have in Angola. It's true that we—the state has got very limited capacity also to monitor the enforcement of such laws. But it is also true that Chevron is in bed with a corrupt government, and it is contributing for the entrenchment of that authoritarian and corrupt government that we have in Angola.

JAY: Alright. Well, thanks very much for joining us.

CUTIA: Okay. Thank you.

JAY: And thanks very much for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

Comments


Latest Stories


One Baltimore Neighborhood Proves Police Alone Aren't the Answer
The Politics of Fear Ahead of Greek Referendum
Why BP's $18.7 Billion Gulf Spill Settlement Falls Short
Puerto Rico on the Brink of Financial Collapse
The Birth of Patrice Lumumba and the Assassination of a Free Africa
Greek Referendum a Necessary Step into Uncharted Waters
North Korea's "Hate America Month"?
Plundering Our Freedom with Abandon - Robert Scheer on Reality Asserts Itself (9/10)
TRNN Replay: The Roots of the Greek Crisis
SCOTUS Case Could Bring "Right to Work" to All 50 States
Turkey Planning Next Move After ISIS Commits Massacre in Kobani
Survivor of Israeli Attack on USS Liberty: It Could Not Have Been a Mistake
No Labor Protections in Obama's Overtime Plan
Ida B. Wells and Lessons to Learn from South Carolina
US Hedge Funds Get Bailed Out If Greeks Pass Bailout Referendum (1/2)
Iran Deal Still Possible Despite Passing of Deadline (1/2)
Plundering Our Freedom with Abandon - Robert Scheer on Reality Asserts Itself (8/10)
How China's Infrastructure Bank Threatens U.S. Hegemony
Like Grandfather, Like Grandson: The Life and Death of Malcolm Latif Shabazz
Will the Greek Referendum Bring the Troika Back to the Bargaining Table? (1/2)
Why Chicago Won't Go Bankrupt - And Detroit Didn't Have To
Plundering Our Freedom with Abandon - Robert Scheer on Reality Asserts Itself (7/10)
Why Are Indians Eating Less If Incomes are Growing?
Pope Francis vs Climate Change
Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley
TRNN on Greece
Can the United Nations Stop War?
TRNN REPLAY: The 50th Anniversary of the First US Offensive in Vietnam
Gay Marriage Victory Is Not About Equality
The Global African: Extreme Xenophobia in the Dominican Republic

RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting