Watchdog Group’s Letter Calls on CEO to Dump Myanmar Gas Fields that Fund Brutal Dictatorship
Santa Monica, CA — The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and its OilWatchdog.org project today called on Chevron CEO David O’Reilly to “immediately sever Chevron‘s ties to Myanmar’s brutal government and personally speak out against its violent suppression of peaceful protest.”
In a letter to O’Reilly, OilWatchdog co-founder Judy Dugan said, “Your ad campaign, which a Chevron official said would cost ‘in the high tens of millions’ of dollars, portrays a company that deeply cares about the world and its future. Given your investment in Myanmar alone, that is a gauzy, gorgeous lie.”
Chevron has a stake in natural gas fields in Myanmar through its 2005 purchase of Unocal. Unocal’s 28% ownership of natural gas fields with the French oil company Total was, along with other existing investments, excluded from an embargo by the United States and European nations.
“It is surprising that the 2005 change of ownership did not trigger demands for disinvestment by the embargo partners,” said Dugan. “Chevron should divest now as a moral imperative.”
Here is the text of the letter (also viewable as a pdf here).
October 1, 2007
Dear Mr. O’Reilly,
“Chevron‘s lavish new image-advertising campaign makes your 65,000 employees look like the Peace Corps, sowing harmony and good feeling across the world. Yet as you well know, the smiling families, poets and sports coaches shown in your 2.5-minute debut television ad, “Human Energy,” don’t make corporate policy.
“Chevron‘s continued lucrative investment in the natural gas fields of Myanmar fuels a despotic regime that has focused its “human energy” on violently suppressing its citizens — including the murder of Buddhist monks and the apparent point-blank killing of a Japanese news photographer.
“You could have divested the Myanmar fields when Chevron bought their operator, Unocal, in 2005. Chevron said last year that it was considering such action, but failed to take it.
“You and your corporation have been silent as Myanmar troops fired on democracy proponents, beat them and incarcerated them. You have been silent about the continued imprisonment and intimidation of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose overwhelming 1990 election to lead the nation was overturned by force.
“Your ad campaign, which a Chevron official said would cost ‘in the high tens of millions’ of dollars, portrays a company that deeply cares about the world and its future. Given your investment in Myanmar alone, that is a gauzy, gorgeous lie.
“We urge you to immediately sever Chevron‘s ties to Myanmar’s brutal government and personally speak out against its violent suppression of peaceful protest.”
– 30 –
For more background on the nonprofit, nonpartisan FTCR and OilWatchdog, see our websites at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org and www.OilWatchdog.org.