Luis Yanza

Luis Yanza (born 1962 in Gualaceo) is an environmental activist from Ecuador, of Cofán descent.[1] He serves as president of the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia (Amazon Defense Front), an NGO representing the interests of the campesinos and indigenous peoples in Ecuador.[2]

Luis Yanza
Born1962 (age 58–59)
OrganizationAmazon Defense Coalition
AwardsGoldman Environmental Prize (2008)


Yanza received the Goldman Environment Prize in 2008, along with Pablo Fajardo Mendoza.[3][4] The two have been organizing indigenous communities in Ecuador to fight against international oil companies, in order to clean up devastated areas in the Ecuadorian jungle, which has become polluted from years of oil production.

Yanza and Fajardo's publication of the environmental effects from oil production has led to stronger environmental protection laws in Ecuador.[4]

Legal actionEdit

As president of the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia, Yanza has spearheaded a multibillion-dollar class action lawsuit against Chevron-Texaco for its environmental damage in Ecuador.[5] With Steven Donziger and others, he represented 30,000 indigenous people and farmers affected by the Lago Agrio oil field. Yanza stated that the "trial is not about accidental damages. We´re talking about harm to people and the environment that was done in a deliberate manner."[2]

The Ecuadorian courts, which were originally requested by Chevron, ruled in favour of the plaintiffs on three occasions. After being ordered to pay $9.5 billion, Chevron refused and presented a defence that Ecuadorian judge Nicolás Zambrano accepted a $500,000 bribe in exchange for ruling against them.[6] This was called into question in 2015 when Alberto Guerra, the alleged witness to the bribery, recanted.[7]


  1. ^ "Biografía de Luis Yanza" (in Spanish). Chevron Tóxico. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b Saavedra, Luis Ángel. "Ecuador: Chevron Strikes Back." Archived 2011-03-20 at the Wayback Machine Eurasia Review. (retrieved 20 March 2011)
  3. ^ Chris Kraul (2008). "Amazon activists win environmental prize". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  4. ^ a b "South & Central America 2008 – Pablo Fajardo Mendoza & Luis Yanza – Ecuador – Oil & Mining". The Goldman Environmental Prize. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  5. ^ North, James (2020-03-31). "How a human rights lawyer went from hero to house arrest". The Nation. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  6. ^ Zaitchik, Alexander (2014-08-28). "Sludge Match: Inside Chevron's $9 Billion Legal Battle With Ecuadorean Villagers". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  7. ^ Hershaw, Eva (2015-10-26). "Chevron's Star Witness Admits to Lying in the Amazon Pollution Case". Vice. Retrieved 2020-04-18.


External linksEdit