I attended the Goldman Prize presentation last night, and it was, per usual, a spectacular celebration of uncommonly dedicated individuals working to make this world a better place. The stories of their struggles and triumphs wetted every eye in the house, and they serve as a beacon of inspiration to all who care about the future of planet Earth.

Unless you are Chevron.

This morning, Chevron ran a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle attacking one of the recipients, Pablo Fajarado. “Mr. Fajarado is a front man for a group of Ecuadorian and American trail lawyers pursuing a claim against Chevron.”

No! Not trial lawyers! Chevron would prefer that anyone bringing suit against them be represented by fishmongers, not trial laywers. Or something.

I’ve met those trial lawyers — and they are, as you might expect, incredibly overworked and underpaid individuals doing this work not for love of lucre but desire for justice. And, if I may project some of my own feelings at this very moment, righteous anger against asshole oil companies.

The rest of the ad is unforgivable character assassination and innuendo.

Some things the Chevron ad negelected to mention: shortly after beginning his work, Mr. Fajarado’s brother was brutally murdered, and the case has never been resolved. Luis Yanza, a co-worker and co-recipient of the Goldman Prize, has a young daughter, and an attempt was made to kidnap her when she was 9 years old. Fajarado’s and Lanza’s office have been burglerized, and both the U.N. and the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights have intervened to try to stop a systematic pattern of intimidation against the plantiffs and their legal team.

Read a Vanity Fair article about Mr. Fajarado here [PDF]. Yep, reads like the bio of a typical hack frontman.

Amazon Watch does a lot of great work highlighting and helping the struggle. Get involved here.

Update [2008-4-16 11:9:56 by Adam Browning]: Animation to tell the story from our friends at Amazon Watch.