Thursday, September 22, 2011


I looked around for a bit of good news from somewhere today and I ended up in Ecuador where a court in the USA actually made a good ruling and maybe for one small moment in time a global corporation doesn't get its way.  Of course, the real fight goes on in Ecuador itself. 

 ChevronToxico reports, "The lawsuit was brought on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadoreans, in a case which has dragged on for years. Ecuadorean indigenous groups said Texaco dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic materials into unlined pits and rivers between 1972 and 1992." adds, "More than anything, the order from the appeals court is a truly stinging rebuke of the arrogant and deceitful strategy employed by the cabal of lawyers, spinmasters, and seriously-conflicted executives running a mini Orwellian empire within the company devoted to turning the Ecuadorian plaintiffs into the criminals, and the company that poisoned them the victims. They thought overwhelming evidence of the company's crimes in Ecuador could be beat back with enough shameless cynicism and an astonishing outlay of cash."  

Chevron's toxic dumping in Ecuador has created an environmental and health catastrophe and numerous indigenous groups have been leading a fight to put a hlat to this and to make Chevron pay.  

Chevron will appeal the case and I would not be the least surprised to see some courts here, there and wherever end up siding with them.  However, it is the people, the multitude in Ecuador must and will continue the battle.  It ain't easy.

The following is from Hispanically Speaking News.

Ecuadorian Amazon Case Against Chevron Continues, Wikileaks Show Chevron Tried to Influence U.S.

On September 19th, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals order brought the oil-ravaged indigenous and rural communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon a step closer to winning an $18 billion dollar suit against oil giant Chevron for contamination in the rainforest region.
Previously, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan placed an injunction on collection of the $18 billion after Chevron provided evidence that lawyers manipulated the legal system in Ecuador.
However, Wikileaks cables have been revealed that Chevron lobbied the U.S. government to kill the case.
According to the Amazon Defense Coalition:
Chevron engaged in a clandestine lobbying campaign of Ecuador’s government to improperly shut down the historic environmental case brought by thousands of indigenous persons where the oil giant was found to have contaminated the rainforest and ordered to pay $18.2 billion to clean up the damage, according to a series of cables written by U.S. government officials and recently disclosed by Wikileaks.
The diplomatic cables (see here, herehere and here) also reveal that Chevron and U.S. embassy officials in Ecuador enjoyed such a close relationship that the oil giant’s lawyers were tipping off U.S. ambassadors about their legal strategy before it would be revealed in court, said Karen Hinton, the U.S. spokesperson for the 30,000 Ecuadorians who recently won an $18.2 billion judgment for clean-up, despite efforts by Chevron to undermine the case.
The Ecuador court found that Chevron, from 1964 to 1992, dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste onto the ancestral lands of indigenous groups, causing an outbreak of cancer and other oil-related diseases
Ecuador’s Constitution prohibits government interference in the judiciary, so Chevron’s lobbying in effect was trying to coax Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa to violate the country’s laws to benefit the oil giant in a private litigation. The company offered to fund “social projects” in exchange for a government agreement to shut down the trial.
“These diplomatic cables reveal a shocking level of misconduct on the part of Chevron’s lawyers to undermine the rule of law in Ecuador,” said Hinton. “They also demonstrate the company’s extremely close ties to U.S. embassy officials in Ecuador who seemed open to helping Chevron shut down the legal case.”

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