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Indigenous people of Ecuador win Chevron lawsuit

Indigenous people of Ecuador win Chevron lawsuit

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador confirmed compensation of US $ 9.5 billion in favor of 30 thousand indigenous citizens. The lawsuit for environmental contamination of the Texaco company acquired by Chebrón lasted about 25 years.

The confrontation between the original peoples of Ecuador and the transnational Chevron is one of the most prominent legal cases between indigenous populations and extractive companies and has been going on for 25 years. The most recent chapter in this story was written this month when the Court ordered the company to pay US $ 9.5 billion in compensation for the pollution caused.

“It is the most important case for indigenous and peasant peoples. For 25 years, we have fought and now we are defeating the system of global corporate impunity. Those transnational companies that commit crimes anywhere in the world and never want to answer for those crimes, ”declared the lawyer for indigenous communities, Pablo Fajardo.

The case corresponds to a lawsuit established by 30 thousand indigenous citizens of Ecuador against Chevron, which they demand to repair the contamination produced by Texaco - a company bought by Chevron in 2001-. The polluting activity of this company occurred between 1964 and 1992, during which time they burned gas in the open air and dumped toxic waters into the Amazon.

The fight continues

The first reaction of the oil company has been to qualify as "unpayable" the compensation established by the Constitutional Court. Added to this is the accusation made against the state oil company Petroecuador, which would have operated in conjunction with Texaco during the years involving the lawsuit made by the indigenous population.

At the moment, one of the plaintiffs' biggest concerns is being able to collect compensation. This is due to the fact that Chevron does not have assets in Ecuador, which is why it would seek to validate at the international level the ruling of the Constitutional Court in order to carry out the collection. However, to complete this step, indigenous peoples must pay the Canadian judicial system, in which they won one of the several instances that constitute this trial.

"We are going to continue with the attempt to standardize the sentence in other countries and that is why we are asking for international cooperation to pay 350 thousand dollars that the Canadian court has imposed as a judicial cost and that has been our main obstacle in that country," he told RFI, attorney Pablo Fajardo.

Far from admitting the polluting liabilities of its extractive activity, Chevron has at all times accused the Ecuadorian judicial system of acting motivated by corruption, an argument with which they refuse to acknowledge the ruling. The indigenous peoples of Ecuador seek to validate the sentence in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Canada where the company does have assets in order to collect reparations.

Chevron refuses to acknowledge damages caused between 1964 and 1992

He recalled that there are resolutions from courts in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Gibraltar that, for him, "confirm that the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment must be unenforceable in any court that respects the rule of law." "Chevron will continue to work through international courts to expose and hold accountable individuals involved in judicial fraud and extortion against the company in Ecuador," he said.

For Fajardo, Chevron intends with this type of resources to evade its responsibility for the environmental damage that the plaintiffs attribute to it having left in the oil extraction areas that it operated in the Ecuadorian Amazon between 1964 and 1992.

The damage was caused by Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, for which the plaintiffs transfer responsibility to this firm and since it does not have operations in Ecuador they have sued it in courts of other countries.

With information from:

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