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Tele Sur | 21 May 2019
Global anti-Chevron day objects corporate crimes and impunity
This call for action comes from hundreds of communities that have suffered the negative impacts of Chevron’s oil operations in five different nations: Ecuador, Argentina, Nigeria, Romania, and the United States (U.S); Perhaps the most well known is the Chevron-Texaco case in Ecuador.
Thousands of demonstrators across all five continents have joined Tuesday’s International Anti-Chevron day to peacefully protest and display global crimes committed by the transnational company against human rights and the environment.
“It’s a global event where we call everyone to reflect on corporate crime and demand responsibility from transnational corporations. The campaign aims to shine a light into one of the world’s most polluting and shady companies in the world,” Pablo Fajardo, lead defense attorney for the Union of People Affected by Chevron-Texaco (UDAPT) told teleSUR.
This call for action comes from hundreds of communities that have suffered the negative impacts of Chevron’s oil operations in five different nations: Ecuador, Argentina, Nigeria, Romania, and the United States (U.S). The company operates in over 180 nations and there are more than 30 open cases of conflict worldwide due to Chevron activities.
Perhaps the most well known is the Chevron-Texaco case in Ecuador, whereby the U.S. company, with the tacit support of Ecuadorean government, is trying to get away with ecocide and a ruling to compensate US$ 9.5 billion to the affected indigenous peoples and communities of Ecuador.
On June 27, 2018, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador, as the last judicial instance in the country, ruled in favor of the affected people, confirming the sentence the 2011 ruling issued by an Ecuadorian court based in Lago Agrio city. The only step now, as attorneys and activist have pointed out, is to execute the sentence and make Chevron pay its due compensation.
“In the past year there have been four attempts by Lenin Moreno’s administration to null the Constitutional Court sentence against Chevron,” Fajardo explains. About 208 organizations from all over the world have asked the Government of Ecuador to respect the rights of the affected communities, through a letter address directly to Moreno.
However, as the attorney told teleSUR, prior to the Constitutional Court hearings delegations of Chevron with the support of the Ecuadorean Ministry of International Trade and Commerce, approached judges to push for a “favorable ruling.” The second attempt to favor Chevron was made on Aug. 30, as the Permanent Court of Arbitration of The Hague partially ruled against the Ecuadorean State in the Chevron-Texaco case.
As a response, former Moreno’s Chief of Staff, Eduardo Jurado, blamed the negative ruling on former President Rafael Correa’s international campaign against Chevron, while the government’s economic team unconstitutionally reactivated Bilateral Trade agreements (BIT) with the U.S., on which the international ruling bases its allegations.
The third was an attempt to pass special legislation in the National Assembly to reform the Procedural Code, which would have granted Chevron the legal resource to revise the 2011 ruling. The final and most recent was the statements made by the Minister of Hydrocarbons, Carlos Perez on Feb. 25, saying that Ecuador would mend Chevron’s faults.
“That is why on this day, we continue to fight as we will not sit idle as the government hands over the country’s sovereignty,” Fajardo added. The international initiative also campaigns against the system that allows for these sort of cases to go unpunished or favor transnational corporations, which is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
For this very reason, many of the groups, political parties and organizations around the world that protest on International Anti-Chevron day also call for an internationally binding treaty to dismantle corporate impunity and power over arbitration, as well as prioritize human and environmental rights.
On May 29, Chevron will hold its annual shareholders’ meeting.