Statement Responding to the Government of Ecuador's Offer to Mediate in Ongoing Trial
San Ramon, Calif. - Aug. 15, 2008 - On August 9th, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa offered to facilitate settlement discussions between Chevron and the Amazon Defense Coalition in order to resolve the ongoing civil lawsuit underway in Ecuador. The mediation offer was repeated by Ecuador's Attorney General Diego Garcia in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday. In response, Chevron issued the following statement:
"Chevron desires to have a fair and complete resolution to the Lago Agrio case. In 2004, we requested that Petroecuador engage in arbitration. The Republic of Ecuador and Petroecuador have sued Chevron to prevent such a conversation. Chevron remains open to an amicable solution, but such a dialogue would need to include discussion of Petroecuador's unfulfilled contractual obligations and a commitment from the Ecuadorian state to stop interfering in the ongoing trial."
Note to Editors
For more information on the arbitration, please see http://www.texaco.com/sitelets/ecuador/en/legalarchives/Arbitration.aspx
Chevron is requesting that Petroecuador fulfill contractual obligations to the company. They are:
- Assume its contractually-mandated share of litigation expenses
- Provide adequate assurances that it will indemnify Chevron for any potential adverse judgment
- Provide adequate assurances that it will undertake and fund any additional remediation activities that the court or any other competent body requires be undertaken
Interference on the part of the Ecuadorian state has been undeniable. In Ecuador, where the International Bar Association has concluded that "there is a serious politicization of the judiciary" and "that in many cases no effective independence exists," such pronouncements have a profound effect on a trial.
Arturo Torres, editor of the judicial section of El Comercio, an independent Ecuadorian newspaper, told Dow Jones Newswires that, "Judges fear ruling in any way that could be seen as going against Correa." He also said, "They know they can lose their position and that they can be called traitor to the country."
Examples of the Republic of Ecuador exerting its influence include:
March 20, 2007 - Dow Jones Newswire: "The support from the government will translate into help in gathering proof and support for the population directly affected by the contamination Texaco produced," Correa said in a press release.
March 26, 2007 - CRE Radio, program Noticias: "We met with our friends that have fought for many years in the Amazon against Chevron Texaco. Our friends can be certain that they have the entire support of the country in which is considered one of the largest disasters in history: the spills, the waste, the pits that were left by ChevronTexaco during its disastrous operation in the country." - President Rafael Correa
April 26, 2007 - AP Newswire: "No remediation was done here, they just covered all the waste," expressed Correa in support of the plaintiffs' judgment. It is the first demonstration of support of an Ecuadorian president in this cause.
April 28, 2007 - Radio Caravana (Presidential Radio Network): "Here we have Chevron-Texaco's attorneys, these lawyer turncoats, who for a fistful of dollars are capable of selling their souls, their country. We also have people from Petroecuador who in 1998 signed an agreement declaring everything had been remediated, when many of these pits had not been even covered.
"I hereby call the Attorney General to present a report to the General Comptroller's Office establishing criminal responsibilities against Petroecuador's officials who signed this nonsense. They said everything was remediated when nothing had been done. I ask that this cause is processed and criminal indictment against these corrupt turncoats is started, because despite contamination could be seen, they said everything was remediated.
"I want to take this opportunity to show my solidarity to our fellow countrymen in the Amazonía, especially Luis Yanza and those who have fought for justice. Our dear friends Luis and Pablo, you have set an example for everyone." - President Rafael Correa
January 19, 2008 - President Correa's weekly radio program: "We continued with our regular office activities and then received representatives of the Amazon Defense Front who have been fighting for decades against ChevronTexaco; they have all the support of the National Government."
August 7, 2008 - Dow Jones Newswires: The Correa administration's position on the case is clear: "The pollution is result of Chevron's actions and not of Petroecuador." - Ecuador's Attorney General Diego Garcia
Updated: August 2008