The cases of corruption are not the only legacy of irregularities left by the Government of former President Rafael Correa. There are also decisions and policies that could generate sanctions and even more expensive payments than the illicit acts that are constantly denounced.
The campaign ‘The dirty hand of Chevron’ is one of the stellar examples. Former President Correa invested time and public resources in a program to, in the words of the exmandatario, “inform the international public opinion about the existence of pools, never operated by Petroecuador, which were abandoned by Texaco (now Chevron), where people they put their hands and the dirty hand comes out, the black hand, for the oil “.
In this campaign, the government of the self-styled citizen’s revolution held conferences in several countries, paid t-shirts, advertising and even actors and personalities of international celebrities to exhibit the environmental damage in the Amazon.
The problem is that on August 30, 2018, it was established that Ecuador is responsible for the irregularities in the sentence in favor of the inhabitants of Aguarico. This ruling, which was issued in the country, forced to pay more than 9,500 million dollars to the private company.
There was, according to the ruling of the arbitration court, a supposed denial of justice by Ecuador.
To this is added what has been said by the highest judicial authorities of the Netherlands. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled in last instance, just over a month ago, rejecting Ecuador’s requests for nullity over old awards.
In that scenario, the arbitral tribunal that ruled in August is now in a phase of quantification of the damages suffered by the oil company. That calculation could take up to two years. After that, it will be known how much Ecuadorian responsibility rises.
The Attorney General of the State requested the nullity of this process and it is expected to have a response by the end of this year. The public entity changed teams of lawyers to defend their case.
The scenario, however, is not simple. The State Attorney General, Íñigo Salvador, warned that the international company could ensure that the correísta campaign impaired its work and affected its image. In addition, Chevron had to spend on lawyers and other items to respond to state claims. “They can ensure that the campaign caused them moral damage.” If there is a demand in that sense, the country would have to pay for the ideas and actions of the previous Government.
How much would the payment amount? Salvador does not dare to give figures but he warns that it would be an amount that complicates national finances. Something similar to what happened with the OXY oil company that should receive a total of 980 million dollars from Ecuador.
It will be a huge sum, obviously. More if you take into account the shortage of funds.
Íñigo Salvador, Attorney General of the State
There are two new studies
Ecuador has two legal firms involved in litigation with Chevron. Foley Hoag, a group from Washington, is in charge of the damage quantification process.
The issue of nullity before the Dutch courts is in the hands of the law firm Clifford Chance.
For the prosecutor, it can not be assured that the previous legal studies failed. He said he “wants to believe that the studios did the best job possible.”
the Ecuadorian vision
“More than 1,000 polluting pools have been identified in the Ecuadorian Amazon. What Chevron caused in our jungle is 85 times worse than what British Petroleum did in the Gulf of Mexico, and 18 times more serious than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, “the previous government claimed.
According to the authorities of the current Government, the country has spent more than 80 million dollars in the defense of the State in international courts for the Chevron case. The amounts will continue to grow until all the processes come to an end. There are appeals and other resources.
Remedy worse than evil itself?
Mounted by the Government of Rafael Correa, the campaign of information to the national and international public opinion -on the contamination produced by the Chevron-Texaco company in the Ecuadorian Amazon, between 1964 and 1992- has had a counterproductive effect in the long run to the interests of the affected communities
and the country.