Ecuador/Chevron dispute enters a new chapter: Correa calls for Latam support
President Rafael Correa said he expects the regional groupings Alba and Unasur to meet urgently and address the “legal aberration” committed by a UN trade law arbitrage tribunal against Ecuador in a case involving US multinational Chevron and decades of environmental damages.
“We urgently need Latinamerican unity to avoid the abuses of the multinational corporations that consider us colonies and have on their pay-list the arbiters and arbitrage centres” in defence of the interests of those powerful corporations, blasted the Ecuadorean leader recently re-elected by a landslide.
According to Correa an international arbitrage tribunal recently ordered Ecuador to impede the execution of a sentence from an Ecuadorean court against Chevron ordering the US multinational to pay 19 billion dollars for environmental damage in the Ecuadorean Amazon from 1964 to 1990.
Formed via The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, the panel ruled Ecuador violated a treaty with the United States requiring it to ensure the company gets a fair trial.
The ruling comes a year after the tribunal reinforced its 2011 finding on enforcement suspension. The panel will consider all the case's issues next year. An Ecuadorean court first ruled against Chevron in February 2011.
However Ecuador has denounced the Reciprocal Investment treaty with the US, enforced in 1997 since it considers it is contrary to the country’s interests.
“We are still suffering the lethal inheritance of the long, dark neo-liberal night with these criminal investment treaties”, blasted Correa again denying the applicability of the US-Ecuador treaty.
“It’s the end of sovereignty, the end of our independence; we have become colonies with these rulings from international courts. Dare to imagine if the situation was the other way around and the court ruled against the US?”
Correa complained that the international arbitration tribunals always rule benefiting the multi-national corporations and against sovereign states, because that is why they are there, and that is why in the interest of Ecuador and Latinamerica I have been fighting for our own arbitrage mechanisms”.
He also claimed that Chevron “has been involved in an international PR campaign to destroy Ecuador, and in world media to discredit the Ecuadorean justice system.
Correa was particularly furious with the international arbitrage ruling because it appealed to the investments reciprocal treaty with the US, which became effective in 1997, despite the fact that Texaco which was later sold to Chevron, definitively left Ecuador in 1992 when the corporation was not protected by the treaty.
Furthermore he argued that the environmental court case in Ecuador against Chevron was started fifteen years ago by social organizations from the Amazon and thus the case belongs to private law.
Nevertheless “the international tribunal in a scandalous attitude considers itself competent to deal with the case and orders the suspension of the ruling of our courts and is punishing Ecuador because its president did not order the suspension of the sentence: they are completely out of their minds!” underlined Correa.
“Obviously we are going to defend the country with all our means; we are going to let the world know about this aberration, so that is why Latinamerican unity is crucial to avoid the abuses of these multi-national corporations that consider us colonies”.
Correa then went on to claim the world is ruled by ‘big money’, which is the cause of the current world crisis, in the European Union, where capital dominates the lives of human beings, and markets dominate societies.
“Changing all this is the great challenge for humanity this century. We Latinamerica peoples must rebel against these injustices and need urgent meetings of the Bolivarian Alliance for our peoples of the Americas and the Union of South American Nations”, concluded Correa.