On Ecuador, Trade and Chevron

By September 1, 2009Briefly Legal, Energy, Trade

An excellent Washington Times editorial, “Chevron’s message to Garcia,” the Garcia being Ecuador’s attorney general, Diego Garcia, who claimed the government of Ecuador was not part of the legal case against Chevron.

The case involves purported pollution created on oil fields jointly owed by Texaco and the state-run PetroEcuador company during 20 years ending in 1992. (Chevron has since bought out Texaco.) In a 1998 final-release agreement, the government of Ecuador agreed that the fields had been fully remediated. But when Mr. Correa won the presidency, the lawsuit against the oil company suddenly and suspiciously became rejuvenated. Already, Judge Nunez has issued what Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson accurately describes as “a number of irregular rulings” against the American company.

“What the judge did was highly unethical,” [Chevron spokesman] Mr. Robertson told The Washington Times. “He needs to be disqualified and his prior rulings must be annulled.”

Ecuador’s court system has been denounced as unreliable or corrupt by the United Nations, the International Bar Association and the U.S. State Department. If this new evidence of corruption is allowed to go unpunished, the United States ought to withdraw special trade status enjoyed by Ecuador.


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