In February 2011 an Ecuadorian judge ordered Chevron to pay some $17 billion in fines and punitive damages over the environmental contamination in Ecuador.
Water is the source of life. Without clean water we can't survive.
(Emergildo Criollo, leader of the Cofan people, Ecuador)
Chevron, not surprisingly, said it would appeal the ruling, calling it “illegitimate and unenforceable.” Eighteen years before, when the suit was first filed in a New York court, Chevron fought to have the jurisdiction moved to Ecuador because the oil company claimed they could get a “fair trial there.”
When the judgment was handed down in 2011 the case then weaved its way through the legal system with all the attending minutia. It also ended up in the International Arbitral Tribunal.
Ecuadorian indigenous leaders eventually went to England to meet with major institutional investors in Chevron corporation. Chevron's litigation prospects looked dim. The plaintiffs moved to seize Chevron assets in Latin America and throughout the world.
In 2013 total fines and punitive damages were reduced to $8.8 billion. In 2014 a federal judge in New York blocked U.S. courts from collecting $9 billion, because the federal judge determined there may have been illegal conduct in Ecuador and fraudulent evidence.
Coming home to America
For us American here in the United States there are lessons as well. It goes way beyond waiting for some “new” technology to save the day, tinkering with the tax code, praying for a different type of politician, texting our colleagues, conjuring up a third party or even attempting to amend the Constitution. Of course all of these things have merit and are worthy of our time and effort.
The status quo, however, is not going to roll over and fade away and will certainly use violence if its core interests are threatened. It's coming down to the street. No short term, convenient fix is available at this point. We Americans are now Los Afectados. [see Extinction: A terrible inconvenience www.seekout.blogspot.com ]
Walter's new ebook novel A Genetic Abnormality will be out on September 1, 2014 and can be purchased at Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/463326