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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Court in Sucumbíos Manipulated by Chevron

Amazon Watch and Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía


Kevin Koenig,
Ruxandra Guidi,

Court in Sucumbíos Manipulated by Chevron

Once Again Shows Evidence of Company's Abuse of the Law


The coordinator of the Assembly of People Affected by Texaco, Luis Yanza, showed his indignation over the decision by the deputy president of Sucumbíos' Provincial Court, Nicolás Zambrano, for allowing the abuse of the law and the delay in sentencing in the Chevron case. There are thousands of affected peoples from the Amazon asking Chevron for reparations over serious environmental, health and cultural damages, which were caused by Texaco's oil operations in the region for 26 years.

Judge Zambrano, in his last ruling on February 2nd, gave into demands that the three experts in charge of the latest research on the case present new work plans. The judge granted the request, and gave the experts 8 more days to present their plans. The plaintiffs perceive this as both illegal and inappropriate, given that these experts were legally brought in to the case in December of last year and they have yet been able to begin their labor due to the pressures and obstacles created by Chevron.

According to Luis Yanza, this is one of many acts of corruption and pressure by the oil company in order to delay the case, and in giving in, the judge has turned into an accomplice. Yanza recalled that the research by the three experts was solicited by Chevron itself in October of 2003, but Chevron never showed interest in their work.

Humberto Piaguaje, leader of the Secoya community, called on Judge Zambrano to not be fooled by the oil company, adding that by accepting Chevron's unreasonable demands, it is leaving 30,000 Ecuadoreans defenseless in the worst environmental crime committed by Texaco.

Furthermore, Emergildo Criollo, spokesperson of the Cofán community, warned the court not to allow itself to be manipulated by Chevron, considering how corrupt the oil company is and everything it has already done to try to influence the judges. Criollo called on all Ecuadoreans and the judicial authorities to monitor the judicial process to avoid Chevron from escaping the law.

The leaders of the local affected communities will gather in a general assembly in the next few days to analyze the current situation in the Chevron case.

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