Chevron ruling: The opinion of the Council of Village Elders

Without a doubt the ruling in Lago Agrio against Chevron does justice to what is, jointly with the BP Gulf of Mexico tragedy, the worst oil induced environment and human disaster in history. Morally Texaco-Chevron do not have a leg to stand on as they consciously dumped toxic waste into the Amazon river basin, which accounts for over 18% of the fresh water that falls daily on our planet.

Since 1972, we estimate that 1 billion gallons of “toxic brine” – consisting of petroleum; formation water and chemicals injected into oil wells and utilized in the separation process of crude oil – are drained annually into rivers and ground soils of the Amazon region. The hydrocarbons and salts, components of the formation waters, are exceedingly toxic for vegetation, human and animal life. Texaco is directly responsible for approximately 19 billion gallons. An additional 16 billion gallons is attributable to Petro Ecuador. A crime against humanity, which should be addressed by the International Courts in The Hague.

The Amazon indigenous communities have been the direct victims of this crime. Since oil exploration began in 1964, mortality rates amongst certain Amazon Nationalities have exceeded 90%. One could suggest that this is a form of ethnic cleansing perpetuated by oil.

However, once the euphoria of the legal moment fades and the adrenalin flows out of our veins, then the reality of the Rainforest sets in, and dampens our aspirations for justice.
Why? We cite the conclusions of a recent meeting of the village elders of numerous Nationalities, which is the ancestral governing body of Amazon communities.

1) “The Chevron verdict is positive but it will take years before, and if, it will ever be implemented. To-date the only beneficiaries are the lawyers who will continue to fatten their bank accounts, and the political parties and organizations who are lining up to bathe in, and benefit from, the glory of the occasion. As to the law, anyone who has ever had legal problems in Ecuador knows from experience that the system is corrupt to the core. The law is money and politics. Both Chevron and President Correa agree on this point.”
2) “There has been no major change between Texaco and Petro Ecuador regarding the treatment and disposal of toxic wastes. These continue to be dumped, untreated, into the environment. The ability of the government to applaud the Chevron verdict, when they are presently opening up closed and unproductive Texaco wells around Libertador and Cuyabeno, injecting them with a cocktail of toxic and non biodegradable chemicals, establishes President Correa as the only real “Cara de Tuco” in the country.” Editorial Note: Cara de Tuco is Guayaquil slang introduced as political vocabulary by President Correa and implies connotations of double morality, double standards and an extraordinary ability to deny the existence of the former two.



3) “The Amazon nationalities continue to face conditions of extreme poverty. Political persecution of our leaders continues. Many Cofanes believe that Texaco is related to the mysterious death of Governor Quenema. His spirit lives in Shuar leader Pepe Acacho. Hopefully Acacho will not meet the same fate.”

We recommend the following article by Milagros Aguirre, who is one of the few serious, knowledgeable and dedicated scholars of Ecuadorian Amazon indigenous cultures.

FINAL FELIZ

Tras 18 años de juicio contra Texaco un juez de Lago Agrio ha dictado ya sentencia. Una sentencia, sobre todo, moral. Los USD 9 mil millones parecen no ser suficientes para los demandantes. Los demandados lo tienen claro: no van a pagar ni un centavo, no tienen bienes en Ecuador susceptibles a incautación. Apelarán cuantas veces sean necesarias. Y ya se curaron en salud acudiendo a instancias internacionales para que no se ejecute la sentencia. Su argumento: que la justicia en el país es tramposa y corrupta y que el Estado ecuatoriano tuvo su culpa en los desastres ambientales ocasionados por el consorcio Cepe Texaco.

Demandantes y demandados tienen razón. Por un lado, los daños en la Amazonía son irreparables y no hay precio que se le ponga que pueda arreglar el desastre. Por otro, la corresponsabilidad del Estado en el tema ha quedado en la impunidad (el Estado avaló una remediación y exoneró a la Texaco de culpa en su momento. Y sí, la justicia ecuatoriana no es de fiar, pregúntenle a Alexis Mera o al mismo Presidente, por algo quieren “meter la mano” en ella (aunque Chevron asegura que, al menos en este juicio, hace rato que los políticos la metieron).

El juicio a la Texaco ha sido un referente. Las empresas extranjeras, en su momento, se cuidaron de no repetir los desastres, con mejor tecnología y con mayor control en la producción. Ahora, la sanción moral, la sentencia, debiera sacudir a un Estado cuyos trabajos de exploración y explotación se parecen a los hechos en los años 80: licitaciones a dedo, derrames continuos (silencio absoluto frente al nuevo derrame en Esmeraldas), contrato, subcontratos y subcontratos de los subcontratos, con fantasmagóricas empresas (como las citadas en el informe Chambers y en el libro ‘El Gran Hermano’), chuecos negocios, obreros mal pagados, división de comunidades indígenas, convenios injustos, artimañas y engaños.

Chevron difícilmente pagará esa suma. El Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía dice estar dispuesto a un segundo ‘round’: la demanda pendiente a Petroecuador. El juicio, digno de una novela de suspenso, no llega a su fin. En todo caso, la sentencia es un triunfo moral: un tatuaje de culpable inscrito en la frente de Texaco a nivel internacional.

Si paga, haciendo caso a los optimistas, hay dos posibilidades: una, que se destrozen las comunidades amazónicas a la hora de repartir el billete y otra, más utópica: que los pobladores amazónicos, afectados por el petróleo, paguen de su bolsillo y compren el ITT para que no se explote. Tal vez les alcance también para comprar los bloques que están en la Zona de Amortiguamiento del Curaray y, con el vuelto, compren el campo Armadillo’ ¡eso sí sería conciencia ambiental! ¡Eso sería un final feliz para el juicio del siglo!

Source: http://www4.elcomercio.com/Opinion/final_feliz.aspx
Date: 17.02.2011

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 17 February, 2011.

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