In the hearing held on April 17th and 18th, Ecuadorians indigenous and farmers presented evidence of the
fact that Chevron Canada is an asset of Chevron Corporation, which would trigger the collection of the 9,5
billion US $ sentence in favor of the people of Ecuador affected by the company’s oil operations.
The victims of the Ecuadorian Amazon, who are organized in the Union of People Affected by Texaco
(UDAPT), were represented by Guilllermo Grefa, Kichwa leader, and Jaime Vargas, the president of CONAIE
(the largest indigenous organization in Ecuador), through the attorney Alan Lenczner. During these days,
they have demonstrated before Canadian judges that there are assets of Chevron Corporation in that
country, after presenting evidence demonstrating that Chevron Canada itself is an asset of Chevron
Corporation, despite the existence of seven levels of subsidiaries under which the multinational
corporation seeks to hide its capital.
This has made it clear that the assets of Chevron Canada are wholly owned by the parent company, located
in the United States, to such an extent that in the obligatory asset declaration the latter includes ownership
over its subsidiary in Canada. Chevron uses different forms of trickery to try to evade its responsibility.
For example, in recent years Chevron Canada has taken more than 3,000 million dollars out of Canada,
using them for investments in Nigeria and Indonesia. This was done in the attempt to show that Chevron
Canada is an independent company, that makes its own investments and does not depend on or report the
money to its parent company. However, by following the trail of money we found that all the money sent
to Nigeria and Indonesia returns almost immediately to the accounts of Chevron Corporation in the United
States, which demonstrates the total dependence of Chevron Canada towards Chevron Corporation.
The use of these tricks is not new among corporations, as they seek and create mechanisms to evade taxes,
justice and their responsibilities. This is one of the reasons why the UDAPT, together with hundreds of
collectives around the world, are promoting the approval of a binding treaty in the United Nations that
helps to end the impunity of the corporations. This is an example of the importance of such
treaty. Transnationals must respond for their crimes said Julio Prieto, UDAPT lawyer.
With this background, the verdict of Canada can mark a milestone in the history of human rights defense
and the respect of multinationals to the populations of the countries in which they operate, especially
those that are developing.
If the documents that indubitably demonstrate the unity of endowment between Chevron Canada and
Chevron Corp were accepted, the Ecuadorian indigenous and peasants could see a path of access to justice,
which has been denied during more than two decades of lawsuit in Ecuador, USA, Brazil, Argentina and
Canada. This would mark an important precedent for other victims having suffered violation of the same
rights by international companies. Moreover, it would ratify a previous declaration by the Court of Appeals
of Ottawa, which mantained that the environmental struggle is a struggle for the common good.
The struggle of the UDAPT against Chevron began 24 years ago. It is the most important case that involve
indigenous people affected by corporations. For this reason, Jaime Vargas, President of the CONAIE
(Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador), thinks that what matters in this case is not only
breaking the structure that protects multinational companies, but also indigenous people’s rights, the
rights of Nature and the lives of the people that have been destroyed by Chevron's operations in the
Ecuadorian Amazon. For this reason, CONAIE works together with the indigenous people of UDAPT, said
We hope and trust in the Courts of Justice of Canada. However, as UDAPT we are looking for other
countries to propose new actions of exequatur in case the Canadian judges deny us the access to justice. As
UDAPT we will never give up, we will fight until Chevron pays the debt it owes to the Amazon, so we can
repair our Amazon forest, said Pablo Fajardo, the chief lawyer of the people affected by Chevron.