Quito, 9 November 2016.- With a march and a sit-in in which more than 400 participated—representatives of indigenous communities and inhabitants affected by the contamination intentionally created by Texaco—demanded in front of the Constitutional Court, speaking of the extraordinary appeal with respect to the case, which has stagnated for more than two years and nine months in that body.
This request comes after having reached, on November 3rd, 23 years of the judicial battle of which more than 30,000 inhabitants of the provinces of Orellana and Sucumbios are part, who make up the Unión de Afectados/as por las Operaciones de la Petrolera Texaco (Union of Peoples Affected by Texaco, UDAPT)
Despite having obtained a decision on two instances, and the appeal to annul contemplated by the Ecuadorian legislation, Texaco (now part of Chevron) continues unjustly using every kind of resource, be it judicial, political, media, or economic, to avoid paying the more than $9.5 billion USD, which would allow the Ecuadorian plaintiffs to start, immediately, environmental remediation which would end the problems which those affected face as a result of the contamination, and which have repercussions for health, food supply, and economic, cultural, and other processes.
One of these actions is precisely the protection order which is claimed by Chevron before the Corte, claiming that during the juridical process its constitutional rights were violated on the part of the Ecuadorian justice system. According to Pablo Fajardo, lawyer for the Ecuadorian communities, in this order the company intends to use the Constitutional Court as a body for a third appeal, twisting its purpose. Fajardo bases his claim on the fact that the request and the arguments of Chevron are the same which had been used in prior appeals.
Humberto Piaguaje, Coordinator of UDAPT, in the name of those affected demanded that the court rules and definitively closes this legal battle in Ecuador. For Piaguaje it is contradictory that—as this case is the prime example in the world which works to dismantle the structure of impunity that protects corporations that violate human rights—what sustains the request for adoption of a linking treaty which would subject transnational corporations to comply on the level of the United Nations, inside the country the highest constitutional body has not established protection of its people’s human rights, despite the fact that the case has already persisted for 23 years.
That is to say, for Piaguaje, the fact that the court has not ruled is giving Chevron pretext to continue its global campaign to discredit the plaintiffs, the country, and its justice system, as well as extortion on multiple levels to avoid payment of the award. But above all, the court is implying that injustice will continue for Ecuadorians, victims of violations of human and constitutional rights on behalf of the transnational corporation Chevron-Texaco.
During the act carried about by the affected people in the park El Arbolito, an emblematic site for social struggles, samples of contaminated soil and water were shown to the public—something which can easily be seen by any visitor. This evidence, according to Donald Moncayo, who is an inhabitant and part of the Executive Committee of UDAPT, “is so overwhelming and visible that it has stopped the money and power of Chevron from buying consciences. Chevron cannot fight the truth, and that Is why we won the case.” At the same time, he stated that he stands by the demand before the Constitutional Court. “23 years are more than enough; it is now time in Ecuador to have our rights recognized.”
Contacts: Unión de Afectados y Afectadas por las Operaciones de Texaco (UDAPT)
Teléfonos: (593) 2 273533
María Eugenia Garcés: 0999225516
Nancy Rodríguez: 0999949337