Dear Global Exchange Supporter,
The legal battle between indigenous communities in Ecuador and oil giant Chevron is a fight sixteen years in the making. This unprecedented lawsuit holds Chevron accountable for the clean-up of the damages it has done to the once pristine Amazonian rainforest and the people who call it home. Dubbed the 'Amazon Chernobyl', the land inhabited by indigenous communities for generations has been left contaminated beyond imagination.
With all the evidence pointing to Chevron's guilt, a judgment of potentially $27 billion was expected to be handed down against the company as early as next month in Ecuador.
Chevron - one of the wealthiest corporations in world history - has already said that it will refuse to pay, requiring U.S. courts to enforce any potential fine. Chevron's legal strategy before a U.S. court would almost certainly be centered on convincing the court that the company did not receive a fair trial in Ecuador; thus, Chevron has a strong incentive to build a case now against the Ecuadorian court.
This "evidence" magically emerged last week when the oil giant took dirty measures to avoid cleaning up its mess. Chevron appears to have resorted to its own Nixon-style sting operation in an attempt to delay and corrupt trial proceedings by releasing grainy online videos trying to implicate the judge presiding over the trial in a $3 billion bribery scheme.
Chevron's attempt at smoke and mirrors would be laughable if the results were not so serious. While asserting that no impropriety occurred, hoping to avert any further effort by Chevron to delay or de-legitimize a ruling, the judge recused himself from the case last week.
This "bribery plot" is just the latest in a string of underhanded - and potentially illegal - attempts by Chevron to derail the case and distract from the fact of Chevron's obvious guilt. The timing is also suspicious given this week's release of the groundbreaking and critically-acclaimed documentary film about the case, CRUDE: the real price of oil.
Thank you, as always, for your work on behalf of peace & justice,
Antonia Juhasz, Director, The Chevron Program, Global Exchange