Caso Chevron

Chevron, Oil Pollution, and the Case of the Tainted Witness

Bloomberg Business - Paul Barrett 29/10/2015

Photo: Scoopnest

Photo: Scoopnest

The marathon legal war over oil pollution in the jungle in Ecuador—now 22 years old—can outrage, but also exhaust, diligent observers. But here's a new twist.

Lately certain self-styled environmental advocates have claimed that a key witness in the case "recanted" his testimony on behalf of Chevron. That could hinder Chevron's efforts to fend off enforcement of a multibillion-dollar judgment against it from 2011.

The thing is, he never recanted.

How did we get to this point? Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, despoiled the rain forest in Ecuador in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, American lawyers sued the company on behalf of indigent tribe members and farmers. U.S. courts dismissed the suit, saying it belonged, if anywhere, in Ecuador. The American lawyers restarted the litigation in Ecuador in 2003. By this time, the pollution evidence had become ambiguous, as Ecuador's national oil company, Petroecuador, had layered on its own contamination for a decade.

In 2011, an Ecuadorean trial court held Chevron liable for $19 billion in damages, a judgment upheld by higher Ecuadorean courts, although the amount was halved. Chevron refused to pay, arguing that any remaining pollution was Ecuador's responsibility. Then it counterattacked the plaintiffs' legal team, led by New York lawyer Steven Donziger.

The oil company accused Donziger in a civil racketeering lawsuit in New York of turning the contamination case into a shakedown. Last year, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled for Chevron, concluding that Donziger had relied on fabricated evidence, coercion, and bribery to win the 2011 judgment. Donziger has appealed that ruling.

So far, not one dime has changed hands. The litigation hasn't cleaned up any oil.
And Donziger isn't done yet. 

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Fuente Original