17 March 2005 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
"Despite a series of high level conversations with ChevronTexaco representatives in August 2003, and the receipt of two demand letters in October, 2003 and March, 2004, the Republic of Ecuador and Petroecuador have failed to implement changes to their contractual obligations with ChevronTexaco and TexPet including obligations to: 1) Intervene in favor of ChevronTexaco in the lawsuit in Northeastern Ecuador; 2) Assume, via Petroecuador, payments for the costs of the case as outlined in the contract; 3) Provide adequate insurance indemnifying ChevronTexaco for a potential adverse judgement; and 4) Provide adequate insurance to reimburse any additional remediation required by the court or any other legitimate entity for Eastern Ecuador."
.........(Excerpt from a letter ChevronTexaco presented to the US Government)
With this letter, ChevronTexaco requested that President Bush not re-certify Ecuador's most favored nation status this year.
ChevronTexaco is attempting to leverage the Ecuadorian government using the threat that its preferential trade status be revoked by the US, a desperate move the company hopes will win the lawsuit instigated by various Amazonian communities for the terrifying damages to persons and the environment in Northeastern Ecuador.
ChevronTexaco's actions have been condemned by various social and civil society organizations in Ecuador. The economist Alberto Acosta said that this act "shows how unequal international relations work. A powerful country like the US and its companies, subjects another, weaker nation and its government - Ecuador - to pressuring and blackmail. "
Regarding the lawsuit against Texaco, Acosta suggested that Texaco was attempting to use the US government to pressure Ecuador by denying preferential trade status, because of its failure to comply with its contractual obligations to ChevronTexaco.
"This greatly affects Ecuador's sovereignty; the Ecuadorian government is not a party to the lawsuit against Texaco, but is being pressured by Texaco (using the US government) to influence the lawsuit", Acosta stated.
Steven Donziger, one of the plaintiff's lawyers, stated that "Texaco's action reveals the level of interventionism in international relations: pressuring one government so that it acts against another country and its sovereignty."
This is yet another example of ChevronTexaco's power, in that it invervenes in another country's internal affairs, disregarding its legislation, trying to cheat the government and the country with an alleged remediation which never occurred, and hiding secret documents which demonstrate high levels of toxicity where it operated.
Esperanza Martinez of Accion Ecologica stated that Texaco is employing strategies on various levels that are worrisome and must be exposed to public opinion, which must be attentive to Texaco's pressure tactics. "We are going to make public the multiple blackmailing and influencing strategies Texaco is using, and we will give details about the irregularities that should be observed by all Ecuadorians."
*Translated by Amazon Watch