Rodrigo Pérez Pallares Behaves Like an Ostrich
Amazon Defense Coalition
18 November 2005 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
Quito - The head of the transnational, Texaco, in Ecuador, continues avoiding public debates about the historic Texaco case. This week, at Quito's University of San Francisco, Rodrigo Pérez Pallares, who had been invited to come and talk by a group of students, cancelled his presentation at the last minute, offering a strange explanation.
Pérez Pallares, the millionaire boss of Texaco in Ecuador, who also spearheads the transnational's defense in the Texaco case, had been invited a week earlier by a group of university students to take part in the academic forum. Pérez Pallares accepted under the condition that no people affected by the transnational's contamination, would be present. "This act effectively constitutes the standard practice of Texaco's directors, who are obviously scared to express their position publicly when the plaintiffs' lawyers are present," explained Ma Guadalupe de Heredia, a spokeswoman for the 30,000 plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit.
Interestingly, the students accepted Pérez Pallares's request and did not invite any of the plaintiffs. Nevertheless, Pérez Pallares cancelled his talk the day before it was due to take place, Tuesday, November 15, saying that he had to attend a judicial inspection scheduled for the next day at Well 24 in Shushufindi. Curiously, Pérez Pallares did not attend Wednesday's inspection as he had announced. The inspection took place without incident.
Last October, an Ecuadorian station, Radio América, invited Perez Pallares to speak live with Luis Yanza, leader of the plaintiffs, but Perez Pallares declined. On another occasion, last Febuary, Teleamazonas invited representatives of Chevron onto a program together with a leader of the Secoya, one of the indigenous peoples affected by Texaco's pollution, and once more the company's representatives refused to show. This same pattern has occurred various times with different media.
"Perez Pallares acts like a fighting cock at the inspections, when his lawyers are on hand, but when he is invited to a public debate he turns into an ostrich with his head in the sand," said Ermel Chávez, President of the Amazon Defense Front. "We are always open to dialogue in any forum, with the representatives of the oil company, but, since they refuse to attend, we have never managed to make this happen."