The indigenous people and settlers of the Amazon region of Ecuador who demand that the US oil company Chevron cleanse their land accepted with resignation the ruling issued Thursday by the Supreme Court of Canada, which denied a collection action against the company in that country.
The Union of People Affected by the Oil Operations of Texaco (now Chevron) regretted the decision in Canada, but warned that they will present new demands in other countries until the oil company pays the environmental damages to which it was condemned by the Justice of Ecuador.
"Unfortunately in the whole world there is what is called an architecture of corporate impunity," said Pablo Fajardo, attorney for the plaintiffs, who questioned whether the Canadian Court had not warned that Chevron-Canada is part of the same structure as its American parent.
After that ruling, "the options are null in that country," but the plaintiffs will look for "possible spaces in other jurisdictions until Chevron pays the judgment," the lawyer added.
Although "the doors in Canada are practically closed," Chevron "has shares in sixty other countries," he said, estimating that in three or four months the Union of the Affected could take legal action in a couple of countries where the US oil company has assets.
The Supreme Court of Canada rejected on Thursday to authorize the appeal of the judgment that Chevron Canada is not responsible for pollution caused in the Amazon rainforest by its parent company.
As is the norm in the Canadian Supreme Court, the Supreme Court did not justify the reasons for refusing to authorize the appeal but did say that the costs of the process should be paid by the plaintiffs.
The vice president of the oil company, R. Hewitt Pate, said in a statement that they are "satisfied that the highest judicial authority in Canada has put an end to the attempts of the plaintiffs' attorneys to execute the corrupt Ecuadorian judgment against the indirect subsidiary of Chevron in Canada. "
Between 1964 and 1992, the Texaco company, which was acquired in 2000 by Chevron for around 36,000 million US dollars, caused environmental pollution and serious social damages in the Amazonian region of Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian courts sentenced Chevron for the contamination and established a compensation of 9,500 million dollars.
But Çhevron refused to pay the compensation and rejected the legitimacy of the Ecuadorian court, for which the Ecuadorian indigenous communities affected by the contamination decided to sue their subsidiary Chevron Canada to be declared jointly and severally liable for the payment of compensation.
Paul Paz Miño, associate director of Amazon Watch, an organization that has provided support to the plaintiffs, said the decision "is an affront to the idea of corporate responsibility and a message to those seeking justice against corporations responsible for environmental crimes and crimes against humanity." human rights".
Paz Miño added that "Chevron has what represents a hidden bank account in Canada in its subsidiary and the funds in that account should be appropriate to force Chevron to pay for cleaning."
"This last sentence is another example of how judicial systems raise the rights of corporations over those communities, in this case indigenous and people of color," Paz Miño agreed.