Multinationals on trial

Shell, Chevron in the Niger Delta, Texaco/ Chevron in the Ecuadoran Amazon – both examples of militarisation of commerce and corporate theft and violence against communities. In 1993 the communities of Lago Agrio in Ecuador sued Chevron / Texaco for $27 billion [Aguinda v. Texaco] for environmental damage. Judgment on the case has been pending since 2003…

The case turned a corner in 2003 when it moved to the Ecuadorian superior court; recently, another milestone was reached when the court’s independent expert report assessed the environmental damage at $8 billion and recommended that Texaco (now folded into Chevron) pay damages of up to $16 billion.

Chevron / Texaco is still using dirty tricks to delay making any payments by asking for international arbitration with a view to avoiding payments and shift responsibility for environmental clean up to the Ecuadorian government.

The case brought by 4 farmers in the Niger Delta against Shell for similar environmental damage, has just begun in the Hague. I hope the plaintiffs will hold out for justice – however long it takes – and not for settlement as in the recent Ken Saro Wiwa Jr and Ogoni 8 v Shell.

The film Crude documents Texaco’s grab and run and the subsequent class action suit against the oil company by indigenous people of the Ecuadoran Amazon.

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