Lago Agrio, persistence, and, finally justice

At last there is some justice. A victory comes to Ecuador, after decades of battles of the government of Ecuador and the indigenous groups adversely affected in the Lago Agrio district. One does recall the irritated indifference of one engineer who had worked in the region and who had even commented on the vast pools of petroleum – just a case of when you or yours are not adversely affected, then why care.

TeleSUR has been diligent in its coverage of this human and environmental catastrophe. Its report of 4Sep15,  Ecuador Victims Can Seek Compensation from Chevron, Canada Supreme Court Rules, suggests a nearing of journey’s end in the pursuit of justice against the power of a corporation that seems to enjoy some state protection. Selected excerpts,

The Canadian Supreme Court, in a unanimous 7-0 ruling, determined Friday that victims of the contamination caused by the Chevron oil company in Ecuador can seek compensation from Chevron in Canada.

In 2011, an Ecuadorean court found Chevron responsible for environmental contamination in the Ecuadorean Amazon and ordered the company to pay billions in compensation. A 2013 ruling by the Ecuadorean Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling and set the compensation at US$9.5 billion.

However, Chevron has refused to pay and as a result the plaintiffs were forced to try to enforce the ruling by seeking the seizure of Chevron’s assets in Canada.

Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court affirms that Canada is an appropriate jurisdiction for the case.

That report sets the context for the analysis provided in the post of Joyce Nelson at Counterpunch, and inspiration for this post, Ecuador vs. Chevron, By Way of Canada. As the analysis shows, the victory in Canada will not go unchallenged by the power of Chevron and its political influence in Canada and the US; and obstruction and delays have worked wonders against victims who must die.

Amid the contamination of the land and water courses, many have died, many have suffered and are suffering in that region of Ecuador, and, no relief or compensation in sight. Of course, it could have been worse, the government could have been ‘co-opted’ by the corporation, as happens.

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