“Road to the Truth” a photographic exhibition that shows evidence of pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon as a result of oil exploration by Texaco-Chevron, opened at the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, DC on Friday, December 6th. Over a hundred people gathered at the embassy to walk through the exhibition, which was organized in conjunction with the Ecuadorian Consulate in this city.
Ecuador’s Charge d’Affaires a.i., Ambassador Efraín Baus, gave the opening remarks of the inaugural event. “This exhibition aims to show not only the environmental damage caused as a result of oil operations of Texaco, now Chevron, but also the human side of this issue and the suffering our compatriots in Lago Agrio and in the Amazon have been condemned to live for decades,” said Ambassador Baus. “I would also like to note that the Embassy of Ecuador in committed in the fight for justice for the people of Lago Agrio because no company can be above the law.”
Among those attending was Ecuadorian public, as well as representatives from various government and private institutions based in Washington, DC.
Moved by the level of injury caused to the Amazonian population and the environment, attendees signed the conformation of the Solidarity Committee with Ecuador, in order to support the truth and stop bad practices by transnational corporations that put profit before the law and social responsibility.
The exhibition is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00AM-6:00PM.
For photos of the event click here.
Ruling finds Chevron’s recent unfounded allegations against the Government of Ecuador in $19 billion private pollution dispute with Ecuador’s poor, indigenous communities hold no water
16 October 2013 (Washington, DC)—The Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in the United States applauds yesterday’s decision by New York Magistrate Judge James C. Francis finding no truth to Chevron’s claims that confidential Ecuadorian emails revealed wrongdoing by the Government in respect to the ongoing $19 billion Amazon rainforest pollution case. This latest attempt by Chevron is part of a massive lobbying and PR campaign to hinder the judicial process and distract from the company’s failure to accept responsibility for destroying the health and habitat of the poor, indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
“We are pleased to see that the US and international courts are beginning to understand that for decades Chevron has been using every trick up its sleeve to distract from the real issue that they caused enormous environmental damage, this was proven in a court of their choosing, and they now refuse to take legal or moral responsibility for it,” said Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States, Nathalie Cely. “Chevron apparently believes that by saying something loudly enough and constantly repeating it, it somehow becomes fact. Fortunately, the law does not work that way. Ecuador is a defender of environmental and social justice, and will not stand silently as a powerful transnational company denigrates our reputation with apparent impunity.”
The New York court ruling was the latest in a number of international decisions that are exposing Chevron’s malicious tricks campaign to avoid paying a $19 billion judgment in favor of indigenous individuals living in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest. Chevron’s own soil and water analysis performed at sites in this region where they have been the sole oil operator over the past 40 years demonstrate toxin levels far above international acceptable standards.
Chevron falsely alleged last week that previously unreleased emails submitted anonymously to Maggie Petito, an American critic of Ecuador whose non-profit foundation status was revoked in 2006, provided evidence of the furtherance of fraud and illegal activity by the Government of Ecuador.
“Chevron has chosen to spend many millions of dollars on lawyers and PR firms and cut-out groups, and has shown a willingness to say anything under the sun to get out of their court-ordered legal and moral responsibilities for polluting the Amazon. This includes falsely smearing the Government of Ecuador, our Judicial System, the experts, the witnesses and all who are not on their side, and making vicious accusations about their defenders,” added Cely. “The last time Chevron offered evidence from so-called “Good Samaritans,” it was later proved that one was a convicted drug dealer and the other was on Chevron’s payroll. “
For decades, Chevron touted Ecuador’s legal system as they advocated for the environmental case to be heard in Ecuadorian courts. Chevron has in fact won many legal cases in Ecuador, and it was only when they successfully moved the case out of New York and into Ecuador that they then began spending millions of dollars to denigrate our legal system. This is a private civil dispute between poor indigenous people of the Amazon and the mighty Chevron. The Government’s sole involvement in this matter is and always has been to make sure that the parties’ legal rights are respected and that they receive equitable treatment by the justice system. The Government at all times has encouraged respect for the law and respect for duly rendered judicial decisions. The Government is not and has never been a party to this litigation.
Yesterday’s ruling by the New York Court found: “As a matter of clarification, with respect to the documents for which the attorney-client privilege was upheld, I find that none of those documents were ‘in furtherance’ of any crime or fraud, either the crimes for frauds previously identified by Judge Kaplan or those that Chevron has more recently alleged. Pursuant to Rule 502(d) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the disclosure of documents addressed in the October 13 order shall not constitute a waiver of privilege in any other state or federal proceeding.”
The Embassy of Ecuador in the United States stresses that the verifiable and significant advances made by the country in the area of money laundering and terrorism financing must be taken into account by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The Embassy also questions why Ecuador is listed among countries that are not making sufficient efforts in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Actually, Ecuador has undertaking undeniable efforts and has used diverse resources in the fight against both. It has undertaken administrative, judicial, legislative and operational measures in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism; among these, an emphasis on diverse measures which regulate the activities of financial institutions, private insurance companies, brokerage firms, and fund administration companies, among others. Also, there have been several convictions for the crime of money laundering and regulations have been put in place to better examine irregular money transfers for commercial transactions.
For example, this past October 13, the National Assembly unanimously approved the new Organic Integral Criminal Code (Código Orgánico Integral Penal – COIP), which defines the crimes of money laundering and financing of terrorism as established in International Treaties signed by Ecuador. This set of laws also upholds the recommendations made by GAFI/GAFISUD.
The Organic Integral Criminal Code contains important changes to the criminal law, criminal procedural law, and the enforcement of sentences. Some of the most important changes concerning these crimes include: greater sanctions for the crime of money laundering, the confiscation of property and assets that have been laundered or used to finance terrorism, injunctions or precautionary measures for the freezing of funds and assets related to individuals, groups or entities appearing on United Nations lists, among others.
This new regulatory framework reinforces the mechanisms for combating these crimes by strengthening the State’s capabilities in this matter. All these measures reaffirm the commitment of the Ecuadorian State in matters of security, particularly in the fight against transnational organized crime. The details of these matters have been sent to the proper authorities in the United States, specifically the Department of the Treasury and the National Security Council, which advises President Obama on these matters.
The Embassy of Ecuador trusts that all efforts undertaken by Ecuador will be considered in a positive manner during the GAFI plenary session that meets in Paris this week, during Ecuadorian delegates will be in attendance.
Facebook and Twitter campaign will showcase Ecuadorians across the US who are making a positive impact in their communities
Rostros de Ecuador is an initiative by the Embassy of Ecuador in the United States to showcase the many and varied contributions of Ecuadorians in this country. Through Facebook and Twitter, this campaign will highlight Ecuadorians across the U.S. who are making a positive impact in their communities.
From small business owners to celebrated innovators, award winning celebrities to students excelling in Ivy League universities, and from policy advocates to community leaders, these pages will provide a platform to recognize amazing accomplishments by Ecuadorians across the U.S..
This campaign seeks to engage Ecuadorian-Americans across the U.S. through social media and serve as a platform to support their interests. In addition, the social media pages will also promote cultural events and news of interest to the Ecuadorian community in the United States.