If you’ve been following the dramatic turns of the historic class action environmental lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuador, then you’re aware of Chevron’s aggressive public relations and legal campaign to derail the case. Their latest antic, though, is as morally reprehensible as any I’ve seen.
Chevron is claiming that some of the plaintiffs’ signatures on the document authorizing the class action lawsuit against the company were forged. What’s more, they hired a so-called “expert” to prove it — and then attempted to present this “evidence” to the court in Ecuador to declare the lawsuit null and void.
Seriously, Chevron? Let’s take a step back for a moment and review some of the facts:
You knowingly dumped billions of gallons of toxic oil waste in the middle of pristine Amazon rainforest, endangering the health and livelihoods of thousands of people. For the Indigenous residents, you’ve also threatened their very cultural survival. Then, when these people stand up for themselves and demand you clean up your mess, you perform a sham remediation that amounts to little more than a sprinkling of top soil on your oily mess, get some corrupt government officials to sign off on it (who are now, along with two of your scheming employees, facing a criminal indictment in Ecuador), and call it a day.
So, not getting proper redress from you, these people turn around and file a lawsuit in the U.S., where your company is based. You fight tooth and nail to have the case moved to Ecuador, because you thought you’d win the case. As it turns out, however, because of the mountains of scientific evidence proving your guilt — much of which was collected by you, by the way — you realize you will likely lose the case.
Meanwhile, during the eighteen years that the lawsuit has now been ongoing, people have died of oil-attributed cancers, women have miscarried, children have been born with developmental disabilities…
And now, adding insult to injury, you claim the very victims you have harmed — the very heroes who have endured so much for so long — have lied and faked their fight for justice?!?
Pablo Fajardo, the lead attorney on the case, said a wise thing some years back — he said it’s easier to tell the truth than to fabricate a web of lies. This is certainly advice you could have used, Chevron. Your web of lies is unraveling, and this desperate forgeries scandal you’ve concocted is evidence of that.
To prove that Chevron’s latest made-up controversy is completely bogus, some of the same people whose signatures Chevron claims were forged gathered yesterday at Lago 20, one of the hundreds of toxic oil waste pits abandoned by Chevron (then Texaco), to once again give their consent and — in front of a notary public, video cameras, and press — sign their names.
The company’s response? James Craig, one of Chevron’s human rights hitmen, called the event a “media circus.” Classy.
The case for justice in Ecuador is in its final stage. We’re counting down to a verdict. Last month Ecuadorean judge Nicolas Zambrano declared a close to the evidentiary phase of the trial, paving the way for both sides to present closing arguments and a final ruling in this historic case to finally be issued.
The people of Ecuador need our support, now more than ever. They are standing strong because they recognize that justice in Ecuador will not only benefit them, but will have a rippling effect in the way multinational corporations are held accountable for their crimes. Their fight is our fight.