Members of Indigenous communities in Ecuador affected by the oil giant Chevron said Wednesday they won’t stop in their fight for the oil company to compensate them for the decades-long environmental damage caused in the Amazon rain forest.
The announcement comes days after the Ecuadorean government was ordered by a U.S. Supreme Court to pay Chevron US$96 million for a breach of contract, based on a bilateral investment treaty signed in 1997, five years after the company left the country.
Ecuador accused Chevron of knowingly causing irreparable environmental damage and terminated their contract in 1992. Meanwhile, the oil company accused the Ecuadorean government of intentionally understating its domestic oil consumption, thereby reducing Chevron's corporate profits.
Current President Rafael Correa has campaigned aggressively against the corporation and has also accused them of spending millions to lobby U.S. lawmakers in order to win a favorable judgment in the case.
Experts have confirmed high rates of childhood leukemia and cancer in the area where Chevron operated. More than 2,000 people are estimated to have died from cancer, and 10,000 are currently at risk of contracting it due to continued exposure to carcinogenic chemicals.
The Union of People Affected by Chevron-Texaco, which represents more than 30,000 people, is demanding compensation of US$9.5 million. Donald Moncayo, one of the people affected, said the legal case against the company is still active in courts in Canada, Brazil and Argentina.