Posts Tagged ‘Chevron’

Ecuador: Maybe Mia ought to meet Vaca

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Mia Farrow’s turned her gaze to Ecuador, and tweeted,

Jack Fowler has the real story,

The suit against Chevron seeking nearly $20 billion has been quarterbacked by notorious U.S. trial lawyer Steven Donziger, funded by liberal hedge funds and lobbying firms, publicized by outrageous media bias (led by CBS’s 60 Minutes), made a cause célèbre by the usual suspects (Mia, Sting, Danny Glover, Cher, and Daryl Hannah), and legally aided through the Ecuadoran courts by corrupt bureaucrats and bought-off judges (all of whom have come to admit such).

It’s hard to generate compassion for an Oil Giant, but the degree of misconduct, conspiracy, and foulness concocted against Chevron has been so severe, so bald, so criminal, that eight U.S federal courts have found the case against Chevron to have involved fraud.

The wheels are coming off the bus: Mr. Donziger, the defendant in a recent RICO trial, now awaits a verdict from one of those courts.

Mia and her celebrity friends may try taking a look at Ecuadorian freedom of expression organization denounces government harassment, fears dissolution 

Ecuador’s National Secretariat for Communications (SECOM) has placed the freedom of expression organization Fundamedios under its administrative control. The organization believes this action seeks to harass them and fears it could lead to its dissolution.

A case to watch is that of former Ecuadorean police commander Edgar Vaca, who is accused of human rights abuses. Vaca is one of the authors of TERRORISMO Y SUBVERSIÓN: La verdad que no se ha dicho, which has been denied publication as a book by the Correa administration.


The “I swear it by Louis Vuitton” Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 13th, 2014

LatinAmerThe week’s big news in Latin America was the terrible murder of Mónica Spear and ex-husband Henry Thomas Berry in Venezuela.

However, I dedicate this week’s Carnival to the best-named style blog Te lo juro por Louis Vuitton (I swear it by Louis Vuitton), which comes from Argentina.

ARGENTINA
Comodidad

Latin American rivers among most polluted in the world, says new study
Experts are warning of a possible public health and environmental crisis after it was revealed that rivers in Latin America are some of the most polluted in the world

US Supreme Court to Hear Appeal In Argentina Case
Argentina seeks to stop Elliott Management unit from obtaining records on accounts maintained by officials, including President Kirchner

The court, in a brief written order, agreed to hear an appeal by Argentina seeking to stop Elliott Management Corp.’s NML Capital Ltd. from obtaining records on accounts maintained by Argentina and leading public officials, including its president, Cristina Kirchner.

BAHAMAS
$100M lawsuit over Bahamas chopper crash refiled

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Uses G77 Post to Put Coca Legalization on International Agenda

BRAZIL
Gunmen kill Brazil church’s pastor
Police in Brazil say two gunmen killed an evangelical pastor by shooting him at his church in the city of Belo Horizonte.

Brazil Forging Economic Ties With Cuba, While Hiring Its Doctors

Brazilian College Student Auctions Off Her Virginity AGAIN, h/t Instapundit

CHILE
Chile forest fires spark health alert as smoke spreads
The Chilean government has declared a health alert in four of the country’s 15 regions as smoke from dozens of forest fires spreads

Chilean fishermen win court backing
Chile’s Supreme Court sides with fishing groups and orders the operator of two coal power plants to ensure they do not pollute or kill marine life.

Spain’s Crown Prince Honors Indigenous Latin America Moviemakers

COLOMBIA
Colombia once again ranked happiest country in the world: survey

CUBA
WARNING
: Very gruesome photos Atrocity in Cuba: revisiting the horrors of Mazorra

Mysterious Death of Young American in Cuba

Spreading Use of Internet Tools in Cuba, Other Repressive Lands is Essential for Freedom

Cuban rights group counts more than 6,400 political arrests in 2013

ECUADOR
El Comercio: Enlace ciudadano 356, desde Babahoyo, provincia de Los Ríos

Read the Overwhelming Evidence of Fraud, Extortion and Other Misconduct

During a six-week federal trial in New York, Chevron introduced overwhelming evidence of fraud, extortion and other misconduct as part of a civil lawsuit against Steven Donziger and his associates.

Read a comprehensive summary of Chevron’s claims and supporting evidence against Steven Donziger and his associates in the company’s post-trial brief here.

HONDURAS
World Bank Is Criticized for Honduran Loan
The bank’s ombudsman delivered a stinging review of a loan to a palm-oil company engaged in a violent conflict with poor farm workers over land in Honduras.

LATIN AMERICA
‘Moderate’ Iran maintains terrorist cells in Latin America.

MEXICO
Los caballeros templarios: Executive Slaying Sparks New Fears
The death of a top ArcelorMittal executive, believed to be the work of a powerful drug cartel, raises concerns about foreign companies operating in Mexico.

Vanished
In 2011, Israel Arenas Durán disappeared in northern Mexico. Why can’t the government find him — and the thousands of others who’ve gone missing in the country’s drug war?

Deep-water drilling is a test for Mexican oil company Pemex

PANAMA
As Costs Soar, Who Will Pay For The Panama Canal’s Expansion?

Panama named best place in the world to retire
That’s where retirees will get the most bang for their buck, and be able to bask in the sun and warm weather every day. Plus, a new program makes it easy to establish residence in Panama. Also on the list of top places to retire are Ecuador, Malaysia and Costa Rica.
I don’t know about Malaysia, but Ecuador would not be on my list. The Huffpo has a 5-part series: Is Panama Truly a Retirement Haven?

PARAGUAY
Paraguay, world’s second largest producer of marijuana will not legalize

PERU
Vigilantes whip ‘prostitutes’ in Peruvian nightclub attack
In disturbing scenes, members of a local vigilante group in Peru storm a nightclub, whipping and shoving dozens of female employees

PUERTO RICO
In Puerto Rico, ditching sun and sand for a day in the caves

TURKS & CAICOS
Michael Misick, Former Turks and Caicos leader extradited from Brazil under U.S. escort, spends first night in prison on corruption charges.

URUGUAY
8 reasons Uruguay’s not all that
Media have hyped up the tiny South American country that just legalized weed. Sorry for the buzz kill, but …

VENEZUELA
Hundreds protest over murdered Miss Venezuela
Hundreds took to the streets of Caracas to demand the government protect its citizens from callous killers, following the murder of a former Miss Venezuela and her British ex-husband

Violence in Venezuela
Crime and impunity

Cubazuela Aims to Annex Puerto Rico

The week’s posts:
Puerto Rico: 6.4 earthquake

Mexico: “Shame and Name”, Blacklisting for taxes

Colombia: When El Dorado is the gateway to freedom

Cuba: Dementor sighting at an art gallery

Venezuela: Aftermath of the Spears murder

Chile: Somebody didn’t read the instructions for the #CauCau bridge

Panama: no deal on Canal overruns

En español: Terapia intensiva 190

Libre’s initiative

Chile: Palestinian shirts making a statement

Uruguay: What not to wear

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Venezuela: Killing beauty


Ecuador’s poor investment climate

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

James M. Roberts writes about how the Chevron Trial Illustrates Poor Investment Climate of Ecuador:

Ecuador has one of the lowest rankings in the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, published jointly by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal; the country’s score has dropped steadily over the past two decades. Why? Independent measurements of its poor investment climate and weak rule of law explain in large part Ecuador’s downgrade to “repressed” status. As the Index notes, the judicial system remains vulnerable to political interference, with corruption further exacerbating institutional shortcomings.

It’s not going to improve, either.

Related: Blame Canada! Ecuadorians Win Right to Pursue Chevron North of the Border

The Communist Venezuela Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 9th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentines teach tango inside mental hospital

BRAZIL
Turning Good Economic Luck into Bad

CHILE
Chile Presidential Candidates Square off in Debate

COLOMBIA
Five points on President Obama’s meeting with Colombia’s President Santos

The stateless Colombia

COSTA RICA
POLL NUMBERS!!! Three way race in Costa Rica

CUBA
Cuba: Castro State Security releases dissident leader Berta Soler after arrest at airport

Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro: A Relationship Built On Mutual Admiration

Communist vandals attack home of former Cuban prisoner of conscience Librado Linares

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti and the Dominican Republic
A storm in Hispaniola
And no agreement as to how many have been cut off from citizenship

ECUADOR
A Possible Overture From Ecuador in the Chevron Pollution Mess

GUATEMALA
Was it 7 or 8? A Little Miscommunication Among Friends.

JAMAICA
Reggae Wine From Indiana To Be Launched In Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Latin American, Caribbean dilemma: Many entrepreneurs, but little innovation

MEXICO
Nuclear Terrorist Threat Looms On Our Southern Border

Truck with dangerous radioactive material ‘stolen in Mexico’

O’Grady: Mexico Nears an Energy Breakthrough
A proposed change to the nation’s law could free private capital to develop the country’s vast oil and gas reserves.

At the burned-out unit (in Spanish): former governor of Tamaulipas Tomás Yarrington, who not only is being accused of money laundering and fraud by both the Mexican and US governments, he allegedly played the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas and the Beltrán Leyva cartel against each other.

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua shootout raises specter of guerrillas

PANAMA
101 Years After Its Birth, The Panama Canal Is On The Verge Of Creating A Huge New Opportunity For US Exporters

PUERTO RICO
Is Puerto Rico Too Big To Fail?

Puerto Ricans fleeing debt battle
Tax increases, pension cuts and a fall in jobs are part of the strategy to save Puerto Rico from another rating downgrade

URUGUAY
Uruguay opposition demands marijuana referendum
Last minute opposition to Uruguay’s plans to legalise sale and consumption of marijuana

VENEZUELA
Electoral coverage by VN&V

Venezuela headed for chaos

VENEZUELA GOES INTO THE CAR BUSINESS

The week’s posts:
Venezuela municipal elections results

Mexico: Congress to vote on bill ending PEMEX monopoly

Extortion from the state and from the cartels: Mexico: The border-crossing “tax”

Mexico: 6 detained on cobalt-60 case

Brazil: Corinthians Arena to be ready by April

Today’s Louis Renault moment

Mexico: The cobalt-60 case

Argentina: #Córdoba police strike linked to prostitution; 140 brothels’ worth.

Venezuela: Al-Jazeera op-ed in denial

Mexico: AMLO has a heart attack, and other news

The most corrupt countries in the world

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Cuba’s foreign prisoners

This week’s podcast: Medical tourism in Latin America plus other issues this week


Ecuador: How China took control of Ecuador’s oil

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Remember how Correa made the country default on its debt “because he could”? Well, here’s the price:
How China took control of Ecuador’s oil

Shunned by most lenders since a $3.2 billion debt default in 2008, Ecuador now relies heavily on Chinese funds, which are expected to cover 61 percent of the government’s $6.2 billion in financing needs this year. In return, China can claim as much as 90 percent of Ecuador’s oil shipments in coming years, a rare feat in today’s diversified oil market.

After 2009, terms changed in new Chinese loans, documents show. A 2010 deal for another $1 billion credit line from China Development Bank cut the premium that PetroChina would pay for Ecuador’s oil, and granted PetroChina approval to resell the crude in any market.

In early 2011, Ecuador got another $1 billion loan, and authorized PetroChina to collect money from any other companies that owed PetroEcuador if Ecuador failed to meet repayment terms.

This is close to 11 percent of Ecuador’s gross domestic product.

There’s also the decades-long Chevron lawsuit, which has turned many private companies away from dealing with Ecuador. Last September, Chevron won a major arbitration victory when the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague unanimously ruled that

all such “collective” or “diffuse” forms of environmental relief had been settled and extinguished by the 1995 settlement agreement between Ecuador and Texaco. Accordingly, they reasoned, even if individual third parties were later given standing to seek such relief, they had, by that time, no rights left to assert. The only party that possessed such rights in 1995 — the government — had settled all those claims.

Today is the last day of the Chevron racketeering suit against Steven Donziger.

But back to the report on China,

Chinese firms serve as middleman in most of the Ecuadorean oil sales, while keeping a strategic option to divert barrels to China if needed. As China’s trade grows in the region, U.S. relations have soured with Venezuela and Ecuador, whose leaders are outspoken U.S. critics.

The US needs to become totally independent of foreign oil, right now. Until it does, all foreign policy is at someone else’s mercy.


Ecuador: Blackmailing a judge to rule against Chevron

Friday, November 15th, 2013

The latest on the NY Chevron vs Donziger trial: Steven Donziger blackmailed German Yanez, one of the six judges of the Lago Agrio trial, over a possible sexual harassment charge.
Sex and Blackmail Now on the Docket in Chevron Pollution Case

By means of its civil-racketeering suit, Chevron has obtained from Donziger voluminous notes that the New York-based plaintiffs’ attorney kept about his adventures in Ecuador. This quasi-diary, in which Donziger muses about his methods and his ambitions—often in brutally frank terms—has become part of the court record. So have numerous e-mails Donziger exchanged with his colleagues. Kaplan has demonstrated in his pretrial rulings and comments from the bench that he’s intimately familiar with the record. The Donziger diary and e-mails contain references to the plaintiffs’ legal team drafting a formal complaint in 2006 accusing the Ecuadorian judge at that time of sexually harassing women at the courthouse in Lago Agrio, an oil town in the rain forest. According to these once-private communications, Donziger’s team quietly informed the judge that if he did not make a crucial procedural ruling the plaintiffs were seeking, the harassment complaint would be filed.

“Pablo met with the judge today,” Donziger wrote in an e-mail he sent on July 26, 2006, to another attorney in the U.S. “The judge, who is on his heels from the charges of trading jobs for sex in the court, said he is going to accept our request to withdraw the rest of the inspections.” The Ecuadorian judge “wants to forestall the filing of a complaint against him by us, which we have prepared but not yet filed,” Donziger added.

Chevron contends that Donziger also bribed the first judge who heard the case in Ecuador, Alberto Guerra, to collude on the fix with judge Zambrano, who ghostwrote the judgment: Chevron’s Ecuadorean Foes Hit With Double-Whammy.

Ecuador: Court halves Chevron judgement

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

While the court in NYC listens how the plaintiff’s attorney lied and defrauded to obtain the $19billion judgement, Ecuador’s highest court affirmed an environmental verdict against Chevron Corp. but cut the judgment against the oil giant in half to $9.5 billion:

The judgment “is as illegitimate and unenforceable today as it was when it was issued two years ago,” Chevron said. The oil company says that the Ecuadorian plaintiffs and their lawyers used fraudulent means to influence the judgment, including secretly writing an opinion presented by a court-appointed expert and agreeing to pay off a judge.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that

Chevron has never operated in Ecuador. It inherited the lawsuit with its 2001 acquisition of Texaco Inc.

The NY trial continues.

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 11th, 2013

LatinAmerThe week’s must-read? This: Documents show depth of U.S. concern over Mexico violence. As I’ve been saying for nearly a decade, border security is national security.

ARGENTINA
Argentina’s Fading Diva

Junk bond news: Specialist in Long Shots Bets on Argentina
David Martinez, head of a hedge fund that specializes in distressed debt, has made an unusual call: Invest in Argentina.

“You can see light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr. Mariscal said, “but you don’t know if it’s the train coming towards you.”

BOLIVIA
Skulls said to have miraculous qualities at the center of annual festival in Bolivia

BRAZIL
Before Global Games, Rio Is Fighting to Dim Red Light. Good luck with that.

Brazil’s oil industry
Bustista
Eike Batista’s oil firm files for bankruptcy protection

CHILE
Chile’s presidential election
Cruising back to La Moneda
A more left-wing Michelle Bachelet is set to win on a tide of social discontent

COLOMBIA
In pictures: Beyond El Dorado at the British Museum

Filling the FARC-Shaped Void

No pause in FARC peace talks for elections

CUBA
Michael Totten is Home From Cuba,

That is one truly strange place. It’s right there alongside Libya under Moammar Qaddafi in the bizarro department. I’m glad I went, but I’m even more glad to be out of there.

US hijacker William Potts returns from Cuba
An American man who hijacked a plane in 1984 and forced it to fly to Cuba has returned to the US.

ECUADOR
Indigenous peoples
Death in the Amazon

Attempt to Rehabilitate Chevron Judge Gets Very Weird

Chevron’s lead lawyer, Randy Mastro, had some success this week showing that [Ecuadorian judge Nicolas] Zambrano doesn’t seem to know very much about the record-breaking decision he supposedly rendered. When asked, the former Ecuadorian judge couldn’t name key elements of the ruling, such as the most powerful carcinogenic substance it cited or a crucial scientific study purporting to link oil contamination to human illnesses. He also struggled to explain how he was able to deploy French, American, and Australian case law in the ruling, since, as he conceded, he does not speak or read French or English.

The Chevron RICO trial grinds on

Phila. lawyer tells how Ecuador case against Chevron unraveled

GRENADA
An Army Ranger Gives an on Ground Account of the War in Grenada

GUYANA
The US Treasury as the Birthright of All Mankind

JAMAICA
BBC criticised over Jamaica Inn filming in Kirkby Lonsdale

LATIN AMERICA
From Brookings: The Upcoming Electoral Cycle in Latin America in the Midst of Social Unrest: What Lies Ahead?

MEXICO
Tunnel for Smuggling Found Under U.S.-Mexico Border; Tons of Drugs Seized
The sophisticated underground passageway featured electricity, ventilation and an electronic rail system and took about a year to build, officials said.

Documents show depth of U.S. concern over Mexico violence

NICARAGUA
Sandinista Constitutional reforms will institutionalize first lady’s precepts of ‘Christian, socialist and solidarity’ via Boz

  • Increases government control over radio, television, telephone and internet services, including requirements for local control and data storage.
  • Institutionalizes various FSLN organizations into the government and constitution, further merging the government and party (which would have serious repercussions if the FSLN did lose an election some day in the future, in that the party would still retain control over aspects of government).

PANAMA
Panama Canal’s LNG Surprise to Redefine Trade in Fuel: Freight

LNG carriers will cross the 48-mile waterway 350 times a year, and voyages to Asia from the U.S. will cost 24 percent less than longer routes, according to calculations from the canal authority. The expected 12 million tons, assuming half the transits are hauling cargoes, would be equal to about 5 percent of the world’s trade in 2012, Fearnley Consultants AS estimates.

The U.S., now the world’s largest producer of natural gas because of the extraction of fuel from shale rocks, will account for much of that traffic as it becomes the third-largest exporter of LNG by 2020, Morgan Stanley estimates. With American energy independence now at a 27-year high of 86 percent, the route will boost exports to Japan, offsetting nuclear-power generation lost after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay says can be launch pad for Israeli technology in Latin America
With a favorable tax system, stable business environment, Paraguay could be key to providing Israeli innovators with access to broader Latin markets, says Paraguayan minister.

PERU
Peru’s central bank sees gloomier economic growth

PUERTO RICO
De Blasio, in Puerto Rico, Finds Relaxation and Fellow Red Sox Fans

On Vacation, With Politics
Mayor-elect de Blasio Attends Somos El Futuro Conference in Puerto Rico

Is Puerto Rico the next Greece? Nest eggs could suffer

La Mallorquina, open since 1848, closed:

My grandparents used to take the family (of 12!) to eat there in the 1920s and ’30s.

SURINAME
Suriname leader’s son on terror charges
The son of Suriname’s president is charged by the United States with attempting to provide material support to the Shia militant group Hezbollah.

VENEZUELA
Desperation News and Views

Miami Herald reporter held for second night in Venezuela while covering economic crisis; he was released on Saturday and is back in the USA.

Real life: Venezuela’s Maduro orders military occupation… of electronics stores

John Hinderaker watches the pageants and posts lots of pictures: MISS UNIVERSE: A FINAL PREVIEW [UPDATED WITH RESULTS]

The week’s posts and podcast:
Chile: Left turn coming up

Venezuela burns down Mexican plane

Obama makes campaign stop, meets Coco & Berta

Venezuela: Entire medical system collapsing

Chile: Neruda wasn’t poisoned

Venezuela: ADS in the slums

Latin America: Mexico and the Expanding Hemispheric Crime and Terror Crises

Colombia: Things are about to get worse

Mexico: Templars, Inc.

Cuba: The FARC rides the yacht

Podcast:
With Jerry Brewer on Silvio Canto’s podcast


The day-before-election-day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 4th, 2013

LatinAmerTomorrow is election day; if you live in Princeton, NJ, please vote for me.

ARGENTINA
Argentina opposition gains ground in vote
President Kirchner’s party loses seats in four largest districts with 72 percent of votes counted in mid-term elections.

Argentina’s mid-term election
Cristina’s come-uppance
President Fernández should build bridges to her opponents—or risk leaving office early

Argentina’s wealth gap
Barbarians at the gate
The capital’s exclusive closed neighbourhoods face a heavy new tax
Related: Visits to MIAMI Properties Soar in September, Venezuela Tops Lists of Countries Searching Miami Properties

Following Venezuela were Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Lithuania, France, Italy, Spain and the Philippines, eight of which also made the top ten list last year.

BRAZIL
The second beheading this year: Former Brazilian footballer’s head left on his doorstep

Beheadings raise concerns of violence in Brazil

CHILE
Tortured Chilean wins compensation
An 80-year-old exile wins compensation from the Chilean state over torture he suffered 40 years ago under General Pinochet, in a landmark legal battle.

Is This The End Of The Chilean Economic Miracle?

COLOMBIA
How are those negotiations with the FARC going? Rebels in Colombia Hit Energy Sector Hard in ‘Black October’
Colombia’s energy sector, the main driver of its economy, is limping away from “Black October,” a term coined by Marxist rebels who set forth on a month-long blitzkrieg, attacking oil pipelines, coal trains, electricity plants and transmission towers.

Colombian rebel group FARC free US hostage
Kevin Scott Sutay, the former US soldier who wandered in to territory of Colombian rebels, turned over to Cuban and Norwegian officials four months after being taken hostage

Probably the only time I’ll post on Mr. Bieber: Justin Bieber shows Colombia´s police force is for rich and famous?

No zombies allowed: Colombian University Bars Halloween Celebrations (video in Spanish)

COSTA RICA
Condé Nast Traveler ranks 9 Costa Rican resorts in top 15 in all of Central and South America

Four Rising Global Art Collectors Discuss Their Collections
Top buyers from Italy, Thailand, France and Costa Rica are part of a new emerging class of collectors

CUBA
Cuba shuts down private cinemas
Cuban authorities order the immediate closure of privately-run cinemas and video-game salons, saying they were never authorised.

Over 900 Political Arrests in October

ECUADOR
Chevron Vindicated As Evidence Points To ‘Green Fraud’ By Environmentalists

Chevron v. Donziger: The Lawyer Who Walked Away

The Cubanization of Ecuador

GUATEMALA
Day of the dead celebrated with giant kites in Guatemala – video

HONDURAS
Honduras General Denies Involvement In Brutal Death Squads

JAMAICA
Police: Operation Resilience seizes record number of illegal firearms

MEXICO
Mexico’s Theology of Oil

PERU
How Gold Is Destroying Peru’s Rainforests

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Economy Forecast to Shrink 0.8% in Fiscal 2014

URUGUAY
Biden Meets with President Mujica of Uruguay, but, did the get the munchies?

VENEZUELA
U.S.-Owned Oil Rigs Seized By Venezuelan Government

Maduro still trying to turn Chavez into Christ

Venezuela Unveils Orwellian Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness
Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, just unveiled the country’s euphemistically-named Deputy Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness—to mockery on Latin America’s blogosphere.

What will Mercosur do about Venezuela’s delayed payments?

The week’s posts:
Brazil: Why bug Dilma?

Brazil: The highflying tastemaker

Mexico: Enrique Krauze on oil reform

Mexico: Tax my chocolate!

Venezuela: The marauding motorcyclists

Argentina: The end for Clarín

Colombia: “Peace is not in Havana”

Mexico: The cartel-induced blackout

Ecuador: Chevron racketeering trial roundup – the corrupt judge

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

WSJ: Key Chevron Witness Testifies In Racketeering Trial

A former Ecuadorean judge testified Wednesday that he was paid $1,000 a month to ghostwrite rulings and “expedite” proceedings in an environmental lawsuit against Chevron Corp. in Ecuador that ultimately resulted in a $19 billion judgment against the oil giant

Reuters: Former Ecuadorean judge testifies to bribery in Chevron case

On the witness stand on Wednesday, the former judge, Alberto Guerra, said he met in 2009 with Donziger and other representatives of the villagers at Honey & Honey, a restaurant in Quito.

Guerra said another lawyer representing the villagers had already agreed to pay him $1,000 a month to ghost-write court orders for the presiding judge, Nicolas Zambrano. Zambrano, who was also being paid, agreed to expedite the case and limit procedural avenues by which Chevron could delay it, Guerra said.

Donziger was fully aware of the arrangement, Guerra said.

“Mr. Donziger thanked me for the work that I was going to do,” Guerra said of the restaurant meeting.

Bloomberg: Ecuador Judge Testifies to Taking Bribes in Chevron SuitBusiness Week: Chevron Calls Star Witness: A Bribe-Taking Former Judge

In late 2003, Guerra presided over the initial stages of a lawsuit against Chevron that Donziger engineered on behalf of thousands of rain-forest residents who allege massive harm from oil contamination. Later, supervision of the case shifted to other judges. Guerra testified that he essentially went into business with one of those subsequent judges, ghostwriting interim rulings that generally—although not always—favored Donziger’s clients. Guerra said that he received monthly $1,000 cash payments from Donziger’s legal team in Ecuador.

Guerra also asserted under oath that he and the other judge, Nicolas Zambrano, offered their services to both Chevron and the Donziger team. Chevron turned them down, but Donziger agreed to play ball, according to Guerra.

Bloomberg: Ecuador’s Worn-Out War on Chevron

David Russell, an environmental consultant who formerly served as a witness for Ecuador’s lawyers, testified that his original damage estimate of $6.114 billion stemmed in large part from assumptions that Donzinger instructed him to use. “I came to learn that my cost estimate was wildly inaccurate and had no scientific data to back it up,” Russell noted in written testimony.

Racketeering aside, the case also looks rather weak on its own merits. For starters, Texaco operated as a minority partner under state-owned Petroecuador when the pollution occurred, so it is difficult to argue the damage is all its doing. Through agreements in 1995 and 1998, the Ecuadorian government also freed the company of further liability following a $40 million cleanup. An arbitration panel in The Hague cited the government’s sign-off when it ruled last month that Ecuador’s lawsuit should have never proceeded in the first place.

And Rafael Correa barked at The Economist, who replied,
Oil, Ecuador and The Economist
A volcano erupts
Rafael Correa lambasts us and “the empire of capital”