Attorney Pablo Fajardo is joined by indigenous leaders and others representatives of the Union of People Affected by Texaco at a press conference in Quito, Ecuador, on July 11, 2018. Photo: Texaco Toxico

Chevron told to pay $9.5 billion judgment to indigenous communities

The highest court in Ecuador has upheld a $9.5 billion judgment against energy giant Chevron for polluting indigenous communities.

The plaintiffs in the long-running case declared victory after the ruling on Tuesday. But there is little chance they will be able to collect any money, since Chevron has refused to pay, and courts in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and other nations have refused to enforce the judgement.

Still, indigenous leaders and activists who have sought to hold Chevron accountable for decades of pollution are celebrating. According to teleSUR, 15.8 billion gallons of oil waste and 28.5 million gallons of crude were left behind by Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001.

"Justice is finally done!" the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana wrote in a post on Twitter.

In a related development, the American attorney who represented the indigenous and other plaintiffs has been suspended from practicing law in New York. Steven Donziger said Chevron is trying to ruin his career.

"The entire case was designed to retaliate against me for my role in holding the company accountable for the deliberate dumping of billions of gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador -- dumping which decimated Indigenous peoples and created an environmental catastrophe that continues to cause grave harm to vulnerable communities in the Amazon rainforest," Donziger said in a statement on Tuesday, when the decision by the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 1st Department was issued.

In a statement to Reuters, Chevron said it "will continue to work through international courts to expose and hold accountable those responsible for the judicial fraud and extortion against Chevron in Ecuador."

Read More on the Story:
Top Ecuador Court Upholds $9 Billion Ruling Against Chevron (Reuters July 11, 2018)
Top Ecuador court upholds $9 billion ruling against Chevron (The Associated Press July 11, 2018)
Ecuador's Constitutional Court Rules Against Chevron, in Favor of Indigenous Communities (teleSUR July 10, 2018)
Court Suspends Lawyer Who Won Ecuador Oil Case Against Chevron (teleSUR July 10, 2018)
New York appeals court suspends lawyer who sued Chevron over Ecuador claims (Reuters July 10, 2018)

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