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Rafael Correa kicks off campaign against oil giant Chevron

Ecuador's President seeks a global boycott of Chevron over its refusal to pay up on a £11.8 billion judgement against it

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa launched a campaign this week seeking a global boycott of oil giant Chevron over its refusal to pay up on a £11.8 billion judgement against it.

He visited a jungle waste site, stuck his hand in oil and lifted it for the cameras to publicise his campaign called "Chevron's dirty hands."

Mr Correa met his Argentinian counterpart Cristina Fernandez during a trip to Buenos Aires on Thursday amid concerns that his new campaign against Chevron could harm relations between the countries.

But Ecuador's president said such concerns were unfounded and Ms Fernandez would have acted exactly as he did if she had been Ecuador's leader.

However, hopes of collecting on the £11.8bn judgement by an Ecuadorean court against Chevron for contamination of the Amazon have suffered a setback.

A three-judge UN arbitration panel in The Hague ruled earlier this week that an agreement signed in 1995 by Texaco, which Chevron later purchased, released the oil giant from responsibility from any claims of "collective damage."

But the interim ruling by the permanent court of arbitration left open the possibility that Chevron could be liable for damage incurred by individuals.

Chevron has been fighting in courts on three continents against the 2011 judgment and award for contamination caused by a Texaco-led consortium in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest between 1972 and 1990.

Chevron says it will not pay, maintaining that Texaco addressed environmental problems before Chevron acquired the company in 2001.

Both sides have accused the other of fraud.

Chevron has no assets in Ecuador, so plaintiffs have sought to force payment in Canada, Brazil and Argentina, so far without success.

Chevron lawyer Hewitt Pate claimed that the new ruling "confirmed the fraudulent claims against Chevron should not have been brought in the first place."

But Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino responded that "Chevron continues its campaign of lies" by claiming that the Hague tribunal absolved it of responsibility, which was not the case.

The next arbitration hearing in The Hague will address Chevron's claims that the judgement against it was fraudulently procured.


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