It was in 1993 that
30,000 Ecuadorian Indians
and farmers filed a petition
against Texaco, the multinational oil giant, for having
denigrated their homeland
by way of 17 million gallons
of spilled oil, dumping of 20
billion gallons of toxic production water and the
creation of over 600 open,
unlined, toxic waste sites.
Hearing the us $1.5 billion
lawsuit in the Federal Court
of the southern district of
New York on November 13,
Judge Rakoff rejected the suit
on the basis of the Ecuadorian government's position. The judge stated that
any decision that he might
make could be unenforceable and this would be an
11 open invitation to a political debacle".
But with the change in the Ecuadorian government, the case has developed an interesting turn. The erstwhile government had displayed an indifferent stance to the issue, but the new government has thrown its weight behind the Ecuadorians and this could reverse the judge's decision. Many Indians have been forced to leave their land to make way for Texaco operations.
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