Published: Tuesday 31 December 1996

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.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.