It is hard for many to take Correa’s environmental protestations seriously. On Oct. 6, Ecuadorian journalist Emilio Palacio asked the obvious question: “After 30 years, how come no one has done anything to clean up that mess?” he said, referring to successive Ecuadorian governments. Ecuador’s “neoliberal governments, we know, didn’t care much about environmental rights. But we now have nearly seven years” of the Citizens’ Revolution, citing Correa’s political coalition. “Why haven’t they done anything to remedy this?” Palacio’s report presented documents purporting to show that, as recently as 2011, years after Texaco had left, Petroecuador continued to dump crude, including into the pool in which Correa dramatically dipped his hand.
Correa’s story line is unraveling overseas as well. Chevron says there is damning evidence that shows Ecuador’s counsel used forged plaintiff signatures and falsified environmental reports, as well as that they attempted to bribe Ecuadorian judges to get their way. (Alberto Guerra, one of the judges in the case, has admitted that he and a second judge permitted the plaintiffs’ lawyers to ghostwrite their legal decision on a promise of $500,000 in the future. The second judge, Nicolas Zambrano, has denied he was ever bribed.)