Despite a stalled economy, mass layoffs and surging public debt, Ecuador continues to spend taxpayers’ money on its costly global PR campaign against Chevron.
In 2015 alone, President Rafael Correa’s government sponsored 149 anti-Chevron events – about one every two and a half days – in 18 countries to promote the fraudulent Ecuadorian lawsuit against the company. Authorities also issued 63 press releases attacking Chevron – one every 6 days – and maintained dozens of websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.
Since Correa’s campaign began in September 2013, government and allied anti-Chevron campaigners, including the lawyers behind the Lago Agrio fraud, have staged 648 events in 51 countries, issued 395 press releases and maintained scores of websites and social media accounts. All of this activity is designed to make it appear as though there is global opposition to Chevron and support for the fraudulent lawsuit against the company in Ecuador. Instead, the campaign has been exposed as nothing more than a series of paid-for state-sponsored stunts.
A Costly Spectacle
The anti-Chevron circus has involved virtually all of Ecuador’s diplomatic corps, numerous government ministries and agencies, and scores of employees, ruling party members and social media trolls.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Ecuador hired a U.S.-based PR firm for an unprecedented $6.4 million to carry out the anti-Chevron campaign. And the American Media Institute recently disclosed emails between Ecuador’s leadership who were scheming to hire celebrities such as Danny Glover and Mia Farrow to support the campaign. Both Glover and Farrow traveled to Ecuador in 2014 to participate in a series of media stunts against Chevron at a reported cost of $500,000.
Correa continues to fly in foreign politicians, journalists and celebrities to visit Amazon oil sites and falsely accuse Chevron. In January, he hosted two representatives of the Canadian branch of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. Candice Malcolm, a columnist for the Toronto Sun, criticized the union’s involvement, advising, “Future visitors would be wise to look into Ecuador’s unsavory record, and read the lengthy US court decision, before jumping on the bandwagon and championing this shady cause.”
No matter the press releases issued, events held, websites launched or Twitter-bots enlisted, the anti-Chevron campaign cannot change the truth: There is no evidence to support claims against Chevron in Ecuador, the Ecuadorian judgment has been proven to be fraudulent, and the Republic of Ecuador is responsible for any remaining environmental obligations in the Amazon.