Private emails reveal that the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, has spent millions to hire politicians, celebrities, academics and journalists to orchestrate an international public relations campaign against Chevron.
Correa appointed at least $ 6.4 million appropriation lines “for Publicity and Media” by an agency of Brooklyn operated by someone described as his “childhood friend.”
The campaign was carefully coordinated to support the lawsuit lawyer and activist Steven R. Donziger against oil giant. In personal or governmental emails, Correa and his circle provided strategic to attack the California-based company ideas when the lawsuit against Chevron desbarataba in a US federal court. In emails Correa attacked the judge to fail to Donziger fraudulently won its litigation several billion dollars in an Ecuadorian court against the oil.
Emails, examined exclusively by American Media Institute, covering the period between the summer of 2013 and spring of 2014. And arose during a critical period in the campaign of 22 years Donziger to claim billions of dollars by Texaco in collaboration with the state company Petroecuador, contaminating an area of Sucumbios province since 1964.
The Ecuadorian government did not dispute the authenticity of the email, and recognizes the existence of the propaganda campaign. In response to questions to the Ecuadorian Attorney General Diego Garcia, Nina Andrea assistant to American Media Institute said that “The Republic has devoted only a small fraction of the resources that Chevron has engaged in public relations.”
Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001 and ten years later Donziger encountered a reef when a local Ecuadorian judge gave his team $ 19 billion in damages. But this failure, which would have been the second largest payment history on an environmental issue, never materialized.
Evidence that the legal team wrote Donziger failure on behalf of Judge Nicolas Zambrano forced the Ecuadorian judicial system to review the case. Although the National Court reaffirmed the opinion, cut in half leaving it in $ 9.5 billion.
Donziger was the subject of a countersuit by organized crime by Chevron, in which it was revealed that his legal team had bribed Zambrano and had organized a scheme to bribe or neutralize other Ecuadorian judges.
In April 2014, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, a federal court in the civil case presented by Chevron, he ruled that the verdict had been achieved millionaire by fraud. In the 500-page decision, the judge described the case of Donziger as a plan organized crime including extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and forgery, witness tampering and use of sex as a form of extortion scandals.
While the case of Donziger decomposed, the closest circle Correa launched into the load.
In all emails, Correa is responsible for creating topics and discussion points. In a discussion by email on August 14, 2013, Ecuadorian President compared the pollution caused by Chevron in the Lago Agrio region of the province of Socumbíos more known ecological disasters. Through its e-Noticias1, Correa said that what happened in Lago Agrio was 30 times worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 off the coast of Alaska.
“Does anyone know the magnitude of the BP spill in Mexico?” Said Correa. And a few minutes later, he corrected himself: “I meant Gulf of Mexico (USA).” Then someone gave information about the spill from the rig Deepwater Horizon BP in 2010.
Correa, a Marxist economist who took office in 2007, led a team that included the ambassador in Washington at that time Nathalie Cely, Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado Espinel, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patino Aroca and Legal Secretary Alexis Mera. His PR campaign under the slogan “The Dirty Hand Chevron” joined stars like Danny Glover, Mia Farrow and Sharon Stone. Although, in the end, Stone decided not to participate, expressing through his lawyer that never supported the campaign.
Dirty Hand campaign, according to Correa said in an email of 14 October 2013, it would be led by “Maria del Carmen Garay, my friend since childhood.” Garay operated PR agency MCSquared, located at that time in Brooklyn.
Correa’s team also got a story on the cover of Rolling Stone and favorable coverage in academic communication media as a “journal” of Duke University. Correa himself toured the United States in 2014 described as “academic visit” that included meetings with the presidents of Yale, Harvard and MIT.
But Correa’s desire to have influence in the United States goes beyond Hollywood, the media and universities. The emails showed that his team conducted negotiations with two members of the Democratic Party of the state of Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern and former Congressman Bill Delahunt. Delahunt was hired to lobby on behalf of the Ecuadorian government, as part of the anti-Chevron campaign.
Human rights groups have accused Correa of Ecuador’s courts tilted in their favor. Human Rights Watch said the president has appointed a judicial council “consisting almost entirely of former members of his administration” and “ceased to hundreds of judges through more than questionable methods.
Confidential emails that fill nearly 300 pages reveal the interest of Correa to boost anti-American causes and success in attracting supporters to his cause in the United States and other countries.Its President’s budget includes provision for international public relations, so it is likely that Correa keep trying to win the minds and hearts of Americans.
To read the original article on El Tiempo Latino, click here.
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