Ecuador fails to enforce treaty with U.S. ahead of presidential election

As Ecuador prepares to hold its presidential election, a tribunal has ruled that the government violated terms of an investment treaty with the United States by enforcing the terms of a disputed multibillion-dollar environmental judgment against American oil giant Chevron.

The tribunal arbitrating the dispute said the government of Ecuador disobeyed two prior rulings that ordered the “South American government to prevent plaintiffs representing environmentalist groups from enforcing the judgment abroad,” Washington Free Beacon reports.

The panel ruled that Ecuador was in violation of international law and its treaty obligations with the United States.

In 2011, Chevron was ordered by Ecuadorian courts to pay $18.2 billion in environmental damages to remedy the environmental done at the Lago Agrio oil field from by oil company Texaco, which was later acquired by Chevron. Since the judgement, it has been revealed that the plaintiffs had bribed court officials to receive a ruling in their favor.

The latest arbitration panel directed Ecuador to “take all measures at its disposal to suspend or cause to be suspended the enforcement or recognition within and without Ecuador of any judgment against [Chevron] in the Lago Agrio case.”

The now Chevron-owned entity Texaco operated in northeastern Ecuador in a minority partnership with the state-owned oil company Petroecuador from 1964 to 1992. When the contract expired, Texaco left the region and agreed to pay $40 million in environmental damages.