Ecuador: Bringing the Behemoth to Book by Ivan Kashinsky

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Maria Garofalo sits, in tears, in her house in San Carlos. Both Maria and her daughter have cancer. They believe their illness is a direct result of crude oil and toxic waste that were dumped into the local water supply by oil companies. A class action lawsuit was brought against US multinational oil giant Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) by more than 30,000 Ecuadorians. The case has been in the Ecuadorian courts since 2003 and relates to the dumping of billions of gallons of toxic materials into unlined pits and Amazonian rivers. In February 2011 the court ruled that Chevron should pay a fine totalling 9.5 billion USD. However, Chevron has stated that the ruling is 'illegitimate and unenforceable' and has started numerous counter proceedings in US courts. There is some doubt as to whether it will be possible to force Texaco to pay the fine..