Big companies < small countries?

MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images This should be easy fodder for the anti-globalization crowd. A lobbyist for oil giant Chevron, which is embroiled in a potentially costly lawsuit with Ecuador over the dumping of toxic oil waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon, is complaining of mistreatment at the hands of the big bad South American nation: “The ultimate ...

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MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

This should be easy fodder for the anti-globalization crowd. A lobbyist for oil giant Chevron, which is embroiled in a potentially costly lawsuit with Ecuador over the dumping of toxic oil waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon, is complaining of mistreatment at the hands of the big bad South American nation:

"The ultimate issue here is Ecuador has mistreated a U.S. company," said one Chevron lobbyist who asked not to be identified talking about the firm's arguments to U.S. officials. "We can't let little countries screw around with big companies like this—companies that have made big investments around the world."

MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

This should be easy fodder for the anti-globalization crowd. A lobbyist for oil giant Chevron, which is embroiled in a potentially costly lawsuit with Ecuador over the dumping of toxic oil waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon, is complaining of mistreatment at the hands of the big bad South American nation:

“The ultimate issue here is Ecuador has mistreated a U.S. company,” said one Chevron lobbyist who asked not to be identified talking about the firm’s arguments to U.S. officials. “We can’t let little countries screw around with big companies like this—companies that have made big investments around the world.”

Chevron is playing hardball, asking the Bush administration to revoke special trade preferences with Ecuador if the case isn’t dismissed. But the plaintiffs have the backing of Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, a Hugo Chávez ally, and two years ago secured the support of one Barack Obama, who wrote a letter arguing that the Ecuadorian peasants pressing the case should have “their day in court.”

If the Bush administration doesn’t act, and Obama wins in November, I wouldn’t bet on Chevron in this rumble in the jungle.

Patrick Fitzgerald is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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