The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CDES) in Ecuador has warned that United States Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Ecuador “seeks to align the country to U.S. influence: that is turn Ecuador into a territory of war, sign an aggressive frere trade agreement, eliminate ‘irritating’ subjects like the Texaco (Chevron) case, and dismantle sovereign regional integration.”
Pence met Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno Thursday morning in the presidential palace and discussed cooperation, the commercial relations, immigration and Venezuela.
In late April, after several attacks by an armed group operating in Ecuador’s northern border, Ecuador signed a security cooperation agreement with the U.S. to fight transnational organized crime and drug trafficking.
Analysts fear cooperation will drag Ecuador into the U.S.-sponsored war on drugs that has been unsuccessful in ending drug mafias while generating more violence in destitute areas.
Ecuador has also taken steps towards a commercial alliance with the U.S. In May, the minister of commerce, Pablo Campana, announced Moreno’s government is seeking to become a member of the Pacific Alliance, reactivate investment and commerce treaties and begin negotiations for a “commercial agreement” with the U.S.
“The priority is to strengthen commercial relations with the U.S. and Mexico to talk about entering the Pacific Alliance,” Campana said back in May.
U.S. ambassador in Ecuador Todd Chapman has said on multiple occasions that Ecuador needs to solve the problem with Chevron “and other U.S. companies” in order to attract investments.
As Pence was arriving in Ecuador, the Constitutional Court was resolving Chevron’s request to reverse the 2013 ruling sentencing the transnational company to pay US$9.5 billion for environmental damage in the Amazon.
On Wednesday the Court resolved the case but did not notify the plaintiffs, Indigenous and Campesino communities affected by Chevron's pollution. According to the court, those involved will be notified within seven working days.
The case against Chevron began in 1993.
Although nothing official has been announced on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's situation, the Associated Press reported that a group of Democrat legislators urged Pence to talk to President Moreno about their concerns over Assange. "WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes around the world," they argued.
Mike Pence announced the U.S. will donate US$1.5 million "to fight corruption and stregthen civil society." This comes as the recently appointed general attorney, under the banner of fighting corruption, has linked former President Rafael Correa to an alleged attempted kidnapping.