Ecuador: New Defense and Agriculture ministers are appointed
New ministers for Defense and Agriculture are appointed, Chevron’s annual report misleads investors about Ecuador lawsuit and an outbreak of dengue fever hits the coastal provices.
New ministers for Defense and Agriculture
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa announced changes to his cabinet, replacing his defense and agriculture ministers, among other ministerial changes on 18 April.
Correa appointed Miguel Carvajal as Ecuador’s new defense minister and Javier Ponce as agriculture minister. Additionally, Correa announced changes on the Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion (MIES) and Human Talent, among others. The newly appointed ministers will be sworn next week.
Miguel Carvajal, who previously served as the vice minister of agriculture, is replacing Ponce who will in turn move to the Agriculture Ministry after the former chief, Wilfrido Staynley Vera, resigned in February, according to a statement published in the president’s official gazette.
Ponce joined the government in August 2007 as private secretary to Correa, and took up the post of defense minister in 2008.
In November 2011, Correa announced 15 ministerial and high-level designations to his cabinet, marking the biggest change to his government since he took office in 2007. Most new ministers were simply brought in from other ministries.
Chevron’s report misleads investors over Ecuador lawsuit
Chevron’s 2011 annual report misleads shareholders and the financial markets regarding the $18 billion judgment against the company in Ecuador for causing environmental damage, according to a new report published by the Amazon Defense Coalition.
The report was authored by Graham Erion [PDF], a Canadian securities lawyer licensed to practice in New York who is advising the rainforest communities in Ecuador that won the judgment.
“Chevron is simply refusing to disclose the material financial risks it faces over the Ecuador litigation, and in fact appears to be actively trying to hide those risks from its investors and the markets,” said Erion.
The real impact of the potential enforcement of the Ecuador judgment against Chevron’s assets as well as failure to calculate an estimate of the company’s potential loss in the case are some of the points that the report fails to account for, according to Erion.
Texaco initiated operations in Ecuador in 1964 as part of a partnership with state-own oil company Petroecuador, to extract oil f near the border with Colombia. During the subsequent years of exploration and extraction, the water sources were contaminated, in a situation dubbed ‘The Amazon Chernobyl’ by environmental campaigners. Texaco pulled out of the country in 1992 and a lawsuit was filed against the company by lawyers representing indigenous communities in 1993.
In February 2011, an Ecuador trial court found scientific proof of such contamination and filed a lawsuit against Chevron.
Dengue fever epidemic affects Coastal Ecuador
An outbreak of dengue fever, partly due to a long-lasting rain season, has caused seven deaths and 5,140 infected in Ecuador.
The Public Health Ministry said that, 74 of the total were diagnosed as suffering the more serious dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Guayas and the coast of Ecuador are the worst hit provinces with 1,613 people suffering the classic type of this illness in 2012, exceeding the 429 cases reported in the same period of 2011.
According to Health Ministry’s data, there is dengue fever in all 24 Ecuadorian provinces, with 70 percent of the country having environmental conditions that favour the reproduction of the Aedes aegypti, the mosquito carrying the virus.
Authorities repeatedly urge the population to maintain their personal hygiene and good waste management in the cities.
The National Risk Management Secretariat announced that the Government is considering extending the emergency state in winter most-hit provinces, including Guayas.