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What can we learn from it?


The oil boom in Ecuador through the 1970s showed a slightly effect on the national economy and pushed Ecuador out of the list of the poorest economies in Latin America. However statistics by the CEPAL ( Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) show that from 1982 onwards, the levels of poverty regressed. Considering the levels of concentration of wealth and income and employment statistics in 1988, the levels of poverty line were at a similar level of that in 1970.[1] Thus, wealth grew for a few years, but it concentrated in only a few hands and left the poorest particularly farmers and indigenous people and the urban sector further behind. This was confirmed by Judith Kimerling when she visited some farmers in the Western region of Ecuador, she described their poverty to be just as badly as some indigenous people, plus their economy which is based on fisheries, livestock and crops, was slowly dying due to contamination.

Although until this day Chevron corporation has refused to pay for reparations, the Lawsuit is the biggest environmental lawsuit, it not only raised awareness for indigenous peoples lifes, but it set a precedent for big Oil Companies who operate in developing countries to follow the same environmental standards they would do in their industrialized homes at the same time it raised many issued of importance to legal scholars around the world.

Furthermore, activists and indigenous people have created movements that will help them protect themselves and their homelands. Also, the government has even implemented a revolutionary constitution where the rights of indigenous people and Nature are protected. Nevertheless President Correas policies had many contradictions, on the one hand his government was praised by their people and the international community for the step forward into environmental consciousness, with the philosophy of Sumak Kausay in 2007 and in 2008 with the passing of a new environmental law in the constitution giving nature and ecosystems rights, but on the other hand his government pursues neo-extractivism, forgetting the environmental disaster from Texaco.

[1] Santos, „La Pobreza en el Ecuador“, 121.