Ecuador's Correa: Obama's exceptionalism talk reminiscent of Nazi rhetoric before WWII
Referring to US President Barack Obama’s statement that
“America is exceptional” because it stands up not only for
its own “narrow self interest, but for the interests of
all," Correa said: “Does not this remind you of the Nazis’
rhetoric before and during World War II? They considered
themselves the chosen race, the superior race, etc. Such words
and ideas pose extreme danger,” President Correa said on RT
Spanish’ Entrevista program.
As for cases of espionage in Latin America and the subsequent criticism from regional leaders, Obama said the US will try to respect the sovereignty of those countries “in cases where it will be possible.”
At the recent UN General Assembly, Brazil launched a blistering attack on US espionage, saying it “is a breach of international law.”
President Correa said the US will keep violating other countries’ sovereignty, but this will eventually change.
“What Plato wrote in his [Socratic] dialogues more than 2,000 years ago is true. Justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger. They are strong, that’s why they will continue lying, violating other states’ sovereignty, and breaching international law. But one day this unjust world will have to change,” Correa said.
When asked about whether the UN headquarters should be moved out of the US, Correa replied “definitely yes.” But, he pointed out that there are other things that carry more importance. For example, the headquarters of the American Convention on Human Rights is located in Washington, yet “the US did not ratify the Pact of San Jose, that is, the American Convention on Human Rights…but the headquarters of the organization is in the US and they finance their activities,” Correa said. “This is outrageous and an example of a relationship the US established with developing countries in the form of subordination.”
'US will not be able to hide the truth about Chevron’s oil disaster’
While responding to questions about Chevron-Texaco’s oil damages in Ecuador, Correa said that the US would not be able to hide the truth - despite having money, power, and hundreds of lawyers by its side. “Chevron has caused irreparable damage to the Ecuadorian jungle,” the president said. “Texaco did nothing to clear the area…At the time, there were cleaner technologies available, but they wanted to save a few bucks, and they destroyed the environment and did not even bother to pay for the damages.”
Correa pointed out that the scale of the disaster in Ecuador is 85 times higher than the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and 18 times higher than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. “But they decided that if it happened in the Amazon region of Ecuador, then there is nothing to worry about.”
The case against Chevron-Texaco has been ongoing for two decades, and stems from the oil company’s operations in the Amazon, which date back to the period between 1972 and 1990.
In February 2011, a judgment by a provincial court in Ecuador produced a multi-billion dollar award against Chevron. However, as the company currently has no holdings in Ecuador, the plaintiffs have instead attempted to force payment in Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.
The $19 billion verdict was the result of a 1993 lawsuit filed in New York federal court by a group of American attorneys – including Steven Donziger - on behalf of 88 residents of the Amazon rainforest. In the intervening period, Texaco was acquired by Chevron in 2001, and plaintiffs re-filed their case in Ecuador in 2003.
For its part, Chevron insists that it was absolved of responsibility for the environmental damages by a 1995 cleanup agreement. The oil company places responsibility for the damages on Petroecuador, Ecuador’s national oil company.
At the end of September, Ecuador’s foreign ministry announced that the US had seemingly denied visas to a delegation that was set to travel to the UN General Assembly in New York to present their case regarding an ongoing dispute against Chevron-Texaco.
According to the ministry’s official announcement, visas for the five Ecuadorian nationals were returned by the US Embassy in Quito “without any explanation.”
The group was to present testimony during a special event at the UN regarding the ecological impact caused by Chevron-Texaco’s oil operations in the Amazon rainforest region of Ecuador, which contaminated two million hectares, according to the country’s government.
You may watch the full video of the interview with President
Correa in Spanish here.