QUITO – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on the weekend invited U.S. actor Brad Pitt to visit the country’s Amazon region to see the pollution the government attributes to Chevron there.
The Ecuadorian leader announced the invitation during his regular Saturday report in which he said that the oil major, which has been ordered – but is refusing – to pay a $9.5 billion indemnity for environmental and social damage it supposedly caused while operating in the country from 1962 to 1990, is preparing a film with Pitt about an alleged case of fraud against the firm.
The petroleum giant has accused the Ecuadorian government of being behind an alleged conspiracy to defraud it, although the government and the plaintiffs – settlers and Indians living in the Amazon jungle who claim to have been harmed by the pollution – have denied that.
Correa said that the oil firm has financed the publication of a book entitled “The Law of the Jungle” which he says attempts to portray Ecuador as being full of “savages” and “corruption,” and he says that Pitt is going to star in the movie version of that work.
He said he presumes that Pitt has a “social conscience” and has instructed his aides to coordinate a “worldwide campaign” via the social networks to warn the actor that he is being “used” by the U.S. petroleum giant.
But, if Pitt “has any doubt, we invite him to Ecuador so that he himself can put his hands into the (polluted) ponds (and verify) that 30 years after that corrupt and corrupting company left the country, it’s continuing ... to poison our jungle.”