How a hostile foreign regime waged propaganda against Chevron

by J Michael Waller / El Tiempo Latino / December 11, 2015.

Many foreign governments target U.S. companies with hostile propaganda for political and financial reasons.

A cache of secret emails among a South American strongman and his inner circle show how even small countries can run propaganda campaigns against some of the largest U.S. corporations. These attacks can be costly to the companies’ reputation and bottom line – and damaging to shareholders.

I was able to inspect hundreds of pages of secret emails among Ecuadoran leader Rafael Correa and the cabinet members, aides, and ambassador to attack Chevron in a decades-old dispute.

The first two of my articles on the subject have been published.

The first one appeared in El Tiempo Latino, the Spanish-language newspaper owned by the Washington Post. An English translation appears in the Amazon Post.

The second was published in February by the American Media Institute.

These articles summarize the Ecuadoran regime’s use of celebrities – some paid, some unpaid – to promote the government line to discredit Chevron. The purpose of the campaign is to support a private lawsuit that would bring billions of dollars in kickbacks to Ecuadoran officials, and to support the Ecuadoran government’s case against Chevron before the World Court.

In the English-language report, I described how “The regime employed public relations firms, lobbyists and celebrities and worked closely with Rolling Stone magazine to advance a ‘Dirty Hand of Chevron’ narrative accusing the oil giant of environmental crimes.”

The campaign enlisted elder luminaries including Danny Glover and Mia Farrow and sought to recruit Cher and Bianca Jagger.

As I reported in Spanish, “The Ecuadoran government did not dispute the authenticity of the emails, and recognizes the existence of the propaganda campaign. In response to questions to the Ecuadorian Attorney General Diego Garcia, Nina Andrea assistant to American Media Institute said that ‘The Republic has devoted only a small fraction of the resources that Chevron has engaged in public relations.’”