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Bechtel Active in Ecuador

March 16, 2006

Patricia Jones, manager of UUSC’s Environmental Justice Program, writes from Mexico City, where the Fourth World Water Forum is taking place.

Cesar Cardenas, of the Movimiento Mi Cometa in Ecuador, a community-based organization working on health issues for children, presented a case yesterday in the Suez Speakout sponsored by La Red Vida (Life Network), a coalition of 64 grassroots organizations from the Americas working in defense of water.

Bechtel Corp., holds a concession contract in Quito, Ecuador, which has provided substandard water. One child has died of complications from poisioning, many are very ill. Cesar delivered documents to the Latin American Water Tribunal with the hope that at its next meeting, the tribunal will hear Ecuador´s case.

The committee is pursuing legal cases locally for the people who have been poisoned. Bechtel is aggressively pursuing privitization in two other major cities. Bechtel, a U.S. corporation, recently settled a dispute in Bolivia where it did not perform its contractual obligations. It seems Bechtel´s business practices have not improved. Our eyes and pressure are needed on this case to ensure that Ecuadoran human rights are being protected.

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