Venezuela claims that Exxon lawsuit seeks its "ruin"
Venezuela's defense team against Icsid claimed, "The fact that the plaintiffs are well-known US companies, but they have managed to manipulate the international arbitration system by pretending to be Dutch companies, enervates the trust that we may feel towards international arbitration"
And, according to the book "About Venezuela's claim before Icsid," written by former justice Hildegard Rondón de Sansó, the Republic argued in February of this year before the arbitration court that compensation for nationalization "cannot be disproportionate, as in the case in question, wherein the unfathomable sum of USD 17 billion is sought in just this single arbitration dispute." Reference is made to other claims filed previously by Exxon before other arbitration instances for nationalization of the Cerro Negro and La Ceiba projects in the Orinoco Oil Belt.
Venezuela's arguments, compiled by Rondón de Sansó, stress that the claimant goes "as far as seeking multiple and simultaneous injunctions (...) aimed at destroying our national hydrocarbons company and the economy of the country."
In this connection, the defense emphasizes, "It is necessary to remember who the plaintiff is as Exxon is the most powerful company in the world and has sought payment of amounts that, if agreed, would lead us to ruin," adding that "it was one of the two companies filing claims (against Venezuela) regarding nationalization."
Also, the defense expressed before Icsid, "A decision by this Court upholding the exorbitant and unfounded claim of the plaintiff, who intends to benefit from resources for over 23 years as if it owned the land and its reserves, would jeopardize the future of our children."
Despite those initial USD 17 billion, in October 2010 Exxon's claim before Icsid regarding Cerro Negro and La Ceiba was lowered to USD 7 billion. Nevertheless, in September 2011, the Mining and Petroleum Minister Rafael Ramírez said, "Our proposal is (to pay) USD 1 billion for its assets," without contemplating any further negotiation.
Venezuela's defense before Icsid is that "the fact that the plaintiffs are well-known US companies, but they have managed to manipulate the international arbitration system by pretending to be Dutch companies, enervates the trust that we may feel towards international arbitration."
The defendant has also told the Court, "It is incomprehensible that the plaintiffs could make claims that the court itself had dismissed because it lacked jurisdiction in July 2010."
In addition, it claimed that "after the decision rendered by the International Chamber of Commerce in December 2011, setting compensation for Cerro Negro, there is no reason for the plaintiffs to continue to lodge claims for the same issue for exorbitant sums way above the amount determined by them, according to formulas agreed upon 15 years ago."
For Venezuela, "sovereignty cannot be decided by international courts."
Translated by Félix Rojas Alva
Luis Jiménez Alfaro seems to have hidden under the rocks. The last time he was seen was on April 2006 walking calmly around Simón Bolívar International Airport of Maiquetía, located nearby Caracas. At that time, more than five tons of cocaine arrived in Mexico in an airplane which took off from Venezuela, and his name featured as a missing piece of the puzzle of one of the most massive drug shipments that has been witnessed in the Western Hemisphere.