The Embassy of Ecuador has hired the firm of former liberal Congressman Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts to improve bilateral ties with it and the US and to keep on top of Chevron's "communications strategies and lobbying efforts" in both federal Washington and think tanks.

The South American nation and San Ramon, Calif.-based energy giant have been at loggerheads over pollution in the Amazon created by Texaco, which is now part of Chevron.

Delahunt Group's six-month contract calls for it to recommend and then respond to Chevron's initiatives, which may result in coordination with other stakeholders.

The outfit reports to Ecuador Ambassador Nathalie Cely.

Democrat Delahunt had close ties with late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and helped arrange the 2005 export of low-cost fuel from Citgo, which is controlled by Venezuela, to more than 500K poor people in the Bay State and New York City.

Ecuador president Rafael Correa views himself as an heir to Chavez's leftist mantle.

Ketchum also works with Ecuador under a $35K monthly economic development/tourism agreement.