Practice

Latin America

Our work is deeply rooted in Latin America.

Foley Hoag’s international dispute resolution work began in Latin America with the successful representation of Nicaragua in the landmark case against the U.S. before the International Court of Justice. Since then, our practice has grown and evolved to become a leading defender of Latin American States and State-owned entities in State-State disputes, Investment Arbitration, Commercial Arbitration, and in litigation before U.S. and French courts.

No other firm has represented as many Latin American States in international arbitration, international and domestic litigation, and related matters.

Our roster of clients includes:

  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Nicaragua
  • Dominican Republic
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

We also represent a significant number of Latin American States and State-owned entities in commercial and contract-based arbitration under various arbitration rules and in various economic sectors, including Oil & Gas, Energy, Construction, Infrastructure, Transportation and Telecommunications. 

Over half of our multinational and diverse team includes attorneys fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and trained in various jurisdictions in Latin America, with a comprehensive understanding of both common law and civil law.

Our expertise in Latin America has been recognized globally, in particular:

  • Global Arbitration Review has consistently ranked Foley Hoag among the best firms in International Arbitration, stating:
    • “A port of first call for governmentes facing investment claims.”
    • “The firm has an enviably strong record of defense wins for states facing investment treaty claims” with “especially good results for Latin American states.”
  • In 2020, we were named 2020 Arbitration Practice of the Year by Law 360
    • “…success is something that the firm's international litigation and arbitration practice group has enjoyed quite a few times over the last year.”
  • In 2020, we were named Arbitration Practice of the Year by Jus Mundi
    • “We recognize Foley Hoag’s efforts for female arbitrator nominations. In the last three years, Foley Hoag has nominated women arbitrators 5 out of 10 times, representing a 50% nomination ratio in investment, commercial and investor-state arbitration settings [primarily in Latin American arbitrations].”
  • Latinvex ranks Foley Hoag among its top 5 firms for Latin America in Arbitration on 2022
    • Two of Foley Hoag’s partners ranked among the best attorneys in international arbitration concerning Latin America.
  • Chambers Latin America has consistently ranked Foley Hoag among the best firms
    • “Established international arbitration practice with longstanding experience acting on Latin American mandates.”
  • Legal 500 Latin America has consistently ranked Foley Hoag among the best firms in International Arbitration Areas
    • The firm “has an impressive reputation for representing sovereign states in international arbitration…”
    • “Best in class. The international arbitration team is one of the most complete, professional, result-oriented and customer-management teams.”
  • Chambers Global has ranked Foley Hoag as one of only three firms in its most prestigious Band One for Public International Law in each of the last nine years
    • “Market-leading public international law practice with a wealth of experience in inter-state arbitrations.”

Areas of Focus

Our legal expertise in Latin America includes:
  • State-owned entities in state-state disputes
  • Investment arbitration
  • Commercial arbitration
  • Litigation before U.S. and French courts

Experience

Our attorneys represent or have represented clients in the following disputes in Latin America:

INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT ARBITRATION

  • Philip Morris v. Uruguay. We achieved a groundbreaking victory on behalf of Uruguay in which the Tribunal reaffirmed the state’s legitimate police powers to regulate tobacco products for public safety.  
  • Pac Rim Cayman v. El Salvador. We won another groundbreaking case successfully defending El Salvador’s moratorium on mining activities to protect the environment.
  • Bacilio Amorrortu v. Peru. We achieved a dismissal of claims against Peru in an UNCITRAL arbitration initiated by a former Peruvian citizen and current U.S. national for alleged irregularities in the bidding process for the operation of offshore oil blocks.
  • Italba v. Uruguay. Our attorneys attained a second victory for Uruguay in an ICSID arbitration concerning telecommunications regulation. 
  • Anglo-American v. Venezuela. We successfully represented Venezuela in an ICSID Additional Facility arbitration, in which Anglo-American sought more than US$400 million for the alleged expropriation of a processing facility and other assets in its expired mining concession. 
  • Ritika Mehta et al. v. Uruguay. Our attorneys achieved a third consecutive victory on behalf of Uruguay against a US$4 billion claim by an alleged mining investor.
  • Highbury v. Venezuela. We successfully represented Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration alleging the expropriation of gold and diamond mining concessions and seeking US$633 million in compensation. 
  • APM Terminals Callao S.A. v. Republic of Peru. We represent Peru in this ICSID arbitration with a claim of more than US$75.5 million, arising from a concession contract for the design, construction, financing, maintenance and operation of the Multipurpose North Terminal of the Callao Port Terminal.
  • Quanta Services Netherlands B.V. v. Republic of Peru. We represent Peru in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Quanta under the Peru-Netherlands BIT.
  • Telef├│nica S.A. v. Republic of Peru. We represent Peru in an ICSID arbitration initiated by a Spanish telecommunication company under the Spain-Peru BIT in connection to tax-related measures adopted by the state.
  • Metro de Lima Linea 2 S.A. v. Per├║. We represented Peru in an ICSID arbitration arising from the alleged breach of Public Private Partnership (PPP) concession contract for the construction and operation of Line 2 of the subterranean metro system for the city of Lima. 
  • Sacyr S.A. v. Panama. We represent Panama in a treaty arbitration under the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), relating to the significant expansion of the Panama Canal through the construction of a third lock.
  • Webuild S.p.A. v. Panama. We represented Panama in an arbitration initiated by Salini Impregilo (now WeBuild S.p.A), a member of the consortium which constructed the third lock expanding the Panama Canal.


INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION

  • We represented the Dominican Republic and state-owned entity CDEEE in connection with a longstanding dispute concerning the construction of a US$2 billion thermoelectric generation facility. 
  • We represent the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima in four separate Spanish-language arbitrations arising from disputes relating to concession contracts for the overhaul, construction and maintenance of major toll roads. 
  • We represented three affiliated Nicaraguan companies as Claimants in a Spanish-language ICC arbitration arising from the breach of a share acquisition agreement for a stake in a sugar mill and biomass energy company owned by a Colombian entity.
  • We represented a Nicaraguan agribusiness company as the Claimant in a Spanish-language ICC arbitration arising from the breach of a contract for the management and administration of sugar cane plantations.
  • We represented a European/Latin American construction consortium in a Spanish-language ICC arbitration in Bolivia related to the construction of a water transfer tunnel.
  • We represented a Latin American media company in an ICC arbitration against a Spanish company.
  • We defended the owner of an energy plant in southern Brazil in an ICC arbitration brought against an engineering and construction contractor.


STATE TO STATE

  • Guyana v. Venezuela (Case Concerning the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899). We represent Guyana in a case brought to confirm the international boundary between the two States as determined by an arbitral award whose validity Venezuela has challenged.
  • Nicaragua v. Colombia (Case Concerning Territorial and Maritime Dispute). We successfully represented Nicaragua in this case to delimit maritime boundaries in the western Caribbean Sea. Nicaragua achieved a major victory over Colombia, obtaining access to the full extent of its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, which Colombia sought to cut off at 70 nautical miles, and more than 75% of the waters claimed by both States in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Argentina v. Uruguay (Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the Uruguay River). We successfully represented Uruguay in this proceeding, defending its right to sustainable development through the construction of a paper pulp mill by showing that the mill satisfied the highest environmental standards. The Court rejected Argentina’s request to shut down the plant based on unproven allegations of harm to the river shared by the two States. 
  • Nicaragua v. Costa Rica. (Case Concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean). We advised Nicaragua in the ICJ in a boundary dispute with Costa Rica.
  • Ecuador v. Colombia (Case Concerning Aerial Spraying on the Border). We represented Ecuador to stop Colombia from continuing aerial spraying of toxic herbicides in close proximity to the border, causing serious harm to human health, livestock, crops and the environment in Ecuador.
  • Nicaragua v. Costa Rica. (Case Concerning Construction of a Road on the Costa Rican Side of the San Juan River). We represented Nicaragua, which sued Costa Rica over pollution of the San Juan River resulting from Costa Rica’s road construction and other activities without environmental safeguards near the river.
  • Costa Rica v. Nicaragua. (Case Concerning Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area). Our attorneys defended Nicaragua against charges brought by Costa Rica that Nicaragua’s dredging of the San Juan River and the restoration of a channel to improve navigation caused environmental harm to Costa Rican territory.


BEFORE NATIONAL COURTS

  • We advised Peru in the extradition of former President Alejandro Toledo for charges of bribery and money laundering resulting from the Odebrecht bribery scheme.
  • We represented the Consulate of Peru in New York and the former Consul General in New York in a labor dispute before the Southern District of New York, and an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • We represented a Salvadoran construction company in various litigations before U.S. federal courts against the project owner and project engineer, relating to breaches of a construction contract.
  • We successfully represented Venezuela against Canadian mining company Rusoro before the Paris Court of Appeal, obtaining the partial set-aside of a US$1.3 billion ICSID Additional Facility award. 
  • We represented the Permanent Mission of Chile to the U.N. in a labor dispute under appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • We represented Ecuador against claims to recover on bonds issued by Ecuador with maturity dates of 2012 and 2030 but subsequently canceled and replaced by reissued bonds that the Plaintiff declined to accept. 
  • We represented Ecuador and two of its financial regulatory bodies in a lawsuit brought by British Virgin Island companies in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging an expropriation claim. 
  • We successfully represented Chile in a lawsuit by an individual in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York over alleged denials of justice. 
  • We represented Nicaragua and its state-owned insurance company INISER in a civil action brought by the Plaintiff before the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida.
  • We represented Nicaragua, and two of its political subdivisions, in this case brought in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging expropriation, breach of contract, tort and other claims.
  • We represented Nicaragua, a Nicaraguan city and a government official, in defense of claims for expropriation, breach of contract and tortious conduct brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
  • We represented Venezuela and its Ministry of Finance in a lawsuit by a U.S. company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, based on promissory notes issued in the 1980s, as well as in the company’s appeal of the District Court’s judgment in our clients’ favor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  • We represented Venezuela in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, defending against the recognition and enforcement of a US$713 million, plus interest, arbitral award against it.
  • We represented Venezuela in a lawsuit brought by two Venezuelan mining companies in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

People

Explore All

Get to know the attorneys in our Latin America practice.

Diego Cadena

International Counsel

Washington, DC

202.261.7369

Baldomero Casado

International Associate

Washington, DC

202.269.7382

Juan Pablo Hugues

International Associate

Washington, DC

202-394-6572

Pablo Nilo Donoso

International Associate

Washington, DC

202.261.7420

Alberto Wray

International Counsel

Washington, DC

202.261.7340