Posts Tagged ‘Panama’

Israel: Aufstandsbekämpfung in… Lateinamerika

Dienstag, Mai 10th, 2011

“WikiLeaks: U.S. saw Israeli firm’s rise in Latin America as a threat

By Tim Johnson

WASHINGTON — A security company led by the former head of operations for the Israeli military made such inroads into Latin America a few years ago that U.S. diplomats saw it as a security risk and moved to thwart the company’s expansion, U.S. diplomatic cables show.

The diplomats’ efforts were made easier when an interpreter for the Israeli firm, Global CST, was caught peddling classified Colombian Defense Ministry documents to Marxist guerrillas seeking to topple the state, one cable said.

Still, the ability of the Israeli security consultancy to obtain contracts in Colombia, Peru and Panama in rapid succession speaks to the prowess of retired Israeli military officers in peddling security know-how amid perceptions that they’d bring better results than official U.S. government assistance.

At one point, Panama’s intelligence chief threatened to rely more heavily on the Israelis out of anger that U.S. officials wouldn’t tap the phones of the president’s political enemies, according to then cables. U.S. officials countered that such an arrangement would threaten all security cooperation with Panama, and the Panamanians backed down.

Colombia was the first Latin nation to sign a contract with Global CST, doing so in late 2006, according to one cable, the same year its founder, Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv, retired as head of the operations directorate of the Israel Defense Forces.

Ziv “was a personal acquaintance of then-Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos,” the cable said. Santos is now Colombia’s president.

Ziv’s consulting firm pledged “a strategic assessment” that would devise a plan to defeat “internal terrorist and criminal organizations by 2010,” the cable, sent in late 2009, said. The exercise was named “Strategic Leap.”

“Over a three-year period, Ziv worked his way into the confidence of former Defense Minister Santos by promising a cheaper version of USG (U.S. government) assistance without our strings attached,” the cable said.

Colombia began working with a variety of retired and active duty Israeli officers “with special operations and military intelligence backgrounds,” another cable said. By 2007, 38 percent of Colombia’s foreign defense purchases were going to Israel, it added.

With a foot firmly in the door in Colombia, Ziv roamed the region, going next to Peru, a coca-producing nation that also faced security challenges.

Ziv told Peruvian authorities that Global CST’s had played an advisory role in a spectacular jungle raid on a rebel camp in Colombia a year earlier that freed former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three U.S. military contractors and 11 Colombian police and soldiers. Colombia denies that Global CST played a role in the raid.

The Israeli firm signed a one-year contract worth $9 million to help Peru defeat the Maoist Sendero Luminoso insurgency “once and for all” in that nation’s remote Apurimac and Ene river valleys, according to another U.S. cable.

When Global CST approached Panama’s government about expanding on an initial contract, red flags went up at the U.S. Embassy there.

In early 2010, an Embassy cable to Washington said Panama had already paid Global CST for a small security study but the nation’s intelligence chief, Olmedo Alfaro, was threatening to rely more heavily on the Israelis out of anger that U.S. officials would not tap the phones of the president’s political enemies.

“Alfaro is increasingly open about his agenda to replace U.S. law enforcement and security support with Israelis and others,” the cable said, adding that the move “bodes ill” for quelling narcotics activity and crime in Panama.

U.S. officials told the Panamanians that they would limit security cooperation and intelligence sharing if private consultants from a third nation were involved.

“In a meeting with then-U.S. Ambassador to Panama Barbara Stephenson, Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela said that the government “would not let Israeli influence damage the U.S.-Panama relationship,” a cable said.

President Ricardo Martinelli “was similarly taken aback, and emphasized that he did not want to endanger relations with the USG, saying ‘We don’t want to change friends,'” the cable said.

Adding to the pressure on Panama was news that Colombia’s relations with Global CST had soured. In a meeting in late 2009 with the then-U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, national police chief Oscar Naranjo complained that the company had turned out to be a “disaster,” a cable said.

The same cable reported that then-Defense Minister Gabriel Silva overruled a planned Colombian army purchase of Israeli-made Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicles, in part because of the nation’s “mixed” experience with Global CST.

Silva is now Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S. His office didn’t respond to several written and telephone messages for comment.

Colombia’s souring on the Israeli firm was partly because of U.S. rules that barred intelligence sharing, but also because Colombian police told them in February 2008 “that a Global CST interpreter, Argentine-born Israeli national Shai Killman, had made copies of classified Colombian Defense Ministry documents in an unsuccessful attempt to sell them to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) through contacts in Ecuador and Argentina,” the cable said.

The pilfered documents allegedly contained information about top criminals the Colombians were targeting, the cable said.

“Ziv denied this attempt and sent Killman back to Israel,” it added.

In early April, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reached Killman and reported that he said he “was being ‘slandered’ and no such incident ever took place.”

The cable went on to say that Ziv’s proposals for Colombia “seem designed more to support Israeli equipment and services sales than to meet in-country needs.” It added that Colombia realized that “their deals are not as good as advertised.”

It wasn’t just in Latin America where Ziv and his company pledged quick fix-its for acute security problems. The company, based in a city east of Tel Aviv, would also work in Togo, Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria, as well as in Eastern Europe. Last year, the Israeli government fined Global CST for negotiating to sell weapons and military training to Guinea’s military junta.

 

(Quelle: McClatchy Newspapers.)

Siehe auch:

The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in Reagan Era

Panama: Widerstand gegen Staudamm

Dienstag, Mai 10th, 2011

Panama: Indigenous Movement Deeply Concerned About The Barro Blanco Dam

Posted by Ahni

On May 6, 2011, the grassroots indigenous and environmental group known as The 10th April Movement (El Movimiento 10 de Abril, or “M10″) shut down a section of the Panamerican highway at the bridge over the Rio Tasabará in Western Panama.

The Rio Tasabara is one of Panama's longest and most beautiful rivers. Scores of communities rely on it for potable water and fishing. Photo by Richard Arghiris.

The Rio Tasabara is one of Panama’s longest and most beautiful rivers. Scores of communities rely on it for potable water and fishing. Photo by Richard Arghiris.

M10, which represents several communities along the banks of the Rio Tasabará, occupied the bridge around 12:00pm and announced that they would remain there until the Federal government responded to their concerns over the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project and other developments in the province of Chiriqui.

The more than 500-strong group says the Barro Blanco dam will displace thousands of local inhabitants and impact thousands more who rely on the river for potable water and fishing.

The group claims that the affected communities were never properly consulted about the project. They also say the environmental impact study for the dam contains falsified information; and that the hydro company behind the dam, Genisa (Generadora del Istmo S.A.), has acted to intimidate local land-owners.

Most importantly, the Barro Blanco dam is set to flood annexed communal lands belonging to the Ngobe-Buglé. However, M10 says it would be a violation of Panama’s constitution as well as Law 10 which declares that their land is inalienable. It further contradicts President Martinelli’s assurances earlier this year that Comarca lands would be fully protected against adverse mining and hydro concessions.

The project will destroy large areas of primary forest as well, including the unique habitat of the endangered Tabasará rain-frog. Several species of fish that are important to the Ngobe-Buglé people would also be effected.

Since the end of March, the grassroots movement, which formed spontaneously during other anti-hydro protests starting 10th April 1999 (hence the name M10 Movement), has been camped outside the project site, successfully blocking additional machinery and bringing work to a stand-still.

Barro Blanco sign

The Ngobe have never given their consent to the Barro Blanco Dam project. Photo by Richard Arghiris.

Last month, a tripartite commission (1 part government, 1 part Genisa, 1 part M10) was formed to discuss the project and a possible end to the protests. However, on May 3rd, during a somewhat theatrical meeting in Tolé, chaired by vice-minister of work and labour development, Luis Carles, dialogue broke down. At that point, M10 refused to continue negotiations whilst the mayor of Tolé threatened to evict them from the encampment.

In a distasteful twist, Barro Blanco applied for Carbon Credit awards the following day, May 4th. It is one of many such projects in Panama that are seeking such rewards from the cap and trade system.

Diggers and other heavy machinery were also pulled from the project site on May 4th. M10 feared this was a precautionary measure to protect the equipment against sabotage and that the state was preparing for an imminent and heavy-handed eviction.

An all-night vigil began that same night, with children being kept at a safe distance from the protest camp. Quietly, M10 hoped for the support of Ngobe in other parts of the Comarca and solidarity from the international community. Several days earlier, a request for immediate intervention was sent to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya.

Ultimately, however, M10 decided that their best course of action was a blockade. Reporting on the events of the day, Guidebook writer and journalist Richard Arghiris, who was attending the protest, states: “There was a small police presence throughout the day with riot squads arriving towards 5pm. The squads sneaked into strategic positions on the hillside and among the trees whilst the Ngobe gathered rocks and readied sling-shots. Children were taken from the highway to a nearby house and I was also asked to keep my distance,” said Arghiris.

Fortunately, the situation didn’t escalate much further beyond that–though, it easily could have, given how the police have handled other Ngobe protests in the past. Arghiris continues, “At the final hour a priest intervened to mediate between the protesters and the police and a violent confrontation was [averted]. The Interamericana was opened at 5.45 with an agreement to fresh dialogue tomorrow, Saturday 7th May.”

However, Arghiris said that M10 has promised more blockades if talks break down again.

In a previous statement, M10 issued several demands concerning the Barro Blanco dam. In summary,

  • They are urging the government and GENISA to immediately cease the work.
  • They are asking GENISA to cancel their project.
  • They are asking various international financial institutions like the FMO Bank in the Netherlands and the SDR Bank in Germany to stop funding the project, because it violates “all principles of human rights and of free, prior and informed consent, and is also a violation of international rules and precepts governing indigenous peoples such as Article 169 of the ILO (currently under ratification) and international conventions to which the Republic of Panama is a signatory.”
  • They are asking the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) not to certify any emissions reduction credits (carbon credits) to such a project, because it violates Universal Human Rights and the Environment.
  • They are requesting administrative authorities in Panama to work together to secure for the indigenous people and humble farmers along the Rio Tabasara their livelihoods and the natural resources on which they depend, which, M10 states, “is the reason for our dignified defense of our most precious Rio Tabasara”.

This article was co-authored by John “Ahni” Schertow and Richard Arghiris. Photos by Richard Arghiris.

 

(Quelle: Intercontinental Cry.)

Global: Aktuelle Arbeitskämpfe (nicht nur) im globalen Süden

Freitag, Juli 16th, 2010

“Neu im LabourNet Germany am Freitag, 16. Juli 2010:

I.Internationales / Panama

Nach einem umstrittenen Abkommen kurz zuvor: Streiks, Demonstrationen und Proteste …statt Generalstreik?

Die Organisatoren zeigten sich zufrieden, die Aktionen am vergangenen Dienstag hätten die Breite des Widerstandes gezeigt. Über die Bedeutung des Abkommens, das am Sonntag zwischen Regierung und Gewerkschaften ausgehandelt worden war, gibt es noch viele Diskussionen – dass die Regierung einen Rückzieher gemacht hat, ist unbestritten – wie weit dieser geht, allerdings sehr. Unser kleine aktuelle Materialsammlung “Statt Generalstreik?” vom 16. Juli 2010

II.Internationales / Mexiko

Netzwerk gegen Bergwerk

“Mariano Abarca Roblero war ein erbitterter Gegner des kanadischen Bergbauunternehmens Blackfire. In seinem Heimatort, der kleinen Kreisstadt Chicomuselo im mexikanischen Bundesstaat Chiapas, setzte er sich mit anderen Einwohnern dafür ein, die Ausbeutung der Barytvorkommen (Schwerspat) im Landkreis durch den Multi zu verhindern. Abarca gehörte zu den wichtigsten Figuren des landesweit organisierten Mexikanischen Netzwerks der Bergbaugeschädigten (REMA). Der vierfache Familienvater bezahlte sein Engagement mit dem Leben. (..) In San Luis Potosí und San Pedro hat das Breite Oppositionelle Bündnis (FAO) gegen die Mine San Xavier seinen Kampf inzwischen bis in die Aktionärsversammlung von New Gold in Toronto getragen. Würde New Gold nicht mit Duldung der mexikanischen Regierungsbehörden Gerichtsbeschlüsse ignorieren, hätte der Tagebau längst geschlossen werden müssen. Im Netzwerk REMA und länderübergreifenden Initiativen formiert sich zusehends Widerstand gegen die Bergbaumultis. Zu erwarten, dass er sich angesichts der Gewinnperspektiven für die Konzerne kurzfristig durchsetzen kann, wäre allerdings naiv” – so beginnt der Artikel “Wirklich wahre Goldgruben” (pdf-Datei) von Gerold Schmidt aus Lunapark21 – Zeitschrift zur Kritik der globalen Ökonomie – Heft 10 – Sommer 2010, exklusiv im LabourNet Germany..

Zu Lunapark21: Zeitschrift zur Kritik der globalen Ökonomie und zum Inhaltsverzeichnis von Heft 10 vom Sommer 2010 sowie Bestell- und Abobedingungen siehe die Homepage der Zeitschrift

III.Internationales / Chile

Spanische Reconquista

“Seit 20 Jahren blüht in der chilenischen Wirtschaft das europäische und im Besonderen das spanische Kapital. Es hat die Art und Weise, wie Arbeit organisiert wird, verändert und die Gewerkschaften vor völlig neue Herausforderungen gestellt. Im Jahre 1998 überstiegen in Chile, Brasilien und Argentinien die europäischen Kapitalinvestitionen erstmals im 20. Jahrhundert die Investitionen aus Nordamerika. Obwohl von der Weltbank und dem Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF) auferlegte Strukturanpassungspolitiken von den USA geleitet werden, hat Europa in den letzten 20 Jahren am meisten davon profitiert. Etwa 50 Prozent des europäischen Kapitaleinflusses auf die chilenische Wirtschaft stammen aus Spanien. Das betrifft vor allem die öffentlichen Einrichtungen, die ehemals in Staatshand waren. So werden die Trinkwasserversorgung von der „Grupo Barcelona”, die Telekommunikation von „Telefónica” und die Stromversorgung von „Endesa” kontrolliert. Im Bankenwesen werden mehr als die Hälfte des chilenischen Finanzmarktes von den spanischen Banken „Banco Santander” und „BBVA” kontrolliert. Neunzig Prozent des spanischen Kapitals im Land teilen sich gerade mal 8 Firmen…” – so beginnt der Artikel “Die spanische Reconquista im 21. Jahrhundert” von Andrés Figueroa Cornejo (übersetzt von Bettina Hoyer) vom 13. Juli 2010 beim Binsenbrenner

IV.Internationales / Ecuador

Indigene Bewegung, Bodenschätze, Wirtschaftswachstum: Ein weltweiter Widerspruch?

Die CONAIE in Ecuador gehört, wie etwa Organisationen aus Bolivien und Peru, zu den erfahrenen und grossen Organisationen indigener Bevölkerungsteile: Und wie diese setzt sie sich etwa für Wasserrechte und gegen Großprojekte von Bergwerken ein. Solche Entwicklungen gibt es nicht nur in verschiedenen Ländern Amerikas, sondern auch in zahlreichen asiatischen und einigen afrikanischen Ländern. Und, wie etwa im indischen Westbengalen, so trifft auch CONAIE auf eine linke Regierung und deren Entwicklungsprojekte. Die Regierung Correa hat den indigenen Widerstand als Sabotage und Terrorismus bezeichnet, die Konfrontation verschärft sich. Sind das notwendige, unumgängliche Widersprüche? Was für gesellschaftliche Visionen stehen hinter beiden Polen? Diese und andere wichtige Fragen werden in dem Interview “Indigenous Struggle, Ecology, and Capitalist Resource Extraction in Ecuador” mit Marlon Santi (Vorsitzender der CONAIE), das Jeffery R. Webber am 13. Juli 2010 in The Bullet veröffentlichte, diskutiert

V.Internationales / Swaziland

Pathologiebericht: Gewerkschaftsaktivist Sipho Jele wurde ermordet

Der offizielle Bericht der Pathologie über die Todesursache des – laut Polizei durch Selbstmord – im Mai zu Tode gekommenen Gewerkschaftsaktivisten Sipho Jele liegt nun vor: Fremdeinwirkung, keinesfalls Selbstmord. Und da er erhängt aufgefunden worden war, kann es auch kein Unfall gewesen sein. Die Pressemitteilung “Comrade Sipho Jele Did Not Commit Suicide: He Was Murdered by Swaziland Police” (pdf-Datei) der Swaziland Democracy Campaign vom 11. Juli 2010 hat die Kritik an den Vertuschungstaktiken der Polizei zum Schwerpunkt. Und ruft dazu auf, nun erst recht auch im Lande den von zahlreichen Organisationen beschlossenen ersten Globalen Aktionstag für ein demokratisches Swaziland zu begehen – am 07. September 2010.

VI.Internationales / Angola

MPLA Namensänderung – konsequent…

Seit Dezember 2009 heisst die Volksbewegung zur Befreiung Angolas nicht mehr. Kein Name mehr, nur noch das Kürzel MPLA, das nichts mehr bedeuten soll. Insofern konsequent, als Bewegung, Befreiung und Volk schon lange nicht mehr zur Politik dieser Organisation passen, argumentiert David Sogge in seinem ausführlichen Beitrag “Angola: Reinventing Pasts and Futures” im Juli 2010 beim e.zine der africafiles.

VII.Internationales / Südafrika / WM 2010

Weltmeister Spanien. Wirtschaftsweltmeister …schland

“Die Fußballweltmeisterschaft endete in spielerischer Hinsicht mit einem spanischen Sieg. Ein wirtschaftlicher Gewinner steht ebenfalls fest: Deutschland. Hiesige Konzerne verdienten kräftig am WM-Spektakel. Südafrika selbst hofft nun auf einen Imagegewinn und den Aufschwung” – so beginnt der Artikel “WM-Sieger Deutschland” von Hermannus Pfeiffer am 13. Juli 2010 in Neues Deutschland.

VIII.Internationales / Pakistan / Gewerkschaften und Arbeitskämpfe

Textilarbeiterstreik erfolgreich – Morde schüchtern nicht ein

Nach dem Mord an zwei Funktionären der Textilarbeitergewerkschaft LQM hatte es in zahlreichen Fabriken Proteststreiks gegeben. Aber auch bisher nichtorganisierte Betriebe haben sich nun in Auseinandersetzungen gewagt: Nachdem am ersten Streiktag sich nichts bewegte, haben die rund 800 ArbeiterInnen der Touseef Textile in Faisalabad den Besitzer zuhause besucht, einem Vorschlag der hinzugerufenen LQM folgend – und minutenschnell ihre Forderung nach Bezahlung des Mindestlohns erfüllt bekommen, berichtet in “Victory within minutes” (pdf-Datei) Farooq Tariq am 14. Juli 2010.

IX.Internationales / Türkei / Arbeitskämpfe und Gewerkschaften

Erster Streik in der IT Branche

Die Türkei gehört zu jenen Ländern die, meist von Europa aus unbemerkt, einen relativ grossen eigenen Sektor der Datenverarbeitung entwickelt haben. Nun gibt es bei Ünibel – einer IT Firma, die in erster Linie für die verwaltung von Izmir arbeitet – den ersten Streik in der Branche. Dazu der Agenturbericht “Workers launch first strike in Turkish IT sector” in Hurriyet Daily News vom 09. Juli 2010.

X.Internationales / Schweiz / Gewerkschaften und Arbeitskämpfe

Streik der Reinigungskräfte am Genfer Flughafen

Seit dem 09. Juli 2010 dauert der Streik der Reinigungskräfte der Firma ISS am Flughafen Genf an – und am
14. Juli musste die Gewerkschaft SSP zur Solidaritätsaktion aufrufen, da Flughafenleitung und Polizei gegen die Streikposten vorgehen wollen. Der Aufruf “Toutes et tous à l’aéroport à 20 h ce mercredi pour soutenir les grévistes!” der SSP vom 14. Juli 2010.

XI.Internationales / Frankreich / Politik und Wirtschaft

Der “Rentenreformer” – und der Skandal…

“Die Woerth-Affäre bietet einen tiefen Einblick in den Korruptionssumpf, der sich zwischen den obersten Etagen der französischen Bourgeoisie und der konservativ-wirtschaftsliberalen Regierungspartei Sarkozys (UMP) erstreckt. Die Milliardärin Liliane Bettencourt, Erbin des Konzerngründers von L’Oréal, Tochter und Witwe aktiver Nazikollaborateure, schmierte bürgerliche Politiker mit dicken Geldscheinbündeln „in braunen DIN A 5-Umschlägen”. Das Personal packt jetzt aus…” so beginnt der aktuelle Artikel “Die Leiden des alten W.” von Bernard Schmid vom 16. Juli 2010.

…bis bald, Helmut

LabourNet Germany: http://www.labournet.de/
Treffpunkt für Ungehorsame, mit und ohne Job, basisnah, gesellschaftskritisch
The meeting point for all left-wing trade unionists, both waged and unwaged
Le point de rencontre de tous les militants syndicaux progressistes, qu`ils aient ou non un emploi

 

(Quelle: LabourNet Germany.)

Panama: 4 Tote, 150 Verletzte, de facto Ausnahmezustand

Dienstag, Juli 13th, 2010

“4 Tote, 150 Verletzte: Der Dialog mit den Gewerkschaften

Ausnahmezustand in der Bananenprovinz Boca del Toro und auf den Straßen von Panama-Stadt, die Polizei schiesst und tötet im Westen des Landes, Gewerkschaftssekretäre werden in der Hauptstadt gejagt: Weil der Staat Panama für den Kanalverkehr zu sorgen hat, scheint die im letzten Jahr gewählte Regierung Martinelli einen internationalen Freibrief für gewaltsame Repression bekommen zu haben. ‘Ausnahmezustand’ ist ein aktueller Überblick vom 12. Juli 2010.

De facto: Ausnahmezustand

Ein Jahr nach seinem Wahlsieg hat Präsident Martinelli deutlich gemacht, was er mit seiner ‘wirklichen Veränderung’ meinte: ein Gesetzespaket aus neun Gesetzen in einem, das sogenannte Gesetz 30 ‘Lei 30‘ (hier dokumentiert bei Panama Digital) verändert in der Tat die gesellschaftliche Realität Panamas in einer ganzen Reihe von zentralen Fragen. So werden künftig Polizisten, denen strafrechtliche Vorwürfe gemacht werden, nicht mehr vom Dienst suspendiert – erst, wenn sie verurteilt sind, werden sie entfernt. Oder aber: Unternehmer dürfen künftig Streikbrecher einstellen und dementsprechend Streikende entlassen – was heisst, dass das Streikrecht faktisch aufgehoben ist. Im Juni 2010 wurde dieses Gesetzespaket verabschiedet, das im Volksmund auch ‘Wurstgesetz’ (Ley chorizo) heisst, weil da ja auch niemand genau weiss, was drin ist. Der offizielle Titel des Gesetzespaktes ist nicht deutlicher: Gesetz zur Förderung der Zivilluftfahrt.. Kein Zufall ist diese Gesetzgebung, wenn man bedenkt, dass der grosse Veränderer Martinelli einer der Großunternehmer des Landes ist.

Seit Monaten führt diese Situation dazu, dass jede gewerkschaftliche Auseinandersetzung zu einer gesellschaftlich-politischen wird, da jede Aktion stets mit der Forderung nach Rücknahme des Gesetzes 30 verbunden ist.

Die Zuspitzung

Deswegen traten Anfang Juli 2010 in der Provinz Boca del Toro etwa 4.000 Arbeiter der Bananenplantagen und rund 3.000 ‘freie Pflücker’ in den Streik.

In den Tagen seit dem 8. Juli 2010 ist dies nun eskaliert, und zwar an mehreren Fronten gleichzeitig. Am 10. Juli 2010 wird in dem redaktionellen Beitrag ‘Blutige Konfrontation auf Bananenplantagen in Panama‘ bei der NZZ erstmals in deutschsprachigen Medien über die aktuelle Konfrontation berichtet – unter Verwendung der Zahlenangaben der Regierung.

Andere Angaben macht einen Tag zuvor, am 09. Juli 2010 Tribuna Popular in ‘Panamá en pie de lucha, represión deja 4 muertos y más de 150 heridos‘ (gespiegelt bei apporea.org). In diesem Bericht wird sowohl ein Überblick über die verschiedenen laufenden Auseinandersetzungen in einer ganzen Reihe von Provinzen als auch der Hauptstadt gegeben, als auch über die Verfolgung der Gewerkschaften durch Haftbefehle gegen führende Funktionäre etwa berichtet.

Noch vorher, am 07. Juli 2010 wird in dem Blog Ley de muerte mit dem Beitrag ‘5 días de huelga en Bocas del Toro contra ley Chorizo‘ ein Einblick in die Auseinandersetzungen mit Fotostrecken gegeben – inklusive etwa der Ankunft indigener Organisationen zur Unterstützung des Widerstands der Bananenarbeitergewerkschaft SITRAIBANA und der ebenfalls teilnehmenden Lehrerorganisationen.

Die Situation der Gewerkschaft SITRAIBANA wird in dem Interview ‘Violenta represión contra trabajadores bananeros‘ mit dem Generalsekretär des Gewerkschaftsbundes Confederación de Trabajadores de la República de Panamá (CTRP) Guillermo Puga diskutiert, das bei der lateinamerikanischen Föderation der Nahrungsmittelgewerkschaften rel-uita am 12. Juli 2010 publiziert wurde.

Zur selben Zeit – seit dem 5. Juli 2010 – fand ein Streik der Bauarbeiter beim Panamakanal – Erweiterungsprojekt in Colon statt, wird in ‘SUNTRACS Strike Shuts Down Panama Canal Expansion Work For Second Day‘ am 06. Juli 2010 beim (englischsprachigen) Panama-Guide berichtet: Wobei der regierungsfreundliche Kommentator es schafft, einerseits zu behaupten, es ginge SUNTRACS nur darum, die Konkurrenz gegen andere Baugewerkschaften zu gewinnen und sich in das Megaprojekt einzuklinken – und andrerseits zu berichten, dass der Streikaufruf massiv befolgt wurde…

Die verschiedenen gleichzeitigen Auseinandersetzungen werden auch in dem Beitrag ‘llamado a apoyar la huelga general de Bocas del Toro y derrotar la Ley 30‘ vom 07. Juli 2010 bei den Socialistas Centroamericanos zusammengebracht – mit der politischen Konsequenz, dass diese Kämpfe gemeinsam das Gesetz zu Fall bringen könnten.

Was – zumindest ursprünglich – auch geplant war, bzw ist: Am 13. Juli 2010 sollt ein landesweiter Generalstreik diese Zusammenführung der Kräfte und Proteste leisten, wird in ‘Aufruf zum Generalstreik in Panama‘ von Harald Neuber am 11. Juli 2010 bei amerika21 berichtet.

Laufend aktualisiert wird die Berichterstattung bei den ‘Frenadeso Noticias’, wo auch Berichte über Proteste der Anwaltsvereingung und sogar des Roten Kreuzes dokumentiert werden.

Ein Abkommen – oder keines? Gewerkschaftsparagraphen der Ley 30 ‘ausgesetzt’

Am Montagnachmittag, 12. Juli 2010 berichtete Xinhua in ‘Banana workers, gov’t reach deal to end strike in Panama‘, dass nach zweitägigen Gesprächen eine Gewerkschaftsdelegation unter Leitung des SITRAIBANA-Vorsitzenden Gemarp Barrett mit dem Vizepräsidenten Varela ein Abkommen unterzeichnet haben, das einerseits ein Ende des Streiks vorsieht – und auf der anderen Seite die einstweilige Aussetzung der Gewerkschaftsparagraphen des Gesetzes 30, die Freilassung aller Festgenommen und Entschädigungen für die Familien der Opfer der Polizeirepression.

Differenziert wird in dem Agenturbericht ‘Panamá: Se logra un acuerdo en Changuinola pero dirigentes de la huelga pasaron a la clandestinidad‘ vom 12. Juli 2010 bei aporrea.org – mit dem Verweis insbesondere darauf, dass die Vorstandsmitglieder der Bauarbeitergewerkschaft Suntracs sich in der Illegalität befinden.

Am Sonntagabend jedenfalls berichtet Frenadeso Noticias noch von der unter Polizeibelagerung stattgefundenen Konferenz von Samstag ‘La Huelga va este martes 13 de julio hasta derogar la Ley Chorizo‘, die die Organisierung des Generalstreiks am heutigen 13. Juli bekräftigte…

Zusammengestellt von hrw am 12. und 13. Juli 2010″

 

(Quelle: LabourNet.de.)

China: Ein Blick auf das Verhältnis zu Lateinamerika

Dienstag, Juni 8th, 2010

What is China’s interest in Latin America?

By Virginia de la Siega

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been slowly but surely emerging as world power for the last 30 years. It has become the world’s third-largest economy after the United States and Japan and it’s leaving behind Germany as the world’s top exporter. Nor is China any longer a manufacturer of low value, low technology items: it has become the world’s largest producer both of wind turbines and solar panels, and last year its auto sales doubled to more than a million vehicles a month surpassing the United States.

If to that we add that it has the world’s third-largest defence budget, and the largest national population (1.3 billion people), it quickly becomes evident that China does not have sufficient oil, natural gas, aluminium, copper, or iron to satisfy its energy and manufacturing needs, and that it necessitates trade partners to sustain its growth.

China is also a key player on the world political scene. Besides the strategic role it plays in Asian geopolitics and its status as a nuclear nation, it is a member of the U.N. Security Council, the World Trade Organization, the Group of 77 Developing Nations, the Asia Pacific Economic Coopera¬tion Group and the Inter-American Development Bank. China has also observer status in the Organization of American States (OAS) and keeps a peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Moreover, China has started to show the first elements of an imperialist state in the making. It has strengthened its diplomatic presence and economic influence, often referred to as “soft power,” in the developing world, specifically in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. It has tried to earn international goodwill through financing infrastructure and natural resource development projects, assisting in the execution of such projects, and backing PRC state enterprise ventures in many developing countries. If in terms of development grants China is a relatively small source of global aid, when its commercial and concessional loans, technical assistance, and state-sponsored or subsidized investments are included, the PRC becomes a major source of economic assistance. [1]

If the role that China has been playing in Africa has attracted much attention, the one played in Latin America has not nearly as much. And yet, bilateral trade between China and Latin America has been expanding significantly since November 2004, when China’s president Hu Jintao promised to invest $100bn in the region.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Chinese investments have mounted from $200 million per year in 1975 to $70.2 billion per year in 2006 and are predicted to reach $100 billion per year in 2010. [2] Even though China’s trade figures in the region amount to much less than those of the United States US ($560bn) or the EU ($250bn), the trend is significant. A sign of the importance the PRC gives to the region is the publication of its first ever policy paper on Latin America on 5th November 2008. The trade and investment relationships have been complemented by other contacts, including high-level delegations of political, cultural, trade and military officials, and China’s participation in the Latin American institutions above mentioned.

China’s twofold strategy in Latin America

The PRC has defined two strategies for Latin America. The first is economic: to secure China’s access to the primary materials that it needs for its economic growth and to find a market for its manufactured goods. The second strategy is mainly political: to obtain diplomatic recognition from those countries still recognizing Taiwan as the government of China.

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela and Cuba play a major role in the first strategy.

Brazil, the first economy of the region, is clearly China’s most important partner, both as a market for Chinese goods and as a source of raw materials. Brazil supplies some 45 % of all PRC soybean imports and is also the source for other agricultural products, as well as iron and petroleum. The PRC has launched several major collaborative projects with Brazil in these sectors. Brazil’s status as a large middle-income country also makes it important as a market for Chinese goods, including electronics, machinery and labour intensive manufactured goods, such as footwear and toys. Brazil possesses a nuclear industry and uranium resources — important to China as it expands its own nuclear industry to meet its energy needs. The Brazilian aerospace industry has created multiple opportunities for collaboration with China, including technology.

The global recession emphasized and magnified the importance of China to Brazil. While Brazilian exports to the United States fell 37.8 % in the first quarter of 2009, exports to the PRC increased by 62.7 %. Consequently, in the first half of 2009, China became Brazil’s number one export destination. China has also emerged as a key financier for Brazil’s projects to develop the newly discovered deepwater oil reserves in the Campos and Santos basins. When in May 2009, China and Brazil signed an agreement for a $10 billion loan from China Development Bank, the president of Petrobras, Sergio Gabrielli, noted, “There isn’t someone in the U.S. government that we can sit down with and have the kinds of discussions we’re having with the Chinese”. [3] According to this agreement, the loan was given in exchange for a guaranteed supply of oil over the next decade. The two nations are also pursuing a range of important joint ventures, including joint production of jets, the China-Brazil Earth Research Satellite (CBERS) program and other space cooperation programs.

As in the case of Brazil, China’s economic policy in relation to Argentina, the other large South American economy, is not restricted to buying natural resources. Argentina has collaborated with China in space projects, such as a satellite laser ranging project in Argentina’s San Juan University, and has discussed collaboration in designing a new-generation nuclear reactor.

However, China main interest is in Argentina’s mining and oil sectors. In 2003, the CNPC (China National Petroleum Company) acquired a stake in the Argentine oil and gas firm Pluspetrol, which operates fields in northern Argentina and Peru, and there has already been an investment from the Chinese-Angolan company Sonogol. In May 2010, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) purchased a 50 percent stake in Argentina’s Bridas Holdings for $3.1 billion. There have also been rumoured talks between the Spanish firm Repsol-YPF and CNOOC regarding Repsol-YPF’s Argentine holdings –although none of the possibilities raised has yet materialized.

The USA views with suspicion the PRC financial deals to facilitate commerce with Argentina. In March 2009, China signed a $10.2 billion debt swap with Argentina, [4] in what the American government considers an expanding challenge to the primacy of the dollar as an international reserve currency. [5] It is to be noted that Brazilian President Lula explicitly argued for working with China to move away from the dollar during his trip to China in May 2009. [6]

The PRC has also been courting Argentina as a purchaser of its own manufactured goods, but here, the relationship has been much more conflictive owing to Argentina’s plan to redevelop some industrial sectors.

For two of the three Latin American members of APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation), Peru and Chile, China has become a crucial trading partner. According to UN figures, in 2007 nearly 40% of Chile’s exports went to the Asia-Pacific region, mostly China. For Peru, the figure was 19%. This has moved countries such as Colombia and Costa Rica to want to join APEC.

The PRC has invested in Peru in the oil and gas sectors. It has purchased fishing fleets and fishmeal processing facilities, and has made investments in the mines in Toromocho, Rio Blanco and Maracona. This is not surprising if we consider that 85.2% of Peru’s exports to China are copper, fish flour and iron ore.

The PRC has an interest in Bolivia’s gas and iron resources. Bolivia has the second largest natural gas reserves in South America, behind only Venezuela. Bolivia’s lack of sea access poses a problem, but the introduction of new refining technologies, such as the liquefaction of gas or its use in producing other fuels, increase the feasibility of exporting Bolivian gas to China. And Evo Morales has opened up a number of possibilities for an expanded Chinese presence in that country: a concession has been signed to the Chinese conglomerate Shandong Llueng, granting them the right to develop all or part of the iron deposits at El Mutún—one of the largest in the world, if not the largest; and Chinese oil companies have signed agreements to help YPFB to overcome some of the problems with capital and experience which the nationalization of the country’s oil brought about.

The investments in Ecuador have also been huge and have had diplomatic effects. China has invested in oilfields, port operations and pipeline assets. In 2003, China bid on concessions to Ecuador’s major oil fields. The oil operations by CNPC have caused serious problems with the indigenous populations in Tarapoa and Succumbios particularly because of the lack of interest of Chinese investments in the preservation of the environment. The decision by the Ecuadorian regime of Rafael Correa not to renew the agreement giving the U.S. access to Manta was the necessary first step to invite the Chinese to develop the airport into a hub for trans-pacific flights, even though the PRC never made any explicit suggestions.

China has also set up investments and joint ventures with state-owned petroleum and mineral extractive companies such as PdVSA (Venezuela), YPFB (Bolivia), Petrobras (Brazil), and Cubaniquel (Cuba).

The case of Panama is slightly different due to its strategic position. Panama’s primary-product exports or its potential as an import market are minor. However, as owner of the Panama Canal, it has an enormous strategic value for China. The PRC firm Hutchison-Whampoa, with alleged connections to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), owns property on either end of the Panama Canal, giving it visibility over military and commercial traffic transiting the canal, and potentially serving as a staging area for future operations to control transit through this strategic checkpoint.

China’s political strategy affects mainly Central America and the Caribbean. Here, the PRC has mainly focused on using economic and diplomatic levers to secure diplomatic recognition from those countries still recognizing Taiwan as the government of China. Of the remaining 23 countries that still recognise Taiwan, 11 are found in this region. So far, Costa Rica is the only country that changed alliances in 2007, and has been consequently rewarded: Hu Jintao visited Costa Rica in 2008 to inaugurate a new football stadium donated by the PRC.

Who benefits?

The China-Latin America relationship is not win-win for all partners. As of 2005, the trade surpluses that Latin American countries had with China have been reversed. Nowadays, 93% of China’s exports to Central and South America consist in manufactured goods (25% of textiles and garments, and 44% machinery and equipment).This is negatively affecting the efforts of the most advanced Latin American economies to develop their own local industry and is beginning to create problems.

Mexico, Latin America’s third APEC member has been particularly affected for two main reasons: its close ties with the US economy and the overlap between Chinese and Mexican exports. Of Mexico’s 20 main exporting sectors, 12 are in open competition with China. This not only reduces Mexico’s possibility to export to China to only about 3% of its total exports, but it also affects its trade relations with the USA. In 2003, China ousted Mexico from its position as the second largest exporter to the USA. With a $28bn trade deficit with China, it is no wonder that the Mexican government wants to review the trade agreements. An official of the Mexican government complained that “for every $30 of Chinese goods that Mexico imports, Mexico only exports $1 of Mexican goods to China.”

Something similar is happening with the textile industry from Central America, which is being smothered by Chinese textile exports.

Another example of tension in the relations with the largest Latin American economies is the case of Argentina. Argentina supplies 23 % of all soy product imports of the PRC. China has suspended an order for more than 2 million tons of soya oil, part of which is in transit, because Argentina decided to tax shoes imported from China as a measure to protect its local producers. Argentina’s commercial deficit with China in 2009 reached $1200 million and for the first two months of 2010 it is already $600 billion. The Argentinean government is not willing to let it increase. China’s response has nothing to envy to those of other imperialist powers when their “commercial rights” are affected by uppity emerging countries.

Basically, Latin American governments find two problems with Chinese investments: 1) their main purpose is to serve China’s development needs by facilitating the export of the raw materials, often imposing the demand that a significant portion of project to obtain and process those materials and services be sourced in China; 2) they have found that the level of Chinese direct foreign investment in the region is not as high as it seems, and that much of the official figures go into offshore tax havens.

What is clear is that Chinese trade with Latin America has fuelled a boom in the region’s commodity-export sectors in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, at the same time that Latin American manufacturing sectors have been badly damaged by expanded competition from Chinese goods. The situation is even worse for countries and regions with large manufacturing sectors and limited primary-product export sectors such as Mexico and Central America.

China: The new kid in the American’s backyard

Does China want to replace the USA as the ruling power in the region? Nothing’s farther from the truth. So far, the PRC has clearly shown that its main concern is not to undermine the Chinese-US relation, which it considers of the outmost importance from the strategic and economic point of view. At most, the PRC would be willing to occupy the empty spaces that the USA may leave. The strongest Latin American economies have been trying to profit from the power triangle that China’s policy is bringing about with diverse luck.

China’s concern not to cross the USA also affects its relations with Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and above all Cuba. China has signed military agreements with Venezuela, but this should not be seen as an outright backing of the Bolivarian regime. Even if China has signed an extensive military cooperation with Venezuela, it is doing so reluctantly, forced by its need for oil. To some extent, China is unwillingly filling a gap created by the deterioration of Venezuela’s political and military relationship with the United States. The fact that the Venezuelan government has frustrated the operations of some Chinese corporations such as CNPC shows that the relations between the two countries are not free of contradictions.

The relation with Cuba is slightly different from that with Venezuela. In spite of China’s pragmatic approach to foreign policy, there is still a slight ideological element at play. The economic relations are closer, and the PRC ranks ahead of Spain and second to Venezuela among Cuba’s trade partners. China also played a key role in upgrading the Cuban Air Defence System, and has frequently exchanged high-ranking Chinese military delegations. Cuba also supplies the PRC with strategic materials and agricultural products. In addition to sugar, Cuba also has both offshore petroleum and the world’s largest proven nickel reserves. In January 2005, China’s oil and gas giant Sinopec Corp. signed an agreement with Cuba’s state-run Cubapetroleo (Cupet) to jointly produce oil on the island. However, the relationship is not without problems. A $500 million joint venture to produce 68,000 tonnes a year of ferro-nickel in eastern Cuba signed between Cubaniquel and the Chinese firm MinMetals was abruptly cancelled, and the concession was given, instead, to Venezuela.

Conclusion

How the relationship between China and Latin America will develop in the future is a matter of speculation, although certain tendencies are already clear.

‣ The PRC has no interest in damaging his strategic economic and political relation with the USA. The relation with the governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba has been restricted mostly to commercial agreements in which it has proved to be practically the sole beneficiary.

‣ The relation between the PRC and Latin America is one of unequal partners owing to the potential of the former’s economy and the limits of latter’s. This is a source of constant conflict with those emerging economies —like Mexico and Argentina— that have plans to develop an independent industry and set up barriers to defend their national manufacturers from Chinese exports.

‣ Another source of conflict with Chinese investments is the fact that Chinese direct investments seek high levels of return regardless of social, labour or environmental conditions. This has already created conflicts with native populations in Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina.

Timeline on Chinese investments in Latin America’s energy and commodities sector since 2005

Jan. 2005

– Cuba:

China’s oil and gas giant Sinopec Corp. signs an agreement with Cuba’s state-run Cubapetroleo (Cupet) to jointly produce oil on the Caribbean island.

China’s state-owned Minmetals is investing $500 million in a joint venture to produce 68,000 tonnes a year of ferro-nickel in eastern Cuba.

Feb. 2005

– Chile:

China’s Minmetals Corporation signs an agreement to invest an initial $550 million, which could eventually rise to $2 billion, to set up a joint venture with Chilean state copper company Codelco.

Sept. 2005

– Bolivia:

China’s Shengli International Petroleum Development Co. Ltd. signs a framework pact with state-run Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolovianos to invest $1.5 billion over 40 years in Bolivia’s onshore oil and gas sector.

—Ecuador:

Chinese-led consortium Andes Petroleum, which includes China National Petroleum Corp. and Sinopec group, buys Canada-based Encana’s oil and pipeline assets in Ecuador for $1.42 billion.

June 2007

– Peru:

Peru Copper Inc. agrees to be bought by state-owned Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. in a friendly deal worth C$840 million ($792 million) in cash, the Canada-headquartered company says.

May 2009

– Brazil:

China Development Bank announces that it will lend $10 billion to Petrobras, the state-owned Brazilian oil company, in exchange for a guaranteed supply of oil over the next decade.

July 2009

– Ecuador:

China forges a $1 billion loan-for-oil deal with South American OPEC member Ecuador.

Sept. 2009

– Venezuela:

Venezuela signs a $16 billion investment deal with China over three years to raise oil output by several hundred thousand barrels per day in the OPEC member’s Orinoco belt.

Oct. 2009

– Brazil:

Chinese steel and iron ore group Baosteel proposes to pay 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) for a 30 percent stake in Anglo American’s huge Minas Rio iron ore mine in Brazil.

March 2010

– Argentina:

CNOOC purchases a 50 percent stake in Argentina’s Bridas Holdings for $3.1 billion.

Virginia de la Siega is a member of the national leadership (CPN) and the International Commission of the NPA in France.


NOTES

[1] China’s Assistance and Government-Sponsored Investment Activities in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, Report for (US) Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress, Thomas Lum, November 25, 2009.

[2] Latin Business Chronicle, China Undermines U.S. in Latin America, Monday, June 04, 2007, see

[3] The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2009.

[4] La Nacion [Argentina], March 31, 2009.

[5] Nacion [Costa Rica], March 31, 2009

[6] Xinhua News Agency, May 22, 2009.

(Quelle: International Viewpoint.)

Panama: Was sollen die US-Soldaten hier?

Freitag, Mai 28th, 2010

“Panamenhos denunciam presença de soldados estadunidenses no país

O Partido Revolucionário Democrático (PRD) do panamá advertiu nesta terça-feira sobre um relatório que revela a presença de soldados estadunidenses na província de Darién, fronteira com a Colômbia, assim como também diversos movimentos de pessoal e existência de contêineres pertencentes aos Estados Unidos.
O secretário geral do PRD, Mitchell Doens, pediu ao Governo panamenho para esclarecer a situação que se vive na fronteira com o território colombiano, porque até o momento não se emitiu anúncios sobre eventuais ações conjuntas com tropas estadunidenses.

‘O país tem direito de conhecer o que está acontecendo ao longo de seu território’, manifestou Doens.

O dirigente recordou que há alguns meses tentou uma aterrissagem no aeroporto da localidade de Darién e lhe foi informado que estava restrito para uso civil.

O Governo do presidente Ricardo Martinelli justificou a presença de militares dos EUA em Darién, após assegurar que esta situação ‘faz parte de um projeto de assistência cívica humanitária a cargo do Comando Sul’ das Forças Armadas dos Estados Unidos com ingerência na América Latina e do Caribe.
A respeito das denuncias realizadas pelo PRD, o vice-ministro de Governo e Justiça, Alejandro Garuz, disse que o propósito da existencia de estadunidenses responde à ‘presença de policiais nacionais, arquitetos e engenheiros do Comando Sul dos Estados Unidos’ nesse território.

Segundo Washington, Panamá já aceitou que os EUA intensifiquem a luta contra o narcotráfico e controle a entrada ilegal de pessoas no Panamá. EUA realizaria operações de inteligência e patrulhamento marítimo ao longo das costas panamenhas.

Assim mesmo, informou que ‘o convênio se daria no marco do Plano Mérida’. Este plano foi aplicado no México, país que vive uma forte crise econômica e social, com altos índices de criminalidade, principalmente por conta do narcotráfico.

Em varias oportunidades, movimentos sociais do Panamá denunciaram a presença de soldados estadunidenses no territorio, após considerar como ‘inaceitável’ para o povo panamenho a ingerência estadunidense.

Em novembro de 2009, o professor Andrés Rodríguez, secretario geral da Associação de Professores da República do Panamá (Asoprof), recordou que a história da soberania dos panamenhos ‘está marcada principalmente pelo governo estadunidense’.

Disse que o país foi se ‘liberando pouco a pouco das decisões que toma o Governo estadunidense sobre o Governo panameño’ e por ese motivo sustentou que não se vai permitir ‘voltar a história para trás’.

A ingerência dos Estados Unidos na América Latina sempre esteve presente. No ano passado, Washington y Bogotá firmaram um acordó para instalar sete bases militares no território colombiano.

Este convenio militar gerou mal-estar nas demais nações latinoamericanas, que consideraram que esta ação produzirá desestabilização na soberania das nações sul-americanas e constitui uma ameaça para a segurança da região.

A noticia é da Telesul.”

(Quelle: Adital.)

Siehe auch:

US-Militär operiert in Panama

Diskussion um US-Streitkräfte im Land