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Foreign companies don’t have to fear nationalization, if they invest, says Morales

MercoPress | February 22nd 2013

President Evo Morales said on Thursday that Repsol and the other multinational companies operating in Bolivia should not fear nationalization since his government only appeals to that extreme when corporations think in ‘looting’ instead of investing.

“With Repsol we have excellent relations” said the Bolivian president, but “we won’t tolerate looting” “With Repsol we have excellent relations” said the Bolivian president, but “we won’t tolerate looting”

“To all those companies that invest in Bolivia, I want to assure them that their investments are guaranteed, that they have the right to recover those investments and to make a profit”, said Morales during a press conference in United Nations where he is participating in a world conference on quinoa.

He added that his administration works jointly with companies that are partners and that invest, and mentioned as an example Spain’s Repsol, with whom “we have excellent relations”.

Morales was referring to the recently nationalized air terminals’ operator, Sabsa, which he seized arguing the Spanish company back in 1997, with an initial investment of 4.000 dollars had taken over control of Bolivia’s three main airports, La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, a business with “has assets and a turnover of 430 million dollars”.

He added that from 1997 to 2005, Spanish controlled Sabsa had “no investment plans, it was only looting and looting”, and for the period 2006 to 2025 had promised to invest 26 million dollars and allegedly only 5 million were invested in 2006.

“At first sight there was no changes, nothing new, although the company would insist it had invested in maintenance”, claimed Morales.

“Maybe because of some bad companies, mistaken board members, we are having certain diplomatic differences”, added the first indigenous president of Bolivia.

The Spanish government warned President Morales that it was reviewing relations with Bolivia following the latest nationalization and the European Commission criticized the decision and demanded fair compensation.

“It’s not the government of Spain or the Spanish people to blame, but rather some companies that come with an only interest: looting, robbing and making quick money without thinking about any investments in our airports”.

Morales revealed that three years ago the Spanish Socialist government of President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero had asked him to delay the measure and talk to the company because they were going to make the needed investments.

“Unfortunately the dialogue with the company Sabsa made us lose three years” and not only that but international organizations of air transport have placed observers in some airports.

“It is evident that the air terminals have resulted too small and now after the nationalization we are determined to make the necessary investments” pledged the Bolivian president.

Finally Morales argued that nationalizing basic sectors of the national economy was an instrument to recover sovereignty and improve the living conditions of his people.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Comments Off on Foreign companies don’t have to fear nationalization, if they invest, says Morales

Mapuche protest demands removal of statue of “the man guilty of the greatest genocide”

MercoPress | October 17th 2012

Members from the indigenous Mapuche community in Patagonia protested angrily at the south Argentina resort of Bariloche demanding that a statue in honour of President General Julio A Roca be removed since “he was responsible for the greatest genocide in our history”.

Although the original motive of the protest was the delay in the building of a cooperative housing complex, demonstrators aired their fury against the equestrian statue of the man who led what is known in Argentine history as ‘the conquest of the desert (Patagonia)’ which he accomplished with no mercy or consideration for indigenous peoples among which the Mapuche who live on both sides of the Andes cordillera.

Roca with a long military career referred to the conquest as the “frontier problem” and effectively put under government control all land up to the Rio Negro in a campaign that as he promised would “extinguish, subdue or expel” the Indian inhabitants. These land conquests would also strengthen Argentina’s strategic position against Chile that was advancing from the extreme south but at the time was engaged in the Pacific War against Peru and Bolivia.

Due to his military successes and the massive territorial gains linked with them, Roca later became Argentine president.

The protestors during the demonstration in downtown Bariloche put up a sign on the statue saying “Roca murderer” and called for the removal of the bronze since “it represents nobody in this community”.

“Many of our cooperative members are of Mapuche origin and the presence of the statue is offensive since this man slaughtered their ancestors”, said the protestors.

They went further and tied leather straps to the statue and tried to saw the horse’s legs and started pulling but police intervened followed by incidents.

Scuffles continued, before fearful tourists, until the protestors were received at Town Hall by Mayor Omar Goye who was also present with the Rio Negro province Social development minister Ernesto Paillalef.

Mayor Goye promised he would study the possibility of sending an initiative to the local Council to remove the Roca statue to somewhere else less prominent in the resort.

Authorities and protestors then marched to the main square next to Town Hall and had an open discussion on the cooperative housing construction delay and jobs for the region with some government funded employment plans considered.

Bariloche and surrounding areas which depend on tourism and livestock suffered greatly with the ash blanket that covered the area for months following the eruption of a Chilean volcano in the Andes next to the border earlier this year.

October is an especially distressing month for indigenous people ever more aware of their current conditions but proud of their ancestry, on both sides, Chile and Argentina, particularly because Europeans celebrate the discovery of the Americas by Columbus. For the indigenous peoples it is no celebration, it is “the last day of freedom”.

October 18, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mapuche protest demands removal of statue of “the man guilty of the greatest genocide”

Argentina takes Falklands sovereignty claim complaint to the Security Council

MercoPress | October 18, 2012

The Argentine Foreign ministry said in an official release on Wednesday that the UN Security Council had received, and incorporated to its agenda, a formal complaint on the UK’s latest military exercises in the Falkland Islands.

“The presidency of the Security Council incorporated as official document, and distributed among its members, the complaint letter that Foreign Minister Hector Timerman addressed to the council on 5 October” pointed out the release.

The document denounces “the unilateral military activities in which the UK is involved and includes the launching of missiles from the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, scheduled for October 18/19”.

The letter from Timerman and distributed among Security Council members says that the coming exercises follow on those of last July and show the UK’s ongoing contempt towards the calls from the international community to end the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas Islands in a peaceful and definitive way.

“With these exercises which continue to our days, an unnecessary tension is generated which is an affront to all those countries from the region that practice a full, effective peace commitment”.

Argentina emphasizes that the fact “the UK is a permanent member of the Security Council does not exempt it of its international obligations”.

Furthermore, “the Security Council chair and the privileges it entails, demands a special responsibility as a guarantor of international peace and security, which the UK avoids by refusing to dialogue with Argentina and with the perpetuation of actions as those described afore”.

October 18, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Comments Off on Argentina takes Falklands sovereignty claim complaint to the Security Council

Unasur praise for the reliability and transparency of Venezuelan electoral system

MercoPress | October 8th 2012

The head of the Unasur delegation sent to Venezuela to follow Sunday’s electoral process, Carlos Alvarez said that the country had given the world a lesson of democracy because of its extraordinary electoral system and the attitude of the opposition, among other positive elements.

“Venezuela has given the world a very important lesson because there were important sectors of the international community that had doubts or questioned the functioning of Venezuelan democracy”, said Alvarez during a press conference in Caracas.

On Sunday’s election, President Hugo Chavez won for the fourth consecutive time with a 54.84% support of ballots while the opposition leader Henrique Capriles managed 44.55% according to the official results from the Electoral Council having counted 95% of votes cast.

Alvarez admitted that many members of the international community “had doubts about how elections in Venezuela were won” and described as “ill-intended those who cast doubts over the functioning of the electoral system”, which he went on to describe as “excellent”.

“It’s an extraordinary lesson for the international community” and the fact that turnout was 80% is “a moving event” for a country were voting is not compulsory, and even more “if one looks back into history and remembers that only 25% to 30% of those registered use to vote”, underlined the former Argentine Vice-president and currently secretary general of the Latinamerican Integration Agency, Aladi.

“We have witnessed a process of excellence; the National Electoral council displayed an extraordinary job, parties and candidates admitted the results and we have accumulated a great experience for the creation of a South American Electoral Council”, said the head of the Unasur observers’ mission. “We came across a highly reliable electoral system and of technological excellence”.

Alvarez said that Unasur complied with all of its objectives and was present all over the Venezuelan territory, with forty delegates from ten different countries.

“It was a double challenge, we were one of the few organizations that came to follow the electoral process and at the same time the first such a mission was sent by Unasur. We are a technical mission, committed to transparency and the efficiency of the electoral systems of our countries”, pointed out Alvarez.

“I’m leaving on Wednesday after I present my report and I will with the satisfaction of the job accomplished, and the happiness of having been witness of the Venezuelan democratic festivity and of an historic event”, concluded Alvarez.

October 9, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Brazil reacts to US stimuli saying it will keep the Real ‘devalued’ and competitive

MercoPress | September 19th 2012

The latest round of US quantitative easing will create many problems for emerging countries and Brazil will take action to keep the Real from rising in value, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists after a meeting in Paris with his French counterpart Pierre Moscovici, Mantega voiced concerns that further monetary stimulus would lower the value of the dollar and in turn hurt Brazilian competitiveness in export markets.

“I don’t think that the new monetary easing will solve many problems for the United States, but it will cause a lot of problems for emerging countries,” Mantega told journalists.

Launching a third round of monetary easing, the US Federal Reserve pledged earlier this month to buy 40 billion dollars of mortgage-backed securities each month in a move aimed at bringing down interest rates.

Brazil has been one of the fiercest critics of US Federal Reserve easing and is fighting to keep capital from flowing from low-yielding dollar assets into the Brazilian currency Real with foreign exchange market interventions as part of what it calls a “currency war”.

Brazilian President last March said advanced economies were unleashing a “monetary tsunami” that adversely impacts on emerging markets’ currencies and trade balances.

“We will continue to take measures to keep a devalued Real,” he said, declining to say how low Brazil would keep the currency.

Moscovici said that he understood Brazil’s concerns but added that currency tensions should be dealt with in international institutions and the Group of 20.

Mantega said that dollar weakness caused by the Fed’s easing not only hurt Brazil’s exports but that it reduced the value of the country’s dollar reserves. He added that “if Washington wanted to help revive the US housing market it would be better to focus on fiscal rather than monetary policy”.

September 19, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran, Venezuela and Egypt, a possible peace troika to address the Syria situation

MercoPress | August 30, 2012

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has welcomed Iran’s proposal for the formation of a troika committee on Syria consisting of Iran, Egypt, and Venezuela

Minister Maduro welcomed the proposal to keep “major powers from interfering in Syria’s internal affairs” Minister Maduro welcomed the proposal to keep “major powers from interfering in Syria’s internal affairs”

Maduro made the remarks in an interview with reporters from the Iranian media upon his arrival in Tehran on Wednesday to attend the XVI Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which opened in Tehran on Sunday and closes on Friday.

“Playing a role by regional countries in (resolving) the crisis reduces the interference of external powers in Syria,” the Venezuelan foreign minister stated, according to the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency.

“Before everything else, we call on the major powers to stop interfering in Syria’s internal affairs and allow the Syrian people to live in calm, peace, and independence.

“(Iran’s) proposal is a very good proposal (according to which) the major powers and foreign powers will stop interfering in the Syrian crisis with the involvement of the conflicting sides and regional countries to resolve the problem.

“The country of Venezuela welcomes the proposal because it will (help) the people of the country of Syria to achieve peace and true calm.”

Commenting on the NAM summit in Tehran, Maduro stated, “The summit is being held in a country whose people are diligent and are seeking progress and peace. One hundred and twenty countries have gathered together in Iran to step toward world peace.”

August 30, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Iran, Venezuela and Egypt, a possible peace troika to address the Syria situation

Brazilian court listens to natives claims and suspends work on Belo Monte dam

MercoPress | August 15, 2012

A Brazilian federal court has ordered the immediate suspension of work on the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric plant, ruling that indigenous communities were not consulted. It was set to be the world’s third-largest dam.

The huge hydroelectric project across the Xingu River has been at the heart of an ongoing controversy The huge hydroelectric project across the Xingu River has been at the heart of an ongoing controversy

The Federal Regional Court of the First Region ruled on Tuesday that native communities affected by the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon must be heard before work resumes.

It said that the controversial project had been approved by the Brazilian Congress in 2005 on the proviso that an environmental impact study be conducted after work started. The court found that indigenous people were not given the right to air their views in Congress on the basis of the study’s findings, as was stipulated by law.

Norte Energia, the construction company which is running the project, faces fines of 250,000 dollars a day if it chooses to ignore the ruling. It has the right to appeal the ruling in a higher court.

Construction began a year ago on the dam, which runs across the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon. It was met by fierce opposition from local people and green activists.

Opponents argue it will reduce the volume of water in the Xingu River and affect populations of fish that are a staple in the diet of local indigenous peoples. They say it will lead to the displacement of around 20,000 people.

Environmentalists, meanwhile, warn of deforestation, greenhouse-gas emissions and irreparable damage to the ecosystem.

Due to be operational by 2014, the dam was designed to produce over 11.000 megawatts of electricity. If completed, it will only be surpassed in size by China’s Three Gorges facility, and Brazil’s Itaipu dam in the south, which is shared with Paraguay.

August 15, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Brazilian court listens to natives claims and suspends work on Belo Monte dam