Category Archives: Uncategorized

Striking Coal Miners in Colombia and the Vulnerabilities of a Rentier Based Economy, by Nazih Richani

1544The extractive model—or the “motor of development” as the dominant elite and the technocrats call their preferred economic model—is exhibiting its limitations as it confronts a deepening crisis. More than 5,000 workers at the multinational corporation Drummond went into a general strike protesting low wages and dismal working conditions at one of the largest open-sky coal extracting mines in the world. This strike came at an inopportune moment for Drummond. First, this is occurring against a backdrop of a sharp decline in coal prices—from $120 per ton to an average price of $96—between 2011 and 2012.  This forced the company to postpone and scrap some of its expanding projects. Second, Drummond, like most multinational corporations, is lacking good governance and exhibits an almost total disregard to the environment, especially when states’ environmental protection policy and oversight are limited, as in Colombia. But on this occasion the violation was exposed when a journalist caught Drummond red-handed contaminating seawater by dumping 500 tons of coal from a sinking boat in the port of Santa Marta. Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, suspended Drummond operations until a “satisfactory” review of its environment protocol is performed. The suspension of Drummond, the second largest coal company operating in Colombia, reveals a much larger problem: the vulnerability of an economy that during the last decade has increasingly become dependent on mining and oil.

 

Coal has become the second most important of Colombia’s exports after oil and accounts for more than three times what the country has earned from its traditional coffee export. Revenues from coal exports reached $8 billion in 2012, a crucial income for a country in war, spending almost 6.5% of GDP on its military. This sector has also attracted about $2.5 billion of foreign direct investment, and Drummond alone has 5,657 workers, 700 of whom are suffering from diseases caused by fumes and coal dust. The strikers are demanding a 7% increase in their wages, better health conditions, and other social services in addition to safeguarding the environment. All of which will affect Drummond’s rates of profits and may also affect other multinational corporations operating in the country such as Pacific Rubiales, Occidental Oil, and AngloGold Ashanti, among many others. Colombia has become a lucrative market due to many factors, chiefly among them that the state has provided these companies favorable contracts, low taxes—among the world’s lowest rates—and a very lax environmental policy. In other words, Colombia has become a haven for capitalist looting.

For an update see http://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/drummond-pide-reducir-su-planta-laboral…

A Small Step Toward Ending Duvalier’s Impunity in Haiti, by Kevin Edmonds

1560In January 2012, Judge Carves Jean triggered a wave of shock and disappointment throughout Haiti and much of the world by ruling that the former dictator of Haiti, Jean Claude Duvalier, would stand trial for the embezzlement of public funds, but not for the much greater charge of committing crimes against humanity. While it is widely acknowledged that Duvalier looted the Haitian treasury to the tune of $800 million, he has also been implicated in carrying out systemic human rights abuses, consisting of the murder, torture, disappearance, and imprisonment of tens of thousands during his rule from 1971 to 1986. Judge Jean’s decision to drop the most serious charges against Duvalier was based upon his reading of the Haitian constitution, which cited that the abuses fell outside of the 10 year period outlined in the statute of limitations. Continue reading

Organización de derechos de los y las migrantes se solidariza con migrantes en Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo que enfrentan el racismo y la explotación económica

18 de diciembre es el Día Internacional del Migrante, según observado por las Naciones Unidas. En los Estados Unidos, mientras que muchas organizaciones observan el día de hoy, se necesita mucho trabajo para hacer frente a los problemas, luchas y ataques que migrantes, sus familias y sus comunidades enfrentan.

Al conmemorar este día, es importante recordar que muchos migrantes en los Estados Unidos representan comunidades afrodescendientes que han sufrido múltiples migraciones a lo largo de los siglos, migraciones creados por opresión colonialista económico y terror político. Muchos migrantes de ascendencia africana en los EE.UU. continúan operando dentro de los márgenes de la sociedad de EE.UU., invisibilizadas tanto en sus países de origen, así como en los Estados Unidos e incluso en el movimiento pro-inmigrante.

El Centro Comunitario de América Latina y el Caribe animar a todos a tomar una mirada cercana a la raza y el racismo y el papel que desempeña como una fuerza impulsora en la migración global y, más importante, el papel que desempeña dentro de nuestras propias comunidades de migrantes.  Esto nos permitira “ver” las luchas y necesidades de ciertos grupos, como nuestros hermanos y hermanas de Haití, los numerosos hombres y mujeres del Caribe que se enfrentan a juicios injustos y condenas, muchos que resultan en la deportación de residentes por delitos menores y las  numerosas trabajadoras domésticas y trabajadores en hoteles de ascendencia Africana, que continuamente se les niegan sus derechos humanos.

Venezuela joins Mercosur: A New Strategic Alliance by Raúl Zibechi

Venezuela’s entry into Mercosur has had interpretations centered on the economic and commercial aspects, but the most important it is a geopolitical and geoenergy matter. The region becomes a food and hydrocarbon power pointing to the Caribbean.

On July 31 when the entry of Venezuela into Mercosur was decided in Brasilia, presidents Dilma Rousseff and Cristina Fernández emphasized the importance of the new Mercosur in the framework of the world crisis that is summed up in the birth of a “new pole of power.” Continue reading