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category national | miscellaneous | news report author Wednesday April 03, 2002 19:14author by Michael Ronan O'Connell - Globalise Resistance, Drop the Debt, SWPauthor email michaeloconnell2001 at yahoo dot comauthor phone 087-9212272 Report this post to the editors

Excellent report on anti-capitalist/globalization activities going on around the world.

The report starts off with a summary of the full report.

ATTAC Weekly newsletter - Wednesday 03/04/02

Please circulate and distribute.
The Newsletter is received by 10 234 direct subscribers today.

To subscribe or unsubscribe: http://attac.org/indexen/

Confort Reading and Printing
Format RTF http://attac.org/attacinfoen/attacnews122.zip
Format PDF http://attac.org/attacinfoen/attacnews122.pdf


1- What is legal is not always just, and the just is not always legal
How to distinguish just law from unjust law? The lawful from the
unlawful, the just from the unjust? Reason requires that all that is
legal should be just. Unfortunately this is not so; frequently what is
legal is unjust, there are laws that mount an attack on individuals
and on the nation.

2- Outstanding Economic Stories of the Week
Steel Tariffs - The Fed and the Recession - Venezuelan Oil - Russia
and OPEC - European Growth and Stagnation - Accounting For Stock

3- From Engagement to Protest
"From Engagement to Protest" will be a unique forum featuring speakers
from around the world who represent organizations and networks that
have sought to effect change both by engaging the Bank and through
more direct challenges. While their methods have been varied, the
different groups are united in calling for continued pressure on the
Bank and the other global financial institutions and their government
and corporate constituencies through activism, citizen mobilization
and public protest in both the South and North. Washington, DC, 18-19
April 2002

4- Plan Puebla-Panama: The Next Step in Corporate Globalization
U.S.-based corporations are anxious to get their hands on these
natural resources in the context of political stability (meaning: a
pacified population) and enforceable trade laws that recognize
international ownership of property (the Free Trade Area of the

5- Water, Light, And Land For All!
In response to such controversial plans, NGOs and effected communities
have created the Regional Front Against Dams culminating in the First
Mesoamerican Conference for Life in La Quetzal, Guatemala in March,
2002. Representatives from communities and organizations throughout
Europe and the Americas came together to begin the long battle against
dam projects within the PPP.

6- Meeting ATTAC worldwide.


1- What is legal is not always just, and the just is not always legal

By Adolfo Perez Esquivel. Nobel Prize for Peace
Translation: coorditrad@attac.org volunteer translators.

The great thinker that was Henry Thoreau inspired many people and many
generations with his proposals for opposing injustice by non violent
means in defense of civil rights, he had a profound effect on the
behaviour and ethical values of individuals and societies . He was and
is a source of inspiration and practical methodology in the quest for
Truth and Justice. There were those who succeeded in learning from his
teachings the paths of liberty and the defense of individuals' and
nations' rights, who made civil disobedience a condition and a way of
life; he inspired Mahatma Gandhi among others. In practice he yoked
action and reflection together, that is to say he achieved consistency
of word and action.

An example of that decision occurred during the war which the United
States unleashed against Mexico resulting in the loss of a large part
of the Mexican people's territory. Thoreau opposed the war which they
considered unjust and therefore to be resisted and opposed by
non-violent means. He proceeded from words to deeds, refusing to pay
taxes for the war .His rebellious attitude brought him imprisonment
which he bore as one of the conditions of resistance to injustice. He
used to say that if we tolerate injustices we end by becoming its

In 1848, at the Technology Institute of Massachusets ,Thoreau
published an article where he set out the principles and values which
all society should accept and the conduct that individuals and nations
should adopt. In brief he says."Every lover of liberty should respect
the law; he must respect it and make it respected; he points out that
we must have a critical awareness and decide the values of the law
which make it possible for us to live together and create the respect
which we owe one to another in every civilised society." He issues a
clear warning when he says that "not every law is just"; there are
laws which arean outrage to the right of individuals and peoples;
these are therefore unjust laws which must be resisted until they are
rendered totally null because they harm the social body and endanger
democratic coexistence.

He says that every citizen aware of his responsibilities has the right
to fight against injustice and should be prepared to accept the
consequences of disobeying unjust laws.

How to distinguish just law from unjust law? The lawful from the
unlawful, the just from the unjust? Reason requires that all that is
legal should be just. Unfortunately this is not so; frequently what is
legal is unjust, there are laws that mount an attack on individuals
and on the nation. The Gospel teaches that "He has not come to abolish
the law but to confirm it. Man was not made for the law but the law
for man". These values have been altered and devalued, subjecting
individuals to unjust laws.

In Argentina social claims are made a criminal offence, laws and
decrees are passed that are entirely contrary to constitutional rights
and which do intense damage to democracy .

We could point to the "Full Stop" and "Due Obedience" laws , which
even though they were repealed after long years of struggle, were not
totally nullified; they were in force for 18 years after they were
passed under the Alfonsin government, creating legal impunity for the
benefit of the genocides and leaving the people in a state of

The "financial pen" which keeps under restraint all the medium and
small savers who had confidently deposited their funds in the banks,
and today find themselves defenseless, victims of successive
governments which had passed unjust laws and granted privileges to the
financial centres and banks which had taken possession of the people's

This is a clear example that what is legal is not always just. It is
plain that the government is employing fancy phrases rather than
practical means to justify the unjustifiable, since in its practice
there is no consistency between what it says and what it does, so it
is offering legal impunity to the light-fingered trigger and

It has abandoned the country's right to sovereignty and
self-determination, surrendering its resources into the hands of the
big foreign capital financiers and to national capital speculation; it
has submitted to the policies imposed by the IMF and the World Bank,
in violation of the National Constitution and all the people's rights.

It has failed to carry out its mandate from the people, to govern
democratically, equally for all. It is enough to see the increase in
diseases, the illiteracy, the lack of resources for the life and
development of the people. They have abandoned their obligations, both
this government and its predecessors. The people holding various
demonstrations went out to reclaim justice, mobilising despite the
state of defenselessness in which it found itself and faced with a
complicit and permissive parliament which put sectional interests
before the interests of the country. Except for the very few
exceptional cases of legislators who honour the people's mandate.

We have a Supreme Court of Justice called in question and accused of
being an accomplice of the political power.

It is necessary to lay down a legal framework to distinguish the just
and the unjust; the true and the false. Law is a right won by peoples
during their history and the life of humanity; it enables us to live
together and to show the respect which we owe as citizens. The right
to democracy is built into daily life and is the fruit of freedom
,making possible equality for all.

Buenos Aires, 11 March 2002
First publication: Correo Informativo - Grano de Arena

Contact for this article: Correo Informativo team


2- Outstanding Economic Stories of the Week

By Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy

This is a selection. Find the whole Economics Reporting Review at:

A- Steel Tariffs

Europe Presses U.S. on Steel Tariffs
Elizabeth Olson. New York Times, March 20, 2002, Page W1

This article discusses the European Union's response to the tariffs
that President Bush imposed on imported steel. At one point, it
comments that in addition to the loss of export markets in the United
States, "there will be a painful indirect effect as cheap steel
diverted from America floods Europe instead."

Many of the articles that reported on the imposition of steel tariffs
included analysis from economists, who claimed that the steel tariffs
would hurt the U.S. economy. These economists argued that higher steel
prices would raise the price of cars, appliances, and other goods that
use steel. They claimed that the tariffs would therefore lead to a net
loss of jobs, even if they ended up saving some jobs in the steel

If these economists were correct, then the influx of low priced steel
into Europe will not be "painful." Rather, it should be a boon to
Europe's economy, since it will be reflected in lower prices for cars,
appliances, and other goods that use steel.

In reality the secondary effect of steel prices on other products is
likely to be very small, since steel accounts for a relatively small
percentage of total costs. But if the economic effect of higher steel
prices in the U.S. is negative, then the effect of lower steel prices
in Europe must be positive.

B- The Fed and the Recession

Fed Holds Interest Rates Steady
John M. Berry. Washington Post, March 19, 2002, Page A1

Fed Leaves Rates Steady; Hints Increases May Be Coming
Richard W. Stevenson. New York Times, March 20, 2002, Page C1

These articles report on the Federal Reserve Board's decision to adopt
a neutral stance toward future interest rate changes. Both articles
include assertions that the rebuilding of inventories is likely to
lead to a substantial boost to growth in the current quarter. The Post
article even quantifies this impact, noting that if inventories just
held constant in the first quarter (rather than shrinking), it would
add 4.5 percentage points to GDP growth. (The same point was made in
another Post article this week, "Economy Shows More Strength," by John
M. Berry, Washington Post, March 16, 2002, Page E1.)

While this is true as an accounting identity, approximately half of
the goods that will appear in inventories are imported. These means
that the rebuilding of inventories will be associated with a large
surge in imports. Imports are subtracted from GDP, which means that
the net effect of the inventory increase will be approximately half of
the size indicated in the Post article.

The data for the January trade deficit indicates that such a surge in
imports is occurring, with imports rising by 3.6 percent from
December's level ("Trade Deficit Sharply Wider In January," Bloomberg
News, New York Times, March 20, 2002, Page C3). If the trade deficit
remains at its January level for the whole quarter, it will reduce
reported GDP growth for the first quarter by approximately 1.1
percentage points. If it continues to rise in February and March at
the same rate relative to the fourth quarter average, it will reduce
reported GDP growth by approximately 2.3 percentage points.

The trade deficit data for January was only reported in a brief (200
word) wire service story on the third page of the business section in
the Times and was not mentioned anywhere in the Post. In addition to
affecting the strength of the economic recovery, the trade deficit
also affects the future wealth of the U.S. economy, since it indicates
the growth of the foreign debt. Currently foreign debt is growing at
the rate of more than $400 billion a year. This will have far more
impact on the nation's future prosperity, and its ability to afford
the retirement of the baby boom generation, than the relatively small
differences in the budget proposals put forward by Republicans and
Democrats. Yet, both papers give considerable attention to projections
of budget deficits or surpluses, even while they almost completely
ignore the trade deficit.

Each article cites two sources, both of whom are associated with
financial firms. (Bruce Steinberg, of Merrill Lynch, was cited in both
articles.) The Fed's interest rate decisions affect the whole economy,
most importantly through their impact on the unemployment rate.
Therefore it would be appropriate to rely on a wider range of sources,
presenting views from economists in government, academia, labor
unions, or at least non-financial firms.

C- Venezuelan Oil

Labor Strife of a Different Collar
Juan Forero. New York Times, March 19, 2002, Page W1

This article reports on the discontent among executives at Venezuela's
state-owned oil company over the government's interference in the
running of the company. The article notes the decision of Venezuela's
President, Hugo Chavez, to cut production in support of OPEC. It then
adds, "many of the company's managers disagree with this stance,
saying instead that Venezuela should have taken advantage of
Washington's desire to curtail American reliance on Middle East

Regardless of the desires of Washington politicians, there are no
subsidies for buying non-Middle East oil. Unless Venezuela provided
oil at a lower cost than Middle East producers, it could not expect to
gain market share at their expense. If Venezuela refused to support
OPEC, it could easily lead to a breakdown of the cartel, in which case
oil prices could drop by close to 50 percent from current levels. In
that event, Venezuela would almost certainly get less profit from its
oil sales, even if it doubled its output. These facts should have been
included in this article.

D- Russia and OPEC

Putting OPEC Over a Barrel
Sharon LaFraniere. Washington Post, March 16, 2002, Page E1

This article discusses Russia's growing importance as a supplier of
oil in world markets. It claims that Russia has increased
production -- and spurred OPEC's calls for restraining output -- as
part of an economic development strategy that depends on revenue from
oil exports.

It is questionable whether Russia's oil policy can be viewed as part
of a coherent development strategy. According to this article, it
reluctantly agreed to cut exports for a brief period by 150,000
barrels a day, but it will not do so again. This cut is approximately
3 percent of Russia's exports. This means that if cooperating with
OPEC helped to raise the price of oil by just 3 percent (approximately
75 cents per barrel), then Russia would actually get more revenue by
producing less oil.

The article also goes on to discuss Russia's willingness to endure a
price war with OPEC in which the price of oil drops to $14.50 barrel.
If prices were to stay at this level for a year (as they did through
much of 1999), before eventually returning to current levels, it would
take Russia more than ten years to make up the lost revenue with its
additional output of 150,000 per barrel.

Almost any plausible calculation would suggest that Russia stands far
more to gain economically by cooperating with OPEC, rather than
fighting with it. This is the reason that even non-OPEC members such
as Norway and Mexico have gone along with recent plans to restrict

The United States has indicated an interest in seeing low world oil
prices. It is possible that Russia's efforts to increase oil
production are motivated more by a political concern to please the
Bush Administration than by its direct economic interests.

E- European Growth and Stagnation

EU Summit Ends With a Bang and a Whimper
T.R. Reid. Washington Post, March 17, 2002, Page A22

This article reports on the conclusion of an EU summit meeting that
was devoted to Europe's efforts to pull ahead of the U.S.
economically. At one point, the article discusses the factors that
economists cite as slowing European growth. It includes high taxes to
fund medical benefits. While all the EU nations provide universal
health care coverage to their citizens, due to the greater efficiency
of their health care systems, government expenditures for health care
in the EU, measured as a share of GDP, are actually lower than in the
United States.

The article neglects to list the tight monetary policy of the European
Central Bank (ECB) as one of the factors constraining European growth
and competitiveness. At present, the ECB has set its short-term
interest at 3.5 percent, compared to the 1.75 percent rate set by the
Fed. This is in spite of the fact that the euro zone nations have a
lower inflation rate and a higher unemployment rate than the U.S. Even
the IMF has criticized the anti-growth policy of the ECB.

F- Accounting For Stock Options

Battle Lines Drawn on Stock Options
David Leonhardt. New York Times, March 17, 2002, page A29

This article reports on the battle between corporations and regulators
on the proper accounting of stock options. Government regulators,
joined recently by several members of Congress and Alan Greenspan,
have urged that stock options be deducted as an expense against
profits, at the time they are issued.

At several points, this article asserts that such a change in
accounting would reduce earnings, especially for high tech stocks that
issue large amounts of options. In fact, this accounting cannot change
a company's real earnings at all. If investors in financial markets
are well informed, as assumed in economic theory, the change in the
accounting of stock options will have no effect on these companies

The change will only matter if investors do not know how to read
financial statements, and are either currently being misled by the
failure to report stock options as an expense, or would subsequently
be confused by having them listed as an expense. The possibility that
investors are as ill-informed, as the concern over the accounting of
stock options implies, suggests that U.S. financial markets are
extremely irrational and that stock prices may often not reflect the
actual profitability of corporations.

-- The Economics Reporting Review is CEPR Co-Director Dean Baker's
weekly analysis of business and economics articles in the New York
Times and the Washington Post. To subscribe to the Economics Reporting
Review, send an email with "subscribe ERR" in the subject line and
your email address in the text of the message to: cepr@cepr.net


3- From Engagement to Protest



Organized by The Structural Adjustment Participatory Review
International Network (SAPRIN) The Development GAP The 50 Years Is
Enough Network International Rivers Network with the support of SAPRIN
and the Heinrich Boell Foundation

Please join more than two dozen activists from the South and North as
they demonstrate, through case analysis, the intransigence of the
World Bank -- and the governments that control it -- on the most
critical economic and development policies facing the global

Over the course of the past year, the Bank's leadership has sought to
debunk street protests against its policies and corporate
globalization generally by calling on protesters to join with
organizations that have "constructively engaged" the Bank in an effort
to create change. The intent has obviously been to divide and
discredit popular movements for economic justice.

The reality is that the Bank's engagement with civil society has not
been constructive. In major initiatives such as the Structural
Adjustment Participatory Review, the World Commission on Dams, and
"Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers" (PRSPs: the new vehicle for
structural adjustment programs), civil-society participants have found
the Bank's pledge of cooperation disingenuous. In these
much-publicized programs, the World Bank has consistently failed to
honor its commitments.

"From Engagement to Protest" will be a unique forum featuring speakers
from around the world who represent organizations and networks that
have sought to effect change both by engaging the Bank and through
more direct challenges. While their methods have been varied, the
different groups are united in calling for continued pressure on the
Bank and the other global financial institutions and their government
and corporate constituencies through activism, citizen mobilization
and public protest in both the South and North.

The forum will open at 2:00pm on Thursday, 18 April, at a comfortable
and conveniently located new conference site, with a provocative BBC
film on structural adjustment in Ghana. It will be followed by
presentations by SAPRIN representatives from five continents of the
results of the on-the-ground joint assessment with the World Bank of
the devastating consequences of Bank-promoted adjustment policies -
and the Bank's attempts to disown those findings. Thursday's program
will end with a reception, and Friday's will feature the presentation
of a full array of citizens' initiatives and ample opportunity for
audience participation and discussion. The forum will conclude with
presentations from the South and North on mobilization and protest and
a public discussion of strategies for meaningful change. Please see
the accompanying program for details.

Location: The Rosslyn Spectrum, 1611 North Kent Street, Rosslyn A
3-min. walk (follow the signs) from the Rosslyn Metro (one stop from
Foggy Bottom) on the Blue and Orange Lines

Dates: Thursday, 18 April, 2:00pm - 5:30pm, followed by a Reception
Friday, 19 April, 8:45am - 5:30pm

To reserve an English-Spanish interpretation headset: rsvp@saprin.org
For answers to general questions about the forum:
secretariat@saprin.org For info and updates: www.saprin.org
www.developmentgap.org www.50years.org www.irn.org

"From Engagement to Protest" A Public Forum on Citizens' Challenges
to the World Bank Washington, DC, 18-19 April 2002


Thursday, 18 April

1:30 - Registration

2:00 - Opening Remarks Steve Hellinger (The Development GAP/SAPRIN)
Hellen Wangusa (African Women's Economic Policy Network/SAPRIN)

2:10 - BBC Film, "Profits of Doom," on Structural Adjustment in Ghana
Discussion Led by Hellen Wangusa

3:15 - "The Structural Adjustment Roots of Economic Crisis and
Poverty: SAPRI Findings & World Bank Response" Chair: Lidy Nacpil
(SAPRIN Executive Committee/FDC - Philippines) Doug Hellinger (SAPRIN
Global Coordinator/The Development GAP) - Global Findings Ivan
Cisneros (SAPRIN-Ecuador/IEDECA) - Ecuador Findings Godfrey Kanyenze
(SAPRIN-Zimbabwe/ZCTU) - Zimbabwe Findings Mahbubul Karim
(SAPRIN-Bangladesh/PROSHIKA) - Bangladesh Findings Karoly Lorant
(SAPRIN-Hungary) - Hungary Findings Questions Regarding SAPRI Findings
Doug Hellinger - SAPRIN's Experience with the World Bank Discussion

5:30 - 7:00 - Reception

Friday, 19 April

8:45 - "The Role of the IFIs in Shaping Poverty Reduction Strategies:
Civil Society Experience with PRSPs" Chair: Fantu Cheru (American
University/Former Special Rapporteur, UN High Commission on Human
Rights) Warren Nyamugasria (Uganda National NGO Forum/SAPRIN-Uganda)
Irungu Houghton (ActionAid) Joy Chavez (FOCUS on the Global
South/SAPRIN-Asia) Alejandro Bendana (CEI-Nicaragua/Jubilee South)

10:15 - Break

10:30 - "Challenge from Within: Other Direct Engagements with the
World Bank" Chair: Peter Riggs (Rockefeller Brothers Fund) Patrick
McCully (International Rivers Network) - World Commission on Dams
Steve Kretzmann (SEEN/IPS) - Extractive Industries Review Graham Saul
(Bank Information Center) - Information Disclosure Policy MST
Representative (Brazil) - World Bank Inspection Panel (Land Reform)

12:00 - Lunch

1:15 - "Public Challenges to the Bank: Vehicles for Change and
Accountability" Chair: Liane Schalatek (Heinrich Boell Foundation)
Hellen Wangusa (AWEPON/SAPRIN/Jubilee South) - UN System (FfD) Sameer
Dossani (Globalization Challenge Initiative) - World Bank Board
(Private Sector Development) Dennis Brutus (Center for Economic
Justice/Jubilee South Africa) - Public Campaigns (World Bank Bonds
Boycott) Joanne Carter (RESULTS) - Legislative Action (User Fees)
Soren Ambrose (50 Years Is Enough Network/New Voices) - Media

2:45 - Break

3:00 - "Challenge from the Street: Mobilization to Confront the IFIs"
Chair: Njoki Njehu (50 Years Is Enough Network) Ivan Cisneros
(IEDECA/SAPRIN-Ecuador) Jorge Carpio (FOCO/SAPRIN-Argentina) Lidy
Nacpil (Freedom from Debt Coalition/SAPRIN-Philippines/Jubilee South)
Robert Weissman (Essential Action) Discussion

4:30 - "Implications for Action: From Engagement to Protest" Strategy
Session Led by Forum Organizers

5:30 - Adjournment

The forum will be held at the Rosslyn Spectrum, 1611 North Kent
Street, a three-minute walk from the Rosslyn Metro on the Blue and
Orange Lines. Those who do not understand both English and Spanish can
reserve an interpretation headset at rsvp@saprin.org. General
questions about the event should be addressed to


4- Plan Puebla-Panama: The Next Step in Corporate Globalization

by Tom Hansen and Jason Wallach
Mexico-Solidarity Network

Plan Puebla-Panama represents the next giant step in
corporate-centered globalization: the fruits of NAFTA. Mexican
President Vicente Fox, the principal salesman, touts it as his
development vision for southern Mexico and Central America.

The ramifications will be felt as far away as the United States and
the Pacific Rim.

PPP would encourage foreign investment in the region, strategically
located between the Pacific and the Atlantic, by constructing a series
of transportation and sweatshop corridors spanning the isthmus.

Fox wants to transplant the maquiladora, production-for-export model
that has been applied with disastrous results in northern Mexico, but
with a few new twists. The isthmus is one of the most bio-diverse
regions on the planet, and contains some of the most important fresh
water reserves in the hemisphere. Exploitation of these resources is
key to the plan.


The 63 million people of the region, including thousands of indigenous
communities, have not been consulted. PPP is one more "development"
plan, instituted by transnational corporations and international
financial institutions, that will benefit the corporate bottom line
but result in more poverty and displacement.

The American isthmus, the narrowest part of the Americas, includes
nine southern Mexican states (Puebla, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas,
Guerrero, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo) and the seven
countries of Central America (see map-page 14). The area has iron,
titanium, petroleum, high quality soil, fresh water, and a high level
of biodiversity, representing 10 percent of the world's flora.

Twenty-first century commodities (such as computer chips, small
motors, auto parts) are increasingly produced in the Pacific Rim, with
China's 1.2 billion people leading the way with the largest and
lowest-paid workforce in the world. But transportation becomes a
problem when the most important consumer bases, along the U.S.
Atlantic Coast and in the upper Midwest, are located half-way around
the world.

It's much cheaper to ship these goods unassembled, using modern
containerized shipping, but they still have to be assembled into
finished products before reaching market. Thus the American isthmus
offers unique strategic advantages as the shortest land route between
the Pacific and the Atlantic.


All that remains is to convince the native population to give up their
land for high-speed railway lines and toll highways, and to take
low-wage jobs in the sweatshops that would produce the finished

In addition to east-west transportation corridors across the isthmus,
PPP also contemplates pipelines and electrical grids spanning from
north to south, for transportation of oil from northern South America
and hydroelectric power from the isthmus, both destined for the U.S.

South America, particularly the Pacific coast, is an important source
of agricultural products and minerals, and the isthmus is the natural
transportation link. The Panama Canal often has waiting times of up to
eight days, and corporations predict the need for the equivalent of
six Panama canals across the isthmus by mid-century, largely "dry
canals" where containers are taken directly from ships and moved
across the isthmus on high-speed railways and toll highways.

Fresh water and biodiversity will be to the mid-21st century what oil
is today-the most strategically important resources in the world.
Genes from plants found in the isthmus are a key source of raw
material for the pharmaceutical industry, and many future commercial
uses that require biodiversity are only now in their development

To mention only one, researchers are experimenting with as many as 16
switches in biological raw material that could someday replace the
simple on-off, two-switch system used in computers.

Fresh water is becoming the most important natural resource. Nearly
three-quarters of the world's population will not have access to
regular fresh water in the coming decade, and bottled water already
costs much more than gasoline. The isthmus region is the third most
important source of fresh water in this hemisphere, after the Great
Lakes and the Amazon River basin.

U.S.-based corporations are anxious to get their hands on these
natural resources in the context of political stability (meaning: a
pacified population) and enforceable trade laws that recognize
international ownership of property (the Free Trade Area of the


Of course, this level of industrial development produces waste, and
the isthmus would likely become a dumping ground, destroying large
parts of the environment. Corporations have predicted this unfortunate
consequence and, along with some of the more conservative conservation
groups, are developing the concept of "environmental corridors," where
people would be prohibited or limited, including native populations.

Already we're seeing industrial-scale plantations of eucalyptus,
African palm, and shrimp farms, all of which damage the environment
and produce only for export rather than for local consumption.


President Fox presents PPP as a plan for economic development, but the
question is, development for whom? PPP would create a strategic
economic zone for the globalized capitalist system. It represents a
giant step in the process of expanding NAFTA to the rest of the
hemisphere, by solidifying conditions for the proposed Free Trade Area
of the Americas.

Winners: Multinational corporations. They would get abundant natural
resources, with no trade restrictions, low taxes, and lax
environmental standards. The Inter-American Development Bank, the
World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund would provide the
start-up capital.

A critical component of the plan is, of course, the absence of unions.
PPP would provide these companies with a very low-wage workforce-lower
even than in the maquiladoras of northern Mexico-allowing the isthmus
to compete with China for sweatshop manufacturing.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has told Vicente Fox that the U.S.
will support the plan if Fox militarizes the Mexico-Guatemala border
to prevent immigration from Central America northward. This would
please those who want to limit immigration to the U.S.

Losers: Small farmers, indigenous communities, and workers in the
isthmus and elsewhere. Besides environmental disaster, local residents
would face displacement from their traditional communities. Those who
could not find local sweatshop jobs would then be forced to migrate to
cities or, despite the border guards, to the U.S.

Either way, the worldwide race to the bottom is accelerated, as more
and more people compete for limited industrial jobs.

[In close consultation with sister organizations in the isthmus, a
U.S.-based coalition to oppose PPP and support community-based
development is in formation. Contact the Mexico Solidarity Network at
773/583-7728, msn@mexicosolidarity.org.]

Published in collaboration with Labor Notes. 'Labor Notes' is a
monthly magazine based in Detroit, USA. We are committed to reforming
and revitalizing the labor movement. We report news about the labor
movement that you won't find anywhere else. News about grassroots
labor activity, innovative organizing tactics, international labor
struggles, immigrant workers, and problems that some union leaders
would rather keep quiet. Subscribe and receive a copy of 'Labor Notes'
in your mailbox! Subscription information can be found at our website
at www.labornotes.org


5- Water, Light, And Land For All!

Report Back and Declaration from the Water, Light, And Land For All!
Forum in Guatemala, March 2002

By Global Exchange.

April 1, 2002

Reflections from the Mesoamerican Forum for Life

>From the construction of the Chixoy Dam in Guatemala to the planned
Three Rivers Dam in China, the creation of large dams have often come
at the cost of human rights and precious ecosystems. Dam opponents
have repeatedly lobbied for projects that account for energy needs
without sacrificing human rights and ecological protection. As a
result of the growing debate, the World Commission on Dams was formed
in 1998. In 2000, the Commission released a comprehensive report, Dams
and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making, which found that
dam construction has displaced over 40 million people while fueling
the deterioration of local economies and the disintegration of
communities. It also acknowledged that the construction of dams have
resulted in an overwhelmingly negative effect on biodiversity, led to
the extinction of aquatic species, and caused massive depletion of
forests and farmable land. The benefits have largely gone to the rich
at the expense of the impoverished indigenous and farming communities
living in the vicinity of the dams. Now, with the assistance of the
World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, the Plan Puebla Panama
threatens to expand dam building in Southeastern Mexico and Central
America. Since the commencement of the PPP in June of 2001, dam
opponents have continued to encounter violence. For example:

On June 30th, 2001, security forces for Energisa Corporation murdered
Carlos Roberto Flores, a Honduran community organizer protesting the
construction of the Babilonia River Hydroelectric Project. Two weeks
later, on July 18th, police forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and
water cannons at campesinos and indigenous peoples camped in front of
the National Congress of Honduras in Tegucigalpa, demanding justice
for Flores and the suspension of the Central American Bank of Economic
Integration (BCIE) supported dam.

Along the Salvadoran-Honduran border, COPINH (the Civic Council of
Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) is protesting
against the proposed creation of the El Tigre Dam which would displace
up to 20,000 people. This has led to the illegal detention,
harrasment, and injury to those who have voiced resistance.

On January 18th, 2002, Jacobo Martinez, leader of a community-based
ecological group in El Salvador, evaded a murder attempt by supporters
of the construction of the "El Chaparral" hydroelectric project . Upon
completion, the project will displace over 1,500 families and effect
more than 18,000 people.

Multilateral development banks have longed played a role in the
violation of human rights and displacement of peoples related to the
construction of dams. Over the past fifty years the World Bank has
invested 75 billion dollars for the creation of 538 dams in 92
countries, displacing over 10 million people. This includes the Chixoy
Dam in Guatemala where nearly 400 Mayan people were massacred in the
early 1980's. Not until 1996 when human rights groups learned of the
massacres did the World Bank acknowledge the conflict.

Given the unstable situation in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, tragic
events such as those in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador could
easily repeat themselves. There is concern that dams will be
constructed on some of the 42 potential sites in the conflict zone,
leading to the forced displacement of Zapatista autonomous
communities. Many worry that eventually some of these sites will be
used in order to sublimate the indigenous population currently
struggling for autonomy in the area. Chiapas already produces over 45%
of the hydroelectric energy in the country. However, 23% of state
residents do not have electricity (opposed to 6.1% as a national
average). As a result of the inevitable forced displacement of
communities, the unequal benefits of the construction of the dams, and
the lack of community consultation, the PPP looks to create
hydroelectric energy by forced submission of poverty-stricken

In response to such controversial plans, NGOs and effected communities
have created the Regional Front Against Dams culminating in the First
Mesoamerican Conference for Life in La Quetzal, Guatemala in March,
2002. Representatives from communities and organizations throughout
Europe and the Americas came together to begin the long battle against
dam projects within the PPP. Organizers made a concerted effort to
bring representatives from effected communities throughout the
Americas together with leading NGO leaders to formulate action plans
to confront the projects. The conference was measured a success with
local, regional, and global action plans created by representatives of
98 organizations from 21 countries convening in the isolated jungle
town of La Quetzal; a community which potentially could be flooded by
dams planned along the Usumacinta River. The next community and NGO
based forum will be held next year in Colomoncagua, Honduras on the
World Day of Action Against Dams. Below you will find find the
Declaration from the conference released March 24, 2002.

Declaration from the Mesoamerican Forum for Life
Cooperativa Unión Maya Itzá, Petén Guatemala

Between March 21st - 23rd men and women representing 98 organizations
and communities from 21 countries met faced with the general
preoccupation caused by the plans for the construction of dams with
different ends in different regions.

We have shared information and experiences, as well as analyzed the
negative enviromental, cultural, economic-social effects that have
already been caused and the potential damages of these projects.

We have confirmed information that states between 40 and 80 million
people in the world have been displaced by the construction of these
projects, which have been mostly to the benefit of those with economic
power with the support of the international and multilateral financial
institucions, highly tied to the projects of the Plan Puebla Panama,
Plan Columbia, commercial trade agreements and the Free Trade Area of
the Americas.

We have also confirmed that these projects, supported by transnational
and national capita,l do not comply in its' totality, with
environmental legislation at the national and international levels,
which obliges us to adopt measure of resistance and to reiterate the
validity of the proposed alternatives that have come from the people.

At the end of our discussions we agree:

To oppose the construction of dams in our countries that alter or
divert the natural flow of the rivers, flood, affect, or displace
people from their communities, destroy sacred and historic sights, and
cause the death of ecosystems and biodiversity.

To oppose the construction of dams because with their effects they
flagrantly violate the autodetermination of our communities on our
lands, affecting the patrimony and cosmovision of indigneous
communities in the region.

To reiterate our call to all Latin Americans to continue the popular
resistance against the construction of the dams and all complimentary
neoliberal politics.

Our repulsion and condemnation of the institutions that have financed
these projects (World Bank, Inter-american Development Bank, Central
American Bank for Economic Integration) and the governments that
support the transnationals involved in this dirty business (AES, Union
FENOSA, Endesa, Harza, among others).

Our solidarity with the threatened people and organizations that have
been persecuted and have suffered from violations of human rights in
the name of the struggle resisting the construction of dams.

To stress our rejection of the construction of whichever dam on the
Usumacinta River because it would seriously damage the communities and
ecosystems in the area. At the same time, we reject whichever project
related to the generation of electric energy constructed in the name
of the Plan Puebla Panama.

To confirm that the plan to displace people from the mountains of
Mesoamerica, especially those integrated into the Mesoamerican
Biological Corridor, is an inseperable part of the regional plans for
the occupation of the basins and constructions of dams.

Immediately we demand:

Immediate justice and comply to the responsibilities related to
genocides and the corresponding reparation of damages caused to the
affected people by dams already constructed.

The suspension of persecution, intimidation, disappearance, death
threats and strategies of disarticulation against people and
organization struggling against dams.

To the national governments, the suspension of the imposition of
projects that do not benefit the communities and towns in the region.
As a final resolution we agree:

Our solidarity with the movements at the Latin American level in the
struggle against dams (Usumacinta in Guatemala-México, Chaparral in
Frontera Intibucá El Salvador-Honduras, Itzantún and El Cajón in
México, La Maroma in El Salvador, Susuma in Honduras, El Tigre in la
Frontera El Salvador-Honduras, Chalillo in Belice, Bayano and Tabasará
in Panamá, Guaigüi in República Dominicana, among others).

Our rejection of the complimentary projects to dams such as those in
relation to biopiracy, comercial trade agreements, and intellectual
property rights.

On the World Day of Action against Dams, we will meet again next year
in Colomoncagua, Honduras.
Unión Maya Itzá, Petén, Guatemala, 23 de marzo de 2002

Organizations which signed onto the declaration:
Full list available at


6- Meeting ATTAC worldwide.

If you are interested in one of these rendezvous please click on
http://attac.org/indexen/ See "ATTAC In the World" then "Meeting

-- Wednesday 3
DANMARK: Ebbesensgade
ESPANA: Madrid
FINLAND: Helsinki - Kokkola
FRANCE: La Ciotat - Voiron - La Rochette - Etampes - Rennes - Royan -
Paris 11 - Montreuil - Reims - Bayonne - Beziers - Cluses
HELLAS : Athens

-- Thursday 4
FRANCE: Paris 14 - Clisson - Nantes - Marseille - Bordeaux - Rennes -
Saint Brieuc - Paris centre - Montpellier
ITALIA : Bologna
SVERIGE : Norrkoping

-- Friday 5
ESPANA: Madrid
FRANCE: Ganges - Clisson - Chinon - Paris 15 - Pontoise - Bordeaux -
Montreuil - Andresy - Toulouse
SVERIGE : Stockholm

-- Saturday 6
FRANCE: Bordeaux - Brioude - Paris 11 - Lille

-- Sunday 7
FRANCE: Clisson - Tours - Chinon - Paris 11

-- Monday 8
FRANCE: Ganges - Clisson - Arles - Aubagne - Langon - Boulogne sur
mer - Annemasse - Marignier - Bagnols
NORGE : Bergen - Hamar - Oslo

-- Tuesday 9
DANMARK: Blagarden
FINLAND: Jarvenpaa
FRANCE: Salon de provence - Foix - Angers - IEP Bordeaux - Poitiers -
Juvisy - Saint Die
SVERIGE : Alingras

-- Wednesday 10
DANMARK : Albertslund
ESPANA : Madrid
FRANCE: Nantes - Aix - Rennes - Montreuil - Paris 11 - Les Mureaux -
Beziers - Paris 15 - Ruffec
SVERIGE : Oskarshamm


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