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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 20th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

COHA Statement on the Ongoing Stress in Venezuela

By: Larry Birns, Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), Washington DC.
Contributor: Lauren Foiles, Research Associate at COHA.

 

The general position of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) on the ongoing developments in Venezuela is that Washington has a misguided policy toward the South American country.

 

Moreover, Washington’s Venezuelan policy directly conflicts with the rest of Latin America’s thinking on the subject. This gap may cost the already diplomatically embattled U.S. in the near future when it comes to improving its already damaged image in the Americas as well as its diplomatic ties with Venezuela’s allies, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba and Ecuador.

 

Who Creates Washington’s Policy Towards Caracas?

 

In the current extremely tense atmosphere, it would seem that the White House is much more likely to respond with favor to a growing Venezuelan exile group in Florida than to a growing Latino community who want the Obama administration to bring about real and progressive change to the inter-American system.

 

Back in November, Secretary of State John Kerry famously declared in a speech at the Organization of American States that: “the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.” The situation in Venezuela is a real-life test for Washington to demonstrate that Secretary Kerry’s historical declaration will be followed through, unlike the December 1933 Montevideo Convention.

 

Three Expelled U.S. Diplomats

 

Right now a question revolves around whether the Venezuelan government had sufficient grounds to issue the recall instructions against three U.S. officials to be ejected from Caracas.

 

On Sunday evening, February 16, President Maduro announced the expulsion of three U.S. Embassy officials from Venezuela. Maduro’s decision was followed by a statement released on Monday from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Elías Jaua, who declared that the consular officials had 48 hours to vacate the country. The announcement comes after the U.S. State Department voiced concerns over the growing violence in Caracas with the department spokeswoman, Marie Harf stating on Saturday, “We are deeply concerned by rising tensions, by the violence surrounding this February 12 protest and by the issuing of a warrant for the arrest of the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.”

 

Jaua stated that the Embassy officials had been visiting universities under the false pretenses of granting students with visas, however he charged that “at bottom that is a cover to establish contacts with leaders who they recruit for training, for financing and the creation of youth organizations through which violence is promoted in Venezuela.” This most recent expulsion mirrors those of September 2013 when Maduro announced on state-run VTV that he was expelling three U.S. Diplomats, similarly charging that, “They have 48 hours to leave the country…Get out of Venezuela…Yankee go home. Enough abuses already.” This marks the third time in less than a year that President Maduro has expelled American diplomats under the allegations of supporting opposition factions to insight a coup. While the names of the three-expelled diplomats have yet to be released, the U.S. State Department has publicly and adamantly denied the accusations. Meanwhile, the Twitter account of the U.S. embassy in Venezuela continues to be active and has tweeted that it will continue to operate normally and has no plans to suspend operations.

 

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, like much of the international community, awaits the release of factual evidence to support the consular officials’ expulsion. Until such time, only speculations can be made about the validity of the administrations’ statements and whether or not the expulsions are justifiable. Even without evidence, it is far from outlandish to speculate that American institutions are using their chartered mandates as a guise to intervene in internal politics.

 

 In Alan McPherson’s “The Encyclopedia of U.S. Military Interventions in Latin America” the author goes into detail about the prevalence of, most notably, extending U.S. power militarily through local actors, citing the CIA-led coup against Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954, the response to Cuba from 1956 on, the intervention in the Dominican Republic of 1965-1966, the support for Pinochet’s coup against Allende in Chile in 1973, and the invasion of Grenada in 1983 among others. In a historical context, Maduro’s charges do in fact follow a pattern of U.S intervention in Latin American politics.

 

Furthermore, no one can easily deny that consular officials (from the U.S. or other powers) repeatedly have been used to transmit intelligence material to both sides for spying and liaison missions.  COHA’s Director Larry Birns recollects visiting the U.S. embassy in Venezuela in the 1970s. “There would be this wall with photos of embassy personnel and their diplomatic titles, like ‘agricultural attaché.’ I can assure you none of the so-called attaches I met had ever seen a plow in their lives.”

 

This historical record and suspicions notwithstanding, COHA still urges the Venezuelan government to conduct an impartial investigation into the expulsions, however utopian a request that may be. Impartial investigation aside, one thing is certain: the expulsions will serve as political fire for both the opposition and Chavista, pro-government factions alike. Critics of the government have often pointed to Maduro’s efforts to provoke crises with the U.S. as a “diversionary conflict” method to distract citizens from the dismal realities of the state’s economic shortcomings, as they are certain to continue to do with this instance. Likewise, pro-government supporters and the Maduro administration will use the expulsion as evidence that they are willing to take action against the U.S. for again meddling in the politics of a sovereign Latin American nation. 

 

A Conspiracy Theory?

 

At the time of this writing, there  is bizarre, and apparently false, news floating around the internet regarding a potential U.S. military operation in Venezuela.  Arizona Senator John McCain is being quoted as stating that the U.S. could (or rather should) prepare a military operation in Venezuela and that it can ask U.S. allies in the region, namely Colombia and Peru, to create some kind of multinational coalition a la Iraq or Afghanistan. A report apparently accredited to the Agence France Presse and Xinhua (a Chinese news agency),  allegedly quotes Senator McCain making these declarations in an interview with NBC.

 

COHA has tried to independently verify these alleged statements and they appear to be false. A recent interview with Senator McCain  on  CNN’s  The Jake Tapper Show, focuses  primarily on the situation in Ukraine. There is a brief 30-second segment in which Senator McCain discusses Venezuela, but at no point does he talk about military intervention.

 

Moreover, the articles and blog posts where these alleged statements by the Arizona congressman appear are all in Spanish. COHA has not found any major news media outlet, be it in English or Spanish which confirm these statements.

 

COHA has contacted Senator McCain’s office in Washington D.C. to confirm the veracity of these allegations. Upon calling the senator’s office, we were asked by Press Secretary Rachael Dean to email links to the articles in Spanish that COHA’s research team found. The response to our email stated that “the quote is not accurate” and directed us to Senator McCain’s interview on CNN.

 

Given the gravity of these alleged statements, COHA calls for caution. Articles and blog posts quoting or paraphrasing the quotes are spreading throughout the internet,  most prominently on Twitter, despite the lack of verification on the matter.

 

Conclusions

 

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs urges the State Department to declare its respect for Venezuela’s sovereignty and respect the results of the 2013 elections which, while certainly polarizing, were democratic.

 

Certainly, taking this diplomatic stance does not equate to neutrality, as the anti-Chavista factions would like to see regime change. Hopefully, President Maduro’s pledge that he is open to dialogue with the opposition is not a hollow one. COHA eagerly encourages all sides (the government as well as opposition groups) to refrain from further violence.

Please accept this article as a free contribution from COHA, but if re-posting, please afford authorial and institutional attribution.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 15th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Administration Is Seen as Retreating on Environment in Talks on Pacific Trade.

By Coral Davenport of The New York Times, January 15, 2014

Documents obtained by WikiLeaks show that the Obama administration is pulling back on environmental protections to reach a trade deal that is a pillar of the president’s strategic shift to Asia.
Read more at www.onenewspage.com/n/Science/7509arywd/Administration-Is-Seen-as-Retreating-on-Environment-in.htm#ur9WIpYRBZj7S6E2.99 

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is retreating from previous demands of strong international environmental protections in order to reach agreement on a sweeping Pacific trade deal that is a pillar of President Obama’s strategic shift to Asia, according to documents obtained by WikiLeaks, environmentalists and people close to the contentious trade talks.The negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would be one of the world’s biggest trade agreements, have exposed deep rifts over environmental policy between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. As it stands now, the documents, viewed by The New York Times, show that the disputes could undo key global environmental protections.

The environmental chapter of the trade deal has been among most highly disputed elements of negotiations in the pact. Participants in the talks, which have dragged on for three years, had hoped to complete the deal by the end of 2013.

Environmentalists said that the draft appears to signal that the United States will retreat on a variety of environmental protections — including legally binding pollution control requirements and logging regulations and a ban on harvesting sharks’ fins — to advance a trade deal that is a top priority for Mr. Obama.

Launch media viewer

Michael Froman, the United States trade representative, said, “We’re pushing hard.”  Stephen Crowley/The New York TimesIlana Solomon, the director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, said the draft omits crucial language ensuring that increased trade will not lead to further environmental destruction.

“It rolls back key standards set by Congress to ensure that the environment chapters are legally enforceable, in the same way the commercial parts of free-trade agreements are,” Ms. Solomon said. The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wildlife Fund have been following the negotiations closely and are expected to release a report on Wednesday criticizing the draft.

American officials countered that they had put forward strong environmental proposals in the pact.

“It is an uphill battle, but we’re pushing hard,” said Michael Froman, the United States trade representative. “We have worked closely with the environmental community from the start and have made our commitment clear.” Mr. Froman said he continued to pursue a robust, enforceable environmental standard that he said would be stronger than those in previous free-trade agreements.

The draft documents are dated Nov. 24 and there has been one meeting since then.

The documents consist of the environmental chapter as well as a “Report from the Chairs,” which offers an unusual behind-the-scenes look into the divisive trade negotiations, until now shrouded in secrecy. The report indicates that the United States has been pushing for tough environmental provisions, particularly legally binding language that would provide for sanctions against participating countries for environmental violations. The United States is also insisting that the nations follow existing global environmental treaties.

But many of those proposals are opposed by most or all of the other Pacific Rim nations working on the deal, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Peru. Developing Asian countries, in particular, have long resisted outside efforts to enforce strong environmental controls, arguing that they could hurt their growing economies.

The report appears to indicate that the United States is losing many of those fights, and bluntly notes the rifts: “While the chair sought to accommodate all the concerns and red lines that were identified by parties regarding the issues in the text, many of the red lines for some parties were in direct opposition to the red lines expressed by other parties.”

As of now, the draft environmental chapter does not require the nations to follow legally binding environmental provisions or other global environmental treaties. The text notes only, for example, that pollution controls could vary depending on a country’s “domestic circumstances and capabilities.”

——————————————————

Recent Comments

KarlosTJ

11 minutes agoLet’s not worry about getting the best trades we can – let’s worry about the environment. Because after all, allowing Americans to save…

Amy Haible

25 minutes agoOnce again, WikiLeaks shows us what we need to know. The environment is the economy. We can learn it now or after much suffering. But it…

  • See All Comments
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In addition, the draft does not contain clear requirements for a ban on shark finning, which is the practice of capturing sharks and cutting off their fins — commonly used in shark-fin soup — and throwing back the sharks to die. The dish is a delicacy in many of the Asian negotiating countries. At this point the draft says that the countries “may include” bans “as appropriate” on such practices.

Earlier pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement included only appendices, which called for cooperation on environmental issues but not legally binding terms or requirements. Environmentalists derided them as “green window dressing.”

But in May 2007, President George W. Bush struck an environmental deal with Democrats in the Senate and the House as he sought to move a free-trade agreement with Peru through Congress. In what became known as the May 10 Agreement, Democrats got Mr. Bush to agree that all American free-trade deals would include a chapter with environmental provisions, phrased in the same legally binding language as chapters on labor, agriculture and intellectual property. The Democrats also insisted that the chapter require nations to recognize existing global environmental treaties.

Since then, every American free-trade deal has included that strong language, although all have been between the United States and only one other country. It appears to be much tougher to negotiate environmental provisions in a 12-nation agreement.

“Bilateral negotiations are a very different thing,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, the former head of the United States trade representative’s environmental office. “Here, if the U.S. is the only one pushing for this, it’s a real uphill battle to get others to agree if they don’t like it.”

But business groups say the deal may need to ease up. “There are some governments with developing economies that will need more time and leeway,” said Cal Cohen, president of the Emergency Committee for American Trade, a group of about 100 executives and trade associations that lobbies the United States trade negotiator on the deal. “When you think about the evolution of labor provisions, you realize how many centuries the development of high standards took.”

Since the trade talks began, lawmakers and advocacy groups have assailed the negotiators for keeping the process secret, and WikiLeaks has been among the most critical voices. The environment chapter is the third in a series of Trans-Pacific Partnership documents released by WikiLeaks. In November, the group posted the draft chapter on intellectual property. In December, the site posted documents detailing disagreements between the negotiating parties on other issues. The site is expected to release more documents as the negotiations unfold.

A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2014, on page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: Administration Is Seen as Retreating on Environment in Talks on Pacific Trade.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 1st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The New York Times reminded us that -

“On Dec. 1, 1959, representatives of 12 countries, including the United States, signed a treaty in Washington setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free from military activity.”

This triggered our interest in the fact that the treaty was signed in Washington and not at the UN in New York – as well we remember having visited a Chilean military base in the Antarctica – “grandfathered” by the treaty as it was established before the signing of the treaty. As well – a large number of States have bases in the Antarctica – call them scientific – but be sure they may have military meaning as well. So far as science goes – the South Koreans have based their scientific work around the Chilean military base.

Looking up the internet we found for THE ANTARCTIC TREATY:

A lot of the major powers of the world (UK, Australia, Russia, and I’m sure some others) all have bases on Antartica. All are scientific, and I’m pretty sure the American ones are run by the military. I know the McMurdo Base (American) is huge in comparison to all the others. I think it staffs a couple thousand people, too. It’s all science though, no wars or anything being fought down there (though others may beg to differ.)

www.upi.comBusiness NewsSecurity IndustryFeb 20, 2012 – Chile is going ahead with a multibillion-dollar plan
that includes Antarctica, including defense and tourist options.
——————

Some important provisions of the Treaty:

 

Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only (Art. I)

 

Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end … shall continue (Art. II).

 

Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available (Art. III).

 

Among the signatories of the Treaty were seven countries – Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom – with territorial claims , sometimes overlapping. Other countries do not recognize any claims. The US and Russia maintain a “basis of claim”. All positions are explicitly protected in Article IV, which preserves the status quo:

 

No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting , supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica. No new claim, or enlargement of an existing claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica shall be asserted while the present Treaty is in force.

 

To promote the objectives and ensure the observance of the provisions of the Treaty, “All areas of Antarctica, including all stations, installations and equipment within those areas … shall be open at all times to inspection ” (Art. VII).

———-

“Signed in 1959, the Antarctic Treaty provides the legal framework for the region beyond 60º South latitude. It reserves the region for peace, promotes scientific investigations and international cooperation, requires an annual exchange of information about activities, and encourages environmental stewardship. Representatives of the 29 voting nations (Consultative Parties) and the 21 non-voting (Acceding Parties) meet regularly to discuss Treaty operations.

 

Agreements negotiated within the Antarctic Treaty system include environmental protection measures for expeditions, stations, and visitors; waste-management provisions; a ban on mining; establishment of specially protected areas; and agreements for the protection of seals and other marine living resources.”
The original Parties to the Treaty were the 12 nations active in the Antarctic during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58.

The Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 and entered into force on 23 June 1961. The Consultative Parties comprise the original Parties and other States that have become Consultative Parties by acceding to the Treaty and demonstrating their interest in Antarctica by carrying out substantial scientific activity there.

 

The primary purpose of the Antarctic Treaty is to ensure “in the interests of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.” To this end it prohibits military activity, except in support of science; prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of nuclear waste; promotes scientific research and the exchange of data; and holds all territorial claims in abeyance. The Treaty applies to the area south of 60° South Latitude, including all ice shelves and islands.

 

The Treaty is augmented by Recommendations adopted at Consultative Meetings, by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid, 1991), and by two separate conventions dealing with the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (London 1972), and the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Canberra 1980).

BUT – The Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities (Wellington 1988), negotiated between 1982 and 1988, will not enter into force.

THE CONFLICT BETWEEN ARGENTINA AND THE UK SHOWS WHAT ANIMOSITY CAN COME UP WHEN THERE IS HOPE TO FIND OIL.

 

The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) is now held annually. During each ATCM, there is also a meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP). The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) is an observer at ATCMs and CEPs, and provides independent scientific advice as requested in a variety of fields, particularly on environmental and conservation matters.

 

For more information on the Antarctic Treaty, please visit the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat website.

 

Contact
By phone
+ 54 11 4320 4250
+ 54 11 4326 2174
By Fax
+ 54 11 4320 4253
By Email
ats@ats.aq
By Post
Secretaría del
Tratado Antártico

Maipú 757 Piso 4
C1006ACI – Buenos Aires
Argentina

————–

The Antarctic Science meetings cycle can be found at:

Logo for 33 SCAR, Auckland, 2014

XXXIII SCAR Meetings and Open Science Conference

22 August – 3 September 2014, Auckland, New Zealand.

The Open Science Conference will be held on 25-29 August. A draft list of sessions is available.
Abstract submission is open until 14 February 2014.

'New!' Second Circular now available.

For more information, please see the [pdf] Second Circular and visit the Conference website.

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Venezuela’s Independence Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 3, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Venezuela as you commemorate the day that Venezuela declared its independence 202 years ago.

Venezuela and the United States have much in common. For example, revolutionary leader General Francisco de Miranda also played a part in our own struggle for independence, participating in the Battle of Pensacola in 1781. His contribution is forever memorialized in a monument that stands in the heart of Philadelphia, the original capital of the United States. When a devastating earthquake struck Venezuela in 1812 the United States sent the Venezuelan people the first humanitarian assistance it ever provided to a foreign country. These two examples demonstrate that Venezuela and the United States have shared ties of friendship and common values since the birth of our two nations, and the ties between our people endure.

I wish Venezuelans everywhere health, happiness, and hope on the anniversary of your independence.

——————————–

The Washington Post of July 5, 2013 tells us:

““As head of state, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden so that he can live in the homeland” of independence leader Simon Bolivar and the late President Hugo Chavez without “persecution from the empire,” Maduro said, referring to the United States.

He made the offer during a speech marking the anniversary of Venezuela’s independence. It was not immediately clear if there were any conditions to Venezuela’s offer.

Maduro added that several other Latin American governments have also expressed their intention of taking a similar stance by offering asylum for the cause of “dignity.”

In Nicaragua, Ortega said he was willing to make the same offer “if circumstances allow it.” Ortega didn’t say what the right circumstances would be when he spoke during a speech in Managua.

He said the Nicaraguan embassy in Moscow received Snowden’s application for asylum and that it is studying the request.

“We have the sovereign right to help a person who felt remorse after finding out how the United States was using technology to spy on the whole world, and especially its European allies,” Ortega said.

The offers came following a flap about the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane in Europe earlier this week amid reports that Snowden might have been aboard.

Spain on Friday said it had been warned along with other European countries that Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence worker, was aboard the Bolivian presidential plane, an acknowledgement that the manhunt for the fugitive leaker had something to do with the plane’s unexpected diversion to Austria.

It is unclear whether the United States, which has told its European allies that it wants Snowden back, warned Madrid about the Bolivian president’s plane. U.S. officials will not detail their conversations with European countries, except to say that they have stated the U.S.’s general position that it wants Snowden back.

Maduro joined other leftist South American presidents Thursday in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to rally behind Morales and denounce the rerouting incident.

President Barack Obama has publicly displayed a relaxed attitude toward Snowden’s movements, saying last month that he wouldn’t be “scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”

But the drama surrounding the flight of Morales, whose plane was abruptly rerouted to Vienna after apparently being denied permission to fly over France, suggests that pressure is being applied behind the scenes.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told Spanish National Television that “they told us that the information was clear, that he was inside.”

He did not identify who “they” were and declined to say whether he had been in contact with the U.S. But he said that European countries’ decisions were based on the tip. France has since sent a letter of apology to the Bolivian government.”

———————————–

The bottom line is as reported by the Guardian:

“We are not colonies any more,” Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, said. “We deserve respect, and when one of our governments is insulted we feel the insult throughout Latin America.”

Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, said on Thursday he and other leaders were offering full support to Morales and called the rerouting of the plane an aggression against the Americas.

Cristina Fernandez of Argentina said Latin Americans treasured freedom after fighting for independence from Europe in the 19th century and then surviving Washington’s 20th-century history of backing repressive regimes in the Americas. She demanded an apology for the plane ordeal.

“I’m asking those who violated the law in calm but serious manner, to take responsibility for the errors made, it’s the least they can do,” Fernandez said. “To apologize for once in their life, to say they’re sorry for what they’ve done.”

Morales has said that while the plane was parked in Vienna, the Spanish ambassador to Austria arrived with two embassy personnel and they asked to search the plane. He said he denied them permission.

“Who takes the decision to attack the president of a South American nation?” Maduro asked. Spanish prime minister Mariano “Rajoy has been abusive by trying to search Morales’ plane in Spain. He has no right to breach international law.”

———————————–

It seems like time has come for a US face-saving diplomacy before true craters open up at US borders – East, West, and South.

We have previously outlined a draft that we did not publish – but think now that the airplane flap justifies a US Presidential pardon to Snowden – just to get the issue of the World table – the damage was done and no sense for the US to dig itself deeper into the hole it created.

———————————-

US senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told little Ecuadoran that he would block the import of vegetables and flowers from Ecuador if Ecuador gives asylum to Edward Snowden. The cost to Ecuador would be one billion dollars in lost revenues. Will he also forbid trips from the US to the Galapagos?

Will he be consistent and close US imports of Venezuela oil? Of Latin oil in general?
Ecuador and Venezuela happen to be also members of OPEC which Bolivia is not. A policy of threats presents many interesting angles and possibilities.
Will there be ways to enlarge this with some reaction to what happens in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, some more grand-standing anyone?

———————————-

Thursday the leaders of Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Uruguay joined Bolivia’s President Morales in Cochabamba, for a special meeting to address the diplomatic row.

At the end of the summit a statement was issued demanding answers from France, Portugal, Italy and Spain. The United States was not mentioned in the statement.

“Europe broke all the rules of the game,” Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said shortly after arriving at Cochabamba airport. “We’re here to tell president Evo Morales that he can count on us. Whoever picks a fight with Bolivia, picks a fight with Venezuela.”

Maduro said an unnamed European government minister had told Venezuela the CIA was behind the incident.

“We are not colonies any more,” Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, said. “We deserve respect, and when one of our governments is insulted we feel the insult throughout Latin America.”

Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, said on Thursday he and other leaders were offering full support to Morales and called the rerouting of the plane an aggression against the Americas.

Cristina Fernandez of Argentina said Latin Americans treasured freedom after fighting for independence from Europe in the 19th century and then surviving Washington’s 20th-century history of backing repressive regimes in the Americas. She demanded an apology for the plane ordeal.

“I’m asking those who violated the law in calm but serious manner, to take responsibility for the errors made, it’s the least they can do,” Fernandez said. “To apologise for once in their life, to say they’re sorry for what they’ve done.”

Morales has said that while the plane was parked in Vienna, the Spanish ambassador to Austria arrived with two embassy personnel and they asked to search the plane. He said he denied them permission.

“Who takes the decision to attack the president of a South American nation?” Maduro asked. Spanish prime minister Mariano “Rajoy has been abusive by trying to search Morales’ plane in Spain. He has no right to breach international law.”

Before the meeting, Morales said his ordeal was part of a US plot to intimidate him and other Latin American leaders.

He urged European nations to “free themselves” from the United States. “The United States is using its agent [Snowden] and the president [of Bolivia] to intimidate the whole region,” he said.

France sent an apology to the Bolivian government. But Morales said “apologies are not enough because the stance is that international treaties must be respected”.

Spain’s foreign affairs minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, said his country did not bar Morales from landing in its territory.

Amid the tensions, the US embassy in La Paz cancelled Independence Day celebrations scheduled for Thursday. In the eastern city of Santa Cruz, Bolivian government sympathisers painted protest slogans on the doors of the American consulate.

Bolivia has said it will summon the French and Italian ambassadors and the Portuguese consul to demand explanations.

Brazil was represented by Marco Aurelio Garcia, President Dilma Rousseff’s top international adviser. The presidents of Colombia, Chile and Peru, who have strong ties to the US, were not attending.

Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, said earlier on Thursday he supported Morales, but asked other leaders to remain cool and avoid an escalating dispute between Latin America and the European Union.

“We’re in solidarity with Evo Morales because what they did to him is unheard-of, but let’s not let this turn into a diplomatic crisis for Latin America and the EU,” Santos tweeted on Thursday.

—————————————

Our draft started: Thanks to the Egyptian military – their intervention got off the media front line the Snowden, Assage, Manning, WikiLeaks Warning Lighthouses – and replaced them with a renewed attention to the Islamic potential for acts of terror.

Furthermore – Latin America seems split between the go it alone States of the ALBA group – Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela, their new friends – Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and now Nicaragua – and their opponents – the strong US connected, Chile, Colombia, Peru and the Southern European States Italy, France, Spain, Portugal that acted out on unsightly pressure from the White House, and perhaps even Austria – if it turns out to be true that they searched the Bolivian President’s plane. What about Mexico? Will they want to be seen as residing in the US vest-pocket?

Today it seems that just the Greens, the so called Pirates, and some other non-political fringe parties, are left in Europe to stand up for Democracy – The Reds, Blacks, Blues, Yellow, Orange, and Purple – all established political parties – have abandoned the Democracy ship because of the Transatlantic breeze from the Potomac. Europe seems anew like the Europe of the thirties with governments worried about their business-ties. Any infringements of democratic inalienable rights are not noted now, like they were not noted then. But this is totally misleading – just read the Guardian where all these stories started. This at a time the voters in quite a few European States do take position on this – and we would not be surprised if Austria as well took back its “Neutral Mantle” to declare that they too are ready to give refuge to Snowden. The coming days will tell.

————————————–

And as if nothing happened – a US hand to the people of Argentina as if they have now no elected government?:

Western Hemisphere: Argentina’s Independence Day

07/05/2013 02:31 PM EDT

Argentina’s Independence Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 5, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I send best wishes to the people of Argentina as they celebrate their Independence Day this July 9.

The citizens of our two nations have a long history of productive and friendly relations, highlighted by educational and cultural exchanges and fruitful collaboration in the fields of science, technology, health, space, and energy.

The determination expressed by the patriots gathered at the Casa de Tucuman, to forge a free and independent nation, is a fundamental human longing, and one we share.

On this day, the United States wishes Argentina a happy celebration.

We look forward to working together to cultivate a strong bilateral relationship in the years to come.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 10th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Our website has proposed that geopolitics are headed to a new structure were it is needed to have a billion people in order to be considered a World Power. As such we proposed that besides China and India, the other World powers will be -

- an Anglo-American Block led by the US and that will include also the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and as well Mexico and Japan;
- a European Block led out of Brussels by a more united and reorganized EU and that will include Russia but not the UK;

- an Islamic Block led by Turkey or Indonesia that will stretch from Mauritania to Indonesia;

- and a block “Of the Rest” that will be led by Brazil and include, with a few exceptions based on the US led Trans-Pacific Partnership (the TPP) , Latin America, Africa, the SIDS, parts of Asia.
It is this last Block that will become the new Third World – that is the Sixth World of those outside the China, India, US, EU, and Islamic Blocks.

We see the recent news of Brazil defeating Mexico for the leadership of the WTO as an important step in above direction.

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Brazil Wins Leadership of the World Trade Organization

Brazilian Roberto Azevêdo has been chosen over Mexican candidate Herminio Blanco as the newest director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 7. El Palenque, AnimalPolitico’s debate forum for experts, discusses the effects this win will have on Mexican diplomacy, Brazil’s role in trade liberalization, and the prominence of the BRICS on the world stage. Azevêdo will be the first Latin American to head the WTO.

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The Financial Times wrote May 7, 2013:

So, Roberto Azevêdo, Brazil’s candidate for director general of the WTO, has pipped his rival Herminio Blanco of Mexico for the job.

But there is still a question to be answered: Who won? The man or the country?

Between Azevêdo and Blanco, there may not be much to choose. Both have impressive credentials. Azevêdo, a career diplomat in one of the world’s most polished diplomatic services, has been Brazil’s ambassador to the WTO since 2008. He knows the organisation inside out. Blanco is a businessman steeped in trade, a trade consultant who was formerly Mexico’s trade minister and its chief negotiator during preparation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

If the race was between two technocrats, it must have been a photo finish.

But what if the WTO members voted for the country, not the man? Then, it was a matter of chalk and cheese. Disgruntled Mexicans – whose pride will have taken a severe knock – will call this a victory of protectionism over free trade.

It will also be a victory of the developing world over the developed one.

Mexico, which has free trade agreements with 44 different countries, is the new poster child of developed world policies at work in the developing world. Brazil has free trade agreements with nobody, and has shown a tendency to renegotiate what agreements it does have as soon as they become inconvenient – not least its auto agreement with Mexico. Many developing countries – in Africa and Asia as well as in Latin America – will have felt the Brazilian was much more likely to protect their fledgling manufacturers and farmers than was the Mexican. Many of those countries, especially in Africa, already have closer ties with Brazil than they do with Mexico.

In an interview with Reuters, Azevêdo played down the issue of nationality:

“I, as candidate and as director of the WTO will not be representing Brazil,” Azevedo told Reuters in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“I made it to the final round in the election with those complaints on the table, and that doesn’t change things. It means there is an understanding between WTO members that the candidate must be independent from his country and be evaluated according to his skills.”

Asked if he considered Brazil was protectionist, he declined to comment.

To those who say that, under Azevêdo, the WTO will lose sight of its mission to promote free trade, others will reply that it never had one in the first place.

But Tuesday’s decision will make a big difference. No matter how pure a technocrat he is, Azevêdo will find it hard to fend off the influence of Brasília. It was the Brazilian that won, and not the Mexican.

Related FT reading:
Brazil wins battle for WTO leadership, FT
WTO chief must show relevance by making progress on global pact, FT
WTO candidates adopt varying stances on trade, FT
Questions for the world’s next trade chief, FT
Herminio Blanco: status quo is not an option for the WTO, beyondbrics

SO, WE WILL SAY – THE FT AGREE WITH OUR POINT OF VIEW THAT THE US CANDIDATE – MEXICO – LOST TO THE CANDIDATE OF THE THIRD WORLD – THAT IS OUR TRUE SIXTH WORLD – WHO WILL STAND UP TO THE BIGGER BOYS OF THE OTHER FIVE WORLDS – SPECIFICALLY THE US – WHO BLATANTLY USE THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS FOR THEIR OWN GOOD – EXCLUSIVELY!!!

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FURTHER NEWS OF RELEVANCE TO THE NEW WORLD IN THE MAKING:

Clinton Global Initiative to Launch Latin America Program in Rio

Former President Bill Clinton announced on May 6 that the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) would be expanding to Latin America in December 2013, with its first meeting set to launch in Rio de Janeiro. He was joined by Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes in making the announcement at the mid-year meeting for his annual conference.

Brazil Starts Small Business Ministry

President Dilma Rousseff announced the start of a small business ministry on May 6, saying that government banks will provide up to $7,500 to small businesses in 2013 and will reduce the public loan interest rate from 8 percent to 5 percent beginning on May 31. “The question of small business is indispensable for the country’s future and present,” said Rousseff. Brazil’s estimated 6 million micro and small businesses accounted for 40 percent of the country’s 15 million new jobs from 2001 to 2011.

Cuba to Send 6,000 Doctors to Brazil

Brazil plans to hire approximately 6,000 Cuban doctors to work in the country’s rural areas, said Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota on May 6. The Federal Medical Council­–a Brazilian doctor’s organization–questioned the island nation’s medical qualifications, but Patriota called Cuba “very proficient in the areas of medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology.” President Dilma Rousseff began the talks in January 2012, and both countries are currently consulting with the Pan American Health Organization to move forward.

A Bright Outlook for Latin American Economies?

The International Monetary Fund’s May 2013 Regional Economic Outlook predicts Latin America’s growth to increase approximately 3.5 percent by the end of the year. But, in an article for The Huffington Post, Director for the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department Alejandro Werner questions whether countries in the region will be able to “adjust policies to preserve macroeconomic and financial stability” after the near-future external benefits, such as easy external financing and high commodity prices, begin to decline.

Volcanoes and Geysers Could Fuel Chilean Energy

Chile will partner with New Zealand to develop its deep exploration drilling and to develop its geothermal energy production. Chile is home to 20 percent of the world’s active volcanoes, which can be harnessed for geothermal energy. However, only 5 percent of the country’s electrical power is attributed to renewable energy resources, reports IPS News.

The Pacific Alliance Creates a Legislative Committee

Heads of Congress from Pacific Alliance members Chile, Colombia, México, and Perú signed an accord to form a Pacific Alliance Inter-Parliamentary Committee on May 6, reports La República. The committee would serve as the legislative arm of the Alliance by developing a framework to approve free trade agreements and distribution of goods, services, and capital under the Alliance. The committee will be officially presented to the Alliance at a legislative session in Chile in June.

Washington to Host Chilean and Peruvian Presidents

Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera and Peru’s President Ollanta Humala will visit Washington D.C. in June to discuss economic relations with President Obama. Piñera’s visit will take place on June 4, and Humala will visit one week later on June 11. The agenda will likely touch on negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as all three countries hope to develop closer economic ties to Asian markets.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 5th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Tancredo de Almeida Neves, Commonly called Tancredo Neves (March 4, 1910 – April 21, 1985) – was  born in São João del Rey, in the state of Minas Gerais, of mostly Portuguese, but also Austrian descent. [1]

Neves was the opposition candidate to replace President João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo – the last general-President of Brazil.

The campaign for direct elections failed. There was no popular public vote.[5] Neves was elected President by a majority of the Electoral College on January 15, 1985, where he received 480 votes.[6]

USING WIKIPEDIA LANGUAGE THE FOLLOWING IS THE OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION OF A CHAIN OF EVENTS:

On March 14, on the last day of his predecessor’s term, and on the eve of his own inauguration, Neves became severely ill, requiring immediate surgery. He thus was not able to attend his own inauguration on March 15.

The Constitution required the President and Vice-President elect to take oaths of office before the assembled National Congress.

The inauguration was accordingly held for the Vice-President only, the Vice-President immediately assumed the powers of the presidency as Acting President. At that time, there was still hope that Neves would recover and appear before Congress to take the oath of office.

However, Neves suffered from abdominal complications and developed generalized infections. After seven operations, Neves died on April 21, more than one month after the beginning of his term of office, without ever having taken the oath of office as President.[7] He was succeeded by José Sarney who was the Vice President. Neves’s ordeal was intensively covered by the Brazilian media and followed with anxiety by the whole nation, who had seen in him the way out of the authoritarian regime into what he had called a “New Republic” (Nova República).

His death caused an outpouring of national grief.

Tancredo Neves is counted among the official list of presidents of Brazil as a matter of homage and honour, since, not having taken the oath of office, he technically never became President. An Act of Congress was thus necessary to make this homage official. Accordingly on the first anniversary of his death, a statute was signed into law declaring that he should be counted among the Presidents of Brazil.

BUT NOBODY I TALKED TO IN BRAZIL BELIEVED THAT TANCREDO NEVES DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES. THE BELIEF IS RATHER THAT THE GENERALS WERE NOT READY YET TO TRANSFER POWER TO AN ELECTED PRESIDENT AND THIS INCLUDED NEVES, EVEN THOUGH HIS OWN ELECTION WAS NOT YET THE STATE OF THE ART OF PURE DEMOCRACY.

During the period that he was President Elect I had the great honor to be invited to Hotel Pierre in New York to a Presentation he made as guest of the Americas Society and Mr. David Rockefeller. Shortly after that the Organization of American States was involved in a conference on ethanol fuels that was held in Bello Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Neves was the opening speaker and Aureliano Chaves, who later became the Energy Minister, and at that time was Governor of Minas Gerais, was the opening presenter. Here was a Brazil in motion that was talking independence of oil imports and local production of fuels. Was this something that ruffled feathers?

Above is my addition to the following article that does not mention Tancredo Neves. Nevertheless, if Brazil is ready to look under the rugs of dictatorship, even that an amnesty for the sake of internal peace has been declared, the Tancredo Neves case will eventually be touched upon as well. All what we can say nevertheless, the search for the truth of past dictatorships in the Southern Latin Cone, has in it the makings of unravelling as well US business involvement and CIA operatives that taught methodology  of torture in the region.

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Leader’s Torture in the ’70s Stirs Ghosts in Brazil.

By 
Published by the New York Times: August 4, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO — Her nom de guerre was Estela. Part of a shadowy urban guerrilla group at the time of her capture in 1970, she spent three years behind bars, where interrogators repeatedly tortured her with electric shocks to her feet and ears, and forced her into the pau de arara, or parrot’s perch, in which victims are suspended upside down naked, from a stick, with bound wrists and ankles.

The Lady President of Brazil by Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Ms. Rousseff, now president of Brazil, says little these days about the cruelty she endured.

And years ago by Adir Mera/Public Archive of the State of Sao Paulo

Dilma Rousseff at 22 as a captured guerrilla at a military hearing in 1970. Today, a panel is investigating the torture she and others endured under Brazil’s military dictatorship.

That former guerrilla is now Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff. As a truth commission begins examining the military’s crackdown on the population during a dictatorship that lasted two decades, Brazilians are riveted by chilling details emerging about the painful pasts of both their country and their president.

The schisms of that era, which stretched from 1964 to 1985, live on here. Retired military officials, including Maurício Lopes Lima, 76, a former lieutenant colonel accused of torturing Ms. Rousseff, have questioned the evidence linking the military to abuses. Rights groups, meanwhile, are hounding Mr. Lopes Lima and others accused of torture, encircling their residences in cities across Brazil. “A torturer of the dictatorship lives here,” they recently wrote in red paint on the entrance to Mr. Lopes Lima’s apartment building in the seaside resort city of Guarujá, part of a street-theater protest.

While a 1979 amnesty still shields military officials from prosecution for abuses, the commission, which began in May and has a two-year mandate, is nevertheless stirring up ghosts. The dictatorship killed an estimated 400 people; torture victims are thought to number in the thousands.

The torture endured by Ms. Rousseff, who was 22 when the abuse began and is now 64, is among the most prominent of hundreds of decades-old cases that the commission is examining. The president is not the region’s only political leader to rise to power after being imprisoned and tortured, a sign of the tumultuous pasts of other Latin American countries.

As a young medical student, Chile’s former president,Michelle Bachelet, survived a harrowing stretch of detention and torture after a 1973 military coup. And Uruguay’s president, José Mujica, a former leader of the Tupamaro guerrilla organization, underwent torture during nearly a decade and half of imprisonment.

Since Ms. Rousseff took office, she has refused to play the part of a victim while subtly pushing for more transparency into the years of Brazil’s military dictatorship. She rarely refers in public to the cruelty she endured; aside from ceremonial appearances, she has spoken sparingly about the truth commission itself. She declined through a spokeswoman to comment on the commission or the time she spent in prison.

Ms. Rousseff has evolved considerably since her days in the underground resistance, when she used several aliases, a trajectory similar to that of other leftists who ascended into Brazil’s political elite. The daughter of a Bulgarian émigré businessman and his Brazilian schoolteacher wife, she grew up in relative privilege, only to abandon that upbringing to join a fledgling guerrilla group, the Palmares Armed Revolutionary Vanguard.

After her release from prison, she moved to the southern city of Porto Alegre, where her husband at the time, Carlos Franklin Paixão de Araújo, was completing his own prison sentence for subversion. She resumed her studies in economics, gave birth to a daughter, Paula, in 1976, and entered local politics. Moderating her political views, she slowly rose to national prominence as a results-oriented technocrat. She served as chief of staff and energy minister for Brazil’s former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He prevailed on her to run in the 2010 election.

She governs with a markedly different style from that of Mr. da Silva, a gregarious former union leader. Even as Brazil’s economy slows, her approval rating stands around 77 percent, as the government expands antipoverty spending and stimulus projects. She won plaudits from some in the opposition by acknowledging the economic achievements ofFernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil’s president from 1995 to 2002.

She keeps a low profile in Brasília, where she lives in the Alvorada Palace, the modernist presidential residence, with her mother and an aunt (she is divorced from Mr. Araújo, though the two remain close). News media pore over her interests, which range from René Magritte’s surrealist paintings to the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones.”

At the same time, her hard-charging governing style — she has been said to berate senior officials until they cry — has been enshrined in Brazilian popular culture, with Gustavo Mendes, a cross-dressing comedian, attaining fame by imitating her on the raunchy national television program “Casseta and Planeta Go Deep.”

Such satirical derision on television of a Brazilian leader would have been almost unthinkable at the time of Ms. Rousseff’s incarceration, when Brazilians faced censorship, prison sentences — or worse — for criticizing military rulers. Her experiences in the dictatorship’s torture chambers remained unknown to the public for decades.

Some details emerged in 2005, after she was serving in Mr. da Silva’s cabinet, when testimony she provided to the author of a book on women who resisted the military dictatorship was published in Brazilian newspapers.

She described the progression from palmatória, a torture method in which a paddle or stick is used to strike the knuckles and palms of the hand, to the next, when she was stripped naked, bound upside down and submitted to electric shocks on different parts of her body, including her breasts, inner thighs and head.

It was generally thought that Ms. Rousseff’s torture sessions were limited to prisons in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, until an investigative report published in June described more torture interrogations, including sessions during a two-month stretch at a military prison in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. When she was still an obscure provincial official, she gave testimony in 2001 to an investigator from Minas Gerais, describing how interrogators there beat her in the face, distorting her dental ridge. One tooth came loose and became rotten from the pummeling, she said, and was later dislodged by a blow from another interrogator in São Paulo.

Robson Sávio, the scholar who interviewed her then, said she had no obligation to respond to the request for testimony, since the Minas Gerais commission had already collected proof that she had been tortured. But she did so anyway; by the end of the encounter, after recalling interrogations resulting in other injuries, including the hemorrhaging of her uterus, she was in tears, he said.

“I remember the fear when my skin trembled,” she said back in 2001. “Something like that marks us for the rest of our lives.”

Mr. Lima Lopes, identified as one of Ms. Rousseff’s torturers in São Paulo and still living in seaside Guarujá, has denied torturing her, while defiantly calling her a “good guerrilla.” Other retired military figures, meanwhile, have adopted a similar stance.

Luiz Eduardo Rocha Paiva, a former secretary general of Brazil’s Army, called into question in a newspaper interview this year whether Ms. Rousseff had been tortured. But he also claimed she belonged to an armed militant group seeking to install a Soviet-inspired dictatorship. Both insurgents and counterinsurgency agents committed abuses, he said. “Was there torture during the military regime? Yes,” he said. “Is there torture in Brazil today? Yes,” he added, referring to the deplorable conditions in some Brazilian prisons.

Ms. Rousseff, who has insisted she never took part in an armed act against the government, has opted not to publicly clash with the former officers. Meanwhile, the commission continues without interference from the president. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a noted legal scholar who is one of its seven members, said the only time he met Ms. Rousseff was when he and his colleagues were convened this year in Brasília.

Here in Rio, the search for knowledge of the past has moved state authorities to pay reparations to nearly 900 people tortured in the state during the dictatorship. Among them is Ms. Rousseff, who said in May that she would donate her check of about $10,000 to Torture Never Again, a group that seeks to raise awareness of the military’s abuses.

Still, despite such moves, closure remains evasive. Rights activists here were stunned in July after the office of Torture Never Again was burglarized, and archives describing the psychological treatment undertaken by torture victims were stolen.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 6th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Latin America seemingly buckles under pressure from outside and inside the continent.

Seemingly – Mercosur is not growing larger as expected. It is made up by Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. A reaction t this, under leadership of Brazil and Argentina, Mercosur will increase tariff on imports from non-Mercosur States.

Closer allies of the US – Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile, are eying the Pacific region, and tend to get closer business relations with the other side of the Pacific under a Pacific Alliance with US as main pivot. Chile seems to be interested to lead this group so there is less of a Brazil – Mexico competition in Latin America.

The left leaning ALBA States include Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, and some of the Caribbean Islands, while the Caribbean Island States still have their CARICOM that looks to Mexico.

This posting comes about because of our expectation that June 2012 will prove to be an important month for Latin America, considering the Mexican hosts of the G-20, and the Brazilian hosts of RIO+20 – both meetings with potential high power influence  on global economic structure at least in these next few years. Will the US be helpful, or harmful, to the creation of a more united Latin America?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 6th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Bonn Climate Change Conference – May  14-25, 2012 tells us that the while attention is riveted to RIO+20 in effect not only the UN Commission on Sustainable Development is bankrupt, but also the process that was started by the UN Convention on Climate Change is also bankrupt. THAT IS WHY WE SAY FOR A WHILE THAT THE MEETING IN RIO 2012 IS IN EFFECT A RIO MINUS TWENTY.

The following is the Analysis of the May 2012 Bonn Meeting as suggested by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

www.iisd.ca/climate/sb36/

The Bonn Climate Change Conference took place from 14 to 25 May 2012 in Bonn, Germany. The conference comprised the 36th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). It also included the 15th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (AWG-LCA), the 17th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

Under the SBI, key issues discussed included loss and damage, national adaptation plans (NAPs), and reporting by Annex I and non-Annex I parties. The SBSTA focused on agriculture, research and systematic observation, and methodological guidance on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries). Technology and response measures were considered under both the SBI and SBSTA.

Under the AWG-KP, the focus was on issues that need to be finalized to adopt a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and for the AWG-KP to conclude its work at the eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 8). These include: matters relating to quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives (QELROs) with a view to adopting these as amendments to Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol and carry-over of assigned amount units (AAUs). While discussions under the AWG-KP advanced understanding of these issues, many outstanding questions remain, including the length of the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and carry-over of surplus units.

Under the AWG-LCA, parties initially debated the agenda and whether it adequately reflected progress since the adoption of the Bali Action Plan at COP 13 in 2007. After agreement on the agenda, debates continued on which issues require consideration so that the AWG-LCA can finalize its work at COP 18 in Doha. Developed countries stressed “significant progress” and the various new institutions established in Cancun and Durban. They called for a focus on specific tasks mandated by Decision 2/CP.17 (Outcome of the work of the AWG-LCA). Developing countries identified the need to continue discussing issues, such as finance, technology, adaptation, capacity building and response measures in order to fulfill the mandate in the Bali Action Plan.

Under the ADP, discussions centered on the agenda and election of officers. After nearly two weeks of discussions, the ADP plenary adopted the agenda and agreed on the election of officers during the final day of the conference.

At the close of the Bonn Conference, many felt that the atmosphere had been “tense,” especially under the ADP. They expressed hope that this would not have a lasting impact, putting at risk efforts to rebuild trust in the process over the past two years since Copenhagen and the “delicate balance” of interests reflected in the Durban Package.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin Summary of this meeting is now available in PDF format at www.iisd.ca/download/pdf/enb12546e.pdf and in HTML format atwww.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12546e.html

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A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE BONN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE

Six months ago, many delegates left the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban basking in the warm glow of success, imbued with the infectious spirit of  “Ubuntu,” or unity and interconnectedness. The conference had agreed on several landmark decisions including: the establishment a new Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) and “a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force applicable to all parties” to come into effect from 2020 onwards; a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol; and agreement to terminate the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) and Ad Hoc Working Group on Annex I Parties’ Further Commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in Doha. Many saw these decisions as heralding a new era of multilateralism and turned to 2012 with anticipation, vigor and purpose.

Six months later, the pressure was on delegates in Bonn to live up to the promise of Durban. Delegates faced a heavy workload, including the tasks needed to operationalize the institutions and mechanisms established in Cancun and Durban. Parties also had to try to demystify what it was they had actually agreed to during the waning hours of the frenzied COP 17. However, negotiations in 2012 got off to an inauspicious start and the Bonn Climate Change Conference was marred by mistrust and unabashed posturing. The meeting was almost paralyzed by prolonged procedural wrangling, which many described as “unprecedented.” This analysis will discuss the underlying reasons for the disputes in Bonn and examine the implications for COP 18 in Doha, Qatar, in another six months.

UNRAVELING DURBAN’S CONSTRUCTIVE AMBIGUITY

Many could not begin to imagine how difficult it would be to begin implementing the Durban decisions. The new platform established in Durban introduced the notions of a “post-2012 or pre-2020” landscape; and a “post-2020” period, that will be covered by the new “protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all parties” to be developed by the ADP.

The Durban Package, which had been negotiated sensitively to accommodate the myriad of parties’ interests, presented challenges and complexities in Bonn, when parties began the business of interpreting its ambiguous language. For example, while many parties see mitigation as the core of the ADP, some developing countries insisted that all elements, including financing, adaptation, capacity building and technology transfer, should also be central to the ADP’s mandate.

For many, enhancing ambition to close the “mitigation gap” was a crucial part of Decision 1/CP.17. The decision establishes that the ADP process for the post-2020 regime shall raise the level of ambition and also launches a post-2012 work plan on enhancing mitigation ambition for all parties. However, the decision does not stipulate when and which body will implement the work plan. While some developing parties supported addressing pre-2020 mitigation ambition under the AWG-LCA, many others insisted on addressing it under the ADP.

The reason why some preferred to address enhancing mitigation ambition under the AWG-LCA is that the Bali Action Plan affirms the Convention’s core principles, including common but differentiated responsibilities. This implies that developed countries have commitments, while developing countries only take nationally appropriate mitigation actions contingent on support from developed countries. This level of comfort is missing under the ADP for developing countries. Indeed, the decision adopting the ADP does not include references to the Convention’s principles nor does it make a distinction between developed and developing countries. As one insider highlighted, “some parties have started to panic about the ADP; they feel as if they are walking into a dark room and don’t know if there is anything there or where anything is.” This uncertainty manifested in disagreements over both the AWG-LCA and the ADP agendas. On the ADP agenda, parties ultimately agreed to address two work streams, one on the post-2020 regime and the other on the post-2012 work plan on enhancing the level of ambition.

Uncertainties also arose when considering the termination of the AWG-LCA in Doha. Decision 1/CP.17 extends the AWG-LCA’s “mandate for one year in order for it to continue its work and reach the agreed outcome pursuant to decision 1/CP.13 (Bali Action Plan)”, until COP 18 at which it “shall be terminated.” However, Durban left room for different interpretations on how to proceed with the inconclusive work beyond Doha. The lack of clarity on the AWG-LCA termination provided room for discussions on whether the AWG-LCA should finish after the Bali Action Plan was accomplished or if the Bali Action Plan was accomplished by the termination of the AWG-LCA. Some parties, particularly a group of developing countries, wanted to assess the progress achieved toward fulfilling the Bali Action Plan, including some elements that were not agreed upon in Durban but were reflected in a compilation document referred to as “CRP.39,” such as intellectual property issues in relation to technology, rights of Mother Earth, trade, and response measures. Meanwhile, many developed countries wanted to focus on specific issues mandated by COP 17. They highlighted that many issues mandated by the Bali Action Plan had already been properly addressed and forwarded to the permanent subsidiary bodies or other relevant institutions created for that purpose, such as the Technology Executive Committee, the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Committee and the Durban Forum on Capacity Building.

Nevertheless, the extent to which the permanent subsidiary bodies and the new bodies can address these issues is limited to their technical nature or their particular mandate. Moreover, many of the established bodies still need to be operationalized, as many highlighted. The fact that progress towards their operationalization was not achieved in Bonn did not help to enhance the environment of cooperation. On finance, the Philippines provided examples of this phenomenon, underscoring that the GCF is still “an empty shell, and the Standing Committee is not standing.”

In Durban, under the AWG-KP track, parties agreed to “decide that the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol shall begin on 1 January 2013.” However, it is clear to everybody that to “really adopt” the second commitment period parties will have to agree on its length, put forward QELROs and adopt the necessary amendments to the Kyoto Protocol in Doha. Some questions remain on key issues such as how to ensure a smooth transition to the second commitment period, how to deal with excess units from the first commitment period, how rules can be continued and, in particular, how to continue with the flexibility mechanisms, including who will be able to participate, given that some countries indicated they would not be part of a second commitment period. In Bonn, developing countries reiterated that parties intending to participate in the second commitment period should submit ambitious QELROs in line with the goal of limiting temperature increase to below 2°C. Venezuela vociferously demanded that Annex I parties “show their QELROs” as opposed to pledges. The EU highlighted their submission of QELROs and also called upon his Annex B colleagues to follow suit.

Moreover, in order to finish shaping the second commitment period and properly adopt it in Doha, parties have to agree on its length and on the text of the Kyoto Protocol amendment, but negotiations in Bonn did not lead to any further progress in this regard. With so many relevant details to be defined before Doha, developing countries expressed fear that parties are “jumping from the Kyoto Protocol ship” by shifting the focus on the ADP. The EU and other developed countries argued, in turn, that their agreement on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol was based on a transition to a global and comprehensive post-2020 climate treaty to be negotiated under the ADP.

EVOLVING DYNAMICS IN A CHANGING WORLD

If anything, the Bonn session brought to the fore the universally acknowledged fact that the UNFCCC, drafted in 1992, reflects a reality light years away from the 2012 global landscape. Since the negotiation of the Convention, the outlook for many G-77/China members has changed dramatically and resulting tensions from these divergences are increasingly playing out in the negotiating rooms. For several years now, many have been wagering bets on how long the G-77/China tinderbox diplomacy can prevail, when it is evident that many of the members appear to sit uncomfortably around the same table. A discernible chasm was evident in Bonn. As one delegate said, “Members of the group are now washing their dirty linen very publically.” The group did not have a common negotiating position on the ADP and many other issues. Moreover, they had trouble agreeing on fielding one non-Annex I candidate for the position of ADP Chair. As one practitioner explained, the UNFCCC governance structure assumed certain things, including that parties fall neatly into two groups: Annex I and non-Annex I countries. This “binary” dynamic has changed. As one delegate noted: “GRULAC and the Asian Group are the dominant forces but they do not represent the interests of the entire group.” This means that, in addition to the traditional distinction between developed and developing countries, a third category of “emerging developing countries” or “advanced developing countries” may need to be factored into the mix.

Ultimately, the specter of having to vote for the ADP officers and the resulting damage to the process proved too much for parties to stomach, and they eventually agreed to a “delicate arrangement,” where the candidate from the Asia-Pacific Group will serve an initial one year term from 2012-2013, with his counterpart from an Annex I party, and the subsequent Co-Chair from GRULAC will serve for a term of 18 months. Many said that creating a voting precedent under the UNFCCC would be difficult, almost unfathomable but, at times during the meeting it appeared as if the taboo would be broken.

Other dynamics also played out within the G-77/China, which caught many practitioners by surprise. Bonn witnessed the emergence of a group of approximately 40 countries primarily comprised of the Arab Group, Latin American countries, including Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, as well as India and China, who, on the face on things, appear to have forged an alliance to uphold the Convention’s principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and equity, as well as developed countries’ historical responsibility for climate change. They maintain that any outcome under the ADP must be equitable so that “universality of application” does not become “uniformity of application.”

In contrast, another group of developing countries, including members from AOSIS, LDCs, and some Latin American countries, such as Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Peru and Panama, are looking for such action on mitigation from developed and developing countries and for action to be “incentivized for all countries,” which they describe as the “beginning of a new paradigm for responding to climate change.”

Reflecting on the developments within the G-77/China, one insider said “history is being made and the wedge within the group is helping to bring about an exciting geo-political shift, which is about how countries deal with each other politically and economically and also a reflection of where they are and where they will be.”

LOOKING AHEAD

Bonn demonstrated that, as many have said, Durban was a carefully negotiated package contingent on all elements of the outcome moving forward in tandem. However, what is clear is that parties have a very different perspective of what the future looks like in terms of, inter alia, the ADP’s mandate, how to terminate the AWGs and what to focus on for effectively addressing climate change. As evidenced in Bonn, constructive ambiguity results in uncertainty that can sometimes breed mistrust. This mistrust is often manifested through disputes over procedure and consequently hampers progress. Looking ahead, parties have their work cut out to accomplish tasks they agreed to in Durban. They will need to exercise goodwill, integrity and congeniality in order to deliver on the ultimate objective of meaningful mitigation action for the post-2012 era.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 1st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

FINALLY, ATTENTION IS FOCUSED ALSO ON LOS CABOS – THE PLACE WHERE ALL HEADS OF STATES WITH POWER, AND SUFFERING SMALL ISLAND STATES – mainly from the CARICOM  - WILL BE ON THE EVE OF THE OPENING OF THE RIO CONFERENCE. COULD THEY TAKE A DECISION IN MEXICO AND BRING THAT DECISION TO RIO?

From: Will Bates - 350.org organizers@350.org            Dear Friends,


This is huge. - Two weeks ago we joined a diverse coalition to launch an all-out offensive to end fossil fuel subsidies, and we weren’t quite sure how it would turn out. Well, we’ve currently got 958,422 signatures on our combined global petition — almost a million people strong!

Will you help us get to a million by the end of the week? Sign on here: www.350.org

Once we get a million signatures, we’ll move on to phase two: a surround-sound campaign to put the pressure on world leaders at the G20 Summit in Mexico and at the “Rio+20 Earth Summit” coming up in Brazil.

We’ll be honest: we won’t win the campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies with a petition alone — and we won’t be able to wrap this up by the end of the Rio Earth Summit. But being a million strong is a powerful starting point, and our massive numbers will send an unignorable message to world leaders.

The truth is that ending these subsidies will take an ongoing and escalating campaign — which is why we’re digging deep on multiple fronts. As I type this, 350.org staff and volunteers are putting together a cutting-edge social media plan, planning a series of hard-hitting actions in countries around the world, and working on game-changing research that will expose just how massive the issue of subsidies is.

Our work on subsidies will continue in the weeks and months ahead — but with the global summits in Mexico and Rio happening in just a few weeks, we have a unique moment to shine a light on a topic that all too often gets hidden and ignored. And we can’t ignore it any longer — the issue of subsidies is just too important. New research shows that getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies would lead to massive reductions in the emissions that are super-heating our planet — and could help level the economic playing field and trigger a clean energy revolution around the world.

One more thing: we’re saving June 18 for something special. It’ll be the day when we’ll deliver our collective petition to world leaders, but also a day where we’ll try something a bit different — and a day to take our message to the halls of power in a brand new way.

We’ll keep you posted on the next steps, but for now please help us reach the 1 million mark before the week is up: www.350.org

Onwards,

Will Bates for the 350.org Team


Articles and Info

Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies ‘could provide half of global carbon target’ |The Guardian go.350.org


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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 31st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

2012 G-20 Mexico summit
Host country Mexico
Date June 18 – 19
Venue(s) to be determined
Cities Los CabosBaja California
Participants G-20 members
Follows Cannes summit, 2011
Precedes Russia summit, 2013
Website G2012 México.org

www.g20.org/en

On the way to Rio the Rio Summit – June 20-22 – Mexico believes the forum June 18-19, can better represent developing countries in both vision and policy. Under the leadership of President Felipe Calderón, Mexico will seek to expand the scope of the G-20′s development focus.

At the recent CARICOM meeting in Barbados Mexico SAid:

The Mexican G20 Presidency does not intend to replace international organizations, but to guide and promote the processes undertaken in those organizations. We consider it a fundamental platform for dialogue, analysis and proposals that will allow peoples and governments to understand their mutual problems and to find their solutions.

Specifically, under Mexico’s G20 Presidency, we have put together an ambitious agenda for development. The present economic crisis will not be the only topic, nor is it likely to be the main concern on the agenda. We expect to discuss long-term plans for sustainable, balanced growth in   the future.

As a result, in the talks prior to the actual Summit meeting, we have included more subjects on development than have been discussed at any other Summit.

The current world financial crisis is on the agenda, but we have also included economic development of poor countries.

The restructuring of international financial institutions is part of the agenda; but we have also included, the topic of financial inclusion for the world’s poorest families, who are not eligible for loans or credit and whose future looks very bleak.

We have included topics regarding the economic balance between nations; but we have also included food security, knowing that the poorest people in the world, millions of which live in our countries, have suffered from severely harsh food price increases for years.

As per all our previous discussions, we are insisting on having such issues as infrastructure and green growth included on the agenda.

Another characteristic of the Mexican G20 agenda is the attempt to make the consulting process more inclusive. As President of the G20, Mexico has gone to great lengths to incorporate the opinions of all countries, particularly those of developing nations, through dialogue undertaken with non-member countries, a case in point being the CARICOM.

We have also invited Chile, as the President of the CILAC, to take part in the G20 Summit.

For Mexico, it is very important to hear the perspectives of developing countries regarding the best way to increase world economic growth.

I am aware of the problems experienced by many countries in the Caribbean, some of which are quite vulnerable, and I am aware of the fact that the classification of one of these countries as a middle-income nation results in unfair treatment for many of them.

That is why I would like to assure you, my dear friends, that Mexico will  try hard – we are already working on it– to have the ideas and suggestions of the CARICOM members considered during the next meeting the Leaders of the G20 in Los Cabos.

The Caribbean nations can count on Mexico as a friend and partner that will represent this region –a region we are proud to be a part of–.actively within the G20.

Ladies and gentleman, Heads of State and Government of the CARICOM and of the Caribbean region.

Mexico is a proud Caribbean country and we look on the sea that touches all our shores not as an obstacle that separates us, but rather as a bridge that will lead us to a better future.

History, geography, and culture have enabled us to have a common destiny.

Something I am also very interested in, an issue we will discuss at the G20, but that we will also have an opportunity to discuss here at this Summit, is the issue of the environment and the need to seek environmental alternatives.

Mexico – and I personally – share the concern of the island states, particularly with respect to climate change, the potential rise of sea levels, and the consequential demand for international commitment and action here and now.

This is why Mexico will continue to share and sympathize with the environmental anxieties of island states, including those of the CARICOM. This is not just a matter of charitable concern, but a true preoccupation for their survival.

As a result, we are also committed to finding alternative and renewable sources energy in order to be able to face the problems of climate change and also to lessen, through those alternatives, the suffering that our poorest families face given the price of fuel today.

My friends, It is a privilege for me to be in Barbados, with your happy and hospitable people, to visit this beautiful corner of our continent and to hold discussion with my dear friends, colleagues, and Heads of Government of the Caribbean community.

—————————

Which of the Heads of State that will be at Los Cabos will in effect continue to Rio? Will there be last minute changes?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Center of gravity in oil world shifts to Americas.

By , Published The Washington Post: May 25, 2012.

LOMA LA LATA, Argentina — In a desertlike stretch of scrub grass and red buttes, oil companies are punching holes in the ground in search of what might be one of the biggest recent discoveries in the Americas: enough gas and oil to make a country known for beef and the tango an important energy player.

The environment is challenging, with resources trapped deep in shale rock. But technological breakthroughs coupled with a feverish quest for the next major find are unlocking the door to oil and natural gas riches here and in several other countries in the Americas not traditionally known as energy producers

Graphic

A tectonic shift in oil supply

Click Here to View Full Graphic Story

A tectonic shift in oil supply

That is quickly changing the dynamics of energy geopolitics in a way that had been unforeseen just a few years ago.

From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East. Central to the new energy equation is the United States itself, which has ramped up production and is now churning out 1.7 million more barrels of oil and liquid fuel per day than in 2005.

“There are new players and drivers in the world,” said Ruben Etcheverry, chief executive of Gas and Oil of Neuquen, a state-owned energy firm that is positioning itself to develop oil and gas fields here in Patagonia. “There is a new geopolitical shift, and those countries that never provided oil and gas can now do so. For the United States, there is a glimmer of the possibility of self-sufficiency.”

Oil produced in Persian Gulf countries — notably Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq — will remain vital to the world’s energy picture. But what was once a seemingly unalterable truth — that American oil production would steadily fall while the United States remained heavily reliant on Middle Eastern supplies — is being turned on its head.

Since 2006, exports to the United States have fallen from all but one major member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the net decline adding up to nearly 1.8 million barrels a day. Canada, Brazil and Colombia have increased exports to the United States by 700,000 barrels daily in that time and now provide nearly 3.4 million barrels a day.

Six Persian Gulf suppliers provide just 22 percent of all U.S. imports, the nonpartisan U.S. Energy Information Administration said this month. The United States’ neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, meanwhile, provide more than half — a figure that has held steady for years because, as production has fallen in the oil powers of Venezuela and Mexico, it has gone up elsewhere.

Production has risen strikingly fast in places such as the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, and the “tight” rock formations of North Dakota and Texas — basins with resources so hard to refine or reach that they were not considered economically viable until recently. Oil is gushing in once-dangerous regions of Colombia and far off the coast of Brazil, under thick salt beds thousands of feet below the surface.

A host of new discoveries or rosy prospects for large deposits also has energy companies drilling in the Chukchi Sea inside the Arctic Circle, deep in the Amazon, along a potentially huge field off South America’s northeast shoulder, and in the roiling waters around the Falkland Islands.

“A range of big possibilities for oil are opening up,” said Juan Carlos Montiel, as he directed a team from the state-controlled company YPF to drill while a whipping wind brought an autumn chill to the potentially lucrative fields here outside Añelo. “With the exploration that is being carried out, I think we will really increase the production of gas and oil.”

Because oil is a widely traded commodity, analysts say the upsurge in production in the Americas does not mean the United States will be immune to price shocks. If Iran were to close off the Strait of Hormuz, stopping tanker traffic from Middle East suppliers, a price shock wave would be felt worldwide.

But the new dynamics for the United States — an increasingly intertwined energy relationship with Canada and more reliance on Brazil — mean U.S. energy supplies are more assured than before, even if oil from an important Persian Gulf supplier is temporarily halted.

The fracking ‘revolution’

Perhaps the biggest development in the worldwide realignment is how the United States went from importing 60 percent of its liquid fuels in 2005 to 45 percent last year. The economic downturn in the United States, improvements in automobile efficiency and an increasing reliance on biofuels all played a role.

But a major driver has been the use of hydraulic fracturing. By blasting water, chemicals and tiny artificial beads at high pressure into tight rock formations to make them porous, workers have increased oil production in North Dakota from a few thousand barrels a day a decade ago to nearly half a million barrels today.

Conservative estimates are that oil and natural gas produced through “fracking,” as the process is better known, could amount to 3 million barrels a day by 2020.

“We have a revolution here,” said Larry Goldstein, director of the Energy Policy Research Foundation in New York. “In 47 years in this business, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.”

All of this has happened as exports from Mexico and Venezuela have fallen in recent years, a trend analysts attribute to mismanagement and lack of investment at the state-owned oil industries in those countries. Even so, there is a possibility that new governments in Mexico and Venezuela — Mexico elects a new president July 1, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has cancer — could open the energy industry to the private investment and expertise needed to boost production, analysts say.

“There’s a lot of upside potential in Latin America that will boost the oil supply over the medium term,” said RoseAnne Franco, who analyzes exploration and production prospects in the region for the energy consultant Wood Mackenzie. “So it’s very positive.”

Political elements

Much of the exploration, though, will not be easy, cheap or, as in Argentina’s case, free of political pitfalls. Price controls on natural gas and import restrictions have made doing business in Argentina hard for energy companies. And last month, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s populist government stunned oil markets by expropriating YPF, the biggest energy company here, from Spain’s Repsol.

But the prize for energy companies is potentially huge. Repsol estimated this year that a cross section of the vast Dead Cow formation here in Neuquen province could hold nearly 23 billion barrels of gas and oil. That followed a U.S. Energy Information Administration report that said Argentina possibly has the third-largest shale gas resources after China and the United States.

“All the top-of-the-line companies are here,” said Guillermo Coco, energy minister of Neuquen province, including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. Although only about 200 wells have been drilled, Coco said companies here talk of drilling 10,000 or more in the next 15 years.

Wells on the horizon

On a recent day here in a dusty spot called Loma La Lata, German Perez oversaw a team of 30 technicians from the Houston-based oil- services giant Schlumberger as they prepared to frack a well.

The operation was huge: Trucks lined up with revving generators. Giant containers brimmed with water. Hoses used for firing chemicals into wells littered the ground. Cranes hoisted huge bags of artificial sand into mixers. Then, 1,200-horsepower pumps blasted water, chemicals and sand nearly 9,000 feet into the earth. “This is a hard rock, so we create countless cracks and fissures, for the gas and oil to flow,” Perez said.

Staring at the stark landscape, broken up here and there by oil rigs, Perez said he thought many companies would one day arrive in search of oil and gas. “The projections are pretty good,” he said. “In our case, we have been here a year and a half and we have tripled the equipment we have. And we think we will double that in another year.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 4th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Beijing Comes To Lima: The Fifth China – Latin America Summit – Analysis.

Written by: 

December 23, 2011

By Peter Tase - www.eurasiareview.com/23122011-be…
also – an oil-oriented version of this please find at:  http://www.petroleumworld.com/lagniappe11122801.htm

On November 21, the Peruvian capital, hosted the fifth China – Latin America Summit, in which for two days were discussed a roster of urgent topics involved in order to achieve further development in terms of commerce and trade between China (PRC) and Latin America.

The Summit was attended by over a thousand business leaders and public officials from the PRC and from all of the Latin American countries.

Since the world financial crisis of 2008, Chinese corporations have devoted special attention to diversify their investment potential throughout South America in particular.

According to Mr. Zhang Wei, the Vice President of the Chinese Council of International Trade Promotion (CCPIT), in 2010 China and Latin America, reached record levels of USD 183 billion in inter-regional trade and commerce. In the coming years, Chinese business hope to have a wider grasp and a more comprehensive investment expansion strategy in high production areas such as energy, infrastructure, mining and telecommunications. It is believed that with the help of this year’s end gathering, Chinese business activists will reach a record level of their investments thrust, with growth pointed at an upwards of USD 22.7 billion. It remains to be seen on what will be the logical consequences of Chinese Investment in Latin America, taking into consideration that Chinese companies tend to be not as environmentally responsible when it comes to South America’s fragile landscape and that its inadequate infrastructure requires special consideration and hyper-responsible practices.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), China is one of the three largest investing countries in the Latin America region, immediately trailing the United States and the Netherlands.

On the first day of the Summit, Peruvian president Ollanta Humala, whose term began in November of 2010, emphasized that the development of his country and the rest of Latin America is at a stage of industrialization where much is happening: “We should not only export minerals, but also move forward towards building a region that leaves behind the path of industrial progress and become developed nations.”

The Peruvian leader added: “it is important to export not only minerals but place an emphasis on the exportation of software…human resources and inspire the young generation the desire to learn Chinese language and attract Chinese students to study Spanish and conduct research in Peru and Latin America”.

The Peruvian president quickly took notice that it is important for his country’s businesses to diversify their commercial products and to initiate a transition and a new conceptualizations of economic productivity that could be used as an example for the Latin America region, therefore future business ought to reduce the future exportation of raw materials and begin to trade products with added value which would be more likely to promptly alleviate poverty and stimulate the economy to achieve new and accentuated levels. On the same topic, the Peruvian Minister of Economy and Finance, Luis Miguel Castilla Rubio, noted in his speech that: “Peru is in a very important stage, very promising. Its Macroeconomic Stability, commercial openness and dynamic policies of social inclusion transform Peru into a very attractive country for investment and commerce.”

The fifth China – Latin America Summit took place at a time when Peru was one of the world’s most successful growing economies, it has experienced a seven percent growth of its GDP in 2011. The Peruvian population also experienced a steady growth and a considerable reduction of the poverty line that has steadily decreased from fifty percent below poverty line in 2004 into almost 30 percent in 2010. The conference was a decided success, with a thousand delegates in attendance. Preliminary data included that several thousand of one-on-one meetings were held, and over USD 100 million worth of deals were made, with more to come.

Previous Summits have taken place, beginning in Chile (2007), Harbin (2008), Bogota (2009) and Chengdu (2010), with this year’s Summit statement being: “comprehensive growth: new stage in China-Latin America relations”.

According to the Chinese ambassador resident in Peru, Mr. Zhao Wuyi, “Continental China has emerged in 2010 as the largest trading partner of Peru and of other South American countries.”

This year’s Summit was organized by the Council of International Trade Promotion of the People’s Republic of China (CCPIT), in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Tourism and the Commission of Promoting Peruvian Exports and Tourism (Promperú and ProInversión), in cooperation with the Foreign Trade Association of Peru (ComexPerú) and Lima Chamber of Commerce and the Peruvian Chamber of Commerce in China.

References for this article can be found here.

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Peter Tase is a Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 7th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Last night, in a private conversation Desertec came up and this sent me to look up the internet this morning and found that since the Israeli papers and the Club of Rome article, and things we picked up ourselves back in 2005,  the subject is very much alive and may be doing for the development of countries with arid space more then it is being dreamt up at the UN. In a nut-shell – with eventual loss of oil money income the countries of the desert will turn to exporting the sun and the sooner they start doing this the better off they will be.

Every year, each square kilometre of desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil. Multiplying by the area of deserts worldwide, this is several hundred times as much energy as the world uses in a year.

There are also significant amounts of wind energy in desert regions (see Sahara Wind).

Less than 1% of the world’s deserts, if covered with concentrating solar power plants, could produce as much electricity as the world now uses.

To bring the topic back to our website – we post here some of the many links we found with google’s help using the word Desertec:

  1. Desertec to start work on first solar plant in 2012 | Reuters

    www.reuters.com/…/us-desertec-morocco-idUSTRE79S2912011102…

    29 Oct 2011 – FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Desertec, the world’s most ambitious solar power project, is to start building its first power plant next year, a 500 

  2. Desertec Begins: 500 MW Moroccan Solar in 2012 | Green Prophet

    1 Nov 2011 – I remember when Desertec was dismissed as a wild idea that would never happen, just the pipe dream of the international network of scientists 

    3.  Desertec renewable energy project begins in Morocco, Egypt next (we honestly hope that this one is still in Egypt’s future)
    15 Nov 2011 – Morocco is set to be the starting location for a 400 billion euro renewable energy “Desertec” project. By 2050, the project is intended to satisfy 

and:
 cleantechnica.com/2011/11/01/dese…

 atlismta.org/online-journals/huma…

 www.guardian.co.uk/environment/in…

 www.treehugger.com/renewable-ener…

 blogs.ft.com/energy-source/2010/0…

 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Medit…

 commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Catego…

 www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/sh…
 www.desertec.org/        http://www.desertec.org/news/          http://dii-eumena.com/

 www.desertec-india.org.in/          http://www.desertec-southamerica.org/

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Desertec-UK is part of the www.stopclimatechaos.org/ coalition

Stop Climate Chaos

 www.trec-uk.org.uk/

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 19th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Race for the White House: A Call for a Regionally-based Enlightened Foreign Policy toward Latin America.

November 18, 2011

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Fellow and Fulbright Scholar Robert Works.

Council on Hemispheric Affairs
 www.coha.org/the-race-for-the-whi…

COHA is based at the Americas Society on Park Avenue, New York City and provides information to business interests in the US – Latin America and Canada region.
As such there is no surprise that as an organization they favor Republicans over Democrats – but are critical of Republicans as well when they do not do enough to promote US  business interests in the region.

This article seems to favor Governor Romney from among the names tossed around in the 2012 race for the US Presidency.

—————–

With a little under a year remaining until the next U.S. presidential election, a coherent and sustainable area policy toward Latin America remains absent from the campaign literature and both presidential parties’ electoral strategies. In fact, a true U.S.-Latin American foreign policy—one that involves succinct initiatives rather than populist rants or ideological outbursts—has yet to be developed in the 21st century. If one is left to assess the future of U.S.-Latin American foreign policy simply by relying on the last three years of the Obama administration, or the empty rhetoric from the entire Republican field, the future appears rather bleak. Nonetheless, one candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, has detailed a slightly weightier, yet basically ill-informed vision that promotes regional integration and the strengthening of economic ties. His plan is almost entirely dominated by commercial interests and remains in large part focused on securitization. Barely moving beyond a fallow bilateral approach harnessed during the post-World War II years, Romney’s Latin American policy does manage to squeeze out some relatively non-bombastic verbiage.

For his part, President Obama has yet to outline a detailed vision on Latin American issues for his reelection, but the short blurb on the White House policy page indicates a usefully backseat nature that Latin America has held for the current administration. In a few words, U.S. foreign policy toward the region is described by the Democrats as being committed to “a new era of partnership with countries throughout the hemisphere, working on key shared challenges of economic growth and equality, energy and climate futures, and regional and citizen security.” The Obama administration can point to the recent passage of the free trade agreements, negotiated during the Bush administration, to complement this short, rhetorical ‘vision,’ but other than that, the administration’s foreign policy toward Latin America has been frail, if not exiguous.

In defense of President Obama, the Bush Doctrine ignored Latin America as well, but far-right figures in the region were relatively successful in attracting U.S. resources as well as favorable treatment by constructing their foreign policies beneath the umbrella of a specious war on terrorism. While  Colombia (through Plan Colombia) and to a lesser degree Mexico (through the Merida Initiative) successively gained U.S. attention and resources, the newly achieved backing only sought to strengthen the overall security capacity of these anti-drug forces in return for supporting the U.S. global securitization policy. A definitive conclusion regarding the success of this policy has not yet been reached, but the need for a regional vision that would promote strong ties to the U.S. and create regional integration has always been in process.

Thus far, there has been only one plan worthy of a conceptualization being offered to the region that even considers such an approach to Latin American policymaking. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is generally considered intermittently to be Republican frontrunner, and who is running close with President Obama in national polls, has recently laid out a 43-page document detailing his vision for U.S. foreign policy. In a formidable feat for Republican regional policymakers, he actually presents (if nothing more) to address a vision for Latin America, promoting regional integration, over the current bilateral approach directed primarily toward Washington’s allies in the War on Terrorism.

Romney, advised by a committee professedly oriented toward Latin America and headed by a series of pro forma old hands with tired notions, as well as some academics and respectable diplomats, details the creation of a regional institution called the Campaign for Economic Opportunity in Latin America (CEOLA), in order to promote “a vigorous public diplomacy and trade promotion effort in the region.” If this program’s goals remain the same, its specific details will remain vague and uninspiring; that said, the mere offer of such a new template contrasts sharply with the approaches currently being proposed by other candidates and the Obama administration, which has hardly done better in offering much and delivering little. In any case, Romney unsurprisingly presents a heavily business-tilted regional approach to integration that claims to promote a more democratic and economically responsive Latin America. His plan appears to follow the neo-liberal model based on institutionalism, which asserts that U.S. interests are better served through multilateralism and regionalism rather than through bilateralism.

If CEOLA seeks to achieve the creation of a new regional forum integrating South America with Central and North America, a bona fide U.S.-Latin American relationship could be developed in the process. The Romney formula provides a meager platform to discuss a wide array of issues from securitization to economic policy, as well as a methodology that could allow states to develop their own regional approaches for improving records on human rights, alleviating poverty, and other issues plaguing Latin America. The region, once consolidated and integrated, could also pursue a universal approach toward justice, utilizing transnational courts that adhere to cultural and legal traditions while also addressing the shortcomings of fledgling criminal justice systems that characterize the region. If it is unsuccessful however, such a system could add to the region’s woes brought on by endemic corruption.

Obviously, the ultimate success of Romney’s regional policy would rely on a variety of factors, including the level of activism on the part of the U.S. in the development of hemispheric initiatives. Washington must only be involved in the initial creation of big policy and have no greater power than carrying out a formal advisory role. CEOLA would symbolically represent a comprehensive, if not a bold approach for a new path forward in the 21st century, but not an interventionist one. At this point the Romney plan is sufficiently multifaceted to provide him with significant wiggle room, if this is what is really sought. This is not to argue that the post-9/11 policies of securitization are not in need of being replaced by a more developed, regional vision for Latin America. Only the development of a new institution would provide the possibility for new directions with specific goals that are widely accepted.

To his supporters, Romney is the only candidate that has offered a regional vision for Latin America, albeit one at risk of being more of pap and treacle than of sounder stuff. Ironically, it may be more suitable for regimes that are not likely to easily tolerate U.S. intervention of any sort, and have an increasing demand for Latin American sovereignty, to pick and choose their own policies.  President Obama should embrace such a move in order to establish a more integrated, equal, and just Western hemisphere.  Until a new plan that moves beyond securitization is realized, Latin America will remain in the backwaters of policymaking and under the canopy of an overreaching U.S. foreign policy.

In any case, the time for a renewed U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America is not only long overdue, but is also being demanded by the region here and now. Mitt Romney has at least presented a starting point for a 21st century foreign policy that will likely go nowhere.  As wobbly as it is, the other candidates, including the president, could do far more, but will at least have a modest road to build upon with this model.





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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 21st, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

to open the UN General Assembly. “It is with personal humility, but with my justified pride as a woman, that I meet this historic moment,” said Rousseff as she opened the general debate. “I share this feeling with over half of the human beings on this planet who, like myself, were born women and who, with tenacity, are occupying the place they deserve in the world. I am certain that this will be the century of women.”   —-    Rousseff can also be found on the cover of this week’s Newsweek, with a profile by Mac Margolis.

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l aunched the Open Government Partnership (OGP) while in New York on Tuesday. The OGP’s goal is to give citizens tools to monitor   elected leaders and achieve more transparent governance. Mexico is one of the additional six founding members and other Latin American countries that have pledged to sign on to the partnership are: Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Uruguay.
This is a smart program for U.S. policy in the hemisphere and a great leadership role for Brazil to play,” reports Bloggings by Boz, who links to commitments and plans from Brazil, Mexico, and the United States.

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Colombia, a member of the Security Council, is very important in this because an attempt is being made to negate to the Palestinians a simple majority in the SEcurity Council in order to avoid a US veto.
This attempt revolves around three Member States and Colombia is one of them.  Rather then attending President Obama’s speech to the General Assembly, Mr. Netanyahu  was at that time in a meeting with the President of Colombia promoting such a move.

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drilling for oil in the Florida Straits between the Florida Keys and Cuba as early as mid-December. It is estimated Cuba may hold anywhere from 5 billion to 20 billion barrels of oil in offshore reserves.

In a piece for CNN’s Global Public Square program and blog, Fareed Zakaria warns: “Our trade embargo on Cuba not only prevents us from doing business with our neighbor but it also bars us from sending equipment and expertise to help even in a crisis. So, if there is an explosion, we will watch while the waters of the Gulf Coast get polluted.”

We watched that program on Sunday, September 18th and it is crystal clear that the US has now to end the embargo on Cuba. We know that election season in the US has just started – but it seems that moves by President Obama on this issue would be right in place and would improve relations within the Western Hemisphere where all countries now side with Cuba.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 28th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

SmithSchool rates each county's actions

A map of countries of the world rated in terms of national actions and commitments on climate change. Annex I countries are rated based on submissions pertinent to the Cancun Agreements.
‘Very good’: meet IPCC recommendations, Annex I: 25 – 40% reduction by 2020, Non-Annex I: submitted NAMA, 15-30% below BAU by 2020, or vocal in pressing for action. (we express our astonishment at this definition but are ready to look at the results the way these are interpreted by the New York Times – but please – very poor should be viewed as worse then poor!)

The New York Times link tells ud that The Smith School at the University of Oxford has released a report on international efforts to address climate change. Australia is rated “Poor” but we prefer to see in this map the data that The USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Myanmar, are at the bottom of the list – Very Poor or bellow. This clearly just does not justify the title that takes it out on Australia.

Lets be fair – Australia has now its second Administration that is puting on the line its popularity with their political system – and does indeed come up with internal legislation to help reduce globally CO2 emissions by starting work at home.

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Posted in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Charts, Database, Chile, Copenhagen COP15, European Union, Global Warming issues, Policy Lessons from Mad Cow Disease, Real World's News, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Reporting from Washington DC, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UN Commission on Sustainable Development

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 16th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, founded in 1975, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and information organization. It has been described on the Senate floor as being “one of the nation’s most respected bodies of scholars and policy makers.” For more information, please see our web page at www.coha.org; or contact our Washington offices by phone (202) 223-4975, fax (202) 223-4979, or email coha@coha.org.

COHA released today a study relating to the recent hunger strike by Mapuche leaders.

he IX Araucanía Region (Spanish: IX Región de La Araucanía, literally in Spanish: Region of Araucany) is one of Chile‘s 15 first order administrative divisions and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south. Araucania capital is Temuco and other main cities include Angol and Padre las Casas.

Demography Araucania was recently settled by Chileans other than Spaniards whom were first in the 1550s but was unable to subdue the indigenous Mapuches, the Chilean government endorsed a large-scale settlement program in the 19th century. It was common for Chile to endorse land advertisement to Europans, mainly Germany, Austria or Switzerland at the time, whom fled from political upheavel and sought a new place to live in Chile.

The city of Temuco is the most explosive population growth nationwide. According to the census of 1970, near 88,000 inhabitants lived in Temuco. In the census of 2000, 30 years later, the population tripled to 250,000. The resort town of Villarrica (Lago Villarrica) sits on the lake has also experienced this demographic phenomenon become prevalent over time, next to the resort of Pucon, in one of the four tourist destinations of Chile.

The current population is mostly from national immigration from Central Zone of Chile and to a lesser extent the descendants of European settlers who arrived during and after the “pacification of Araucanía”. The Indian presence is significant, being the region with the highest Indigenous proportion of Chile (approximately 20%) a majority are Mapuche or “Araucanian” peoples.

The Mapuche are Chile’s largest indigenous group, representing approximately five percent of the countries population. Though their struggle to defend ancestral lands in the southern Araucanía region began long before Chile became an independent state, the Chilean government itself was responsible for one of the most brutal and comprehensive campaigns waged against the Mapuche people, the Pacification of the Araucanía (1861-1883). Since then, the Mapuche people have been stripped of the majority of their ancestral lands. For just as long, Mapuche activists have remained locked in land disputes with the government in an attempt to reclaim just a portion of those territories. Frustrated with inadequate responses from those in power, some activists have given up on negotiations and turned to direct action, including arson, land occupations, road blockages, and occasionally, armed assault. Typically targeted in these attacks are private landowners and large logging companies in the south of Chile. While the victims claim otherwise, the Mapuche protestors maintain that their actions fall in the category of social protest.

Under Chile’s old anti-terrorism legislation—a relic of the brutal Pinochet regime—the government was entitled to charge Mapuche activists with acts of terrorism, making them eligible for trial in military courts, as well as unusually harsh sentences.3 In 2004, Human Rights Watch released a report condemning the application of the anti-terrorism law against the Mapuche as a violation of their basic right to due process.4 The strikers demanded that all charges brought against them under the counter-terrorism legislation be dropped, and even more importantly, they requested direct dialogue with the Chilean government regarding the Mapuche struggle for political and territorial autonomy. President Sebastián Piñera initially refused to respond to the strikers’ demands and enter into negotiations on the grounds that a hunger strike was, in his words, “an illegitimate instrument of pressure in a democracy.”5

In early September, faced with increasing media coverage and pressure to address the strike, the Piñera administration was forced to supplement its strategy of delegitimizing the protest with more concrete action. Piñera took a tentative step in the right direction by pledging to reform the counter-terrorism legislation in question, but he continued to balk at the Mapuche protestors’ pleas for substantive negotiations until September 17th, the day before Chile was set to celebrate its Fiestas Patrias. Needless to say, the timing of Piñera’s agreement to enter into direct talks with Mapuche representatives seemed to have less to do with genuine concern for the strikers, and more to do with his desire to dispel the dark shadow that the hunger strike threatened to cast over Chile’s bicentennial celebrations. Even after agreeing to direct dialogue, Piñera made his opinion of the strikers’ tactics clear: “Let us not confuse the Mapuche people that are participating in this Bicentennial with the situation of the 34 who have chosen the wrong path. The country we shall construct we will build with dialogue, unity, and hard work—not with violence, nor with a hunger strike.”6

The negotiations, which began on September 24th after the bicentennial celebrations had drawn to a close, were facilitated by the Archbishop of Concepción, Ricardo Ezzati. With Archbishop Ezzati’s help, on October 1st, the majority of the protestors called off their hunger strike in exchange for the Chilean government’s agreement to withdraw the charges brought against Mapuche activists under the anti-terrorism legislation (and instead charge them under common criminal law), in addition to making permanent changes to the anti-terrorism legislation and Chile’s military justice system.7

For 14 of the 38 protesters, however, the hunger strike dragged on for another week, until they reached a more comprehensive agreement with the government on October 9th, day 89 of the strike.8 According to their spokesman, Rodrigo Curipán, the initial decision to continue the hunger strike was based on the perception that the government was dragging its feet over modifying the charges against them. Moreover, they pointed to inadequate guarantees that the Chilean prosecutors would not use the anti-terrorism law against Mapuche activists in the future. Curipán explained in an October 5th interview with online Mapuche newspaper Azkintuwe that, with respect to the government’s promises, “there is an intention, but nothing concrete. This intention, once the strike is dispelled, may not amount to anything.”9

The Piñera administration managed to convince the remaining strikers of its sincerity in an agreement reached late last week. In the October 9th agreement, the government finally made good on its pledge to withdraw the terrorism charges filed against the Mapuche prisoners. Additionally, Piñera announced his intention to begin immediate discussions regarding the long-overdue introduction of a law recognizing Chile’s indigenous peoples (pueblos originarios) in the constitution.10

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 10th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Rescue, Relief, Reconciliation: Sebastián Piñera’s Full Plate.

On March 11, 2010, Sebastián Piñera was sworn in as the Republic of Chile’s 35th president in a ceremony at the National Congress in Valparaíso. The new president received a dramatic greeting as a 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the inaugural ceremony and all of the celebrants, which included several Latin American leaders. Only two weeks after February’s colossal 8.8 earthquake took nearly 500 lives and cost Chile as much as 30 billion USD, Piñera’s inauguration instantly placed the former businessman and senator in charge of the country’s extensive relief and recovery efforts.


Chile was once again struck with tragedy when a mine collapsed in Copiapó on August 5th, leaving 33 miners trapped a half-mile underground and a rescue effort that reportedly is still months away from securing their freedom. Now, with a giant earthquake recovery to preside over, 33 of his fellow citizens held captive underground, recent controversies over environmentally-unfriendly foreign investments, and an economy that must remain stable as the international community recovers from an economic crisis, President Piñera has a plethora of urgent issues to address. September 11th will mark both the first six-month anniversary of Piñera’s term, and the 33rd anniversary of Chile’s military coup that led to a violent 17-year dictatorship headed by General Augusto Pinochet. Seven days later, the country will celebrate 200 years of independence. As Chile approaches such important milestones, many in the international community are still wondering: who is Piñera, what is he doing for Chile, and what should be expected of him over the next three and a half years?

For full article click here

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Elizabeth Gavin

Thursday, September 09, 2010 | Research Memorandum 10.1

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, founded in 1975, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and information organization. It has been described on the Senate floor as being “one of the nation’s most respected bodies of scholars and policy makers.” For more information, please see our web page at www.coha.org; or contact our Washington offices by phone (202) 223-4975, fax (202) 223-4979, or email coha@coha.org.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


China Wants Business with Latin America.
By Mitch Moxley

BEIJING, Aug 18, 2010 (IPS) – China, now the world’s second largest economy with a ferocious appetite for resources, is aggressively strengthening relations with Latin American countries, but this has not been without roadblocks.

According to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), released in May, China will displace the European Union as the region’s second largest trading partner by the middle of 2011. Latin American countries are actively exploring cooperative arrangements with China in the fields of mining, energy, agriculture, infrastructure and science and technology, the report said.

China has in recent years diversified its investment in Latin America, from natural resources to manufacturing and the services industry, according to a July report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Latin American Studies. China’s interest in Latin America ranges from oil from Venezuela to timber from Guyana and soybeans from Brazil.

Zhang Sengen, executive director of the Institute of Chinese International Economic Relations, said Latin America has dual appeal for China: It has abundant resources, which are needed to fuel China’s future growth, and it is a huge market for Chinese products – with 560 million consumers and a combined Gross Domestic Product of 4 trillion U.S. dollars.

“Latin America is a very attractive spot for Chinese investment,” Zhang said.

China’s foreign direct investment in Latin America reached 24.8 billion dollars in 2008, making up 14.6 percent of China’s total foreign direct investment, according to figures from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. Meanwhile, Latin American investment in China hit 112.6 billion dollars, roughly 14 percent of the total foreign capital China absorbed.

Exports from Latin American countries to China are expected to reach 19.3 percent of the total by 2020, up from 7.6 percent in 2009, according to the ECLAC report.

China has prided itself on what it calls a “win-win” relationship with Latin America, in which the region sells China raw materials, such as copper, iron and oil, while Latin American countries receive goods from China, including mobile phones and cars.

But relations have not been altogether smooth. Across the region, a growing wariness about trade with China has also been emerging.

In Brazil and Argentina, manufacturers have accused China of dumping products in their markets, prompting new tariffs on some Chinese importers. Other countries worry about China’s aggressive efforts to win access to energy reserves.

In Peru, a state-owned Chinese company has faced a nearly two-decade long revolt from mine workers, featuring repeated strikes, clashes with police and arson attacks, ‘The New York Times’ reported earlier in August. Disputes at the mine, founded in 1992 by steelmaker Shougang Corp, focus on wages, environmental damage and the company’s treatment of local residents.

Wang Peng, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Latin American Studies, said Chinese companies in Latin America need to do proper risk assessment and better protect the local environment. “There are more NGOs in other countries than in China, and many of them focus on environmental protection,” Wang told IPS. “If our companies violate local environmental laws, no wonder tension happens.”

Despite the problems, relations continue to develop. In April, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Brazil, a move that was heralded in China’s state media as a significant step in cementing relations with Latin America.

“China and Latin American countries, all as developing countries, share extensive common interest. China has always attached great importance to its relations with these countries,” Vice Foreign Minister Li Jinzhang said at a press conference in April, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency.

During the meetings, Brazil and China inked a joint action plan for 2010 to 2014 and reached agreements in the fields of culture, energy, finance, science and technology and product quality inspection, according to Xinhua.

China is Brazil’s largest trading partner and biggest export market. Trade with Chile, China’s second largest trading partner in the region, reached a record 17.7 billion dollars in 2009.

Oil-rich Venezuela is China’s fifth largest trading partner in Latin America with a trade volume of 7.15 billion dollars in 2009. In March that year, Su Zhenxing, director of the CAAS’s Institute of Latin American Studies, told ‘Beijing Business Today’ that Latin America will become a leading strategic provider of crude oil.

Jiang Shixue, vice president of the Chinese Association of Latin American Studies and deputy director-general of the Chinese Centre for the Third World Studies, said China’s interest in Latin America is not just economic, but also political.

Of the 23 countries in the world that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, 12 are in Latin America. China can gain leverage over these countries through investment incentives, Jiang said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 18th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

New data shows Brazil is now the world’s fourth largest consumer of automobiles, reports AméricaEconomia. Brazil trails only China, the United States, and Japan in cars bought. Along with growing demand, Brazil expects greater investment in the industry. Volkswagen has announced plans to invest $3.4 million in 2014, Ford $2.5 million between 2011 and 2015, and General Motors $1.6 million between 2010 and 2012. Brazil’s Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento (BNDES) also announced $17 million to construct new plants for Toyota and Hyundai in São Paulo.

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Hotels Help Brazil’s Boom

Financial Times’ Beyond BRICs blog reports that, despite a modest drop in hotel occupancy at Brazilian hotels, guests are spending more money and generating greater revenue for the industry. “I don’t know if this is international or in Latin America in general,” said Ricardo Mader, executive vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. “But it has everything to do with the growth of the [Brazilian] economy and the growth of buying power.” In 2009, guests at Brazilian hotels spent an average of $63 for a room, up 7.7 percent from the previous year.

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Brazilian and Chilean Airlines Merge into Biggest LatAm Carrier

LAN Chile and Brazil’s TAM Linhas Aereas agreed on a $3.7 billion merger to become Latin America’s biggest carrier by market value, with a combined 115 destinations in 23 countries. The new company, called LATAM Airlines Group SA, will be headed by former LAN CEO Enrique Cueto.

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