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By Daniel Verzeñassi
The threats to our waters in the future are not our waste and vices. It is the index of industrial growth that we salute and celebrate; they are the records of soybean harvests, announced with enthusiasm (causing the disappearance of millions of hectares of forests, jungles and mountains) they are the scales of industrial and agro-industrial production that are installed.
Since the mid-1990s, with the creation of the IIRSA Project (Infrastructure for the Regional Integration of South America), there has been a gradual transfer of so-called dirty industries from the central countries to the south of the planet. From there, imperialist penetration begins to be channeled through two complementary channels: on the one hand, the direct extraction of natural resources; on the other, the indirect disposal of multinational philanthropic entities such as the AVINA Foundation. In the following report, Dr. Daniel Verzeñassi, a member of the Paraná Ecological Forum, carries out an analysis that leads us to wonder how so much "disinterested" economic aid, far from becoming dignified and sovereign peoples, finds us more and more dependent and miserable. .
When in March 1996 Enrique Iglesias, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, announced in the conclusions of the 37th Annual Meeting of Governors of the IDB meeting in Buenos Aires that "in the next decade it was necessary to invest in Latin America in infrastructure for integration , at a rate of 15 to 20 billion dollars annually "* (1), few thought they were numbers said seriously. And of those few believers (a few less), those who still accept the proposed development as true, those not committed to negotiating and customary rinses, rather than thinking about the scope of what has been said, dreamed of that investment goodness, enabling growth and startups regional governments that will remove misery and poverty from these lands. However, that notice was an advance; It was the first appearance on the scene of the IIRSA Project (Infrastructures for the Regional Integration of South America) - which would officially begin in 2000 - as a project of the South American governments. Five years before the IDB meeting in Buenos Aires, in November 1991, Lawrence Summers, chief economic adviser at the World Bank chaired by James Wolfensohn, presented a Memorandum to the financial body recommending the transfer of dirty industry to the Third World. * (2)
Lawrence Summers was one of the internationals present at that meeting of "notables" from the world's finances, in that early autumn of the River Plate, back in 1996. Among his public appearances, a visit to the Stock Exchange is recorded in the newspapers of those days. of Commerce that motivated entertainments to the "distinguished" presence. "Look who you hug, and get closer to where you think," would say a grandfather. Surely in those meetings they would talk about the agricultural areas of transgenic soybeans, the mining productions in the mountain range, the artificial Paraná-Paraguay waterway or forestations and pulp mills, among other "jewels" that today are greeted and promoted by the Stock Exchanges in Argentina. Manuel Belgrano said as he passed through our city thanking Doña Gregoria Pérez for the donation: "... and his gesture should be an example for the powerful, who look at the country with coldness."
When the Uruguayan Enrique Iglesias specified the infrastructure areas for the proposed investments, the four basic ones needed in a process of such a dirty and polluting agricultural and industrial announcement appeared: energy, communications, transportation, water and sanitation. The Memorandun Summers had begun its political march in the south of the American continent. At a firm pace, with decisions taken then and founding conditions for peoples and governments for the following years.
The global productive relocations, or proposed industrial relocations, give birth to the new environmental geographies, initiating a game of multiple and varied directionality, with a decided major track orientation: the main investment flows for "scale production" are directed from north to south. of the planet.
In reality, what is being defined is the availability and possibility of access to the reliable fresh water that the planet has left, after so much nonsense and irresponsibility in its uses and abuses.
Global scale industrial processes, untreated city sewage, urban garbage leachate disposed of in the open and in unstoppable quantities, runoff from rural surfaces poisoned by pesticides in the production of export commodities and transgenic grains for northern forages, water of washing or "mining strains" (among many reasons), with the aggravation of droughts alternated by floods, in spaces with changing rain regimes due to climate change, deforestation or dam endings, have generated the overwhelming inputs for the intentional information that spreads about the inevitable "water stress" in close proximity to time, on a planetary scale.
They are imposing a scenario on us that was not ours. Those who claim to be powerful and rich are the unbridled walkers towards collapses, their overwhelming forces of abuse and destruction of natural spaces in the name of money, prices and stock exchanges, they built the artifice of their "forts", and at the same time, they also built the undeniable reality of their "breaks". The rivers poisoned with polychlorinated biphenyls, fuels and persistent organic compounds were not ours. Our rains were not the ones missing from the periodic appointment of the seasons and their incessant cycles with the mountains, ice, jungles and wetlands. They knocked out their Ogallala Aquifer in the west-central plains of the US; they polluted their Great Lakes with PCBs; they had the great five-year Central Valley drought in California in the late 1980s; they compromised the Rhine in Europe by the Basel spill in 1987; they polluted the Baltic with the pulp mills; decimated their forests and biological diversity. From those latitudes start the first warnings of "Silent Springs" by Rachel Carson, the beginnings of degenerative diseases hitting like unexpected epidemics, of endocrine alterations, in progeny and congenital damage in their births. Studies in the populations celebrating the "green revolution" of the 1960s were those that showed a 50% reduction in sperm counts and the consequent compromise of male fertility.
And from that reality begins this history of industrializing the South, in an attempt to progressively recover the biohabitabilities lost in the North. The settlements and industrial expansions of these GDP growth in our economies are not the result of what we wanted to be and do. They begin in other logics and needs, they are not in sight. They are much more than economic decisions or profit calculations. Without modifying its thinking and understanding, or revising its worldview, industrialism (extractive, reductionist, a little made up and more presentable in some cases) chooses its new industrial parks in the world, away from its territories, to be recovered for permanence.
IIRSA as a Project of "necessity and urgency" of the corporations
The threats to our waters in the future are not our waste and vices; Nor does walking through the cultural imposition of waste that each second promotes consumerism or installed logic; copy intoxicated with other people's lavishness ... which, on the other hand, we must modify and quickly. The biggest threat is the industrial growth rate that we salute and celebrate; they are the records of soybean harvests, announced with enthusiasm (causing the disappearance of millions of hectares of forests, jungles and mountains) they are the scales of industrial and agro-industrial production that are installed. How much water does a ton of cellulose pulp carry? How much does a ton of steel demand? How much does Pascua Lama-Veladero, Bajo La Alumbrera, Repsol-YPF mining extraction in Rincón de los Sauces? What about the automotive, meat packing and tanning industries? And what about the groundwater tables and surface waters in the vicinity of farmyard breeding or Feed Loot? .. And then yes, we are going towards the abandoned path, towards the path from which the repentant industrialists and farmers of yesterday return, contaminated today, and in recovery attempts for tomorrow.
It is urgent to reflect, exchange and cross knowledge about the scale of production. It is necessary to problematize this global productive extraction of resources and goods from a region, in order to supply the rest of the world, to locate production poles for the main pollutants: forest-cellulose poles in the Uruguay basin, petrochemical poles, steel mills, automotive poles, the "united republic of soybeans" proposed by the advertising of the Syngenta company, an attack on the sovereignty of the nations involved not denounced or condemned by anyone before such a geopolitical project and the end of the permanence of populations in entire regions. They do not come to solve other people's social poverty; They come to solve their own environmental poverty, anticipating our socio-environmental poverty.
The world's political agendas highlight in print letters a central and dominant theme: fresh water. Its handling is decisive for the alleged population regulations of the so-called third world. Without fresh water, no biological process is possible. Deciding on the management of water and its assignments and regulations is to manage life,… and whoever manages life,… manages the Earth. That is what they pretend.
Then, or thousands of thousands, millions, in democratic and democratizing ways, we become capable of strengthening trust and removing suspicions among the organizations of the social sectors not linked to the corporate interest (therefore unsuspected), to prevent the barbarism of such dispossession; or will they be the usual acquaintances (Suez, Vivendi, Betchel, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Nestlé) thirsty and on the prowl; or the not so well known, but better presented, the manufacturers of fluid transfer ducts (Amanco), offering themselves as an alternative to themselves. There are no clean processes or clean technologies possible for these proposed industrial scales. These are not friendly introductions with renewed faces. There are no clean development mechanisms. There are small, friendly, democratic, local or small regional scales. Or else, the other, the proposal of "economic supplements", of "specialized" journalism, elaborate, presentable, seducing with languages learned from the social demands themselves, now recycled into corporate green speeches. It is the production of corporations, that of "mergers." The "great economic power", knowing the magnitude of the disaster caused, makes its moves. The 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Thomas Schelling, has without hesitation pointed to global warming as the greatest economic concern. * (3) Environmental problems are profound in the economy. Decisions of enormous significance are being made. Necessity pushes, and "expert" advances rush.
IIRSA is a project of necessity and urgency of the corporations. They are the necessary infrastructures for the industrial transfer of pollutants to the south of the planet. But fresh water has taught that, unlike other common goods that have been looted from the peoples, the meaning of life that it has, has provoked irreducible rebellions.
That is why they are using other strategies. It is too crude and hostile to snatch fresh water from a region, or to decide its fate. It is too evident that they appropriate the life of the place. Corrupt governments no longer ensure certainty of arrangements and business for this issue.
Societies are manifesting, rejecting more and more the political forms of impudence and progressive changes occur in the ways of participating and questioning, of reacting and proposing, of thinking and rethinking.
The Avina Foundation within the IIRSA Project
Intermediate, non-governmental organizations (ecologists, self-convened, environmentalists) have begun a journey still without a certain destination, but they are moving forward, creating trust in their neighborhoods, from their sayings and actions. Unsuspected of sectoral or petty interest, they are showing, many times, exemplary detachments. For corporations, accompanying yourself with them is a presentation. It legitimizes the reception in the society to which they approach.
Then the donors, the partners, the international collaborators appear. In the first steps, without asking for anything in return, until some "indicator" turns on alarms that are not always easy to notice. And there begin the stories of the uncertain, mistrust and unpredictable, between those who are warned, and others. And our organizations are shocked, shocked and shaken.
The Paraná Ecological Forum had its own thing. It decided not to continue with the AVINA Foundation as a donor for its work projects when its members were invited to design a strategy on Coastal Borders and Water Resources in Latin America that said Foundation was developing.
AVINA is a philanthropic foundation, of Swiss origin, whose founder is the businessman of that nationality, the lawyer Stephan Schmidheiny. This foundation manages and manages funds that arise from Schmidheiny's business activity, whose economic traction is the Nueva Group, which brings together companies in two main sectors in Latin America: forestry-Masisa Terranova-, and pipes for fluid transport, AMANCO. The executive president of AMANCO, Mr. Roberto Salas, has expressed the importance of the conference held in Washington, DC, the 3rd Latin American Leadership Forum, * (4) sponsored by CG / LA, where a potential of US $ 25,000 to $ 35,000 million in pending infrastructure projects for Latin America. And in that same forum, IIRSA is recognized as the strategic project of leading entrepreneurs. * (5)
In other words, the IIRSA project, identified and denounced by the Paraná Ecological Forum as the project of the necessary infrastructures for the plundering of common goods (commonly called natural resources) and the industrial transfer of Lawrence Summers, was the framework project for the strategy of the AVINA Foundation on water resources and coastal edges in Latin America.
AVINA also appears in Peru, supporting with funds a project in Cajamarca to stimulate the IIRSA initiative, promoting the bi-oceanic corridors of the Amazon axis, and the construction of transversal and longitudinal highways in Sierras, for international trade.
Since 2000, the year of official announcement of IIRSA, the World Water Forum has met for its part, which is the institution from which the movements of corporations interested in fresh water seek to legitimize themselves. Before that, the GWP was created, which is the main organizer and sponsor of the World Water Forums. Maude Barlow (2001) * (6), clearly explains the nature of GWP: "In 1996, a new international water body was created, which consisted of more or less the same actors. The Global Water Partnership (GWP) describes itself as an "action-oriented network" of bodies concerned with water issues and whose mission is to find the "tools needed in practice" to solve water problems, especially in those areas. Third World countries Its affiliates include numerous NGOs, government organizations (such as the Canadian International Development Agency, whose former president Margaret Catley-Carlson has just been appointed president of the GWP), multilateral banks and the private sector. René Coulomb de la Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux sits on the board of directors, which also includes representatives from the Swiss-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Ban co World. Another representative of the Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, Ivan Cheret, is part of the GWP Technical Advisory Committee…,… The organization's principle is that water is an "economic commodity" that has an "economic value in all its competitive uses", and it serves to lay the foundations for the GWP's priority on privatizing water supply services. ”Stephan Schmidheiny is founder of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
The 4th World Water Forum, which met in Mexico in March of this year, did not accept to incorporate the right of access to drinking water as a human right ... And the AVINA Foundation supported the institutional representation in said Forum together with the Government Agency of the United States for International Development (USAID) and the Mexican Alliance for a NEW WATER CULTURE.
NUEVA CULTURA DEL AGUA, a seal of the AVINA Foundation, come from Spain by the hand of a leading partner of said Foundation, which the Municipality of Paraná has taken as its own, promoting its messages and symbols in our schools. With the antecedents outlined on an issue of such present and future political significance, we believe it to be a careless mistake. It is a very strong signal, which is imprinted on our children and young people.
A few days ago, the Neighbors of Andalgalá in Defense of Life demanded the government of Catamarca for allowing the delivery of medals to the children of a mountain range school with the inscription of the Bajo La Alumbrera company on one of their faces.
La Botnia practices similar forms in Fray Bentos; Monsanto does it in rural schools in areas condemned to green deserts and poisoned by its biocide chemicals. They naturalize their presences and arrivals. They are cultural impositions with unpredictable political costs.
These are times to know and to know again. We have the right to information about what happens and decides in our lives, and the responsibility to exercise it.
We must know who Nestlé is in the world's water trade. Know that Schmidheiny was chairman of the Nestlé board of directors in 1999. Know what reasons exist for the AVINA founder to join the Panama Canal Advisory Council and those who accompany him in that body. Know if the Bilderberg Club exists, as a meeting place for the "hidden Power of the world" (no longer so hidden on the other hand), made up of notables from the establishment, including among its members Wolfensohn, Rockefeller, Kissinger, Schmidheiny and the Rostchild bankers Knowing that fresh water is the subject of those hidden agendas, with their Free Trade, and Bilateral Agreements for the Protection of Reciprocal Investments, such as those signed by Uruguay with Finland. Also know about the financing of political and social organizations. This is also the right to public information, as it is proclaimed by Citizen Power, an institution that, from its virtual information page ("INFOCIVICA, where NGO information is now news"), informs us that its free dissemination is possible thanks to the support of the British Embassy, the Embassy of Finland, the Ford Foundation, TELECOM. We must know that one of the main references of "AVINA Argentina" today was the former president of Poder Ciudadano. We need to listen to reasons and reflect on them with whoever corresponds, about the interest of the Swiss government in the book "Water Governance in South America: environmental dimension" (published by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Switzerland, under the auspices of the Ministry Federal for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Switzerland) presented by Dr. Daniel Sabsay, from the Environment and Natural Resources Foundation (FARN). Is it a publication of analysis, or of proposals? In any of the cases, what is Switzerland doing on the water issue in Latin America? Is there any connection with Nestlé, or AMANCO, or whoever it is? If there is sincere concern for our rivers, our lives and environments, having such a capacity to reach European spaces, how could no one say or claim firmly in any Forum, these names so exalted in world economic power, before the installation of the pulp mills? Or about transgenic eucalyptus plantations? If they occurred, they should be published. And if they do not occur, they must also be published and claimed. This is also news. The silences say. All of this must also be public information.
Our democratic governments are open to criticism in so many chapters. In many. But if the misgivings are greater with them than with the British, or the Finns, we are bad or worse.
The enormous imbalances of all kinds that occur on a planetary level also ensure enormous transformations in the men and women of the world. They will happen in the unfathomable and mysterious of the human soul. They are not possible for any analysis. Human beings are unpredictable, random, unexpected. Perhaps it can be heard as naive to think of those who lived by greed and calculations of profit, now gestating huge leaps of consciousness and wisdom. We, on the other hand, think that they will happen.
But we believe that the impulses will come from the urgencies of the times, on the one hand, from so many unfathomable circling around for others, ... and, above all, those impulses will come from vast majorities that having conceived trust and clearing of suspicions from the realms of understanding necessary, they will offer them for the new emerging dialogues, to the new planetary equals / different.
We will listen to each other again. We must listen to each other again. Hegemonic messages and attempts have failed. The Cry of the Earth is the cry of the Poor, turning into a call. The Earth calls us, the Earth is called. We are the Earth. We will listen to each other again.
* (1) The Diary of Paraná 03/24/96
* (2) The Diary of Paraná 02/05/92
* (3) The Wall Street Journal Americas (La Nación) 07/11/05
* (4) 3rd Annual Latin American Leadership Forum –CG / LA-
Ritz Carlton March 22 and 23, 20 Washington, DC
* (5) 3rd Annual Latin American Leadership Forum: Strategic _-CG / LA-
* (6) Maude Barlow, National President of the Council of Canadians Co-author of the book Blue Gold: The Battle Against the World's Water Theft by Corporations
Published in Biweekly Bulletin Nº45- Prensa del Frente - http://www.prensadefrente.org/