Genuinely Fickle

Rafael Correa & Stephen Harper / photo by Presidencia de la República del Ecuador

Ecuador’s Fickle Friend : Canada waffles in its support for Latin American democracies | The Dominion. – by Jennifer Moore

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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In April 2008, Ecuador’s National Constituent Assembly, which was rewriting the country’s constitution, decreed that all large-scale mining be suspended and that most mineral concessions be revoked without compensation, because they overlapped with water supplies and protected areas, and because companies failed to consult with affected communities.

The decision represented an important—albeit short-lived—victory for the anti-mining social movement.

Canadian companies fought back with a well-financed public relations campaign in which they promised Ecuadorians “a fair deal.”

According to one company executive, companies also received “tireless” support from the Canadian Embassy to arrange high-level meetings and influence the new mining law. As large scale mining was suspended, President Correa granted Canadian businessmen a privileged seat during mining law negotiations. The mining mandate was not applied to key holdings of many Canadian companies.

Correa, who has made it clear that he intends to make metal mining a source of future state revenue through bolstered state participation, also abruptly distanced himself from Indigenous, campesino (peasant) and environmental groups critical of such policies. He called them infantile, foolish and the greatest threat to his political project, and helped foment rumours about links between such organizations and imperial interests.
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One quibble I have with Moore’s analysis, whose conclusions are sound, in my view, is her use of Spain as an example of a country that does not approach Ecuador as merely a place where it’s investors and companies can do profitable business, without regard for the impact of that business on Ecuador’s citizenry. That’s not the Spain I know. And what she implies is undercut by her own statement about Spain being “a key investor in Ecuador and home to hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorian immigrants.” All we see by that is that Spain is an interested observer. That does not automatically translate into principled observer. Moore needs to expand on Spain’s interest in Ecuador a little before I can accept it as an example of a country showing good intentions toward a left-leaning (let’s say) country that is under seige by agents of the corporatocracy. Spain ‘is’ a part of the corporatocracy. Yes, I get that Spanish citizens who have ties to Ecuador may have some influence over Spanish politics. But it’s usually the case that communities of immigrants that are rightwing, rather than leftwing, have influence over corporatocracy politicians, for their interests align. Look at the situation of the Cuban expats in Florida, for example.

My online response to the above linked-to article follows:

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I appreciated the information provided by Jennifer Moore in this detailed article. I recently watched an episode of Democracy Now!, hosted in Cancún Mexico, in which Rafael Correa is interviewed by Amy Goodman. I wasn’t impressed with Correa’s attitude. Maybe listening to the voice of Ecuadorians is becoming too much of a burden for him to bear. In which case, While Harper is a fickle friend of Ecuador – I would argue that our imperial ruling class is no friend to anyone but the corporatocracy – I feel that Rafael is a fickle friend to both Canada and his people, something that ‘the people’ everywhere need to be concerned about.

Rafael’s assurances to DN that his people would not be pushed off their lands and made more destitute than they are when the highly touted, by the wrong people, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) kicks in came, clearly, as an afterthought. Rather like those addons you get in free trade deals (the ones which aren’t ‘completely’ negotiated behind closed doors) that activists complain loudly about until you throw them something, hopefully, to shut them up. The addons are rather like grandparents at a loud, physical, punk rock concert. They are unwanted and not what was envisioned. You may tolerate them if you suddenly find them there, but you have no intention of truly accommodating grandparents at your punk rock concerts now or going forward. (Or am I wrong about that and is my illustration not the best?)

Free trade agreements, from everything I’ve seen, say nothing about the people, their wants and needs, and have to do completely with granting corporations and capitalists more freedom. The people are not forgotten. They are the basis for all the wealth and freedom and privilege that elites everywhere enjoy. The problem, from a public relations standpoint, is that you can’t honestly talk about the many ways the people will be exploited so that even more freedom and prosperity will accrue to those who already have those.

And that’s how it is in a corporatocracy, unless you’ve taken the blue pill and believe that all is well, if not perfect.
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Please see also my previous post titled “Rafael with your nose so REDD.”

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