Forwarded from Anthony #5 (Canada-Colombia)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Wed Jan 31 07:13:29 MST 2001


[The Pierre that Anthony refers to below was the person whose remarks were
forwarded to the list by Mac Stainsby.]

Hi Lou (again).

Pierre posted an interesting little piece about Canadian/Colombian
relations, about which I have a few comments. He wrote,

"In Fredericton, he (the Canadian ambassador to Colombia0 claimed that
Columbian [ColOmbian, please, no u] civil society wants the FTAA."

If you define Colombian civil society as the petty bourgesie and the
bourgeoise, the Canadian ambassador is probably correct. These social
classes look northward with ency - not just to the USA, but to Mexico. In
Mexico they see some of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie growing fat
off of NAFTA - and they do not look too closely at other classes in Mexican
society, or even in their own society very often.)

Piere continued,

"When reminded of the 20 million Columbians who went on a 2-day general
strike in Sept. 99 protesting neoliberal policies ..."

20 million is a huge exageration. About 40 million people live in this
country. None of the general strikes here have shut private industry
factories - participation in all of them was overwhelmingly public sector,
and busses. Participation by bus company employees however was not in the
form of strikes. The company owners closed the doors forcing them to take
the day off because the bus company owners have been in dispute with the
government over gasoline price hikes and the new mass transit system in
Bogotá.

Those paros (political protest strikes uniting employers and employees)
still were, however, important protests against neo-liberal polices which
have markedly slow the pace of privatisation in this country, and slowed
other neoliberal policies including wage cuts. They did not halt their
advance however, especailly in sectors like public health care."   A few
lines later Pierre continued,

"He said that Canadian corporations have a significant $5 billion(US) of
investment in Columbia. These corporations include Bell Canada, Northern
Telecom and 6 active oil exploration and gas & oil pipeline management
companies.  Canada currently engages in $500-600 million per year in trade
and McCains & President's Choice are household names in Columbia.  Canada
also exports wheat, newsprint, lentil and peas."

Canada is definitely a major player in Colombia - right behind France,
Japan, and Germany. However, although I have lived here for more than three
years, I have never heard of McCains and President's Choice.

What are they?

Anthony


Louis Proyect
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