Human costs of "good business climate" (Live from Porto!)

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at SPAMarnet.com.ar
Tue Mar 6 05:17:40 MST 2001


Cdes. and friends,

I am sure that JPMonteiro will not be upset if I resend this to the lists. Upon
knowledge of a terrible accident near his place, I sent him an e-mail asking
about his health. This is what I received back (personal sentences omitted).
Translation by myself into English follows the original version in Portuguese.

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:              Mon, 05 Mar 2001 19:18:28 +0000
From:                   "João Paulo Monteiro" <jpmonteiro at mail.telepac.pt>
Send reply to:          jpmonteiro at mail.telepac.pt
To:                     Gorojovsky <Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar>
Subject:                Re: Accidente de tránsito

Sim, houve um terrível acidente a cerca de 35 km de aqui. Uma ponte centenária
sobre o rio Douro ruíu à passagem de um auto-carro de passageiros, às 21 horas
de ontem. 70 pessoas pelo menos são dadas como mortas. Não foi ainda possível
recuperar os corpos. Isto foi o resultado da confluência de três crimes:
1) negligência criminosa na manutenção desta estrutura por parte do Governo e
institutos públicos responsáveis;
2) cobiça criminosa dos patos-bravos da construção civil, que extraíam areias
clandestinamente no leito do rio junto aos pilares da ponte;
3) arrogância criminosa da gerência da EDP (o ex-monopólio público da
electricidade, agora privatizado) que abrem as comportas das barragens a seu
bel-prazer, provocando 5 cheias consecutivas do rio, só neste ano.
[...]
O ambiente aqui é de luto nacional. O ministro dos Equipamentos Públicos
demitiu-se. Há algumas escaramuças políticas mas nada que vá ao fundo da
questão.
Por uma irónica coincidência, hoje mesmo é o dia em que vão a julgamento, por
desordem pública, dois populares da zona que participaram, aqui há uns meses,
num corte de estrada de alerta às autoridades para a insegurança da ponte.
João Paulo 
 
Yes, there has been a terrible accident some 20 miles away from here. A hundred
year old bridge on the Douro broke down when a passenger autocar was traversing
it, at 9 PM yesterday. At least 70 people are supposedly dead. It has not been
possible to retrieve the corpses as yet. This was the result of the confluence
of three crimes:
1) criminal negligence in the maintenance of this structure by the Government
and the applicable public agencies;
2) criminal greed of the big civil construction contractors, who extracted sand
in a clandestine way from the river bed, just by the pillars of the bridge
3) criminal arrogance by the management of the EDP (formerly, public monopoly
of  electric energy, now in private ownership), who open the sluices of the
dams at their will, thus producing 5 consecutive floods in the river, only in
this year.
The national climate is of mourning. The minister of Public Works has resigned.
There are some political side battles, but nothing getting to the marrow of the
issue.
It is an ironic coincidence that it is just today that two common people in the
area go to judgement today, under the charge of public disorder, because they
took part, a few months ago, of a road block which tried to give an alert to
the authorities as to the unsafe condition of the bridge.

------- End of forwarded message -------

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar





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