Justin Trudeau Called On To Account For Canadian Mining Abuses

Canada’s Young Prime Minister is being asked to account for the Canadian Mining operations overseas.

About two-hundred Latin American organisations are calling for Canada to have Justin Trudeau account for legal, environmental, and human rights violations.

Mining conflicts in Latin America are widespread. About 200 indigenous and farmer organisations have published an open letter for Prime Minister Trudeau that prospects hope from Liberal politicians to change its mining policy in Latin America.

The organisations hope to hold state agencies and companies to account for abuses related to Canadian mining companies overseas operations.

The statement includes the concerns of a Honduran activist, Pedro Landa, whose organization Fundacion ERIC, signed the letter.

“Over the past few years, Hondurans have suffered the negative impacts of Canadian mining, including pollution of our environment and of our water supplies by heavy metals, and communities’ rights to free, prior and informed consent have been ignored,” Landa said.

The nine recommendations outlined by the organizations include respect for Indigenous communities and their right to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent for any mining activities that happen on their territories; guaranteed access to Canadian courts so victims of violations for Canadian mining abroad can obtain justice; and the assurance that Canadian mining companies in Latin America conform to international human rights standards established in treaties.

Latin America’s Growing Economy Hot For Investors

Tierra Funds, a trade company, illustrated how its exchange-traded fund (ETF) company developed numerous real-estate investment trusts in Latin America. Starting with $2 million worth of assets in December and then developing a system of products that would allow individuals or businesses to purchase and double their dividends against 150 listed real estate equities.

Tierra Funds’ CEO James Anderson said Latin America is about to grow and blossom in the next five to 10 years. With experience in investing and doing business in Latin America since 1990, analysts believe Tierra Fund may succeed in its ventures.

Tierra FUnds’ LARE or the Tierra XP Latin America Real Estate product, together with AT&T’s $10 Billion investment in different South American sites including Mexico is proof that Latin America is becoming an investor hotspot.

“By bringing the entire scope of the AT&T capabilities to bear, we’re helping our customers turn trade-offs of the past into combination plays of the future. Our software-centric network lets us create and deploy integrated solutions faster, infusing agility into our customers’ own operations. For customers, that means a competitive advantage,” said AT&T’s chief marketing officer Steve McGaw.

The news comes as Facebook, Google and Microsoft set up shop in Bogota, Colombia in the last few years, sparking a tech boom in the Latin American region.

2015 Worst Business Year For Latin America

Brazil led the streak of bad businesses for Latin America in 2015 with the Petrobas corruption scandal reaching to the far ends of business. These had involved several corporate leaders such as Odebrecth’s Marcelo OdeBrecths and BTG Pactual CEO Andres Esteves. Both are involved in the $7.6 billion scandal that also involved politicians and an additional 50 prominent businessmen.

Brazil’s political crisis also plays a role in any attempt to stabilise its economy, weakening the influence and popularity of Brazil’s Dilma Rouseff.

Argentina’s former President Cristina Kirchner weakened Argentina’s economy during her almost a decade rule in the country. After her candidate Daniel Scioli lost to opposition candidate Mauricio Macri, she pushed the entire process to move under her command despite her candidate losing the election.

Her decree allowed her to spread the funds to provinces and weaken the incoming government.

Venezuela’s own economy had declined with inflation reaching extremely high numbers. Having the worst macro-economic environment possible, this includes a leader that will not change the methods. President Nicolas Maduro continues to push the red tape forward with restrictions on private enterprise and the foreign exchange market.

Latin American Economy To Contract By 0.3 Per Cent

Analysts From Stratfor.com said that Latin America’s economy is projected to contract by 0.3 per cent in 2015. The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook seconds it as fact.

latin america economy

According to the report, the stronger American dollar and a collapse in commodity prices is driving down export values while local consumption is at its weakest.

Social instability is also rising in different areas of the region

China-and-Oil-Driven Economy

Stratfor’s analysis indicates that most of Latin America’s nations was driven by China’s economic growth throughout the year 2000. With the contractions of the Chinese economy beginning from 2013, exports have devalued, leaving many commodities also devalued.

Meawhile, inflation on property coupled with rising unemployment plague several Latin American Nations.

High Growth For Some

Despite the bleak outlook, Stratfor believes that Latin American Countries can handle the decline better as they are not vulnerable to commodity market changes. With their lower external debt ratios and higher international reserves, many Latin American countries do not rely on Austerity driven international loans.

This means that despite Venezuela and Brazil seeing their worst year for 2015, the Central American and Carribean regions would enjoy higher growth. The latter two do not depend heavily on oil, which has devalued. With coffee, fruit and sugar as their primary exports, the two countries are seeing great potential to grow highly.

Nicolas Maduro Compared To Donald Trump

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro knows the world sees him as a communist dictator continuously blasting against the United States’ leadership and anti-communist sentiment. However, he was honestly surprised when he was compared to US tycoon and GOP Presidential Hopeful Donald Trump.

Due to his decision to close border crossings and deport hundreds of Colombians, Maduro’s political opponents see his decisions as parallel to Trump’s proposal to deport US aliens completely and his proposal to make Mexico pay for and create a wall that separates it from the United States

Maduro heavily criticises the United States but his Colombian immigration decision is similar to Trump’s decision, according to Saverio Vivas, an opposition politician. According to other opposition party members, Maduro is trying to rally the nation in his favour by using Colombia as his scapegoat.

Maduro said Venezuela, performing poorly on economy, has become a victim of the Colombian right and black marketers taking advantage of the situation by smuggling almost everything vital from detergent to gasoline across the border.

Meanwhile, the opposition blames Maduro’s government for controlling the currency and prices.

Venezuela and Colombian borders have 1.4 miles with lax security. Smugglers and illegal armed groups frequent the borders.

Younger Venezuelans see Maduro and Trump as “nutters” and feel that Maduro is making Venezuela look bad to the rest of the world.

Investors Bullish Despite Crisis And Protests Across Latin America

Investors are still positive about the economic growth of Latin America despite the frequency of protests in different areas. According to investors, Latin America had always been a “volatile region plagued by political instability.”

Analysts believe that protests from Brazil to Venezuela had rumbled on for years. Students are often on the forefront of the protests. While the Latin American governments may deploy severe security forces, Latin Americans understand their economies need to prosper.

Analysts also said that Latin American protests have a fair point to cause instability because it empowers the Latin American public and it battles against sordid corruption in their countries. The fear of protesting against dictators and unfair governance has long disappeared.

Analysts advise that a good investment for Latin America would be to understand who is opposing the project, engage in dialogue, deal fairly with both the government and public. Inevitably, good engagement and communication with local communities and companies are signs of a fruitful investment in the region.

It is also believed that the protesting public understands the value of freedom and it shows that the citizens of Latin America are maturing and citizens are holding their politicians and institutions to account for their actions.

An Environmentalist? Don’t Even Dare Go To Latin America!

Latin America would possibly the world’s most dangerous place to become a environmentalist.

Environmental protester Jose Isidro Tendetza was beaten up and his bones were broken before he could even reach the Peruvian capital of Lima against mining operations. Tendetza, a well-known indigenous environmental and indigenous activist, was said to have been tortured before being thrown into the river.

According to Domingo Ankuash, the leader of the Shuar Indigenious group, the culprits for Tendetza’s plight had never been caught. However, he pointed out that Tendetza made many enemies as a critic of open-pit copper mines. According to Ankuash, Tendetza’s killings was covered up by the Ecuadorian government, who is heavily reliant on the mines

“This is a camouflaged crime,” Ankuash said. “In Ecuador, multinational companies are invited by the government and get full state security from the police and the army. The army and police don’t provide protection for the people; they don’t defend the Shuar people. They’ve been bought by the company.”
Latin America continues to hold a record of violence against environmentalists. In 2014, there had been 116 environmentalists killed, with 29 killed in Brazil. Colombia had killed 24 of its environmenalists.

Most environmentalists come from indigenous groups driven away by large landowners. Without any law to turn to and pinned by large mining companies, these individuals fight against ese companies to take back their rights to their land.

In Argentina, Orangutans Now Have Some Human Basic Rights

Sandra, the Orangutan at the Buenos Aires zoo, was granted some basic human rights by an Argentinian court. Lawyers have fought to free Sandra from the Buenos Aires zoo by arguing that she should be given legal rights and that she was illegally detained.

Sandra is clearly not a human, but the court case clarified whether orang-utans, or primates for that matter, was a “thing” or a “person.”

Lawyers for Argentina’s Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights considered Sandra as “a person.” However, they made it clear that she was a person in the “philosophical sense.” She was detained in a situation of illegal deprivation of freedom as a “non-human person.”

They filed that she was unjustifiably detained while she has probable cognitive capability.

Sandra was born in 1986 in a German zoo and arrived in Buenos Aires in September 1994.

She regularly tried to avoid the public in her enclosure.

If there is no appeal against the court’s decision from the Buenos Aires zoo, she will be transferred to a primate sanctuary in Brazil where she can live in partial liberty.

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Dilma Rousseff Promises to Introduce Reforms After Winning Elections

Re-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that dialogue will be her top priority. She has also promised to re-unite Brazil and become a “much better president than I have been until now.”

The fight for Brazilian presidency had been a closely fought battle. Both Rousseff and Centre-Right candidate Aecio Neves fought bravely against each other with a respective score of 51.6% and 48.4% respectively.

Rouseff had remained in power since 2010 as she remains highly popular with poor Brazilians, which her administration had helped thanks to her welfare programs.

However, it was clear that Brazilians were trying to look at the other way. The Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) attracted many of the wealthy and developed southern parts of Brazil.

Despite Rousseff’s call for unity and dialogue, millions of Brazilians are left unsatisfied with her work. The standards of public services in the country for health, education and basic sanitation are still too low despite Brazil having the seventh largest economy in the world.

She said that “sometimes in history, closer outcomes trigger results more quickly than ample victories. It is my hope, or even better, my certainty that the clash of ideas can create room for consensus, and my first words are going to be a call for peace and unity” during a speech in the country’s capital, Brasilia.

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