Quebec joins fight against corporate greed
The Quebec meeting of heads of state of Latin American countries, held under a false banner of "free trade" and "democracy", brought massive street demonstrations from protestors who are suffering the consequences of corporate globalisation. The Canadian Government organised the biggest mobilisation in Canadian history of police to protect the pin-striped businessmen and their lackey politicians. Despite the massive police presence, the tear-gas and the baton charges, protestors succeeded in tearing down part of the two-metre high wire-meshed fence fixed to concrete blocks and delayed the opening of the conference for three-quarters of an hour. Thousands of protestors came from all over the Americas and included workers, students, professionals, religious groups, and environmentalists - - all who are appalled at the destruction caused by corporate greed. The "free trade" slogan is false. It does not create a "level playing field" for all countries, even though the tariff walls have been reduced. The corporations now exercise their dominance by patents, copyright, "intellectual property rights" and the creation of huge monopolies. They are also using the mechanisms of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to impose their dictatorship. Brazil has already run into trouble in the WTO for its laws dealing with the manufacture and import of generic AIDS drugs. Brazil implemented a very successful AIDS program using generic medicines. But the US is challenging Brazil at the WTO, demanding that Brazil repeal its laws which have dramatically reduced the price of drugs produced by the pharmaceutical corporations, giving many more people access to treatment. The North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which embraces the US, Canada and Mexico and which the US wants to impose on the whole of Latin America, provides for the removal of government regulations that limit the inflow of capital investments. Furthermore, it allows foreign investors to sue governments for limiting their investments in any country. The US-based Ethyl corporation (the corporation that puts lead in petrol) is suing the Canadian Government because it prohibited the import of an Ethyl petrol additive for health reasons. Canada was forced to repeal its law and pay Ethyl US $13 million in damages even though the same product is banned in the US. Speaking of the present summit meeting in Quebec, Cuba's President Fidel Castro warned that the Latin American nations are at the point of being devoured by the United States. "We know that Latin America and the Caribbean can be devoured but not digested", he said. The gravity of the region's social ills, "can never be solved in that way and will become more dramatic." Referring to the Bush administration, Fidel Castro said that judging by the first steps taken in the international sphere and the language of his advisors and his allies among the Miami terrorist mafia, we could be facing a bellicose administration totally lacking in ethics.