International finance capital seizes the best South American lands

International finance capital seizes the best South American lands

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Since 2007/2008, transnational corporations and governments have intensified the grabbing of huge areas of farmland in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which implies "the risk of creating a neo-colonial pact for the provision of raw materials without added value," he warned. former FAO Director Jacques Diouf.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other desert countries buy or lease land to grow food; while the transnationals and financial groups monopolize land to profit and speculate with agro-industrial raw materials. Finance capital sees South America as the main area to buy and lease agricultural land. [one]

In September 2008, large Indian vegetable oil processors requested land from the Uruguayan and Paraguayan governments to grow oilseeds, wheat and lentils. India's main sugar refiner and alcohol producer Shree Renuka Sugars acquired 130,000 hectares in Brazil, while the Walbrook group bought about 600,000 hectares in Argentina. [2]

“There is a massive resurgence of interest in investing in land in the region. It is much more than previously assumed, either in terms of land investment or land grabbing ”, stressed Saturnino Borras, professor at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, one of the authors of a study carried out in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries. , commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). [3]

FAO researchers concluded that the purchase of land for food production affects much of the region. In South America "we are facing a new wave of a process of foreignization of important lands," warned specialist Martine Dirven. For example, an official report estimates that in the last decade at least 5.5 million hectares were sold in Uruguay, 25% of the country's productive areas, to private corporations. [4]

In Paraguay, 1.8 million hectares were purchased between 2006 and 2010 by Brazilian, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese and Spanish businessmen, according to researcher at the Paraguayan Center for Sociological Studies Luis A. Galeano, who estimates that in the last For two decades, foreign companies acquired between nine and 10 million hectares of Paraguayan land, that is, between 25 and 30% of the country's productive area.

In Bolivia it is estimated that at least 700 thousand hectares are in the hands of Brazilian, Argentine, Peruvian and Colombian agroindustrial companies, the majority destined to the production of transgenic soybeans. [5]

For the director of the Peruvian Center for Social Studies, Fernando Eguren, the concentration of land "is also a concentration of influences, of political power in the territorial spheres where it is happening, and it also has to do with restrictions on democracy." [6]

They legalize the sale of public lands in Panama

Despite strong popular rejection, on October 19, 2012, the president of Panama Ricardo Martinelli sanctioned Law No. 72 that authorizes the sale of public land in the Colon Free Zone (ZLC), a tax-free area created in 1948 to Commercially take advantage of the enclave of the Panama Canal, from where routes to Japan, the United States and other Latin American countries depart.

Companies from all over the world have a base of operations in the ZLC, which generated transactions for 29 billion dollars in 2011. Deputy Miguel Salas denounced that the Executive intends to privatize land in the ZLC to cover the fiscal deficit and collect funds for the 2014 government campaign.

Several social, business and parliamentary sectors asked the National Assembly to reject the privatization proposal, and after it was approved they asked the president to veto it, but Martinelli ignored the popular clamor.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the city of Colón to protest against the Martinelli law and on October 19 the nine-year-old boy José Betancourt lost his life due to a bullet impact in the abdomen, and around 30 were injured in clashes with the police. On October 21, hundreds of citizens dressed in black as a sign of mourning marched from the Paulino San José Church to the center of the city to reject the sale of land in the free zone.

On the other hand, the approval of “development” works that do not meet the requirements required by law, and with the apparent complicity of the National Environmental Authority (ANAM), is a cause for great concern. The executive director of the environmental organization Sustainable Panama Raisa Banfiel recalled that during the presidential campaign Martinelli said that ANAM "hindered and delayed national development".

The concern is that despite dozens of complaints and environmental conflicts raised in recent years, ANAM acted negligently, as in the case of the Bahia wetlands, one of the five Ramsar sites in Panama, created by resolution of ANAM on February 3, 2009. [7]

Recently, ANAM itself and the Ministry of Housing and Territorial Planning (Miviot) agreed to suspend the status of the natural site in order to enable the construction of a treatment plant in the Bay of Panama, and the Panama Bay Country Club project, a decision that it was supported by the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ).

However, there are now six lawsuits filed against the decision of the Supreme Court to annul the protection of the Bay wetland. The list of plaintiffs includes the MarViva Foundation, the Panama Audubon Society, the Rivera, Bolívar y Castañeda law firm, and the Democratic Revolutionary Party. Appeals filed by the Center for Environmental Incidence and the Association of Trial Lawyers of Panama were also admitted.

Privatization in Honduras

After the 2009 coup, the government of Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo and the ruling party in Congress approved constitutional reforms that authorize the creation of the so-called Special Development Regions (RED) or “Model Cities”, classified as the most denigrating variant of territorial neocolonialism, since it legalizes the sale of strips of the territory to foreign investors.

For some years now, far-right American businessmen have bought islands in third world countries in order to create tax havens free of political regulations. Some examples of "island states" are the Principality of Sealand off the coast of England; the failed Freedom Ship in Trujillo Bay, and the current Seasteaders. Years ago, the Nicaraguan businessman Xavier Arguello Carazo, son-in-law of former Panamanian president Ricardo Maduro, offered a piece of Honduras to the North American investor Paul Romer, who tried to privatize the island of Madagascar together with the Korean Posco-Daewoo.

In December 2011, The Economist magazine revealed that the State of Honduras signed two letters of intent with private groups interested in building “model cities”. One of them is made up of the Future Cities Development Corporation company, founded by Patri Friedman, grandson of economist Milton Friedman, and by the owner of Paypal Peter Thiel. The second consortium is called Free Cities Group, owned by Michael Strong and Kevin Lyons, which operates in Honduras under the name NKG.

On September 4, 2012, the Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships (Coalianza) and NKG signed a contract for the construction of the first “model city” in Honduras. The honor witness of the business was the president of the Congress Juan Orlando Hernández, one of the main promoters of the Honduran auction through the REDs.

But REDs are not the only threats to Honduran territorial sovereignty. On December 13, 2011, the leadership of the Community of Cristales and Río Negro filed a lawsuit for absolute nullity against several contracts for the fraudulent sale of community lands located southwest of the City of Trujillo to the Canadian businessman Randy Roy Jorgensen.

Jorgensen, known as the "king of porn", plans to build a dock for Panamex cruise ships called the Banana Coast. It also acquired land in the Garífuna communities of Santa Fe, San Antonio and Guadalupe, and suddenly obtained environmental licenses to build villas facing the Caribbean Sea in a buffer zone of the Capiro and Calentura National Park.

The "king of porn" received great support from Ramón Lobo Sosa, brother of President Porfirio Lobo, and on June 21, 2011 he deserved a "special recognition" from the president himself in a ministerial cabinet session in the city of Trujillo. [8]

They intend to privatize the Costa Rican natural heritage

In Costa Rica, the 18-hectare Isla Plata located in Esparza, Puntarenas, declared a State Natural Heritage and protected by the Maritime-Terrestrial Zone Law (ZMT), is about to succumb to the privatization tide. For more than a decade, the company Vimavi del Pacífico Sociedad Anónima has been trying to build residential areas and tourist infrastructure on the island.

In 2006 the authorities of the Guanacaste municipality tried to sell the small island, located in front of the Flamingo tourist complex, for 15 million dollars or to hand it over in concession, but both maneuvers were frustrated by the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (Minaet) and the Municipal Department of Environmental Management, then headed by biologist William Arauz.

However, last year the director of the Tempisque Arenal Conservation Area Nelson Marín eliminated the restrictive regulation in force and recommended the concession of part of the island. This allowed the company to request authorization to start works, which is about to be approved by the Municipality of Santa Cruz, controlled by the National Liberation Party (PLN).

The deputies of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) Claudio Monge and Yolanda Acuña denounced that it is intended to grant the concession to Vimavi del Pacífico SA, owned by Virginia del Carmen Vindas Soto, wife of Carlos Ricardo Benavides, father of the Minister of the Presidency.

Added to the privatization plan for Isla Plata is the approval of a bill that aims to reduce the limits of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, located 73 kilometers from Limón, on the Atlantic coast. Costa Rican.

The Chilean Senate debates the privatization of the sea

This month a bill is being debated in the Chilean Senate that modifies the Fisheries Law in Chile and that hands over fishing resources in perpetuity to transnational companies. The standard defines various types of fishing licenses. One type of license recognizes the historical rights of industrial fishers; Another type of indefinite license opens up the possibility of bidding up to 15% of the rights if for three consecutive years the activity is above its maximum sustainable yield.

The bill dismisses the meaning of trawling and disrespects the five maritime miles for artisanal fishing, privileging four large private consortia, denounced the National Confederation of Artisanal Fishermen. According to the Central Unitary of Workers (CUT) of Chile, the norm violates the right of all citizens to control the natural resources of the sea.

"We find it unacceptable and irregular the refusal of two parliamentarians to disqualify themselves from voting, even though their links with companies linked to the large fishing industry are public knowledge," attacked the president of the CUT Bárbara Figueroa, referring to senators Andrés Zaldivar and Jovino Novoa.

According to the senator for the Bio Bio region, Alejandro Navarro, the proposed law, in addition to not solving underlying problems, generates greater economic concentration, does not guarantee true competition, nor does it ensure sustainability, and "condemns artisanal fishermen to become employees of the industry".

They limit the foreignization of land in Argentina

In February 2011, a commission from the Parliament of Uruguay resumed the preparation of a draft law to limit the sale of land, but the norm has not yet been approved. In Argentina, the Senate approved in December 2011 the law on the Regime for the protection of national dominion over the property, possession or possession of rural lands, a legal instrument that limits the possession and acquisition of land by foreigners.

President Cristina Fernández estimated that 10% of the nation's lands are in foreign hands. The new Argentine legislation stipulates that a maximum of 15% of the national territory can be in foreign hands, and of that amount there may not be more than 30% held by natural or legal persons of the same nationality, the Télam agency reported.

The Argentine norm establishes that the parcels held by foreigners may not exceed one thousand hectares or the equivalent area in the core zone determined by the Interministerial Council of Rural Lands. It also defines strict prohibitions for the sale of surfaces that “contain or are riparian of large and permanent bodies of water”, and it establishes that the acquisition of rural land will not be understood as an investment because it is a non-renewable natural resource.

The initiative provides for the creation of a National Registry of Rural Lands, in charge of carrying out a “cadastral and proprietary” survey of the resource, as well as an Interministerial Council of Rural Lands.


1. The Group of Rural Reflection (GRR) of Argentina denounced in October 2010 that “traders in global markets go out to look for new objects of speculation, especially fertile lands, water and food, in addition to gold, strategic metals and hydrocarbon basins . They are corporate capitals that not only seek to give tangible support to their empty currencies of value, but, addicted to the fables of ‘growth’, now discover that they cannot feed their own population and are looking for enclaves to own or rent ”.

2. South America in the crosshairs of agricultural investors; 12 / XI / 2010;; [email protected], Reuters and AFP agencies.

3. After studying the issue in 61 countries, FAO and Transparency International (TI) concluded that weak governance increases the possibility of corruption in land tenure and administration.

4. More than 100 cases of land appropriation for food production abroad:

5. Concentration and foreignization of land in Bolivia, Miguel Urioste; Fundación TIERRA, October 2010. The Bolivian government estimates that around one million productive hectares, of the 5.5 million hectares that produce some type of food, are in the hands of foreigners, mainly Brazilians and Mennonites. These lands represent 20% of the total area with agricultural characteristics.

6. Lourdes Pérez Navarro, journalist for the Economics department of Prensa Latina.

7. The director of the Environmental Advocacy Center, Félix Wing, said that the instability in ANAM, whose former boss Lucía Chandeck resigned without knowing the reasons, was disturbing, and was replaced by Silvano Vergara, the third administrator in three years.

8. La Ceiba, Atlántida September 8, 2012.


Video: The International Financial Architecture (June 2022).


  1. Nemo

    You were mistaken, it is obvious.

  2. Osmarr

    strongly disagree with the previous sentence

  3. Fenrisida

    I agree this topic is already so boring!

  4. Vudoran

    You can see it!

  5. Fowler

    But how to paraphrase him?

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