April 2nd, 2006

(no subject)

Naom Chomsky's introduction to Doug Stokes America's Other War: Terrorizing Colombia, Zed, December 2004

There is nothing particularly novel about the relation between atrocious human rights violations and US aid. On the contrary, it is a rather consistent correlation.

*The leading US academic specialist on human rights in Latin America, Lars Schoultz, found in a 1981 study that US aid "has tended to flow disproportionately to Latin American governments which torture their citizens,... to the hemisphere's relatively egregious violators of fundamental human rights."[1] That includes military aid, is independent of need, and runs through the Carter period.

*In another academic study, Latin Americanist Martha Huggins reviewed data for Latin America suggesting that “the more foreign police aid given [by the US], the more brutal and less democratic the police institutions and their governments become.”[2]

*Economist Edward Herman found the same correlation between US military aid and state terror worldwide, but also carried out another study that gave a plausible explanation. US aid, he found, correlated closely with improvement in the climate for business operations, as one would expect. And in US dependencies it turns out with fair regularity, and for understandable reasons, that the climate for profitable investment and other business operations is improved by killing union activists, torture and murder of peasants, assassination of priests and human rights activists, and so on.[3] There is, then, a secondary correlation between US aid and egregious human rights violations.
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Column One; The Oil Factor In Somalia;Four American Petroleum Giants Had Agreements With The African Nation Before Its Civil War Began. They Could Reap Big Rewards If Peace Is Restored.

Los Angeles Times, January 18, 1993, Part A; Page 1; Mark Fineman

Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.
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(no subject)

Will the majors return to Somalia?

Offshore October, 1995, Pg. 8, Dev George

Before President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and Somalia descended into chaos, his government granted exploration and production concessions to Amoco, Chevron, Conoco, and Phillips. The action was taken with the hope that Somalia's potential oil reserves might earn enough to relieve not only the current famine, but finally bring that impoverished nation a degree of development and affluence.
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Venezuela regains control of 32 oil fields


Oil & Gas Journal January 16, 2006, Pg. 5

Thirty-two privately operated Venezuelan oil fields returned to state control with the start of the new year, the government said.

The deadline expired at midnight on Dec. 31, 2005, for all private companies with contracts to independently produce oil. The companies now will have to agree to joint ventures that will give Venezuela's state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), majority control.

The 32 operating agreements were signed during 1990-97 when Venezuela's petroleum industry, nationalized in 1976, was opened to private and foreign capital. The objective at the time -- when the price of crude was below $ 10/bbl -- was to increase production at low-priority oil fields that had been closed because of their location or states of depletion and which PDVSA had no plans to reactivate.
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Oil firms dealt 'major blow' with Venezuelan tax hikes

Oil & Gas Journal April 25, 2005, Pg. 48

Paula Dittrick; Senior Staff Writer

Venezuela's plan to increase the corporate income tax on oil companies to 50% from 34% would slash the values of multinational companies' assets in the country, Aberdeen consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. said.

"President [Hugo] Chavez has dealt a major blow to oil companies in Venezuela by deciding to take a greater share of the profits from oil production," Gero Farruggio, head of Wood Mackenzie's Latin American upstream team, said in an Apr. 19 news release.
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Colombia lures oil firms, Venezuela holds out for more


Associated Press, CARACAS
Wednesday, May 25, 2005,Page 12
Venezuela and Colombia are pursuing different strategies in developing their oil industries, underscoring Colombia's need for quick investment while Venezuela leaves firms waiting on the sidelines as it presses for better terms.

Colombia, desperate to find new sources of oil, has cut oil tax rates and allowed oil firms to operate some projects without state involvement. Venezuela, looking to finance a "revolution" for the poor, is increasing taxes and rewriting contracts in an effort to obtain what it calls a fairer share.

"Eighty-seven percent of Colombia is unexplored," for oil and natural gas, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe told an audience of oil executives in Colombia on Friday. "That's why we need all of you."

To draw investment, Colombia cut the minimum royalty rate on oil projects to 8 percent last year. Colombia's strategy resulted in 25 new exploration and production contracts with private firms last year.
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