IADB Meeting 21st - 24th March. Milan


Hi everyone,

yes, I know, it is a bit late for doing this call. Milan is far away and many things are happening at international level, but we really think IT IS WORTH. There will be space for bringing the issues you are working in and disscuss it here.

We are organizing workshops, a really great weekend of actions against the war and space for discussing campaings and actions. (see agenda below).

The Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) is meeting in Milano. IDB is not so known as the Word Bank, but saying simple, they are exactly the same shit in Latin America level. At the end of this message it is added a small summary of some of the "nice" activities of the IDB, then you will understand why it is so important not remaining silent on this meeting, and the importance of international presence here in Milano. In fact if the meeting is in Milan, we suspect it is mainly to avoid the movilizations and protests in Latin America.


15:00 - 17:30  Workshop Privatization.
18:00 - 20:30  Workshop Plan Puebla Panama
21:30 - 24:00  Workshop Water

Actions against the war: Block militair base Aviano and other action of blocades.

9:00          Protest against IDB
15:00 - 19:00 Campaigns disscusions:

        — Water campaing
        — Acompanhamiento high risk communities in Colombia
        — Proposal PGA Latino America descentralize movilizations against
           WTO ministerial conference in September, Cancun
        — Can anyone come to present G8 and EU meetings???
        — Others????

We would really thanks if you could confirm your assintence before Monday morning, to be able to organize the acommodation place and so on. And also, of course, if you want to disscus a concrete proposal of campaign, to be added in the agenda, please, send the information as soon as possible.

    Contact addresses:

Trasguchello.nl / dianhuburlongmx.net

Centro Sociale Leon Cavallo
Via Watteau  7
Tel: ++39 0206705185


The Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) will meet in Milano, March 24-26, 2003. Among many socially and environmentally destructive projects on the IDB's agenda, the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) is perhaps one of the most devastating.

What is the Plan Puebla Panama?

The Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) is a mega project that seeks to open up the southern half of Mexico and Central America to private foreign investment and to establish a firm foundation for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Essentially the PPP will create development corridors from the 9 southern Mexican states (starting with Puebla and including Chiapas), through all of the seven Central American Republics ending in Panama. The PPP will create an elaborate infrastructure of ports, highways, airports, and railways aimed to connect the development of the petroleum, energy, sweatshop, and agricultural industries. While the PPP's proponents assert that its main objective is to improve the quality of life for area inhabitants, critics of the Plan see it as an attempt to exploit the abundant, cheap labor force and precious natural resources in order to attract foreign investment eager to reap the benefits of an area stricken with poverty and rich in biodiversity.

What are the Impacts of the Plan Puebla Panama?

Maquiladoras, factories in which low paid workers assemble import component parts for re-export, will be strategically placed throughout the region. In maquiladoras health and safety requirements and labor rights, such as the freedom of workers to organise, are laxly enforced or not at all. Nor do maquiladoras comply with other requirements, such as using locally-made goods as inputs, or transferring technology to the host country. Maquiladoras de-link production from the host country's needs, and respond exclusively to the needs of the MNCs that set them up.

As a likely result, there will be mass migration to areas concentrated with maquiladoras where transnational corporations historically pay unlivable wages. Furthermore, international trade law and unilateral corporate agreements include loopholes that exempt transnational corporations from national labour and environmental laws. The lack of environmental and labour regulations coupled with unlivable wages, will guarantee that transnational corporations reap the benefit while the social and cultural fabric of small communities is dismantled.

Highway Construction
One of the primary components of the PPP is highway construction. Two major corridors are to be built, running roughly from the Texas-Mexico border, around the Gulf of Mexico, to the Yucatán peninsula, with spurs leading into Belize, Guatemala and into Honduras. The other is a Pacific coast route that will run from Mexico City into Guatemala, and through Central America into Panama. Approximately 84% of the money invested in the PPP is intended for highway construction.

Dam Construction
A total of 25 dams are planned for the region that will generate the energy needed for greater industrialization of Central America and to supply the US energy market. This aspect harbours the greatest threat for indigenous people in the area, due to the flooding of thousands of acres of presently inhabited land and the destruction of archeological sites, old-growth forests and indigenous communities and cities.

Environmental Degradation
The exploitation of primary materials (minerals, timber, petroleum, biodiversity, and water) is another strong component of the PPP. Many organizations have warned that the PPP will lead to further environmental degradation due to the planned deforestation, overexploitation of natural resources, inefficient laws, and extreme poverty.

Exploitation of Biodiversity
The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC), a central component of the PPP and a pet project of the World Bank, links various biologically rich and diverse patches of territory throughout the PPP region. Although defended on ecological arguments regarding the need to ensure gene pools and protect territory for diverse animals and plants, the corridors will be opened up for exploitation by pharmaceutical and seed companies, seeking to patent new biological matter, as well as privatise ecosystems such as water.

One of the major bioengineering and seed companies in the world, Pulsar, already has signed agreements with Conservation International to work jointly in the Lacandón jungle in Chiapas. CI is a supposed environmental NGO, whose 27-member board of directors harbors CEOs from giant corporations such as Navigation Technologies Corporation, Eagle River Inc. (a telecom holding), Hyatt Development Corporation, First Philippine Holding Corporation (gas and electricity conglomerate), USA Networks, among others.

Indigenous Communities
As a result of the many infrastructure projects of the PPP, many campesino and indigenous communities will be displaced from traditional and customary land. The PPP area has around a hundred distinct ethnic groups, the majority of which have not heard of the projects.

Who Will Benefit from the Plan Puebla Panama?

The PPP seeks to create basic infrastructure, or improve that which exists, in an effort to entice large corporations into investing in the area. The improvements in infrastructure would essentially boost corporate profits; for example, road improvements would greatly ease the movement of goods in and out of the region. This would be in addition to the usual government giveaways to corporations: free land on which to build factories, free utilities and tax holidays for decades, government-financed training of the workforce, and other perks. Yet the costs for these projects would be borne, to a large degree, by the people of the countries involved, either through direct taxpayer payments, or through loans taken out by participating countries that will eventually be repaid through taxpayer contributions.

As US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said with startling frankness about the related FTAA, “Our objective with the FTAA is to assure for American corporations control of a territory that runs from the North Pole to the Antarctica, free access, without any hindrance or difficulty for our products, services, technology and capital through the hemisphere.”*

How Much Will the PPP Cost and Who is Supporting It?

The PPP is currently budgeted at US$10 billion, but some sources place the figure at US$25 billion.

Principal lenders are the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, the European Union, the Andean Development Corporation (CAF), the Central American Integration Bank (BCIE), and development agencies of the US, Japan, Spain and other countries. Some countries will use taxpayer funds to create or improve PPP infrastructure. Private companies have also begun to underwrite certain infrastructure costs, but with the intent of getting in on the action early in order to corner the market. One example is found within the energy interconnection component. This plan will link the energy grids of Mexico and Central America, and is slated to cost US$405 million. The Spanish energy company ENDESA is putting in US$45.8 million and in so doing becomes a co-owner of the network.

Who Is Challenging the Plan Puebla Panama?

Since the announcement of the PPP, hundreds of organizations and communities have formed campaigns of resistance. In the past year and a half there have been three regional encounters on the PPP that have brought people together from Mexico, Central America and other parts of the world. These events have been held in Chiapas, Mexico (March 2001), Guatemala (November 2001), and Nicaragua (July 2002). A fourth such encounter is scheduled for Honduras in March 2003. Attendance at the events has grown from over 300 participants in Chiapas to over 1,200 in Nicaragua, representing over 400 organizations. In addition, many communities are designing their own alternative development plans to challenge the PPP.

from:  www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/mexico/ppp/ppp.html,
www.acerca.org,  *http://alainet.org/docs/1698.html

IADB 2001 | IADB 2002 | Plan Puebla-Panamá | www.agp.org