Friday, April 29, 2005
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Click here for a Washington Post article on the subject.
U.S. says: U.S. officials were asked by a woman who was linked to the U.S. military to help her find her purse, which had her ID.
Chavez says: U.S. officials detained a woman who was linked to the U.S. military in Venezuelan territory.
Innocent enough. Chavez could probably send people to talk the situation over with U.S. officials. Together, they could come to learn what happened. Maybe the U.S. could take Venezuelan sensibilities—and sensitive, they are!—into account the next time they bend down to tie their own shoes. This entire situation could have been resolved.
Instead, Chavez took to the pulpit, proclaiming that the U.S. plans to invade the country and topple his government in order to take control of Venezuelan oil refineries. He claims this new evil plot being masterminded by Washington comes as a result of his announcement on Sunday that he is terminating the 35-year military exchange program Venezuela had with the U.S.
I don't suppose Chavez ever heard the story of the boy who cried, "Wolf!"
Monday, April 25, 2005
On a side note, albeit a "social justice" and politics-related one, I just saw the Sean Penn, Nicole Kidman movie "The Interpreter" about trouble in the U.N., and it was excellent.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
For more information, click here for the article.
Click here for referenced article.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Here is the link to the article.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Here is an article referring to this issue.
His reaction and his speeches are exaggerated responses to what is, put simply, a disagreement between him and President Bush, whom he humourously dubs "Mr. Danger," on two issues: the FTAA and the U.S. embargo on Cuba.
It's possible to disagree without the need to alienate others, but perhaps Chavez never learned this particular skill. As for calling Bush "Mr. Danger," I don't like Bush much either, but that name's not even catchy. Mr. Danger sounds like a comic book character, not like the enemy of the Cuban people who doesn't want [them] to eat, as Chavez puts it.
I realize we can't all get along, but can we at least leave the namecalling at the schoolyard?
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
"Some Argentines recalled that Ratzinger had disciplined Latin American priests who embraced liberation theology in the 1970s to fight social injustice and military dictatorships. 'This is a triumph for the dogmatic, capitalist right,' said Ruben Dri, a professor of theology at the University of Buenos Aires. "
Hopefully, the new pope will continue John Paul II's legacy and work at bettering the lives of not only Latin Americans but all of the poor and needy especially throughout the developing world.
Click here for details.
Monday, April 18, 2005
What I found unique about this article was that the attention and criticism the global community was giving to Ecuador’s political crisis shows the extent to which information on the internal state of a country’s affairs in broadcasted globally. With the effective dissemination of information on internal affairs, it seems natural that sovereignty is more likely to be infringed upon. This is contradictory to theorists such as Thomas Friedman (the “golden arches” theory) who seem to see globalization as a means of preventing conflict and war. I would be interested to know other people’s thoughts on the effects of globalization on state relations.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Intrigued I opened it up to read about it. I didn't know that the National Review was a super conservative magazine (if it isn't, this article certainly was). What it basically says is that Chavez gives the utmost support to Castro, both of whom are rabidly anti-American. With Chavez's planned military buildup and their ability to push their dangerous leftist Castroite influence to other regions of Latin America. Therefore since these two despotic evil leaders represent a threat and a hindrance on all peace-loving nations in the area, the US must step up and confront these problems else they pay the price later.
The article was more propaganda and inflammatory than it was factual or reasonable. The author, Otto J. Reich, skewed the facts and used cold war rhetoric to inspire fear and hatred towards Venezuela and Cuba more than anything else. I thought it was interesting that he claimed "In South America, a 'dirty war' of left-wing violence in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay had led to an equal and opposite reaction by right-wing military rigeimes. At the hands of both sides, untold thousands were murdered, tortured, or 'disappeard,' under horrible conditions whose consequences are with us to this day." That just isn't true. I don't think the left-wing violence doers had nearly the capacity of the military. Stuff like that just made this article a load of crap to read. I mean this writer is the paternalistic, xenophobic, sovereignty violating sort of guy that needs to take a Latin American Studies 101 course before he serves as the assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere.
Click here for details.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Friday, April 15, 2005
Here is an article containing statistics about the two churches in Latin America.
This is the link to both articles. It may not work if you don't have an online membership with The New York Times (which is free by the way)
Thursday, April 14, 2005
This assessment came despite rebel attacks that have killed about 70 Colombian soldiers in the past 3 months, and an attack occurring as recently as last Wednesday.
For more information on the article, click here.
Pope John Paul II's stance against contraceptives such as condoms and birth-control pills have forced many traditional families to have large families. Many already poor families would end up with 12 or more children, all of whom would have to compete for already scarce education and alimentary resources. Many Catholic families hope that things will change with the new pope.
While anyone can understand the importance of tradition to an organized religion, the recognition of basic needs such as contraception for families, especially considering the problems of poverty and AIDS, is imperative if the Church wants to retain any sort of constituency. Abstinence does not resolve all of the problems the Church would like it to, and certainly abstinence within marriage is a ridiculous thing for the Church to expect from its laypeople.
It is important for the Church to appreciate that in places such as the Third World, where overpopulation is a tremendous problem, it must begin to play a much more educative and less restrictive role. Otherwise, a great many Catholics will begin to consider the weakening of the Church not so terrible a thing. If Catholicism wants to survive, it will have to adapt to the problems that exist in the world today.
For more information, see the article this post is based upon on CNN.com.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
The UN has issued a report on the human rights situation in Colombia and deemed it very critical. I found it interesting because we were talking about Colombia in another class and about how little media coverage it gets. The report has criticized both the military and the guerillas for its human rights abuses. The current govt of Alvaro Uribe has a very high approval rating, but it also has close ties with the paramilitaries. The popularity of this administration is because of its hard line against the guerilla. The UN also called for the guerillas to cease all activities and lay down arms, as well as let the kidnapped victims go.
A New York Times Article, entitled Chilean and Mexican Are Deadlocked for O.A.S. Post, discusses the deadlock in the OAS over the next secretary general. After the resigniation of the ex-president of Coasta Rica over domestic financial charges and the dropping out of the US's El Salvadorian choice, Latin American countries were left to decide between the a secretary general from the northern most country or one from the southern most country. Three votes later and a two hour recess later, thirty-four ambassadors were still deadlocked. This attest to sharp political and ideological divisions between the two ends of the region.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
California now allows illegal aliens to pay the same tuition as citizens and legal residents of California to attend California colleges, while citizens and legal residents from other states are forced to pay out-of-state tuition. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Doesn't seem too fair.
A Brown-Skinned Pope?
The assertion that the problem regarding illegal immigration lies not only along our southern border but in Washington, D.C. is right on. Out of the official ten million plus illegal aliens who are thought to be within our borders (personally, I think that figure tops twenty million), only 124 companies were fined in 2003 for hiring them. More than anything I would wish for significantly greater enforcement and justice (including significant jail time and soaringly stiffer fines) against such employers because they hurt everyone - illegals through exploitation and Americans through unemployment.
We diverge however on how the Minutemen should carry out their goals. There’s a love triangle between the White House, big business & illegal aliens and I doubt that several hundred volunteers from the southwest could generate as much attention to the topic as they did last week if they tried lobbying in our capital or protesting outside a manufacturing plant - the players who like illegal immigration are just too big and powerful. Patrolling the fields of corporate farms would also be to tresspass, something the Minutemen aren’t doing now. But by taking their efforts to the field, the Minutemen have (legally) proven that with enough agents, the government can very well drastically cut the number of border hoppers making it across successfully. Now it’s up to the rest of us to press the issue on Washington, against both illegal aliens and their employers.
We should also keep in mind that illegal-aliens would come north with or without the prospect of work. Even if we did curb the hiring of illegals (which we could and should do in less than twelve months according to Social Security Administratio experts), they’d still come anyway and join the underground instead to further contribute to what is a $1trillion black market. For those reasons, I feel like dotting troops along the border might not be such a bad thing.
"Since when did the rights and privelages of non-citizens become more important than our own?"
Last but not least, open borders do violate the rights and privelages of every American. Tied in with that same paragraph were recent examples of security threats posed by criminals and terrorists. It is the right of every American citizen to be safe, especially on home soil. That (security) and freedom are the most inalienable rights one can have and never should an American citizen have to forfeit either, which porous borders ask us to do (& Patriot Act, too). Being an illegal alien is still to have commited an illegal crime which in the eyes of justice is to forfeit at least one of your “inalienable” rights - liberty. Try telling the victims and their families of the first WTC bombing in 1993 that weak immigration controls didn’t violate their rights went Ramzi Yousef slipped through the system.
For a Washington Post article on the topic, click here.
For a Washington Post article on the topic, click here.
Monday, April 11, 2005
So if anyone is interested in the environmental issues associated with this area of Brazil, check this out!
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Saturday, April 09, 2005
For more information, here is the article.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Report: Colombia Drug War Failing
I also despise being called “anti-immigrant” when infact I’m anti-illegal immigrant - and the two are very different. I’m willing to concede that US agriculture is dependent on migrant workers and that social security is getting a helping hand too, although not to the point that they actually help us more than drain us. Nor are most illegal aliens lazy but quite hardworking infact. But if illegals are so helpful to our social security system, that should mean we ought to find ways to fix the program (like reverse Bush’s ridiculous tax cuts) not bring in more illegals to sustain it. Agriculture is also an industry that produces five times the amount f food we need, constantly receives subsidies, destroys abundant overharvests and is severely overvalued, so maybe we really don’t need as many migrant workers as we like to make excuses for.
As an avid Bush skeptic, I’ll admit to having a tendency to question anything that he does or says and this case is no different. While I pretty much agree with him (a rarity) on free trade, I’m against huge companies hiring illegals at home, especially since they can afford the higher labor costs of having to hire domestic workers. Bush likes illegal immigrants because they help big industry fat cats get rich who in turn help him and his cohorts, financially and politically. And if his south of the border counterpart Vincente Fox is so worried about the safety of “his” people, perhaps he should take more care to keep them within the safety of his own country. The last time I checked, North America wasn’t the borderless European Union, which has had its own special issues in dealing with a similar issue - gypsies.
Nonetheless, there remain some pretty hefty costs that supporters of illegals conveniently forget to mention when evaluating the cost-benefit analysis of the issue. They are fully eligible for expensive taxpayer-funded benefits like Medi-Cal. Their children take up more room in school than they are able to pay back in taxes. Everytime an illegal gets into a car accident, it’s you and me who has to make up the difference in our insurance premiums because there’s simply no money to collect at the other end. Illegals are also the fastest growing segment of our prison population and the reason why you don’t hear about these skyrocketing costs (almost $30,000 a year per) is because the Fed drops the tab on already financially-strapped states. Deporting and keeping them out would save us the higher costs of having to re-catch, reincarcerate and redeport.
Then there is the very real matter of national security that seems to be brushed aside. Have people forgotten we have troops fighting a War on Terror (in Afghanistan) and that there are extremists and radicals out there just itching at a chance to strike us again on home soil? Did the pro-illegals just happen to miss that news story a few weeks back when an overcrowded classroom-sized group of Mexicans tried to smuggle in heavy Russian arms across the Rio Grande? Isn’t anyone worried about the latest bouts of brutal drug violence sweeping through the border area? Or what about just keeping the drugs out? Since when did the rights and privelages of non-citizens become more important than our own?
I can’t blame anyone for wanting a better life for one’s self or one’s family. It’s also unfortunate that you’re having a hard time feeding your family but things probably wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have five kids. On the other hand, don’t expect me to welcome you with open arms and take care of you, either. I will say that to those who find a way in and beat the system should come the fruits and spoils of their efforts, espcially if they’ve been paying taxes after several years. All in all though, we don’t need Mexico’s (or anyone else’s for that matter) problems at home in the US and we’re lucky and blessed this week because we have five hundred more patriots doing all they can to make that happen. Be grateful and be proud about that.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Check out the article from The Miami Herald for more details.
The US has spent over three billion dollars fighting cocaine and heroin production in Colombia since the turn of the century. Since then, many initiatives have tried to slow or halt the production of drugs; all the while, the price of cocaine and heroin in the US continues to drop, indicative of the fact that the supply is not diminishing.
If the war on drugs is a failure, would supplying more money help? It seems to me that the war on drugs is being fought incorrectly. With so many people in Colombia convinced that cocaine is their only means of sustenance, the war on drugs would do well to focus more on initiatives to better the quality of life in Colombia and to offer alternatives to coca cultivation. The war on drugs, a substance within which some of us have trouble seeing the intrinsic evil, can only be fought in ways that provide incentive to do something else.
The war on drugs, the US and Colombian governments must begin to realize, will not be won with planes and guns.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Since illegally crossing the Mexican border into the United States six years ago, Ángel Martínez has done backbreaking work, harvesting asparagus, pruning grapevines and picking the ripe fruit. More recently, he has also washed trucks, often working as much as 70 hours a week, earning $8.50 to $12.75 an hour.How is this possible, you might ask? Well, employers demand that potential employees provide a Social Security number to prove that they can work legally in the United States. Then, without verifying or checking the accuracy of these Social Security numbers, many of which are fraudulent, employers deduct payroll taxes from the earning of these employees and turn this over, along with their own matching contributions, to the U.S. Government. This money just sits there, adding to the available pool of resources that help to keep Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare solvent. Current and future retirees in the United States will benefit from the contributions that these illegal immigrants make to the system by their hard work, and these illegal immigrants will never see a dime of their contributions in their own retirement.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Martínez, 28, has not given much thought to Social Security's long-term financial problems. But Mr. Martínez - who comes from the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico and hiked for two days through the desert to enter the United States near Tecate, some 20 miles east of Tijuana - contributes more than most Americans to the solvency of the nation's public retirement system.
Last year, Mr. Martínez paid about $2,000 toward Social Security and $450 for Medicare through payroll taxes withheld from his wages. Yet unlike most Americans, who will receive some form of a public pension in retirement and will be eligible for Medicare as soon as they turn 65, Mr. Martínez is not entitled to benefits.
He belongs to a big club. As the debate over Social Security heats up, the estimated seven million or so illegal immigrant workers in the United States are now providing the system with a subsidy of as much as $7 billion a year.
Not only does this demolish the claim by the anti-immigrant, nativist crowd that illegal immigrants are leeches on the U.S. welfare state, but it also shows, once again, the double exploitation illegal migrants face in our country. They contribute mightily to the local, state, and federal treasuries of the United States by way of paying taxes (and not only payroll taxes, but also sales taxes, and property taxes via rents), but they are facing efforts to exclude them from receiving the benefits that their tax contributions have earned them.
The next time you hear anti-immigrant, pro-Minutemen, xenophobic blowhards bring out this reason to justify their border vigilantism, feel free to mention this little fact to them.
Read Porter's whole article for the full extent and ramifications of this reality. It will give you a new appreciation for the value of the illegal immigrant.
The Church must in the near future elect a new pope to run its business, so to speak, and the article says that the Church could really benefit from an appointment from the Latin America or Africa. Among the variety of other problems facing the church in Latin America, the article addresses how the Pentecostal Church is gaining ground in Latin America and how the Latin American church is trying to fight against such malleable Christian practices.
I think a Latin American pope (or an African pope) for that matter seems like a highly unlikely scenario for the Church. My impression of the Catholic Church seems to stick with tradition, and I wager that most likely a European cardinal will be picked. However, I do feel that if a Latin American pope gets picked (provided it is the right one who believes in liberation theology, or at least the need to give the indigenous/poor people some political power), perhaps that pope could address the social inequality that exists in Latin America.
I also found it very interesting that the Pope was wary about legitimizing the roots of liberation theology because he lived under a Marxist-Leninist government. I was surprised because I always thought liberation theology had some sort of doctrinal teaching support of the church.
For Washington Post articles on the topic, click here and here.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Venezuela is a leading oil supplier to the United States, but Chavez, who has repeatedly accused U.S. President George W. Bush of trying to topple or kill him, is known in the Bush administration as a "negative force" (to quote Condoleeza Rice) for his ties to Castro and his "increasingly authoritarian regime."
The hyperlinked article above details the issue of our dependency on Venezuelan oil and Chavez's repeatedly articulated fears about alleged secret CIA ops to oust him from power because of Venezuela's oil wealth, among other things. What do you think about this?
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Simcox bristles at the term vigilante, saying that his group is not detaining anyone but only fulfilling the President's post--Sept. 11 request that all Americans remain vigilant--and, in the process, providing a release valve for popular outrage. [Emphasis added.]Tell me if I'm missing something here, but how can Simcox bristle at being called a "vigilante" when he apparently describes his actions as nothing more than heeding Bush's call to be "vigilant"? The two words aren't almost exactly the same for nothing. Perhaps when he "bristles" at being called such, Simcox is bristling with pride like a strutting peacock; but I doubt it. I would have imagined that a man seriously heeding the call of his President to be "vigilant" would be proud to be called a "vigilante"!
Friday, April 01, 2005
According to this article in the Washington Post, President Hugo Chavez has toned down a bit on his recent discourse against the government of the United States. He states that he just wants the US to leave them in peace. He also states that they don't want to be enemies with the United States or anybody else. At the end of the article I found it interesting that a congressman of the opposition had this statement "In the United States, Chavez has found an external enemy that helps maintain the confrontation for his own political purposes". I thought it was funny that it could be said that the United States uses or has used this same technique of maintaing an external enemy to serve its political agenda.
As we will have to look beyond the third longest papal term ever (serving since 1978) comes a global (134?) Cardinal vote to pick the 265th Pope and the pickings are more diverse than ever. It’s been said that the next Pope will surprise the world as he could be African, Hispanic, American or even Jewish. Of the candidates from Latin America that I know of, there is no clear consesus yet but there are at least two and both are among the youngest (as in not 70 yet) of those being considered.
They are attractive not only because of the concentration of Catholics in their respective geographic locations as mentioned before but because of the alarmingly growing Pentecostal market share in LA. Leading the way for the Third World is Andres Rodriquez Maradiaga from Honduras, former head of the Latin American Bishops Group. Only 62, he is one of the most vocal advocates for international debt relief and decentralization. His comments against the media with references and comparisons o Stalin and Hitler during the pedophile-priests scandal may hurt him however and he may simply be just too young. Six years his senior is Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino from Cuba. However, I figure that since Pope John Paul II is from Communist Poland, his chances are probably shot.
Since we have been recently been covering Colombia in class, and especially the war on drugs, I found this very relevant.
Spain has said that it will loan three military planes to Colombia. The Colombian military will use these plans for troop transports all around the country. In addition to the planes, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Spain is willing to mediate between the Colombian government and the guerillas and paramilitary fighters. Zapatero insists that the planes are to be used for controlling the drug trafficking, not hostilities against the guerillas. He also placed a condition on the mediation, that the guerilla groups stop engaging in combat. Zapatero said that he wants Spain to be an ally for Colombia against drugs, but that violence is not the goal.
Brazil: Plantar Sequestration and Biomass Use
In September 2002, the PCF entered into an agreement to purchase emission reductions from the Plantar Project in Brazil. This project will create emission reductions by avoiding a fuel switch from charcoal to fossil fuel in pig iron production; it will also promote sustainable development by reducing pressure on the native forest and conserving biodiversity under the Clean Development Mechanism.
In addition to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the Plantar Project will reduce the pressure on endangered native cerrado forests, currently being decimated for charcoal used in the Brazilian pig iron industry. Traditional small-scale producers of pig iron in Brazil use charcoal in blast furnaces with an annual output of about 100,000 tons of pig iron per year. In the 1960s and 1970s, as the Brazilian pig iron industry boomed, several million hectares of native dry “cerrado” forests were cleared to produce charcoal--greatly reducing drylands forest ecosystems, and significantly expanding the area under low yielding pasture, resulting in degraded soils and hydrology. Subsidies for fuelwood plantations were introduced in the 1960s to take the pressure off native forests, but proved to be expensive and economically inefficient and were discontinued in the 1980s. As a result, fuelwood plantations are being depleted and pressure on native forests has increased again. The shortage of planted biomass is causing small-scale pig iron mills to close down, leading to increased rural unemployment.
The PCF’s support for the Plantar Project aims to demonstrate how carbon finance for well-managed forests--made possible by the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism--can reduce destruction of native forests, help conserve their unique biodiversity, help preserve local community use of forest fruits and other non-timber products, and secure high-quality employment in rural areas with few other employment opportunities. In this context, sustainably managed and harvested plantations, established on land which was not forested before, can help to conserve and to take the pressure off the unique ecosystems of native primary forests.
Without carbon finance such plantations are neither economically viable nor is it possible for small-scale pig iron producers to obtain financing. More importantly, there is no other financial incentive to set aside large areas of native cerrado forests. In fact, recent economic growth in the area is leading to further legal and illegal clearing of native cerrado forests in Minas Gerais and neighboring States. The Brazilian Government has reported that there is a shortage of around 200,000 hectares of plantations that would have to be planted annually to satisfy the national demand for wood. Because of that, Federal and State environmental authorities strongly support the establishment of new sustainable plantations to reduce the pressure on native forests. PCF support is in accordance with this strategy and is enabling Plantar S/A to become completely independent of native forest charcoal by 2008.
Permanent Climate Benefits
The PCF project reduces atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions in the following ways:
1. Supports the establishment of 23,100 hectares of fuelwood plantations that are independently certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)as well-managed.
2. Uses climate-neutral charcoal to replace coal coke in pig iron production.
3. Reduces global and local emissions from charcoal manufacture.
4. Restores native forests and forest biodiversity on pasture land and ensures the permanent conservation of an additional 478.3 hectares of natural forest.
The PCF will purchase about 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in emission reductions from the Plantar Project through 2012. Although the Plantar Project delivers sequestration reductions (removals or Sequestration Emission Reductions) from the plantation and biodiversity component of the Project and mitigation reductions from the industrial mitigation and carbonization component, the agreement foresees the possibility that the full amount of the purchased emission reductions will eventually be transferred in the form of emission reductions generated by the mitigation activities of the project. The contract distinguishes between the sequestered reductions and the mitigated emission reductions. The Sequestration Emission Reductions are used to insure the reductions the PCF will receive from the mitigation activities; “permanence“ of sequestration reductions is assured by the contract.
The contract with Plantar S/A encompasses the following two mechanisms to guarantee the “permanence” of sequestration reductions:
1. All Sequestration Emission Reductions can be replaced with emission reductions generated by the greenhouse gas mitigation components of the project (carbonization and industrial processes).
2. Upon delivery of the mitigation emission reductions that replace the Sequestration Emission Reductions, the PCF will return the sequestration emission reductions to Plantar S/A which will consequently permanently retire them and they will not be sold again.
This means that the PCF has built into the contract a system of double insurance against the risk of permanent loss of sequestered greenhouse gases. Even if any Sequestration Emission Reductions are permanently lost or not eligible under the Clean Development Mechanism, these reduction units can be replaced with emission reductions generated by a mitigation activity. Additionally, the PCF has the right to return all Sequestration Emission Reductions to Plantar S/A as mitigation emission reductions are generated. Sequestration Emission Reductions will subsequently be permanently retired.
In addition to the climate benefits, the Plantar Project contributes to the sustainable development of the region in the following ways:
Sustainable Development Impacts
Independent Certification of Environmentally and Socially Responsible Production- Plantar S/A was the first Brazilian pig iron company to receive certification that its plantations are well-managed under the principles of the Forest Stewardship Council. Plantar S/A agreed to maintain FSC certification as a condition of PCF support.
Plantar S/A also maintains certification under the independent NGO Foundation, ABRINQ, as an employer that provides exceptional employment benefits, including child day-care facilities and educational benefits for its workers and their children, and as an employer that does not use child labor. Plantar S/A must maintain ABRINQ certification as a condition of PCF support.
Plantar S/A has also agreed as part of the PCF Project to monitor and report on preventative health measures and health care provided to charcoal workers.
Plantar S/A is establishing a community relations function to ensure that concerns of local communities about Plantar S/A’s operations are heard and addressed in a timely and effective manner. Such community relations will be closely monitored by the World Bank and the Forest Stewardship Council.
Rural Employment Benefits- Plantar has created around 1,200 secure full-time jobs in the rural area of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and leverages additional social welfare programs. In the absence of the Plantar Project, Plantar would be unable to maintain charcoal-based pig iron production and would be forced to close its blast furnace operations when its current plantations are exhausted (by 2008), resulting in loss of jobs in plantation maintenance and pig iron manufacture.
The World Bank’s sectoral analysis demonstrates that without the benefit of carbon finance for small-scale pig iron producers, this “independent” sector of the pig-iron industry would gradually yield its share of pig-iron production to large integrated iron and steel producers which use coal-coke as the reducing agent. As a consequence, employment would decline markedly in the rural areas where the independent pig-iron producers currently operate and there would be little incentive to restore endangered cerrado forest ecosystems.
The Minas Gerais State Environmental Authority, Municipality leaders, several national NGOs, regional unions and social organizations (a total of 380 signatories)have endorsed the project as a contribution to sustainable development.