Paola Lucchesi on 8 Oct 2000 06:58:11 -0000

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<nettime> Re: Syndicate: Bono and Sting

date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 03:07:54 +0200
from: Aleksandar Gubas <eurindie@sezampro.yu>

>- Everybody will love Serbia, and the Serbs will be everybody's pets
>like the Croats are now.

The Croats have begun paying 25% more expensive electricity bills a few
days ago.

About three months ago, the US ambassador in Zagreb appeared at the 20.00
tv news to angrily warn the Croats that they have to respect agreements: in
this case, it was a disastrous contract that the Enron multinational group
had pushed  on them to buy electricity at 30% above market price, plus a
very fishy agreement to build a giant power station. True, it was Tudjman
who sponsored the agreement, two years before, since he had been promised
that he would be received by Clinton in return for the favour.

The present government did some attempt to renegotiate that disastrous
deal. The fighting behind the scene must have been fierce, since something
of it even made it to the media.

Yet, what is actually written in that contract never came to public opinion
in its entirety. But Croats know by their electricity bills by now.

And Mesic and Racan did go to Washington. Lots of "business meetings".
Everybody was overjoyed.

The way Enron does business around the world is well documented by Human
Rights Watch, Corporate Watch and similar organizations. The way they send
US ambassadors and political delegations to weak countries, just out of a
war (apart from Croatia, they did it in Kuwait), or with "developing"
economies (see what they did in India, what they are trying to do in China,
Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines). They pave the ways for "deals" where
these poor countries will buy electricity from Enron at disastrous prices.
Let them build enormous power stations which are not fit either for the
economic system or the environment of the country - always at disastrous

Now that Serbia is finally a democratic country, it will enjoy the benefits
of globalization too.

Apart from Enron, they will probably be visited by Bechtel, which is
building a part of the Zagreb-Rijeka motorway in Croatia (they will be sure
happy to help rebuiild the Serbian bridges too). Another fantastic case of
"foreign investment" that the country is so hungry of, and that politicians
and media trumpet about all the time.

We will bring money if you give us the deal, that's the idea. Sure, they
bring credits - the idea that credits are not gifts but loans to be repaid,
with interest, is somewhat still unfamiliar to the former paradise of Tito
and Markovic (where you got money to build a house and years later returned
a packet of cigarettes...). Anyway, Bechtel just brought a loan for a third
of the sum needed.

Under condition that the Croatian counterpart bought from them 120 $ worth
of building equipment.

That's not the end. The rat race is now open among Croatian building
companies (many of them are on the brink of economic collapse due to
internal stagnation), to get the subcontracting deals from Bechtel. Lowest
price gest deal, how will the locals pay their workers, guarantee their
working safety conditions and similar trifles, pay attention to
environmental consequences... boh! It's their problem.

Couldn't Croatia let its own companies work, without paying interest to
foreign banks and buying absurd quantities of foreign equipment?

Welcome to the modern age.

>So, what to tell at the end?
>Milosevic is gone, and life is beautiful. The brave Western world will embrace
>the Serbs

Yeah, that's what I meant....


(sorry the tirade wasn't about artists, but I guess they pay electricity
bills too...)

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