Feb 25th, 2014
Although the FTA has not yet been implemented, Canadian investments are already contributing to social conflict in Honduras, particularly in the mining, export manufacturing and tourism sectors.
The Canadian government provided technical assistance and support for the General Mining and Hydrocarbons Law, passed in January 2013. Notably, the new mining law lifts a seven-year moratorium on new mining projects and earmarks 2% of the royalties paid by extractive companies for a Security Tax to help fund Honduran state security. The law paves the way for new mining projects which have given rise to increased conflict and militarization of affected communities where mining projects operate. According to the Honduras Documentation Centre, 52% of all conflict in Honduras is rooted in natural resource management. The most notorious case is that of Vancouver-based Goldcorp’s which operated the San Martin gold and silver mine in Valle de Siria. The projects legacy is one of water contamination, dried up streams, and reports of serious public health problems in surrounding communities which have yet to be fully addressed. (Read more)
If all goes well, drillers responsible for a shale-oil bonanza in Texas will soon cross the southern US border and extend the hydraulic fracturing boom to Mexico. But first the Mexican government, foreign oil companies or some combination of the two will have to neutralize some of the most savage gangsters in the world.
Oil and gas were a key subtext of yesterday’s North American summit between Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and US President Barack Obama. Hoping to join the US and Canadian energy boom and invigorate the laggard Mexican economy, Peña has pushed through a dramatic reversal of the country’s seven-decade-old ban on private oil and gas drilling. His goal is to lure companies that are drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and the Texas shale patch to lead the development of Mexico’s potential 42 billion barrels of oil. (Read more)