WORLDNOTES

Mexico: Copper giant fires 2,000 workers

The Mexican corporation Grupo Mexico has fired all 2,000 miners at its huge La Caridad copper mine. Workers there and at the company’s copper mine in Cananea and steel plant in Sicartsa went out on strike last March to protest the ouster of union leader Napoleon Gomez. Grupo Mexico had secured government approval for nullifying the workers’ contracts. Workers at the other two sites remain on strike. Reuters reported July 14 that the value of the company’s stock rose almost 3 percent in the wake of the firings. The company is securing government help in removing the picketing miners, some of them armed, from the mine site. It proposes to pay the fired workers for cancellation of their contracts. According to a bank analyst quoted, “This sets a precedent, so the workers will think more, and if they don’t have a good reason to strike, they won’t do it.”

Italy: Notables seek extradition of terrorist

In a July 19 statement on the Rebelion web site, authors Nadine Gordimer, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, José Saramago, Salim Lamrani, Noam Chomsky and Gianni Minà asked the “Italian people to require their government to seek the extradition” of Luis Posada Carriles from the U.S. (www.rebelion.org). The Nobel Prize winners and others are pushing for a trial in Italy for Posada who engineered the September1997 terrorist attack that blew apart the Copacabana Hotel in Havana, Cuba, and killed Italian citizen Fabio di Celmo. They cite, among other evidence, Posada’s 1998 acknowledgment to New York Times reporter Ann Louise Bardach that he was ultimately responsible for the attack. He told Bardach that di Celmo “found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Venezuela has sought Posada’s extradition, so far unsuccessfully.

Mali: Poor People’s Summit demands debt relief

As the G8 summit gathered in St. Petersburg, the fifth “Poor People’s Summit” was meeting, this time in Mali. Hundreds of delegates, mostly from African nations, discussed debt relief, victimization of emigrants to Europe, and privatization. Participants devoted considerable attention to genetically modified foods and the prospect of ceding control of seeds to multi-national corporations.

The conferees expressed disappointment that despite previous G8 pledges to cancel debts for the world’s 35 poorest countries, only 17 nations have benefited so far. In a final communiqué, the summit called for “the suppression of the World Bank and of the International Monetary Fund and the creation of new institutions that are democratically controlled by states and by citizens.”

Japan: 30,000 protest U.S. nuclear ship

Under an agreement signed last year with Japan, Washington is realigning U.S. troops and weaponry stationed there. A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier arrived July 9 at the U.S. base at Yokosuka. The prospect of the base becoming the ship’s homeport triggered a rally of 30,000 people who called for the ship’s departure and for Japan to disown its agreement with the U.S. Speakers called for opposition to Japan becoming a base for U.S. offensive attacks in Asia. Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo accused the two governments of lying about the safety of nuclear-powered ships. A mother told Japan Press, “I got encouraged by such a big rally held for the first time in 22 years in Yokosuka. To protect my children, I reject wars.”

Philippines: Unions under siege

Brendan Barber, the British Trades Union Congress General Secretary, sent a letter July18 to Ambassador Edgardo Espiritu of the Philippines. Citing a report that a union leader had been killed outside his home in the Philippines on July 6, Barber asked the Philippine government to take action against killings, disappearances, threats and torture directed against labor activists and human rights workers. To document his charge, Barber referred to reports from the Philippine Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, from a church-based fact finding mission and from Amnesty International. He also cited the 2006 Survey on Violations of Trade Union Rights published by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The letter, made public on the TUC web site, concluded: “The number of labor-related killings in the Philippines now places it in a similar category to Colombia, which holds the macabre record of the highest number of assassinations of trade unionists in the world.”

World Notes are compiled by W.T. Whitney Jr. (atwhit@megalink.net).

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