Poland: Right-wing gov’t may be leaving

Poland faces parliamentary elections in October, following the Self-Defense Party’s (SDP) withdrawal from the governing coalition.

In July, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the conservative Law and Justice Party, dismissed SDP leader Andrzej Lepper from his post as agriculture minister, alleging corruption. On Aug. 6, Lepper, joined by the right-wing League of Polish Families, a coalition partner, demanded Kaczynski’s resignation for leading the country “as if it were his private farm.”

The prime minister’s twin brother Lech serves as Poland’s president.

The duo earned disfavor at the June European Union summit meeting in Brussels, because Polish decision-making seemed to hinge on personal phone conversations between the two, and because they sought EU pressure on Germany to pay reparations for World War II Polish war dead, despite the fact that, according to historian Bronislaw Geremek, as quoted by the EU Observer, “the EU was based on the idea of putting an end to the war era.”

Venezuela: Indigenous peoples embrace Chavez

On Aug. 9, International Day of Indigenous Peoples, Kahentinetha Horn, a member of the Mohawk Nation in Canada, visiting Venezuela for the First International Congress of the Anti-Imperialist Indigenous Peoples of Latin America, left a copy of the Mohawk constitution for President Hugo Chavez.

Writing earlier in the Mohawk Nation News, she addressed Chavez: “We are one blood. When one family member is oppressed, the other must aid their covenant partners. … No one goes without. The material world is to be shared and distributed equally.”

At the conference, Kahentinetha Horn observed, “Mr. Chavez is one of us.”

She also pointed out that Canada has yet to sign the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights. The Canadian government “thinks that social order is based on command and obedience, not agreement between equals; that there can’t be wealth without poverty,” she said. “Such nonsense!”

Over 1,000 delegates from 22 countries and 40 Venezuelan indigenous peoples attended the congress, which began Aug. 7. Emphasis was placed on the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, the Venezuela-backed plan for Latin American economic and social integration.

China: Anti-corruption campaign continues

On Aug. 8, a Chinese court sentenced Hu Xing, a former transport official, to life imprisonment for stealing the equivalent of $5.3 million.

China has launched an anti-corruption campaign in response to reports of official graft, epitomized by the alleged stealing of $474 million by former Shanghai Communist Party head Chen Liangy. That scandal caused the expulsion of 13 Shanghai officials from the Communist Party.

Police have traced 300 former officials who fled abroad with stolen money.

On Aug. 2, the party announced that inspectors at the national and provincial levels of its Central Commission for Discipline Inspection had finished tours in which they looked at state financial institutions. Almost 2,000 persons voluntarily confessed to the inspectors misappropriations totaling $10.2 million, according to People’s Daily.

The Communist Party has introduced study camps for party officials, especially younger ones. Through manual labor and wilderness experiences, their object is team-building and discouragement of “corruption and arrogance.”

Uganda: Conflict over resources flares in East Africa

Joint British-Canadian oil exploration on both sides of the Lake Albert border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo has rekindled hostilities stemming from Uganda’s involvement in the DR Congo’s civil war.

Additionally, the International Court of Justice has ruled that Uganda owes $10 billion to the DR Congo because of the former’s illegal mineral exploitation.

Since 2006, Lake Albert has been the scene of repeated clashes. On July 29, Congolese forces kidnapped four Ugandan soldiers, returning them the next day. On Aug. 3, a British citizen working on an oil barge for Canada’s Heritage Oil Company was killed by Congolese forces. The incident represented the first Congolese attack on Ugandan oil interests, according to Monitor.co.ug. Reportedly, Congolese leaders suspected Uganda was encroaching on the DR Congo’s oil reserves. The analyst foresees increasing conflict in the region over oil.

Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa has expressed a desire for negotiations. The two countries broke diplomatic relations in 1998.

Iraq: Oil minister bans union dissent

The British Observer reported Aug. 5 that Iraq’s oil ministry has prohibited union discussion of Iraq’s new oil law. Hassan Juma’a, head of the Basra-based oil workers’ union, likens the ministry’s action to a 1987 Saddam Hussein decree suppressing trade unions.

Oil workers, the union leader warned, would disregard the directive, since “we are working for Iraq.”

Active in campaigning against the law, Juma’a accused the government of stifling popular opposition to the law, which is being pushed by U.S. and British occupation officials to institutionalize the foreign exploitation of Iraq’s oil reserves. Iraq’s legislature failed to approve the law prior to its summer recess.

The oil workers union calls for Iraq to follow the lead of nations that own oil companies and utilize foreigners only as contractors. Earlier this year, the Iraqi government issued arrest warrants against oil union leaders after they threatened to strike. Although Iraq’s 2005 constitution protects union autonomy, enabling legislation is still lacking.

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