Santa Elena, September 9th, 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- Tomorrow Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patiño will meet with the Venezuelan president in Caracas to discuss the creation of an official Observatory of Transnational Companies. Nicolas Maduro also plans to meet with private and public sectors of the economy to stimulate productivity through increased access to preferential exchange rates.
The Second Conference of the Ministries of States Affected by Transnational Interests will be held this Wednesday in Caracas with member countries of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). The first meeting of this nature was held in Ecuador in 2013. Patiño has stressed the aim of the meeting will be to create an observation network to reduce the negative impact of transnational companies in the region.
The Ecuadorian minister noted that the proposed Observatory would not be limited to the 12 UNASUR nations, but would ideally extend to those African, Caribbean, and Central American countries seeking entry.
Ecuador is currently involved in a lawsuit with oil giant Chevron; the corporation was found guilty of dumping 18 billion gallons of toxic waste and 17 million gallons of crude oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon between 1964 to 1990, but are refusing to pay the US$9.5 billion in damages demanded by Ecuadorian courts.
The Observatory would be made up of lawyers and investigators to monitor and share “essential” information, Patiño said, in order to reveal how the companies “have attacked our countries,” and work “illegally with Bilateral Investment Treaties.”
According to leftist Venezuelan analyst Luis Britto Garcia, of the 15 firms to receive the most currency at preferential rates in Venezuela, 10 are transnationals or enclaves of such.
In the past year General Motors, Chrysler and Toyota, all of whom are among the top 15, have repeatedly alleged that their allotments of government subsidized dollars are not enough to continue productivity within the South American nation.
After the UNASUR summit, Venezuelan president Maduro is scheduled to host a “great economic event” with public and private business owners, reputedly to announce increased allotments of millions of dollars for industries dealing in automobiles, car parts, and medicine, according to economic vice-president Marco Torres. Shortages in available medicines have been widely denounced by medical workers since June.
The meeting is considered another step in the government “shakeup,” which began last week with a cabinet upheaval and “is far from being finished,” Maduro said. Just this week, the president has increased teachers’ wages by 15%, called for the formation of an agrarian council to increase food production, and invited over a thousand Venezuelans from the youth sector of leading Socialist Party (PSUV) to meet and propose improvements next week in the capital.
Yesterday in a televised meeting with his advisors, Maduro indicated that the restructuring of the state depends on the Venezuelan people’s organized participation and “consciousness, because we must be reborn in each moment, to re-create new institutions, because we’ve had enough of the mechanisms of the [left-over] bourgeois state that isolates us.”