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In Cafe and Classrooms, International Flavors
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Dow Jones: When The Dow Dives - The Influence Of Wall Street On The UK Market
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Title 3 - The President - Certification for Major Illicit Drug Producing and Drug - Transit Countries -
Memorandum for the Secretary of...
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My Say - Losers and winners in ICT.
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INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL GIANT TO ENHANCE GLOBAL PRESENCE.
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INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL GIANT TO ENHANCE GLOBAL PRESENCE.
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Seeking asylum but finding a cell.
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The AFP news agenda for Wednesday, January 10
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New Mafias Go Global / High-tech trade in humans, drugs
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A GLOBAL LEARNING VILLAGE METRO PITTSBURGH FIFTH IN ATTRACTING COLLEGE
STUDENTS Series: PG BENCHMARKS
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CHP-DSP spring atmosphere turns chilly - Death toll exceeds 110 in holiday's traffic accidents - Yes
...
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Without vote, Assembly adopts text on consolidation of new, restored democracies; Begins debate
on strengthening of UN humanitarian...
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Mercosur [Common Market of the South] and the EU managed to overcome the main ...
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DIARY - Energy - to December 21.
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DIARY - Energy - to Dec 31.
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CHINA TELLS NIGERIA IT WILL WRITE OFF DEVELOPING COUNTRY DEBT.
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China Prepared To Write Off $1 Billion In Overseas Debt - Agency
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China Prepared To Write Off $1 Billion In Overseas Debt - Agency
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China Prepared To Write Off $1 Billion In Overseas Debt - Agency
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China Prepared To Write Off $1 Billion In Overseas Debt - Agency
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Arizona-Based Company Sells Unapproved HIV Product in China
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Will VOA extend its reach? Voice of America struggles to redefine itself in a multimedia world
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Nigerian Envoy invites Pakistani businessmen to invest in Nigeria.
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Factiva Energy Digest - September 20, 2000.
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Nigerian Envoy invites Pakistani businessmen to invest in Nigeria.
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Diary for Thursday September 14, 2000.
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A Belgian Cop's Lonely War Against Human Smugglers --- Despite Talk of Enforcement, His Office
Budget Is Slim --- One Smuggler's Secrets of...
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Belgian Detective Fights Trafficking In Human Cargo --- He's Not Alone, but It Often Seems That
Way --- No Budget; No Cell Phone; Hundreds...
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Nigeria - Largest Market in Sub-Sahara Africa.
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© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Today's Domestic News Items from Xinhua (2).
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News Highlights: Procter & Gamble's Jaeger To Step Down
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Domestic News Items From Xinhua (1).
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Domestic News Items From Xinhua (1).
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HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: SUBCOMMITTEE ON
INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS HOLDS HEARING ON CHILDREN'S RIGHTS
I...
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TREASURY POSTAL APPROPS
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Fifth Committee takes up reports on administrative matters, discusses proposed definition for
`exigency` in procurement
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TREASURY-POSTAL APPROPRIATIONS
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Oceans are on the critical list
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HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS
AND HUMAN RIGHTS HOLDS HEARING ON CHINA, WTO, AND HUMAN RIGHTS
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EU/US - SUPREME COURT TO EXAMINE MASSACHUSETTS BURMA LAW.
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DIARY - Political and General - to November 11.
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Remarks at a Democratic National Committee dinner
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Y2K THREATS ABROAD
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UN: Habitat agenda, human resources development, international migration weighed in Committee
debate
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Same Old Story.
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The new world order and what we make of it
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Y2K apocalypse now? Not quite, says report - Senate study finds economic threat to U.S. may
come from hostile nations overseas
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Poland looking into allegations it mistreated deported foreigners
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Poland Investigates Police Treatment Of Foreign Tradesmen
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COMPONENTS/SYSTEMS SERVICE COMPANIES
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DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
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INTERIORS/COMPLETIONS SERVICE COMPANIES LISTING
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The silent, deadly remedy
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NIGERIA - Business Directory/Business Guide.
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LESOTHO - Business Directory/Business Guide.
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Reuters World News Digest at 0530 GMT, Apr 12.
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Pipeline to PROFITS.(petroleum companies developing oil fields in Caspian Sea region)
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HEADLINE: National briefs
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Continuing Controversies Over State and Local Foreign Policy Sanctions in the United States.
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World-Wide
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Roll Call Q&A Daley Discusses Digital Age & 'Da Bulls' Commerce Secretary Talks About
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Telecommunications, Internet Taxation, Y2K and Lower...
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The View From/Hamden
Connecticut Weekly Desk; Section 14CN
In Cafe and Classrooms, International Flavors
By MELINDA TUHUS
1,083 words
1 April 2001
The New York Times
NYTF
Page 2, Column 1
English
(c) 2001 New York Times Company
A CHEF'S hat confers a certain status. That is what the organizers of an innovative dining program found
when they set up a Kids Cafe at a Connecticut charter school.
Around the country there are 300 Kids Cafes, an after-school program that distributes meals to needy
children. The programs are initiated by America's Second Harvest, a hunger relief organization, and are
financed by local food banks.
The Kids Cafe at Highville Mustard Seed Charter School in Hamden is the first in Connecticut, and it is
also one of a few where the children do the cooking. Highville, which has 260 students from preschool to
seventh grade and focuses on international studies, is set up like the United Nations.
A ''Secretary General'' sign hangs over the office of Lyndon Pitter, founder and director of the school. A
meeting room marked ''General Assembly'' is decorated with flags and other international symbols.
The open classrooms in the renovated phone company building on Leeder Hill Road in southern
Hamden are named after a dozen countries, including China, Egypt, Italy, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, Ukraine
and Nigeria, and represent the native lands of the students and the teachers.
The children learn by studying the history, language and culture (including the foods) of their assigned
countries. That is why the Kids Cafe is such a natural fit for the school, which received a $5,000 grant
from the Connecticut Food Bank. Three-quarters of the students receive a free or reduced-price meal and
so could benefit from a nutritious meal.
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But more important, Mr. Pitter said: ''The Kids Cafe connects the whole world for the children. It helps
them realize that people in different countries have different cultures. They learn what countries import
and what they export. They learn that some people have food and some people don't.''
The cafe, which opened in October, is run like a restaurant where the children are seated at long tables
and served by fellow students. Those dining practice restaurant etiquette, while those working get a taste
of a real job in the food service industry.
''Sometimes background music is played, classical or reggae,'' Mr. Pitter said.
On most days, about 40 children eat in the cafe, but on Thursdays, which is early dismissal day, the
number doubles. During a recent Thursday meal, things got so noisy -- much like a school cafeteria and
not a restaurant -- that the students were given a collective timeout.
When 100 students applied for the 10 available cafe jobs, the school seized an opportunity for a realworld learning experience.
''We took it from an educational standpoint,'' Larry Lucky, the school's chef, said. ''We took a standard job
application and changed some things. Where it asked, 'Have you ever been arrested?' we asked, 'Have
you ever been suspended?' ''
A suspension did not necessarily eliminate an applicant from consideration, Mr. Lucky said. The students
also had to provide references and were interviewed by three adults at the school.
''All the kids work every position from dishwasher to chef,'' Mr. Lucky said of his crew of sixth and
seventh graders, who work three days a week, three hours a day. ''I tell them no one position is more
important than any other.''
The youngsters wear chef's jackets and hats, along with gloves and hair nets. And they all know the No.
1 priority for working in the Kids Cafe: ''Wash your hands.''
Last month, the school started paying the students who work at Kids Cafe. They receive a special
Highville currency that can be converted to United States currency at the school bank and spent only at
the school store. They are paid the equivalent of $5 an hour. Mr. Pitter said that the process simulated
international trade.
When asked why they wanted to work in the Kids Cafe, most students said they wanted to help people or
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to learn what a real job was like. Andre Wilson, a sixth grader, said, ''I wanted to earn money for the
store.''
As for why they believed they were selected from the large pool of applicants, one student believed it
was because of her leadership qualities, another said she had great teacher references.
''I think I got picked because I didn't get a single detention this year,'' Andre said.
When it comes to meals, Mr. Lucky said he often prepared dishes from various countries to celebrate
their national holidays. One of the dishes served was African peanut stew with chicken, made with peanut
butter. At first, some students were hesitant to eat.
''After they saw people try it, they started trying it,'' said Tiara Dickey, a seventh grader who works in the
cafe. ''Then they sent us back to the kitchen to get more.''
The young cooks are enthusiastic about their food creations, but less so about other job details. For one,
they do not get to eat until they finish cooking and cleaning up. Also, they must contend with the
annoyances of their peers. Some of the students are rambunctious and sometimes drop their food on
purpose. ''We have to have a lot of patience,'' Francesca Logan, a sixth grader, said. ''They give us a hard
time because we are kids.''
Those who misbehave get three warnings for breaking the rules of etiquette and are sent to the penalty
table and consigned to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But for the most part, it seems the
students approve of the meals.
Georgia Goldburn, a teacher and the adviser for the Kids Cafe, said the student workers meet with her in
the General Assembly room after work and discuss the service component of the dining project.
''They are going to do research on basic facts of hunger and nutrition,'' Ms. Goldburn said. ''Then they
are going to choose a way for the Kids Cafe to serve the community, either by inviting a group in or by
cooking food and taking it out to a group in the neighborhood.''
For information on Kids Cafes, visit America's Second Harvest Web site at secondharvest.org.
Photos: Chef Larry Luck, above, runs the Kids Cafe at Highville Mustard Seed Charter School, where
students like Tiara Dickey, top right, help serve and prepare meals for fellow students after school. Below,
Daryl Wilson, left, and his brother Andre chopping lettuce for salads. (Photographs by Thomas McDonald
for The New York Times)
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Document nytf000020010712dx4100gzk
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Dow Jones: When The Dow Dives - The Influence Of Wall Street On The UK Market
CHRIS BUTLER AND THE IC'S COMPANIES WRITERS
1,992 words
30 March 2001
Investors Chronicle
INVR
24
English
Copyright (C) 2001 Investors Chronicle; Source: World Reporter (TM)
One thing is certain. When the Dow dives the FTSE 100 follows. In every year of the last 10, the markets
in the US and the UK have moved in the same direction. In the past year, they have done so in eight out
of 12 months.
In the past few weeks, US markets have again spiralled downwards dragging the FTSE 100, the All
Share and the FTSE SmallCap with them.
Wall Street's influence on the UK market is obvious. The US accounts for 48 per cent of the world's
equity by value and when it moves, the UK reacts in a similar fashion.
It is estimated that the US accounts for 30 per cent of the earnings of the FTSE 100 companies.
So it is not only the trend that matters, but also the exposure to the US economy. If the US slips into
recession or fails to grow, some companies and sectors in the UK are hit more than others.
So how can investors protect their UK portfolio against any US downturn regardless of the severity?
Tony Jackson, the UK equity strategist at Charterhouse Securities, has analysed those UK sectors that
are most responsive to Wall Street. He compared the past behaviour of each sector in the UK and US
using Datastream sector indices. Having established the percentage movement in the same sector in the
UK and US, he calculated the difference in the two movements, then calculated the standard deviation in
those differences over time. Jackson looked at quarterly sector movements over the past decade and
also daily movements over the past year. The smaller the figure, the greater the correlation between US
and UK movements.
The results, shown in the table, threw up some surprises.
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The list of sectors most responsive to the US included the obvious oil and pharmaceuticals sectors.
Construction, however, was also on the list, which owes much to building materials companies, many of
which are heavily exposed to the US market.
Among those sectors relatively immune from US influence, one surprise is IT hardware. The UK software
sector also has relatively little exposure to the US and other sectors that do not respond so much to US
forces include electronics, mining, steel and paper.
In the IT sector, the perception might reasonably have been that the US and UK were highly correlated, if
only because the Techmark index is widely associated with the US Nasdaq market. In fact the reverse is
the case. IT hardware is the least correlated sector of all, with software not far behind it.
And it is not just a statistical quirk.
In the course of the last year, when the IT sectors were going through boom and bust, both hardware
and software moved in opposite directions in the US and UK during two quarters out of four. In the first
quarter the UK hardware sector fell 22 per cent while the US sector rose 27 per cent. In the third quarter
UK software rose 17 per cent while US software fell 8 per cent.
A large part of the explanation lies in exposure to the US economy. Logica, the largest UK software
company, gets less than 10 per cent of earnings from the US while the third largest, CMG, gets none at
all.
Conversely, look at food manu-facturing, which investors might expect to be a domestic affair. Food is in
fact one of the most correlated sectors, with the UK sector falling 7 per cent in the first quarter and the US
falling 11 per cent. In the fourth quarter they both rose by 25 per cent. The explanation is that three
quarters of the sector is accounted for by just two companies - Unilever, with 26 per cent of its operating
profit in North America, and Cadbury Schweppes, with nearly 60 per cent.
The same is true of construction where there is high correlation largely because the dominant companies
in the sector, Hanson, Blue Circle and Wolseley, derive between 40 and 60 per cent of their earnings
from North America.
Other sectors and companies with a high dependence on US earnings include pharmaceutical giants
GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca. In oil, BP Amoco and Shell have a large US exposure as do transport
groups BAA and British Airways. The sectors not highly correlated with the US market are smaller in
overall size. The top quartile of the sectors in the table account for a third of the FTSE All Share by value.
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The bottom quartile, with less correlation, account for just 8 per cent.
For investors looking to protect themselves from a drop in US prices, they should be looking to go
underweight in oils, pharmaceuticals and construction and in particular stocks in foods and transport.
They should statistically be buying IT hardware and software, paper, steel, mining, personal care and
packaging. But the IT software sector has been so volatile recently and so closely linked to Nasdaq that it
looks a bit too risky as a safe haven.
But investors looking for an IT company without significant exposure to the US slowdown could do worse
than backing IT resources and consultancy group Anite. Although the US is an attractive future market,
particularly for its telecoms testing software, Europe is very much the focus for revenue today.
Interim results demonstrated the strength of Anite. While testing next generation mobile phones and
networks for the likes of Nokia, Ericsson and Vodafone provided the fastest growth - sales doubled to
GBP11.6m - the biggest earner remains IT consultancy. Built around a series of European acquisitions
and benefiting from a blue chip clientele, including DaimlerChrysler and Dresdner Bank, the consultancy
division increased by 20 per cent to GBP47.3m, more than half the group's sales at the interim stage.
Anite also looks well placed to profit from the travel industry's migration to the internet - sales of its ecommerce solutions for the sector rose by a third. With analysts expecting full year pre-tax profits before
goodwill amortisation and one-off costs to rise by a third to GBP18m (EPS 4.9p), the recent sentimentrelated shares slide offers an excellent buying opportunity.
In the paper sector, there could be a case for buying David S Smith. After a profits warning in February
the shares are trading on a PE ratio of less than nine and offering a 5 per cent plus yield. But too often
one profit warning has been followed by another, so RPC may offer a better alternative. RPC is not only
shielded from a possible recession in the US - 98 per cent of turnover comes from Europe - but its
concentration on consumer packaging to the food and cosmetic industries means its protected from a
potential slowdown here too.
Packaging companies have been unloved by the stock market for many years, which means that despite
RPC's impressive record it trades on a PE ratio of just 10. The group operates in a niche market and is
renowned for its innovative designs that help companies sell their products. It designed the award winning
new packs for Smarties and the squeezable tomato ketchup bottles for example. The group also operates
in a highly fragmented market, where it has a 2.5 per cent share, but has been an active consolidator. Its
last purchase was the GBP23.5m acquisition of German cosmetics packaging group Wiko in July.
The one cloud on the horizon is the rise in polymer prices. At the half year to the end of September
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earnings dropped because the group couldn't pass on higher transport and raw material costs. But
management is already pushing through price increases of around 5 per cent and polymer prices are
expected to fall this year as capacity increases.
The group's limited exposure to the US, immunity from economic downturns, low rating and high yield
mean it's a safe bet in the current climate.
Personal care companies rate highly on a 10-year or 1-year view as a sector that will not follow the US
market downwards. The major UK group in the sector is Reckitt Benckiser, which on fund-amentals, looks
a fairly priced investment. But it does derive around a quarter of its profits from the US, so a better bet
might be Paterson Zochonis. Soap may not be an exciting product, but even though the group's shares
are near a one-year high, they may have further to go. The company has virtually no exposure to the US
market, has been buying back its own shares at 445p. It has net funds of more than GBP100m, which is a
nice comfort for a company with a market capitalisation of around GBP200m. Although it doesn't have
exposure to the US, Paterson Zochonis does operate in a number of "risky" areas such as Russia,
Poland, China, Nigeria and a few others besides.
At the half way stage, profit to 30 November 2000 slumped from GBP27.5m to GBP22.1m. For the full
year, house broker Cazenove is looking for GBP43m against GBP45.5m. Looks good value.
Steel is another lowly correlated sector, but here there is really only one UK play - Corus. But the
company has been beset with problems almost from the outset. For the 15 months ending 31 December
2000, Corus reported an operating loss of GBP1,152m and Corus admits that the current year presents
critical challenges.
A better bet is Chloride from the electronics/electrical sector. Chloride is one of those companies that
makes vital but relatively obscure electronic equipment. In this case, it's power protection systems, which
regulate power supplies to prevent unexpected surges and shut-outs. The shares were a real favourite in
the tech boom, and reached 226p last October. But times have been harder recently as the shares have
fallen to 99p because of sales by directors, fears over the telecom and technology sectors (which
Chloride had touted as high growth areas for its systems) and concern over the company's exposure to
the US.
This final reason is possibly the weakest. While a drop in telecoms and IT spending would be harmful, it
would not be disastrous for Chloride. Any fears of US exposure are unfounded though. Chloride has
recently disposed of all but one of its US businesses. In the 1999/2000 financial year, 33 per cent of
turnover came from the US. Beeson Gregory forecasts that the number will have fallen below 15 per cent
by the end of the 2001/2002 financial year. Chloride needs some extra exposure to the US power
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protection market, and with GBP14m of net cash, the company is well placed to benefit if US businesses
start to look cheap. For the moment, Chloride is a firmly European business and trading on 18 times
forecast EPS, the shares look cheap.
Finally, the mining sector is global and stocks have proved resilient so far. Billiton, set to merge with
BHP, has no exposure to the US and in UK terms has a modest pe below 15 and a very modest yield of
under 3 per cent. But it is a big player with a GBP7bn plus market capitalisation and has a wide range of
metal and mining interests in Australia, South America, Canada, South Africa. It is one of the world's
largest aluminium, chrome, manganese ores, nickel, copper and one of the largest exporters of thermal
coal.
The merger increases exposure to coal and iron ore - and prices for these commodities are rising. Billiton
is a big player in aluminium, prices of which are being supported by supply shortages caused by US
power problems. In short, Billiton is a good defensive stock. Financially Billiton is sound and interim
results showed earnings per share up from 11.6 US cents to 15.4 US cents.
Document invr000020010711dx3u002r3
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Presidential Documents
Title 3 - The President - Certification for Major Illicit Drug Producing and Drug - Transit Countries Memorandum for the Secretary of State
11,514 words
12 March 2001
Federal Register
FREG
14454
Vol. 66, No. 48
English
Copyright (c) 2001 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc. All rights reserved
By virtue of the authority vested in me by section 490 (b) (1) (A) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961,
as amended (the "Act"), I hereby determine and certify that the following major illicit drug producing
and/or major illicit drug transit countries have cooperated fully with the United States, or have taken
adequate steps on their own, to achieve full compliance with the goals and objectives of the 1988 United
Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances:
The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, People's Republic of China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand,
Venezuela, and Vietnam
By virtue of the authority vested in me by section 490 (b) (1) (B) of the Act, I hereby determine and certify
that, for the following major illicit drug producing and/or major illicit drug transit countries that do not
qualify for certification under section 490 (b) (1) (A), the vital national interests of the United States
require that assistance not be withheld and that the United States not vote against multilateral
development bank assistance:
Cambodia and Haiti
Analysis of the relevant U.S. vital national interests and risks posed thereto, as required under section
490 (b) (3) of the Act, is attached for these countries.
I have determined that the following major illicit drug producing and/or major illicit drug transit countries
do not meet the standards for certification set forth in section 490 (b):
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Afghanistan and Burma
In making these determinations, I have considered the factors set forth in section 490 of the Act, based
on the information contained in the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of 2001. Given that the
performance of each of these countries has differed, I have attached an explanatory statement for each of
the countries subject to this determination.
[Page Number 14455]
You are hereby authorized and directed to report this determination to the Congress immediately and to
publish it in the Federal Register.\S\ George W. Bush
THE WHITE HOUSE,
Washington, March 1, 2001.
[Page Number 14456]
Annual Drug Certification Determinations Pursuant to the Foreign Assistance Act
Statements of Explanation
Afghanistan
Afghanistan continues to be the world's largest opium producer after another year of major increases.
Despite severe drought conditions in much of the country, reliable United States Government estimates
indicate that cultivation increased by 25 percent and potential production reached 3,656 metric tons.
Afghanistan was responsible for 72 percent of the world illicit opium supply. Traffickers of Afghan heroin
continued to route most of their production to Europe, but also targeted the United States. United States
seizure data suggest that at least five percent (approximately one metric ton) of the heroin imported into
the United States originates in Afghanistan.
The Taliban and Northern Alliance factions vie for national control of Afghanistan and both control
territory used by cultivators, refiners and traffickers. United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP)
and non-governmental organization (NGO) efforts at supply and demand reduction have had little
success due to the lack of cooperation and support from the Afghan factions. The factions, especially the
Taliban, which controls 96 percent of the territory where poppy is grown, promote poppy cultivation to
finance weapons purchases as well as military operations. Those in positions of authority have made
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proclamations against poppy cultivation, but they have had little or no effect on the drug trade, which
continues to expand.
The Taliban issued in late July a new ban on poppy cultivation. At the end of the year, evidence showed
that the area under cultivation was down substantially over the previous year. However, it is not clear to
what extent the Taliban will enforce the ban on a continuing basis. Nor is it clear that a ban on poppy
cultivation will impede a drug trade suspected by the international community to have large quantities of
opium in storage. The announcement of the opium ban has caused opium prices to rise, a boon for
traffickers sitting on large stockpiles. Neither the Taliban nor the Northern Alliance has taken any
significant action to seize stored opium or precursor chemicals, or to arrest and prosecute drug traffickers.
On the contrary, authorities continue to tax the opium poppy crop at about ten percent, and allow it to be
sold in open bazaars, and to be traded and transported. While there have been credible reports of
significant reductions in poppy cultivation, it will not be possible to assess the extent of any eradication or
reduction in cultivation until mid-2001. The Taliban made no discernible attempt to enforce earlier decrees
in 1997 and 1999 that banned or reduced poppy. Rather, cultivation increased countrywide in those
years.
Drug production in and trafficking from Afghanistan has a negative effect on the region. The drug trade
corrupts local authorities, is the major factor behind skyrocketing regional heroin addiction in refugee and
indigenous populations, and is responsible for increased levels of terrorism and drug- related violence in
neighboring countries. The Afghan drug trade also undermines the rule of law by generating large
amounts of cash, contributing to regional money laundering and official corruption in countries with weak
economies and institutions.
United States officials have repeatedly urged Taliban officials to respect and implement Afghanistan's
international obligations on terrorism, illicit drugs, and human rights. No Afghan faction took any
significant steps to achieve the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In the absence of
an effective central government, a trained anti-drug force, and an operational drug policy, there is virtually
no counterdrug law enforcement in Afghanistan.
The Bahamas
[Page Number 14457]
The Bahamas is a major transit country for U.S.-bound cocaine and marijuana from South America and
the Caribbean. The Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas cooperates with the United
States Government to interdict drugs in Bahamian territory, reduce drug demand, combat exploitation of
the offshore financial sector by money launderers and other financial criminals, and enhance the ability of
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the Bahamian judicial system to prosecute and convict drug traffickers and money launderers.
During 2000, The Bahamas continued its active participation in Operation Bahamas and Turks and
Caicos (OPBAT), a three-nation interdiction effort against air and maritime drug smuggling. Total
Bahamian cocaine seizures were 47 percent higher than in 1999; marijuana seizures were up five
percent.
In June 2000, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) named The Bahamas a non-cooperative
jurisdiction due to deficiencies in its anti-money laundering regime, and in July 2000, the United States
Treasury Department advised U.S. banks to closely scrutinize all transactions with Bahamian banks. In
response, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas passed legislation to strengthen its
anti-money laundering regime, to create a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), to reform its strict banking
secrecy rules, and to more effectively regulate International Business Companies (IBCs). The Bahamas
also created a separate unit within the Attorney General's Office to process Mutual Legal Assistance
Treaty (MLAT) requests and cleared its backlog of outstanding United States Government requests. With
full implementation of its new anti-money laundering legislation, establishment of the FIU, and continued
improvement in international cooperation via full and rapid responses to MLAT requests, The Bahamas
could become less attractive to financial criminals.
The Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas has not begun to implement the
recommendations of a May 2000 assessment by the Organization of American States Inter-American
Drug Abuse Commission (OAS/CICAD) of The Bahamas precursor chemical control system, which
included legislative actions, awareness-raising, and institutional development.
During 2000, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas ratified the Inter-American
Convention Against Corruption and successfully prosecuted two corrupt police officers for drug trafficking.
The Bahamas is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and works to meet the goals and objectives of
that Convention.
Bolivia
In 2000, the Government of Bolivia eliminated all commercially significant coca cultivation in the
Chapare, Bolivia's principal coca-growing region. With only 14,600 hectares remaining under cultivation in
all of Bolivia, largely in the Yungas region, Bolivia's potential cocaine production was reduced from 70
metric tons in 1999 to 43 metric tons in 2000.
Plans are underway to initiate coca eradication and counterdrug alternative development in the Yungas
region, where 12,000 hectares of legal and 1,700 hectares of illegal coca remain. The Government of
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Bolivia is also undertaking a reevaluation of the needs of the legal coca market, with a view to revising
downward the legal maximum amount that can be grown. There are no reports of diversion to the illegal
markets of the 300 hectares of illegal coca in the Apolo region. Eradication forces will remain in the
Chapare to eliminate the last 600 hectares of coca and to fully enforce the provisions of Bolivia's anti-drug
law.
Violent disturbances in October failed to derail the progress in coca eradication; however, their negative
impact on overall economic activity in Bolivia was significant. The disturbances also threatened
counterdrug alternative development production infrastructure and hard-won market linkages with
Argentine and Chilean buyers.
Enforcement of Bolivia's anti-money laundering legislation was not effective in 2000, and there were no
arrests or prosecutions. The asset seizure and forfeiture regime remains mired in bureaucratic and legal
ambiguities.
[Page Number 14458]
It is unclear if new regulations planned to take effect in May 2001 will resolve attendant constitutional
questions. The chemical interdiction program, however, was highly successful in 2000, and continued to
force Bolivian traffickers to rely on inferior substitutes for scarce and expensive chemicals smuggled in
from neighboring countries and to streamline the cocaine base and hydrochloride (HCl) production
process. This resulted in the further reduction of the purity of Bolivian cocaine, causing most foreign
traffickers to purchase base in Bolivia or import Peruvian base through Bolivia for transshipment and
processing into HCl in Brazil where essential chemicals are readily available.
Brazil
Brazil continues to be a major transit country for illicit drugs shipped to the United States and Europe as
well as a major producer of precursor chemicals. The Government of Brazil's two main counterdrug
events of 2000 were the launch of Operation Cobra and the clarification of the division of counterdrug
responsibilities. Operation Cobra reinforces Brazil's northern border with Colombia against any spillover
resulting from implementation of Plan Colombia by the Government of Colombia. In addition, the
Government of Brazil reorganized its counterdrug effort to give responsibility for supply reduction
(interdiction) to the Ministry of Justice and its sub-agencies (including the Federal Police) and
responsibility for demand reduction (treatment and prevention) to SENAD, its federal anti-drug agency.
Brazil's domestic drug problem is increasing. Regionally, Brazil continues to cooperate, particularly with
Colombia and Peru, to effectively control the remote frontier regions where illicit drugs are transported.
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Federal Police reported seizing more than four metric tons of cocaine in 2000, a figure which does not
reflect the additional drug seizures made by state, local, and highway police forces. A record amount of
cannabis, 157 tons, was also reported seized. Brazil improved its precursor chemical controls.
Law enforcement cooperation overall increased, as well, among Brazilian law enforcement agencies and
regionally, particularly with Paraguay. Brazil made progress in implementing its money laundering
legislation. In its bilateral relationship with the United States, the Brazilian Congress ratified the Mutual
Legal Assistance Treaty in December, and resumed negotiations on a Customs Mutual Assistance
Agreement.
Burma
The world's second largest source of illicit opium and heroin, Burma accounts for approximately 80
percent of the total production of Southeast Asian opium, although production has declined yearly since
1996. Poppy cultivation expanded in 2000 to 108,700 hectares, a 21 percent increase over the 89,500
hectares cultivated in 1999. Because of localized bad weather, Burma produced 1,085 metric tons of
opium in 2000, a decrease of 5 metric tons from the 1,090 metric tons produced in 1999. Heroin seizures
declined for the third straight year, and opium seizures rose only slightly. Heroin seized in 2000 totaled
171 kilograms compared to 273 kilograms in 1999 and 404 kilograms in 1998. Opium seizures in 2000
totaled 1,528 kilograms compared to 1,445 kilograms seized in 1999 and 5,394 kilograms seized in 1998.
Only two heroin refineries were destroyed through November 2000. The Government of Burma claimed to
have eradicated 10,985 acres under poppy cultivation in 2000.
In 2000, Burmese officers seized approximately 27 million methamphetamine tablets, a decrease from
the nearly 29 million seized in 1999 and only a small fraction of the total produced in Burma. Seizures of
ephedrine, the precursor used to manufacture methamphetamines, also declined from nearly 6,500
kilograms in 1999 to approximately 2,700 kilograms in 2000.
The Government of Burma pursued a cautious, low-risk counterdrug program, introduced no new
counterdrug policies, continued to exert little direct pressure on major drug organizations, and made
almost no attempt to seize drugs or destroy illegal drug factories in United Wa State Army-controlled
territories.
[Page Number 14459]
The Government of Burma continued to pursue and arrest individual drug traffickers, including members
of some former insurgent groups, but has been unwilling or unable to take on the most powerful groups
directly. The cease- fire agreements signed with these insurgent groups often implicitly condone their
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continued participation in drug production and trafficking, at least over the short term. The ethnic drugtrafficking armies, such as the United Wa State Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance
Army, remain armed and heavily involved in the heroin trade.
The Government of Burma expressed support for poppy eradication and crop substitution, but allocated
few resources to such projects. Its policy is to force the leaders in the ethnic areas to spend their own
revenues, including from the drug trade, on social and physical infrastructure. The approach limits the
Government of Burma's ability to continue or expand its counterdrug efforts.
Burma's 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law conforms to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention and contains useful legal tools for addressing money laundering, seizing drug-related assets,
and prosecuting drug conspiracy cases. Government officials, claiming they lack sufficient expertise, have
been slow to implement the law, targeting few, if any, major traffickers and their drug- related assets.
Money laundering in Burma and the return of drug profits laundered elsewhere are thought to be
significant factors in the overall Burmese economy, although the extent is impossible to measure
accurately.
The Government of Burma continued to refuse to transfer to U.S. custody drug lord Chang Qifu on
grounds that he had not violated his 1996 surrender agreement. The 1988 UN Drug Convention obligates
parties, including Burma, to prosecute such traffickers.
The Government of Burma's counterdrug efforts in 2000 showed progress in a number of areas: crop
eradication continued with modest expansion; anti-drug forces conducted more vigorous law-enforcement
efforts; and members of some cease-fire groups were arrested for drug trafficking. Such efforts must be
expanded, however, if they are to have a significant impact on the overall trafficking problem.
On balance, the United States Government remains concerned that Burma's efforts are not
commensurate with the extent of the illicit drug problem within its borders. Large-scale poppy cultivation
and opium production continues, and enormous quantities of methamphetamines are produced. The
Government of Burma's effective toleration of money laundering, its unwillingness to implement its
counterdrug laws, and its failure to transfer notorious traffickers under indictment in the United States are
all serious concerns.
Cambodia
Cambodia remained a weak link in the region's efforts to combat the drug trade. Through 1998, chronic
political instability hindered Cambodia's ability to mount a sustained counterdrug effort. Cambodia's
institutions are now only slowly improving. The Government of Cambodia recognizes that its counterdrug
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performance to date has been inconsistent and often ineffective, and there is widespread recognition that
the country must be more aggressive in tackling drug-related issues.
There was some progress in improving law enforcement and limiting corruption in 2000, but there was
insufficient progress for Cambodia to qualify for full certification.
There were positive developments reported. Cambodia's lead counterdrug agency, the National Authority
for Combating Drugs (NACD), cooperates closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration,
regional counterparts, and the UNDCP. Cambodia is a party to the 1993 Regional Memorandum of
Understanding on Drug Control, and is also a party to a six-country Subregional Action Plan for Drug
Control. In mid-2000, the United States Government permitted mid-level Cambodian officials to
participate
[Page Number 14460]
in courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, an initial step toward
fulfilling critical training shortcomings.
The Government of Cambodia continued to have some success in combating illegal cultivation of
marijuana. The military conducted numerous sweeps against marijuana producers in the major growing
zones and destroyed 60 hectares in 2000, three times the previous total. However, seizures of harvested
marijuana declined. The Prime Minister spoke out forcefully against corruption. He fired some high level
officials, including a provincial governor and his staff, for involvement in illegal logging, and publicly
threatened to fire another governor for failure to act against illegal marijuana cultivation.
Despite those positive developments, corruption in Cambodia remained prevalent. Until this crucial
problem is more fully addressed, effective law enforcement will remain elusive. The institutions needed to
combat illegal drugs remain in a nascent state, and neither the institutions nor many of the officials within
them are sufficiently competent to address the problems they face. This combination of a lack of
competence and continued corruption results in Cambodia failing to meet the standards for full
certification.
A vital national interests certification is necessary again this year to protect U.S. vital national interests in
Cambodia. Democracy in Cambodia is progressing. This year the legislature passed laws to create an
international tribunal to bring to trial the former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, a major step towards greater
international acceptance and one that will require donor assistance to Cambodia. Should sanctions be
imposed, it would not be possible for the United States Government to assist in strengthening Cambodia's
democratic development. Cambodia remains vulnerable to drug trafficking and other crime due to the
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weakness of its institutions, a vulnerability that will also put at risk its immediate neighbors. This
vulnerability would only be exacerbated by the consequences of decertification. The risks to democracy in
Cambodia and to regional stability outweigh the risks posed by Cambodia's failure to fully implement
effective drug control.
China
The People's Republic of China (hereafter, China) continued a multifaceted approach to combat the use
and trafficking of illicit drugs. Preliminary figures suggest that heroin seizures will mirror those in 1999,
which fell steeply from record levels in 1998, but most seizures of Burmese heroin now take place in
China. Seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) skyrocketed in 2000, demonstrating the growing
threat from synthetic drugs in China.
For the first time, Chinese authorities provided the United States Government with samples of drugs
seized en route to the United States. China cooperated with the United States and other countries in
providing pre-export notification of dual-use precursor chemicals, and continues to cooperate actively on
operational issues with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration through its office in Beijing. China
eliminated new anonymous bank accounts to combat money laundering.
China's domestic counterdrug strategy emphasizes both education and rehabilitation. The approach
includes anti-drug education for all school children, warnings to citizens of the link between intravenous
drug use and HIV/AIDS, and a pilot "drug free communities" program.
During 2000, China cooperated with the UNDCP and regional states on projects on demand-reduction
and on crop-substitution in Burma and Laos. The United States and China signed a Mutual Legal
Assistance Agreement in June 2000, but China has not yet activated the bilateral Customs Mutual
Assistance Agreement signed in 1999. In October, China signed a Memorandum of Understanding with
Thailand to enhance counterdrug cooperation and in November signed a bilateral cooperation accord with
Laos on transnational crimes, including illicit drug trafficking. China is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic
[Page Number 14461]
Drugs and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Law enforcement cooperation with the United States Government has advanced over the last three
years, but China frequently does not respond to U.S. requests for information or responds too late to be
of operational value. China has also continued its nonengagement in the Asia-Pacific Group on Money
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Laundering and did not pursue membership in the Financial Action Task Force.
Despite some shortcomings, China has acted forcefully to stop the production, trafficking in, and use of
illicit drugs within its borders and within the region and is committed to achieving the goals of the 1988 UN
Drug Convention.
Colombia
Colombia remains the world's largest cocaine source, with 80 percent of the world's cocaine
hydrochloride produced, processed or transported through Colombia. Still, Colombia met the certification
criteria in 2000 due to significant gains it made in combating illicit drugs and its full cooperation with U.S.
counterdrug efforts throughout the year. The Government of Colombia continues to demonstrate its
resolve in combating the illegal drug industry and had a number of concrete achievements in 2000.
In December, the Government of Colombia initiated the counterdrug component of "Plan Colombia," the
comprehensive strategy to address the many interrelated challenges facing the country. The United
States Government supports this multi-year Colombian initiative and provided partial funding for it through
a supplemental appropriation in 2000. Importantly, both "Plan Colombia" and the Pastrana
administration's National Drug Control Strategy couple alternative development with aerial eradication of
illicit crops, recognizing that neither can succeed without the other.
In 2000, major cooperative efforts, such as Operation New Generation, resulted in the arrests of key
traffickers. Meanwhile, important judicial cooperation resulted in the extradition of 12 fugitives to the
United States, nine of whom are Colombian nationals.
The Colombian National Police (CNP) continued its outstanding counterdrug efforts. The CNP received
increased support from the Colombian Armed Services and began joint operations in southern Colombia
with the Army's counterdrug battalions.
The Government of Colombia once again made significant advances in combating maritime trafficking,
independently and bilaterally. The port security program resulted in the seizure of 29 metric tons of
cocaine and demonstrated the potential of cooperation between government and private industry. The
Colombian Navy has described a shipboarding agreement (signed in 1997) as one of its most effective
counterdrug tools and has credited this agreement with the capture of over 23 tons of cocaine in 2000.
The Government of Colombia also enacted resolutions meant to disrupt the logistics support to drug
traffickers at sea by improving monitoring of ships and boats and increasing the penalties associated with
carrying fuel in excess of levels specified in issued permits.
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The Government of Colombia has improved the Colombian Air Force's (FAC) monitoring and interdiction
abilities. In 2000, the FAC effectively prevented illegal aircraft from entering Colombia's north coast. The
CNP's civil aviation registration program, begun in 1999, inspected 398 aircraft in 2000, finding 58
violations with 20 testing positive for drug residue.
The aerial eradication program succeeded in treating approximately 47,370 hectares of coca, a slight
decrease from last year's level, and roughly 9,000 hectares of opium poppy, the most ever in Colombia.
The CNP also had another strong year in the realm of enforcement, with seizures of large amounts of
cocaine hydrochloride and base, coca leaf, heroin, morphine and opium.
[Page Number 14462]
The Government of Colombia also took an important step in combating financial crime when it joined the
Governments of Aruba, Panama and Venezuela, as well as the United States, in establishing a
multilateral initiative to address the Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE). The BMPE is a highly
organized money-laundering system through which products such as liquor and domestic appliances are
purchased abroad with drug-generated dollars, smuggled into Colombia, and then sold on the domestic
market, thereby generating pesos which can be introduced into the legitimate economy.
Overall, Colombia continued as a leader in counterdrug efforts in 2000 and demonstrated its staunch
commitment to cooperate fully with the United States in combating this shared problem.
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a major transit country for South American drugs, mostly cocaine, moving to
the United States. The country is used by drug smugglers as both a command-and-control center and
transshipment point. Increasing amounts of designer drugs, especially ecstasy, are being moved from
Europe through the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland.
While extradition of fugitives to the United States has become more routine as our bilateral extradition
relationship continues to improve, there still is no regular process. A more consistent and predictable
extradition process remains a key U.S. objective in its bilateral relations with the Dominican Republic. The
Dominican Republic is designated a major money laundering country, but is not a regional financial
center. The Dominican Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and its counterdrug efforts
are consistent with the goals of the Convention.
In 2000, the Government of the Dominican Republic continued to cooperate fully with the United States
Government on counterdrug goals and objectives. In April, the Government of the Dominican Republic
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submitted legislation to strengthen money-laundering regulations; the legislation is currently awaiting
passage by the legislature. The new administration of Hipolito Mejia, installed in August 2000, has
pledged full cooperation with the United States and other countries in counterdrug activities. A National
Drug Plan for the years 2000- 2005, published in August, will guide its efforts.
Through December, with U.S. cooperation and assistance, the Dominican Republic's National Drug
Control Agency (DNCD) seized 1,270 kilograms of cocaine, 2,900 kilograms of cannabis and 20
kilograms of heroin, and also made 4,625 drug-related arrests. In November, the United States and the
Dominican Republic concluded a new, four-year, overflight agreement that permits United States
Government aircraft to fly through the airspace of the Dominican Republic in pursuit of smugglers' aircraft.
Also in 2000, the DNCD and the military established three special land control units and three coastal
units to protect the country's border with Haiti and its coastline from drugs transiting the country.
Ecuador
Ecuador continues to be a major transit area for drugs and precursor chemicals. Traffickers exploit
Ecuador's porous borders with Colombia and Peru to consolidate smuggled cocaine and heroin into
larger loads for bulk shipment to the United States and Europe hidden in containers of legitimate cargo.
Ecuador continued to struggle with economic and political crises, including events in January 2000 which
led to the ouster of the elected president and replacement by his constitutional successor. Also in 2000,
Ecuador became the first South American country to adopt the U.S. dollar as its national currency.
The Ecuadorian National Police (ENP) seized more than three tons of cocaine and coca base, 109
kilograms of heroin, and 18 tons of marijuana.
[Page Number 14463]
The ENP established a unified anti-drug division to strengthen the management of drug law enforcement,
and created an internal affairs unit. Ecuador's depressed economy and continued lack of police/military
coordination, however, hamper counterdrug efforts. Ecuador improved its enforcement of regulations on
controlled precursor chemicals.
The Ecuadorian Congress enacted a new criminal justice procedural code, which will fundamentally
change its legal system from an inquisitorial to an accusatory-style one. Ecuador also began to enact
legislative reforms related to money laundering, and to legalize the use of controlled deliveries and
undercover operations as law enforcement tools. A joint Ecuadorian task force, including financial
intelligence units, addressed coordination of drug trafficking and money laundering investigations.
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Ecuador participated in the OAS/CICAD initiative, the Mutual Evaluation Mechanism (MEM).
Ecuador has cooperated with the United States in a very significant way by permitting the United States
Government to establish and operate, at an Ecuadorian Air Force base in Manta, a forward operating
location (FOL) for regional aerial counterdrug detection and monitoring missions.
Guatemala
The Government of Guatemala cooperated with the United States Government in combating drug
trafficking in Guatemala. Guatemala is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and most Guatemalan
law enforcement activities are consistent with its goals and objectives. Once a major producer of opium,
Guatemala's sustained eradication efforts have reduced opium cultivation and maintained it at
insignificant levels. Nevertheless, Guatemala remains a major drug-transit country for South American
cocaine en route to the United States and Europe. In 2000, the Government of Guatemala made an effort
to increase its law enforcement capabilities to counter the constant flow of drugs transiting the country.
However, drug seizures declined significantly due to the tremendous turnover in personnel in law
enforcement and other government agencies, corruption, and an acute lack of resources.
Professionalization of the National Civilian Police's Department of Anti- Narcotics Operations (DOAN),
the main Guatemalan counterdrug force, is a primary objective for the Government of Guatemala. It is
attempting to develop an effective, integrated counterdrug and related law enforcement training program
that will improve the quality of the DOAN and to enhance interdiction and eradication operations.
The Government of Guatemala increased the Public Ministry's special anti- drug staff and continued with
a U.S.-funded program of professionalization for prosecutors and the judiciary that included anticorruption training. The Guatemalan Supreme Court established special "high impact" courts to handle
drug-trafficking and other cases deemed too sensitive for the regular court system. Despite these
measures, success in prosecuting major traffickers has been limited. With U.S. assistance, the Public
Ministry created the Anti- Corruption Prosecutor's office which has initiated nearly a thousand cases
against government officials although none have gone to trial.
The Government of Guatemala is considering draft money laundering legislation and has signed (but not
ratified) the Central American Convention for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Related Crimes.
Haiti
The record does not support certification of Haiti as having fully cooperated with the United States or
taken adequate steps on its own to achieve full compliance with the goals and objectives established by
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the 1988 UN Drug Convention, to which Haiti is a party. However, it is in the vital national interests of the
United States to continue to provide U.S. foreign assistance to Haiti.
Haiti remains a significant transshipment point for drugs, primarily cocaine, moving through the
Caribbean from South America to the United
[Page Number 14464]
States. Although cocaine flow through Haiti decreased during 2000, only some of the decrease is
attributable to the efforts of the Haitian Government.
The Government of Haiti cooperated with the United States Government in a limited number of areas.
These areas included: U.S. Coast Guard and multilateral maritime interdiction efforts; expulsion of two
non-Haitian fugitives; ratification of both a bilateral maritime law enforcement agreement and the InterAmerican Convention Against Corruption; and enactment of a National Drug Control Strategy and antimoney laundering laws.
However, the Government of Haiti failed to take other significant counterdrug actions. It did not: enact
asset forfeiture and precursor chemical legislation; draft and introduce anti-corruption legislation; expand
the anti- drug unit of the National Police to the agreed-upon size; or fully implement a Memorandum of
Understanding among key law enforcement and related agencies to ensure interagency counterdrug
cooperation. In addition, it showed no increase in seizures of illegal drugs, including cocaine, nor in the
number of arrests of major traffickers. Neither did it successfully prosecute money-laundering cases, nor
secure the forfeiture of trafficker assets. Finally, the Government of Haiti did not conclude a counterdrug
Letter of Agreement with the United States Government.
Vital national interests of the United States require that assistance to Haiti be maintained. Continued
assistance for programs to alleviate hunger, increase access to education, combat environmental
degradation, and incubate civil society in the hemisphere's poorest country is vital to strengthening
democracy, promoting economic growth, and reducing pressure for illegal immigration. Terminating these
programs could prompt Haitian authorities to end their cooperation in the repatriation of Haitian
immigrants interdicted at sea. These programs also address the root causes of poverty and hopelessness
in Haiti, which are important contributing factors behind Haitian involvement in the drug trade.
Therefore, the risks posed to the vital national interests of the United States by a cutoff of bilateral
assistance outweigh the risks posed by Haiti's failure to cooperate fully with the United States
Government, or to take adequate steps on its own, to achieve full compliance with the goals and
objectives established by the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
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India
India is one of the world's top producers of licit opium and is the sole producer of licit opium gum. It is a
key heroin transshipment country due to its location between Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia, the two
main world sources of illicitly grown opium. India is a modest but apparently growing producer of heroin
for the international market. The Government of India continues to tighten controls to curtail diversion of
licit opium, but an unknown yet significant quantity of licit opium finds its way to illicit markets. There was
a significant increase in diversion of licit opium from the 1999 crop, but the 2000 crop suffered much less
diversion.
Under the terms of internationally agreed covenants, and to meet U.S. certification requirements, India is
required to maintain licit production of opium and carry over stocks at levels no higher than those
consistent with world demand, i.e., to avoid excessive production and stockpiling which could "leak" into
illicit markets. India has complied with this requirement.
Though the 1999 and 2000 licit opium gum harvests had identical weather conditions, enhanced
enforcement during the harvest and weighing period prompted farmers to turn in higher yields in 2000.
The level of diversion from the licit opium crop, while always difficult to estimate, clearly declined from an
alarming level in 1999, when up to 300 metric tons of opium gum may have been diverted to the black
market. The success seen in 2000 appears due in large part to the more aggressive Government of India
drug control efforts during the harvest and collection period of the crop. Licit opium diversion controls
included re-surveys of plots after the planted
[Page Number 14465]
crop reached a particular stage of growth to ensure that the area under cultivation matched that licensed.
Cultivation more than five percent above the licensed amount was destroyed, and the cultivator was liable
to prosecution. India has continued to tighten controls on diversion and in 2000 agreed to a Joint Licit
Opium Poppy Survey (JLOPS) agreement with the United States, a significant step in fighting diversion.
The survey will provide a firmer scientific basis for minimum qualifying yields for farmers.
Poppies are grown illicitly in India in the Himalayan foothills of Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, and in
northeast India near the Bangladesh and Burmese borders. The quantities of illicit production appear
relatively small. "Brown sugar" heroin, originating in India, is available in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
and the Maldives. Since January 1999, Indian authorities have seized more than 337 kilograms of refined
"white-powder" heroin, at least part of which was produced in India, destined for Sri Lanka. The Central
Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) began organized poppy eradication campaigns in Arunachal Pradesh four
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years ago. In its first campaign in 1997, the CBN destroyed 35 hectares of opium poppy. This increased
to 95 hectares in 1998, and 248 hectares in 1999. In 2000, 153 hectares were destroyed.
In 2000 an estimated 1,089 kilograms of heroin were seized, up 27 percent from 1999 (861) and 66
percent over 1998 (655). Opium seizures totaled 2,218 kilograms, up from 1,635 in 1999 and 2,031 in
1998, occurring mostly in the poppy growing areas.
Indian controls on precursor chemicals have reduced the availability of these chemicals to the illicit
market. Nevertheless, illicit diversion of precursor chemicals from India continued to occur. Indian
authorities have been very cooperative with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in sharing
information from no-objection certificates, in verifications of end-users, and in notifications of seizures of
India-produced chemicals.
Jamaica
Jamaica is a major transit point for South American cocaine en route to the United States as well as the
largest Caribbean producer and exporter of marijuana. During 2000, the Government of Jamaica made
some progress toward meeting the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Increased
trafficking through Jamaica indicates the need for its Government to intensify and focus its law
enforcement efforts and to enhance its international cooperation.
In 2000, the Government of Jamaica amended its 1996 Money Laundering Act to add fraud, corruption,
and firearms trafficking as predicate offenses. Further action is needed, however, to bring Jamaica in line
with international standards, including an improved asset forfeiture regime and an operational financial
analysis unit. In 1999, the Government of Jamaica enacted legislation enabling asset-sharing agreements
with other governments; an agreement with the United States is pending.
In April 2000, the Government of Jamaica brought into force a Precursor Chemicals Act, budgeted for
implementation of chemical controls, and is taking action, with U.S. assistance, to comply with
recommendations provided by the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control
Commission's Precursors Control Project. Although the Government of Jamaica made progress in
implementing the recommendations contained in a 1997 port security assessment and increased security
presence at its ports, drug traffickers continue to use Jamaica's air and seaports. The United States
Customs Service reports that Jamaica is the embarkation point of the largest number of passengers
arrested with drugs at U.S. airports. While evidence from drug detection technology, such as ion scan,
can be exploited under certain conditions, the Government of Jamaica should consider providing specific
legislation to admit this type of evidence in Jamaican courts. In December 2000, the Government of
Jamaica introduced a wiretap bill in Parliament.
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[Page Number 14466]
The Fugitive Apprehension Team, a special police unit dedicated to the apprehension and eventual
extradition of criminals wanted by the United States, aided by officers of the United States Marshals
Service, made over 20 arrests in 2000, more than double the number in 1999. The Government of
Jamaica extradited 10 people to the United States in 2000 and is actively working on over 40 cases.
Legislation creating drug courts came into force in 2000; the courts should begin sitting in 2001.
Corruption continues to undermine law enforcement and judicial efforts against drug-related crime in
Jamaica. The Government of Jamaica reintroduced in Parliament its anti-corruption bill, which passed in
December, and amendments to strengthen the Parliament (Integrity of Members) Act. Implementation of
these bills and ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption could help the
Government of Jamaica root out corruption in the public sector.
A significant increase in the flow of cocaine through Jamaica in the first half of 2000, coupled with
reduced cocaine seizures and marijuana eradication by the Government of Jamaica, indicates that more
intensive law enforcement action with enhanced international cooperation is necessary to disrupt drug
trafficking and production activities in Jamaican territory and waters. Such actions include the arrest and
prosecution of significant drug traffickers operating in Jamaica, dismantling of small independent groups
that conduct the drug trade, and increased drug seizures and eradication. As it agreed to do in 1998, the
Government of Jamaica should develop a vetted special investigative unit to identify and target significant
drug traffickers. Jamaican forces participated in combined operations with the United States under a
bilateral maritime agreement, but should take full advantage of the agreement in order to reduce the drug
flow through Jamaica. U.S. law enforcement agencies note that cooperation with their Jamaican
counterparts is generally good, but could be significantly improved.
The Government of Jamaica has in place a national drug control strategy that covers both supply and
demand reduction; specific goals and objectives, together with measures of effectiveness, should be
incorporated in this strategy. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Laos
Laos remains the world's third largest producer of illicit opium, behind Burma and Afghanistan. For the
2000 growing season, the United States Government estimates Laos's potential production at 210 metric
tons, which is substantially greater than the 1999 estimate of 140 metric tons. Opium cultivation increased
six percent. The higher production estimate can be attributed to improved weather conditions and an
increase in estimated yields, although the increase in cultivation also contributed to a lesser degree.
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Laos continued to cooperate with the United States Government in crop substitution projects. Most crop
substitution project areas funded by the United States Government continued to show low levels of opium
cultivation. As a first step for the new Lao-American project in Phongsali Province, construction began on
a 72-kilometer road that will link remote, opium- cultivating villages. The Government of Laos also
continued cooperation in Houapanh Province.
In March, the Government of Laos held its first national conference on drug control, at which counterdrug
strategies and work plans were formulated. In October, Laos formally committed itself to eliminating
opium by 2008 and all drugs by 2015, in accordance with the political statement and plan of action
enacted by the Association of Southeast Asian Countries at a UNDCP Congress in Bangkok. The
Government of Laos continued to work closely with the UNDCP to develop a master plan for opium
elimination and to raise funds for that effort.
Cooperative efforts on law enforcement also continued. New counterdrug law enforcement offices
opened in Champasak and Houapanh provinces,
[Page Number 14467]
and the office in Udomxai moved to quarters refurbished with U.S. assistance. Seizures of heroin and
methamphetamine increased sharply, and the Lao police cooperated with United States Government
officials in counterfeit U.S. currency investigations. Police performance and law enforcement in general,
however, continued to fall short of goals. Counterdrug police units need more training and better
coordination. The Government of Laos is not yet a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention; its stated goal
is ratification of the convention in the near future, as agreed by all participants in the 1998 UN General
Assembly Special Session on Drugs.
Mexico
Sharing a nearly 2000-mile border with the United States, much of the drug- related criminal activity in
Mexico is linked to the U.S. illicit drug market. Mexico is a major source of opium poppy and cannabis. It
is also a major drug transit country for cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and cannabis, and Mexicanbased organized crime plays a significant role in drug distribution in the United States.
Both the Governments of Mexico and the United States recognize that bilateral cooperation is essential
to effective action against these transborder criminal groups as well as against other aspects of the
shared drug problem. The drug issue is among the top issues on the bilateral agenda. Greater
information sharing and the establishment of formal mechanisms to achieve our shared goals, particularly
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on drug interdiction and money laundering, characterized bilateral counterdrug cooperation in 2000.
The Government of Mexico continued its broad-based program to combat drug trafficking and related
crimes, as well as to address a worrisome increase in drug abuse. Drug-related violence, particularly
along the border with the United States, remained a major concern. The Government of Mexico made
progress in its efforts to dismantle the transborder drug cartels, particularly the Tijuana-based Arellano
Felix Organization. Mexican military and law enforcement authorities arrested both the cartel's chief of
operations and its financial manager. These and other high profile arrests represent significant
accomplishments for Mexico's counterdrug agencies.
Mexico's eradication program is one of the largest and most aggressive in the world. Eradication,
coupled with severe drought, reduced cultivation by almost 50 percent from 1999 to approximately 1,900
hectares. This resulted in record low levels of opium poppy production, and heroin production fell from
just over 4 metric tons in 1999 to only 2.5 metric tons in 2000, a record low.
The Mexican financial system remains vulnerable to international money laundering, particularly given
the large amounts of drug proceeds being laundered by Mexico-based criminal organizations. The
Government of Mexico took important steps in 2000 to strengthen its anti-money laundering
infrastructure. Recent legislative modifications and regulations lowered the threshold for declarations of
large amounts of currency or monetary instruments and imposed requirements on non-bank financial
institutions; this should improve the Government of Mexico's ability to detect money laundering and to
prosecute money laundering cases.
Since much of the money laundered in Mexico originates in the United States, there is extensive bilateral
cooperation in this area. In 2000, the Governments of Mexico and the United States signed an agreement
to facilitate tracking the movement of large sums of money between the two countries. In June 2000,
Mexico became a member of the Financial Action Task Force, the leading international body dedicated to
fighting money laundering. The Government of Mexico also enacted legislation to strengthen reporting
requirements for large-value domestic currency transactions. Aggressive enforcement of these
regulations will be needed to safeguard the integrity of Mexico's financial institutions.
Regarding the return of fugitives, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the extradition of Mexican
nationals is permissible under Mexican law.
[Page Number 14468]
This reversed several lower court rulings that prevented the extradition of Mexican nationals facing
criminal charges in the United States. Although issued in 2001, the decision represents the culmination of
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a sustained effort by the Zedillo Administration to strengthen bilateral law enforcement cooperation. In
addition, the Mexican Senate ratified the temporary surrender protocol to the bilateral extradition treaty,
which, likewise, will enhance cooperation in bringing fugitives to justice.
The Government of Mexico increased its efforts to reduce the demand for drugs domestically, giving
special attention to the northern border, where the incidence of drug abuse and drug-related violence, is
up to three times the national average. Cross-border cooperation on drug abuse and crime prevention
has been increasing. For example, Baja California's Secretariat of Education and the San Diego School
District have initiated a pilot project introducing a curriculum on the "culture of lawfulness" to help young
people better understand and thus resist involvement in crime and corruption. The appointment of a "drug
czar" for demand reduction brought new attention to federal efforts to reduce drug use.
In its struggle against drugs, Mexico still faces daunting challenges. One of the most difficult is corruption
within the law enforcement institutions fostered by drug trafficking organizations. The Zedillo
Administration continued to promote reform efforts, but these were undermined by such factors as
administrative shortcomings in its law enforcement agencies, i.e., low salaries and a lack of operational
funds and equipment. President Fox campaigned on a platform of fighting crime and corruption, and has
undertaken reorganization and reform of the justice sector, sending a strong signal of commitment.
The Governments of Mexico and the United States continue to build upon the existing infrastructure of
counterdrug policy coordination mechanisms, training and information sharing, equipment and technical
assistance, as well as bilateral law enforcement cooperation, through the development of bilateral
agreements, multilateral mechanisms, and working-level communications. Step by step, the United States
and Mexico will expand this infrastructure and work to remove legal impediments and other roadblocks to
effective cooperation against transnational criminal organizations.
Nigeria
The Government of Nigeria made significant efforts in 2000 to address its drug trafficking problem.
Democratically elected President Obasanjo has publicly denounced drug trafficking. The Nigerian
National Assembly passed tough anti-corruption legislation that created an anti-corruption commission
with broad powers. The Obasanjo Administration supported the 1990 National Drug and Law
Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act Number 33, which dictates that Nigerians convicted of drug offenses
abroad will be arrested upon their deportation back to Nigeria, and, if convicted, be liable for a minimum
of five years additional imprisonment.
In 2000, the Government of Nigeria demonstrated its commitment to counterdrug cooperation by
transferring to U.S. custody four fugitives, including two individuals indicted for serious drug and drug-
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related offenses and designated under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Alhaji Bello Lafiaji,
the new chief of the NDLEA (which has primary responsibility for combating drug smuggling and drug
abuse), also declared an all-out offensive against drug trafficking, called for the harmonization of Nigeria's
drug legislation, and sought increased international assistance for the drug agency.
Nigerian counterdrug efforts during 2000 primarily focused on the interdiction of couriers transiting
Nigeria's airports as well as a public campaign focused on destroying plots of cultivated marijuana
throughout the country. The NDLEA's most successful interdictions have taken place at Nigeria's
international airports, forcing smugglers to change tactics and ship contraband via Nigeria's five major
seaports or across its porous land borders. The NDLEA reported a total of 107 kilograms of cocaine and
heroin seized
[Page Number 14469]
during 2000, as well as the arrest of 1,881 drug traffickers during the first ten months of the year. Several
Nigerian customs officials involved in an attempt to smuggle heroin to the United States were
apprehended and now face trial for their crime. In addition, a Nigerian military general was court
martialed, stripped of his rank, and dismissed from the Army; he remains in the custody of military officials
after being implicated in a heroin smuggling case, while he was stationed in Pakistan.
The NDLEA conducted an active eradication campaign in 2000 and reported a total of 961,345 kilograms
of cannabis destroyed. Recently, the NDLEA has highlighted this eradication campaign by inviting
dignitaries to the various destruction ceremonies around the country and releasing press reports
highlighting their eradication activities.
Cooperation between Nigerian and U.S. law enforcement agencies was good during 2000. However, law
enforcement efforts are often stymied by the slow pace of the Nigerian judicial system, which can be
attributed to both intimidation and corruption of the judiciary by criminal organizations. In addition, within
the judicial system, the Government of Nigeria needs to establish a reliable extradition process that will
allow extradition requests to be heard expeditiously and fairly.
Nigeria is a hub of money laundering and criminal financial activity, not only for the West African subregion, but also increasingly for the entire continent. Nigerian money laundering is directly linked to drug
trafficking, as well as such related activities as document, immigration and financial fraud. In response to
international concerns, the Government of Nigeria has taken positive steps to combat criminal activity and
has become closely involved with U.S. law enforcement agencies in attempting to address financial
crimes and money laundering in Nigeria.
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Pakistan
Pakistan is an important transit country for Afghan opiates and cannabis. In 2000, Pakistan sharply
reduced poppy cultivation, dropping from 1,670 to 515 hectares, a 67 percent decrease from 1999.
Government of Pakistan counterdrug cooperation with the United States Government was excellent.
Interdictions of heroin increased 85 percent and several major traffickers were arrested. The Government
of Pakistan has prevented the reemergence of large heroin/morphine processing laboratories. However,
there was little progress in 2000 on pending extradition cases of drug fugitives.
Pakistan almost achieved its ambitious goal of eliminating opium production by the year 2000. While
Pakistani opium production has plummeted, the tripling of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan since 1993
and growth in sophistication of the Afghan drug trade are putting enormous pressure on the Government
of Pakistan's border control efforts and Pakistani society. This means more drugs transiting Pakistan, a
growing addiction problem, and more cash available for bribery and official corruption.
Pakistan's illicit drug seizures were up significantly compared to the same period in 1999. During the first
10 months of 2000, 7.4 metric tons of heroin, 7.8 metric tons of opium, and 108.1 metric tons of hashish
were seized (compared to 4.0, 12.9 and 70.0 metric tons, respectively, in 1999). Seizures of acetic
anhydride, an important precursor chemical for producing illicit drugs, consisted of small consignments
originating in India. The Anti-Narcotics Force's (ANF) seizures of heroin and cannabis set records in
2000.
The prosecutions of most drug and other criminal cases in Pakistan are protracted. Corruption and low
salaries threaten the integrity of law enforcement and judicial institutions throughout Pakistan. Judges
grant continuances; defendants file delaying interlocutory appeals; witnesses are reluctant to testify; and
bribery can influence case outcomes. The trial of Sakhi Dost Jan Notezai, a prominent drug trafficker and
suspected member of the Quetta Alliance trafficking syndicate, finally concluded this year after seven
years of proceedings. He received a sentence of life in prison and forfeited his
[Page Number 14470]
assets. The case of another alleged drug trafficker, Munawar Hussain Manj, a former member of
Pakistan's National Assembly, is still pending in the superior court, after five years of proceedings. The
case of Rahmat Shah Afridi, owner of an English-language daily and an influential politician from the
Northwest Frontier Province, arrested in early 1999, also is pending. One positive step was the
establishment of five special drug courts in 2000, although they are not yet fully operational and lack
realistic operating budgets.
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The ANF continues to cooperate effectively with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to raise
investigative standards. The creation of the Special Investigative Cell (SIC), trained and equipped by the
United States, has been a milestone in improving the Government of Pakistan's counterdrug efforts. The
SIC targets major drug trafficking organizations and first year results have been encouraging. With this
success, plans are underway to expand SIC operations.
Panama
The Government of Panama continued to demonstrate its willingness to combat transnational drug
trafficking. Panama is a major transshipment point for illicit drugs smuggled from Colombia. Cocaine is
stockpiled in Panama prior to being repackaged for passage to the United States and Europe. Panama's
location, largely unpatrolled coastlines, advanced infrastructure, weak judicial system, and well-developed
financial services sector make it a crossroads for transnational crime, such as drug trafficking, money
laundering, illicit arms sales, and alien smuggling.
The Government of Panama's interdiction of illicit drugs in 2000 increased significantly over 1999, with
record seizures of heroin and first ever seizures of MDMA (Ecstasy). It enacted two laws and issued two
executive decrees that greatly strengthen Panama's money laundering laws and the ability to share
information with international counterparts. Panama took steps toward implementing its comprehensive
chemical control program by establishing a control board that will coordinate government entities and the
private sector. In addition, as a step towards combating financial crime, the Government of Panama
joined the multinational initiative to address the Black Market Peso Exchange.
The highest U.S. bilateral counterdrug priorities in the coming year will be signing a full six-part
counterdrug maritime agreement and assisting the Government of Panama in curbing corruption,
implementing anti-money laundering legislation, increasing security and oversight of the Colon Free
Zone, and improving prosecutions of money launderers and drug traffickers. Other U.S. priorities in
Panama include supporting the Government of Panama's efforts to: build a highly professional
interagency counterdrug task force; develop the capability to control sea lanes, rivers, island and coastal
regions, and the Canal area; and limit cross-border criminal influence. With the commitment of the
Moscoso administration, the United States Government is hopeful that there will be measurable progress
in these areas in 2001.
Paraguay
Paraguay remains a transit country for approximately 10 metric tons of mostly Bolivian cocaine annually,
as well as a source country for high-quality marijuana that is not trafficked to the United States. Paraguay
is a large money-laundering center in Latin America, but it remains unclear how much may be drug-
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related. Paraguay is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
The Government of Paraguay improved its anti-drug cooperation with the United States Government in
2000. It named a new head of the anti-drug secretariat (SENAD) who reenergized anti-drug efforts by
forming a new unit to investigate major traffickers and their organizations. This initiative led to the arrest
of 4 major traffickers and the destruction of an aircraft ferrying cocaine to Brazil. Cocaine seizures
remained stable at 1999 levels. Paraguay enhanced its cooperation with its neighbors by signing
agreements
[Page Number 14471]
on judicial cooperation and information sharing, and by expelling a major trafficker to Brazil. While judicial
cooperation remains weak, the Paraguayan Attorney General named special prosecutors with national
jurisdiction to strengthen SENAD's counterdrug operations.
Although anti-drug cooperation with the United States Government improved in 2000, the Government of
Paraguay still has much to accomplish. The Paraguayan Senate is considering a complete modernization
of existing drug law, but it failed to pass long sought authorities for police to use informants and to
conduct undercover operations and controlled deliveries. These authorities will be key to investigating
and prosecuting major drug traffickers, and sustaining the successes of 2000 against trafficking
organizations in Paraguay.
The Government of Paraguay provided the Anti-Money Laundering Secretariat with its first independent
budget, but has not shown much improvement on combating money laundering. Only one moneylaundering case was recommended for prosecution, and no arrests were made in 2000. A cumbersome
judicial process is largely responsible for consistently minimal success in the Government of Paraguay's
enforcement of its drug-related asset seizure and forfeiture laws. The Government of Paraguay also
made little progress against official corruption and has not made progress in developing an effective antidrug and organized crime investigative and operational capability for the border areas.
While action against money laundering and official corruption, passage of legislation for modern police
authorities, and controlling its borders remain important areas needing improved cooperation by the
Government of Paraguay, the United States Government is impressed with the steps taken against some
of the major trafficking organizations operating in Paraguay.
Peru
Despite the political turbulence in Peru during 2000, the Government of Peru made progress on all major
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components of its counterdrug program. Over 6,200 hectares of coca were eradicated manually, which
contributed to a 12 percent cultivation reduction in 2000, and an overall 70 percent reduction in coca
cultivation over the past six years. The Peruvian transition government has restated its commitment to the
reduction of coca cultivation. There was a significant increase in the number of opium poppy fields
discovered and destroyed by the Government of Peru during 2000; however, information on the extent of
opium poppy cultivation throughout Peru remained scarce.
In January 2000, the Peruvian National Police arrested Adolfo Cachique Rivera, co-head of a major
Peruvian cocaine base trafficking organization. His arrest effectively ended the illegal cocaine operations
of this organization, which had exported multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine base to Brazil and Colombia
for over nine years. Luis and Jose Aybar-Cancho, the heads of a major arms and drugs trafficking
organization, were also arrested.
While the total amount of drugs seized in 2000 declined, the Peruvian National Police destroyed several
cocaine hydrochloride laboratories. The police chemical control unit conducted over 1,000 regulatory and
criminal investigations of suspected chemical companies in 2000, making 41 arrests, seizing over 158
metric tons of controlled precursor chemicals, and closing six chemical companies. The Government of
Peru cooperated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Chilean authorities in the nine-ton
seizure of cocaine from a maritime shipment in the Chilean seaport of Arica. There were also two
successful interceptions of trafficker aircraft by the Peruvian Air Force (FAP) during 2000. One of these
interceptions highlighted significant interagency Peruvian cooperation between the air force and police,
which forced the traffickers to burn their aircraft and sacrifice its drug payload.
The counterdrug alternative development program achieved significant results, increasing the gross
value of licit agricultural production to $64.6
[Page Number 14472]
million in targeted areas. This exceeds the gross value of coca leaf production in the same areas by ten
percent, and marks a notable decline in the illicit economy based on coca. Alternative development has
also assisted in raising the percentage of coca area households with access to basic services from 16
percent to 49 percent.
New elections and a policy to fight corruption bode well for counterdrug work. Peru's significant reduction
in the amount of coca cultivated proves that its strategy is working. However, with higher prices being
paid for coca, farmers will be tempted to abandon licit crops. It is essential that manual eradication of
illegal coca crops, counterdrug-related alternative development, the airbridge denial program, and land
and maritime/riverine interdiction all continue as closely coordinated complementary programs. The
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Government of Peru should also refine relevant laws, especially as they pertain to money laundering,
asset seizure, and chemical controls.
Thailand
Thailand has one of the world's most effective illicit drug crop control programs. United States analysts
estimate that Thailand's opium production in the 2000 growing season remained at a maximum of 6
metric tons. Cultivation remained under 1,000 hectares for the second year in a row, although there was a
slight increase to 890 hectares. Continuing trends established in previous years, opium farmers are
cultivating smaller, more isolated fields and engaging in multiple cropping to avoid eradication.
Thailand remains a major drug transit country; a significant amount of heroin transits Thailand on its way
to the United States. Throughout 2000, Thailand continued its long tradition of cooperation with the United
States and the international community in anti-drug programs. With U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration support, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) established the fourth in a series of specially trained
drug law enforcement units to target major trafficking groups. Despite treatment, epidemiology of
substance abuse, and demand reduction programs, the epidemic of methamphetamine abuse grew,
especially among the young. The methamphetamine problem underscored the need for cost effective
community-based models of addiction treatment and additional abuse-prevention training for both public
and private sector health professionals.
Thailand enhanced its leadership role in transnational crime issues by co- managing the International
Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok with the United States. The bilateral extradition
relationship continues to be highly successful, and Thailand continues to extradite its nationals to the
United States under the treaty. Indeed, Thailand is one of the top countries in the world in cooperating
with the United States on extradition requests. Extensive cooperative law enforcement programs
continued to bear fruit. According to Royal Thai Government figures, 290 kilograms of heroin were seized
and 9 methamphetamine labs were destroyed during the first 10 months of 2000. Despite Thailand's good
record on counterdrug enforcement, many elements of government and society remain rampantly corrupt.
2000 was also a productive year for legislation and regulation. Implementing regulations for the 1999
Money Laundering Control Act came into effect in October, 2000. The Act requires reporting for most
financial transactions of more than 2 million baht (approximately $50,000). A senior police official has
been named to head the 64-person money laundering control office. The Thai Cabinet approved
accession to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and final arrangements are being undertaken by the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs.
Venezuela
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Venezuela is a significant transit route for illegal drugs destined for the United States and Europe; by
some United States Government estimates, over 100 metric tons of cocaine transit Venezuela annually.
The vast majority of this traffic consists of cocaine and heroin from neighboring Colombia.
Cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies was very good, with one complex joint operation
leading to the seizure of 8.8 metric tons of
[Page Number 14473]
cocaine, numerous arrests in Venezuela, and the expulsion of two significant third-country drug
traffickers to the United States for trial. The Government of Venezuela expanded its already extensive
cooperation with the United States through counterdrug programs focusing on interdiction, money
laundering, chemical control and reinforcement of the judicial system. The Organization of American
States Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission (CICAD) elected Venezuela to its Vice-Presidency. The
Government of Venezuela continued to attempt to conduct aerial interdiction operations against drug
smuggling aircraft unilaterally in 2000; while these actions were largely ineffective, during the same period
air transits through Venezuelan airspace by drug smugglers decreased significantly.
The Government of Venezuela continued to combat drug trafficking and consumption in 2000, despite
considerable change in the political system (including a new constitution adopted in December 1999 that
mandated the election of a new unicameral National Assembly). New policy initiatives were introduced,
and the Government of Venezuela enhanced law enforcement efforts to combat drug trafficking and
related crime. Seizure figures for the calendar year were up from the preceding year for both cocaine (15
metric tons from 12) and heroin (134 kilograms from 40).
During 2000, Venezuelan prosecutors took steps to fulfill their new responsibilities under the new penal
code introduced in 1999. The National Anti-drug Commission introduced new initiatives in 2000 to expand
demand reduction programs, to increase Venezuelan participation in multilateral anti- drug initiatives, and
to improve eradication efforts aimed at small areas of coca and opium poppy cultivation that spill over into
Venezuelan territory from Colombia. Venezuela prepared draft legislation to improve chemical precursor
control, and participated in a multilateral effort to improve regional cooperation countering precursor
chemical diversion.
The Government of Venezuela continued to place a high priority on reducing corruption. Reorganization
of law enforcement agencies and the customs service led to large-scale dismissals of those suspected of
involvement in corruption. However, new legislation to give police necessary tools to aid investigations
was not adopted, partly because the new National Assembly did not begin work until October 2000.
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The Government of Venezuela enhanced its efforts to collect information to deter money laundering,
introducing new regulations to further strengthen already stringent currency transaction reporting based
on U.S. reporting requirements, and taking steps to implement Caribbean Financial Action Task Force
recommendations. The Government of Venezuela should adopt appropriate legislation to criminalize the
laundering of proceeds from all serious crimes.
Vietnam
Vietnam intensified its efforts to combat the production, trafficking, and use of illicit drugs. Due to
improved weather, Vietnam saw a 10 percent increase in poppy cultivation to 2,300 hectares in 2000 from
2,125 hectares in 1999. Potential opium production in 2000 increased 36 percent to 15 metric tons from
11 metric tons in 1999. The Government of Vietnam continued its efforts to reduce poppy cultivation
through education, eradication, and crop-substitution programs. Drug seizures increased in most
categories, although amounts seized were still small. Law enforcement officers seized 60 kilograms of
heroin, 567 kilograms of opium, 2,200 kilograms of marijuana, 119,465 vials of addictive drugs, 66,192
doses of heroin, and 6,783 tablets of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), including methamphetamine.
The quantities of opium, vials of addictive drugs, and tablets of ATS interdicted increased by 26.5
percent. Vietnam cooperated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which opened an office in
Hanoi in February 2000, and signed a counterdrug agreement with Japan in February 2000 providing for
information sharing and training.
The Government of Vietnam received increased counterdrug funding from the United States, up from
$11.6 million in 1999 to $14.3 million in 2000.
[Page Number 14474]
The Government of Vietnam drafted a new two-stage Master Plan for 2001-2010. The Plan entailed 14
projects to combat drug production and trafficking and to strengthen education and drug-treatment
programs, as well as an intensified one-year, six-point counterdrug program. The Government of Vietnam
restructured and rationalized its drug control institutions. The National Assembly passed a counterdrug
law, drafted with U.S. assistance, and legislation criminalizing money laundering.
The United States and Vietnam have not yet concluded a counterdrug agreement. Vietnam has not fully
eradicated poppy crops, and farmers reverted to poppy cultivation in some high-poverty rural areas,
increasing the total to 2,300 hectares devoted to poppy crops. Revisions to the Penal Code that
criminalize money laundering took effect on July 1, 2000. Vietnam's new banking law also requires
financial institutions to report suspicious transactions, although they are only reported to a central
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authority upon request.
Despite some notable shortcomings, Vietnam has made a vigorous effort to combat drug production and
trafficking. There is no question that the Government of Vietnam at the highest levels fully realizes the
threat drugs present to Vietnamese society and is doing everything possible to counter the availability and
use of illicit drugs.
[FR Doc. 01-6296 Filed 3-9-01; 9:06 am] BILLING CODE 4710-10-P
Presidential Determination No. 20001-12 of March 1, 2001
Document freg000020010711dx3c003gl
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My Say - Losers and winners in ICT.
By Eric Loo.
1,347 words
5 March 2001
The Edge
THEDGE
English
(c) 2001 The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd
To remain relevant in a borderless globalised economy, it is generally theorised that countries must
adhere to the rudiments of laissez faire, have a well-educated multitasking population, a sophisticated
financial structure, an entrepreneurial workforce and an efficient communication infrastructure. But in
reality, different regions and countries - being differently structured and endowed by nature - can only be
better or worse prepared to respond to information and communications technologies (ICTs).
To use the Internet, first, you need a phone line. Second, a computer and a modem; and third, electricity.
Where one in three people in the developing world have no access to electricity; 80 per cent of the world
population of more than five billion don't even have a phone; more than a quarter still don't have life's
most basic necessities - water, education, nourishment and shelter - the rubbery figures being peddled on
how fast the Internet has grown can be quite meaningless.
In February 1997, Bill Gates predicted at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the Internet would
have as many as 500 million users in the next 10 years. In January 2000, there were about 72.4 million
hosts on the Internet, out of which only 3.0 per cent was from the Third World. China, India, Brazil and
Nigeria, with more than 40 per cent of the world population, make up less than 1.0 per cent of the Internet
hosts. About 85.3 per cent remain in G-7 countries, which make up only about 10 per cent of the world
population.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO)'s World Employment Report 2001: Life at Work in the
Information Economy finds that despite the phenomenal growth of the Internet in the industrialised world
and its increasing penetration into developing countries, many poor nations remain technologically
disconnected from the benefits of these electronic marvels.
Given its different speed of diffusion in wealthy and poor countries, ICT has created a global "digital
divide". Unless this is addressed, the report notes, the employment aspirations and productivity potential
of millions of workers in scores of developing countries cannot be realised. Access to the technologies
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and ensuring that workers possess the education and skills to use them are the fundamental policies that
developing countries need to consider.
This point was foreshadowed in February 1994 when non-governmental organisation (NGO) delegates
attending the International Symposium on New Technologies and the Democratisation of Audiovisual
Communication in New Delhi declared that a "global democratisation of information exchange" should be
more attuned to socio-cultural development imperatives than a "global information supermarket" dictated
by laissez faire forces.
The New Delhi Declaration states that "all men have the right to be informed and to inform other people...
Information is no commercial product but a media that we shall all share together".
It underscored the deep-seated antagonism towards Western media monopoly in the information trade.
Notwithstanding the economic and communication benefits of ICT, the antagonism arises from the fact
that ICT applications in the developing world are being dictated by relentless commercial forces rather
than socio-cultural development imperatives.
It's tempting to regard the Internet's commercialist ideology, which is dominated by a few multinational
media groups and operated by a privileged class, as another evidence of "neo-colonialism".
Ironically, it was only 10 years or so ago when the developing world embraced the Internet as a vaunted
panacea for underdevelopment, based on the theory that open access to information worldwide would
catalyse social change, political freedom and human development. Well, it's still a theory.
In reality, evidence from the globalised marketplace of borderless capital and information flow, where the
meaning of national sovereignty is being redefined, points to a repetition of the new world information
order debates in the 1970s when the developing world castigated the Western news agencies for
controlling 85 per cent of the communication industry. A more recent example is the Murdoch empire's
takeover of Star TV, which effectively lets it decide on the programmes broadcast to over 3.5 billion
people in Asia. This exemplifies the continual dominance of the West in international communication.
One is also tempted to theorise that the developing world has little choice but to respond to ICT by
building an "information society" as symbols of modernity and to partake in the fruits of "globalisation".
In Malaysia, costly IT infrastructure such as the Multimedia Supercorridor has been launched over the
last few years but its positive impact on social and human capital is yet to be seen.
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Indeed, it is said that in countries where citizens have limited access to educational and health care
facilities, the launch of ICT applications is akin to installing pipes where there is no water. The ILO report
notes that even if access to ICT becomes easier and widespread, little may be gained from the digital
revolution without adequate levels of education. The inability to assimilate and benefit from ICT may be
the most significant challenge inherent in the spread of the digital economy in coming years, the report
notes.
"Investment in basic and higher education is the most critical policy tool available to governments to reap
the benefits of ICT," the ILO report says. "No developing country has successfully secured a niche in
global markets for intangible products without having a well-educated workforce. Education and economic
growth, moreover, are complementary, and investment in the former is likely to result in the latter. This
causal link might be truer still of the emerging knowledge-based economy, in which the most critical
source of wealth creation is knowledge, not physical input or natural resources."
According to MSC planners, we will leapfrog into the digital age by 2020. Overseas organisations
considering locating their IT operations in the MSC, however, have looked at similar expansive cyber
projects in Singapore and Hong Kong, which are also marketing themselves as Asia's "cyber-hub".
Apart from tax enticements, Singapore and Hong Kong have liberalised their telecommunications and
immigration laws to attract skilled IT expertise. So has Malaysia, mainly from the West. Heavy
investments are also being made to foster the populations' critical information literacy - for instance, our
National Internet Literacy Campaign - by upgrading computer technology curricula in schools and
universities. In Singapore, primary school pupils take elementary computer training. Together with foreign
companies, the government is wiring the island-state through a nationwide network, Singapore ONE. To
ensure control over the information that is accessed by the well-connected population, proxy servers
function as border guards for Singaporean users and cyberspace.
Herein lies the paradox: Government policies on technological openness don't often converge with its
attitudes towards open public discourse.
However, in Indochina, the telecommunications infrastructure and hence, subsequent Internet
penetration, seems light years away from the digital age.
With an ultimate connection to the Internet grid, the developing world as we know it still has to turn to the
West for equipment as well as expertise, thus completing the cycle of dependency and control - history
reproducing its list of losers and winners in the digitalised global economy. Those ill-prepared to respond
to change are consequently diminished, disempowered.
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Indeed, ICT cannot possibly be viewed on the economic globalised marketing level alone as its impact
permeates the cultural, psychological and sociological dimensions - the non-material dimensions of our
being, which the policy makers have perhaps overlooked. A critical influence on a nation's
responsiveness to change perhaps is its social attitudes, religious beliefs, and culture.
Hence the question: Do some generational and cultural values hinder change? Are some societies more
disinclined towards technology than others, and ideologically opposed to Western capitalist mores and
power structures? In a post-modern communication era, ICT may not be just a technological
phenomenon. Ultimately, its pervasive impact is social and cultural and, given that radical cultural change
comes slowly, the likely losers for now will again be the poorer nations.
Eric Loo (eric - loo@uow.edu.au) is head of the Graduate School of Journalism, University of
Wollongong, New South Wales.
Document thedge0020010715dx35000o8
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INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL GIANT TO ENHANCE GLOBAL PRESENCE.
By Mohd Fisol Jaafar.
542 words
8 February 2001
Bernama Daily Malaysian News
BRNAMA
English
(c) 2001 Bernama - Malaysian National News Agency
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 (Bernama) - Indian pharmaceutical giant, Ranbaxy Laboratories L td has set a
target to become a global leader in pharmaceutical research and development.
It is now the largest Indian pharmaceutical company and among the top 100 global pharma companies
and was ranked as the 11th largest generic company worldwide in 1999.
"We are now in the process of setting up our seventh overseas facility in Vietnam which would enhance
our presence in the Asia and the global markets, said Rajesh Bhaskar, its group leader in pharma
research, in an interview in New Delhi last week.
Ranbaxy's global operations span over 40 countries with a physical presence in 22 economies including
Malaysia, and a multi-cultural workforce of over 7,000 people.
Besides Malaysia, it has manufacturing facilities in Ireland, the Netherlands, United States, China,
Nigeria and South Africa.
Ranbaxy Malaysia Sdn Bhd is a 42:58 percent joint venture between Ranbaxy Laboratories and
Malaysian shareholders.
The joint venture was effective in 1985 and primarily was a trading c ompany importing finished goods
from Ranbaxy Laboratories.
In 1987, a manufacturing plant was built in Sungai Petani, Kedah to cater for the Malaysian, Singapore,
Brunei and Papua New Guinea markets, producing liquid formulations, tablets, capsules and granules.
The Malaysian operation's annual sales exceed RM25 million.
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Bhaskar said Ranbaxy Malaysia's vision was to be the largest pharmaceutical company in Malaysia and
with a strong presence in Singapore and Brunei.
He said the unit' s aim was to provide the best quality product at competitive prices in the market and
would introduce a minimum of six products per year to its customers.
Bashkar said that Ranbaxy's internationalisation programme had been the cornerstone of its endeavour
to seek a platform for robust and sustainable growth.
The company's annual sales averaged US$400 million (RM1.5 billion). Almost 50 percent of its revenue
is generated from overseas markets and the company's exports accounted for 12 percent of India's
pharmaceutical exports.
Bhaskar said Ranbaxy was a well recognised international generic company.
"There are very few generic companies with an international presence but fewer still have embarked on a
complex, multi-country operations from a developing country, with a vision that engulfs emerging and
advanced markets," he added.
Ranbaxy, he said, remained focussed on ascending the value chain in the marketing of pharmaceutical
substances and was determined to bring in incr eased revenues from dosage forms.
The company's success in international markets and its ability to create intellectual wealth with
sustainable differentiation was a measure of its research capabilities.
It has a state-of-the-art research and development centre, known as R&D-1, in Gurgaon near New Delhi,
focussing on Novel Drug Delivery Systems (NDDS) and New Drug Discovery Research (NDDR).
The R&D-1 houses pharmaceutical research, chemical research, NDDS and fermentation research
which is strongly supported by in-house analytical research, clinical research, international regulatory
affairs (IRA), intellectual property cell and corporate quality assurance.
Bhaskar said Ranbaxy, which produced Caverta, India's own wonder drug for erectile dysfunction,
invests four percent of its annual turnover on R&D. - BERNAMA
MFJ KTC.
Document brnama0020010710dx2800cce
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INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL GIANT TO ENHANCE GLOBAL PRESENCE.
532 words
8 February 2001
04:37 AM
Asia Pulse
APULSE
English
(c) 2001 Asia Pulse Pte Limited.< Asia Pulse gives no warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy of the
information, Asia Pulse shall not be liable for errors or omissions in, or delays or interruptions to or
cessation of delivery of, the data through its
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8, Asia Pulse - Indian pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd is aiming to
become a global leader in pharmaceuticalceutical research and development.
It is now the largest Indian pharmaceuticalceutical company and among the top 100 global
pharmaceutical companies and was ranked as the 11th largest generic company worldwide in 1999.
"We are now in the process of setting up our seventh overseas facility in Vietnam which would enhance
our presence in the Asia and the global markets, said Rajesh Bhaskar, its group leader in pharmaceutical
research, in an interview in New Delhi last week.
Ranbaxy's global operations span over 40 countries with a physical presence in 22 economies including
Malaysia, and a multi-cultural workforce of over 7,000 people.
Besides Malaysia, it has manufacturing facilities in Ireland, the Netherlands, United States, China,
Nigeria and South Africa.
Ranbaxy Malaysia Sdn Bhd is a 42:58 percent joint venture between Ranbaxy Laboratories and
Malaysian shareholders.
The joint venture was effective in 1985 and primarily was a trading company importing finished goods
from Ranbaxy Laboratories.
In 1987, a manufacturing plant was built in Sungai Petani, Kedah to cater for the Malaysian, Singapore,
Page 48 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
Brunei and Papua New Guinea markets, producing liquid formulations, tablets, capsules and granules.
The Malaysian operation's annual sales exceed RM25 million.
Bhaskar said Ranbaxy Malaysia's vision was to be the largest pharmaceuticalceutical company in
Malaysia and with a strong presence in Singapore and Brunei.
He said the unit's aim was to provide the best quality product at competitive prices in the market and
would introduce a minimum of six products per year to its customers.
Bashkar said that Ranbaxy's internationalisation program had been the cornerstone of its endeavour to
seek a platform for robust and sustainable growth.
The company's annual sales averaged US$400 million (RM1.5 billion). Almost 50 percent of its revenue
is generated from overseas markets and the company's exports accounted for 12 percent of India's
pharmaceuticalceutical exports.
Bhaskar said Ranbaxy was a well recognised international generic company.
"There are very few generic companies with an international presence but fewer still have embarked on a
complex, multi-country operations from a developing country, with a vision that engulfs emerging and
advanced markets," he added.
Ranbaxy, he said, remained focussed on ascending the value chain in the marketing of
pharmaceuticalceutical substances and was determined to bring in increased revenues from dosage
forms.
The company's success in international markets and its ability to create intellectual wealth with
sustainable differentiation was a measure of its research capabilities.
It has a state-of-the-art research and development centre, known as R&D-1, in Gurgaon near New Delhi,
focussing on Novel Drug Delivery Systems (NDDS) and New Drug Discovery Research (NDDR).
The R&D-1 houses pharmaceuticalceutical research, chemical research, NDDS and fermentation
research which is strongly supported by in-house analytical research, clinical research, international
regulatory affairs (IRA), intellectual property cell and corporate quality assurance.
Bhaskar said Ranbaxy, which produced Caverta, India's own wonder drug for erectile dysfunction,
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invests four percent of its annual turnover on R&D.
BERNAMA.
Document apulse0020010710dx280085e
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Seeking asylum but finding a cell.
By LES ALLAMBY, The Northern Ireland Law Centre.
845 words
23 January 2001
Belfast News Letter
BELNEL
14
English
(c) 2001 Century Newspapers, Ltd.
THE detention of asylum seekers in prison remains a blot in the legal landscape. A recent Law Centre
report, Sanctuary in a Cell - the detention of asylum seekers in Northern Ireland, sets out the legal and
policy arguments for ending current practice.
Unlike in Britain where asylum seekers are generally held in purpose built detention facilities, those
detained in Northern Ireland are held in prison. Having committed no criminal offence, asylum seekers
are separated from the general prison population and held either in isolation or with other separated
prisoners, for example, sex offenders.
Wide powers to detain asylum seekers are granted to Immigration officers under the 1971 Immigration
Act, 1993 Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act and the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act. These powers
set out no criteria for detention and provide no time limit on the period of such detention.
Internal guidance operated by the Immigration Service only became publicly available following an
unreported High Court decision, R V Secretary of State for Home Department ex p Brezinski and
Glowacka 1996.
Such guidance can clearly be changed and in any event often appears to be ignored. The main avenue
to challenge detention is through an application for bail, normally to an immigration adjudicator.
Unlike in Britain, legal aid is not available for immigration appeals and bail hearing though the Home
Office has recently funded a post at the Law Centre to provide such representation.
In contrast, human rights legislation provides considerably greater protection. Article 5 of the European
Convention which can now be argued before courts and tribunals governs the right to liberty and security
and sets out that a person detained must be given reasons for detention in a language he or she
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understands. Moreover, there is also a right to promptly challenge such detention.
In Ammur v France (1996), the European Court of Human Rights held that this must include access to
legal assistance and translation facilities. International refugee law also provides guidance on detention,
in particular, Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention and United Nations High Commission for
Refugee guidelines make it clear that detention may be resorted to, but only in specific and exceptional
circumstances.
Article 31 has been incorporated into domestic legislation since 1996 whilst the guidelines, though not
legally binding, nonetheless, come from an internationally authoritative source.
Sanctuary in a Cell examined 75 individuals detained between January 1999 and June 2000. Thirteen
were women held in Maghaberry and 62 men held in Magilligan and 19 nationalities were covered by the
analysis though Chinese, Romanian and Nigerian nationals made up two-thirds of those detained.
Only 8 per cent of the detained were ultimately deported. Worryingly, however, 27 per cent withdrew their
asylum claims and returned to countries or origin suggesting that imprisonment inhibited the pursuit of
legal redress.
A further 23 per cent were removed to the Republic of Ireland and 38 per cent released on bail. Many of
those removed to the Republic were transferred under the Dublin Convention as an asylum claim had
been lodged with the Republic and the person had unwittingly travelled to Northern Ireland without
realising the legal ramifications of such a trip.
The outcomes for those detained raise real questions about whether detention was necessary or
appropriate in the first instance. The report concluded that detention is too readily used in Northern
Ireland and should, in future, only be applied in circumstances that meet international human rights
standards. The main recommendation of the report is that a non-custodial alternative to detention should
be developed including accommodation tailored to the needs of asylum seekers and the requirement of
close supervision where necessary.
In the interim a series of recommendations to improve prison conditions are also made.
The recommendations have been endorsed by Sir David Ramsbotham Chief Inspector of Prisons for
England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Equality and Human Rights Commissions.
A review by the Home Office of immigration detention facilities is at an advanced stage and the report's
publication is timely.
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To illustrate the unsatisfactory impact of current provision, a Roma gypsy was detained and separated
from her new born daughter on arrival in Northern Ireland.
She became so agitated and distressed that she was removed to the psychiatric unit of Maghaberry. A
prison governor had serious doubts about such a placement and contacted the Law Centre.
The commissioning of a report from the consultant psychiatrist and an application for bail led to a move
out of the unit and subsequent release to be reunited with her son who had been placed in care.
Hopefully, the Home Office review will put an end to the need to highlight such cases.
Sanctuary in a Cell - the detention of asylum seekers by Victoria Tennant is available from the Law
Centre at #9.95.
A copy of the executive summary is also available free of charge. Contact Law Centre publications
department 90 244401.
This article first appeared in The Writ, the journal of the Northern Ireland Law Society.
Document belnel0020010710dx1n00ekv
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The AFP news agenda for Wednesday, January 10
1,302 words
10 January 2001
Agence France-Presse
AFPR
English
(Copyright 2001)
Duty editor: Frank Ferrari
Tel: Washington (202) 414-0541
TOP WORLD NEWS STORIES
BRUSSELS: A sharply divided NATO hold talks likely to focus on so- called Balkans syndrome, a day
after Washington says allies were adequately warned.
JERUSALEM: The Mideast peace process appears doomed as US mediator Dennis Ross puts off a visit
to the region.
BANGKOK: Historic contacts were made between Myanmar's junta and the opposition led by Aung San
Suu Kyi.
GENEVA: The Indonesian government and separatist Aceh rebels have agreed a month-long extension
of a truce, due to have expired January 15, rebels confirmed.
FILING PLANS BY REGION
-- EUROPE -NATO-Balkans,lead
BRUSSELS
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Members of a sharply divided NATO hold talks likely to focus on so- called Balkans syndrome, one day
after Washington insisted that the allies had adequate warning about the hazards of handling depleted
uranium munitions.
500 words 0830 GMT
We also moved NATO-Balkans-Russia
NATO-Yugo
BELGRADE
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic arrives in Brussels, the first high level Belgrade official to
visit NATO since the 1999 Kosovo war, for talks with NATO Secretary General George Robertson before
meeting with ambassadors from the permanent council.
Will provide coverage
NATO-Balkans-Germany
BERLIN
Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping addresses alarm over cancer suffered by troops sent to the Balkans
in possible connection with the use by NATO of uranium in munitions.
Press conference at 1100 GMT
Will provide coverage
NATO-Balkans-Kosovo
KLINA, Yugoslavia
Three Portuguese government ministers in Kosovo to speak to troops and scientists about the potential
danger posed by debris from depleted uranium shells fired at the province during the NATO air campaign
are to give a press conference.
Conference at 0900 GMT
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Expect coverage
WTO-China
GENEVA
Chinese negotiators resume talks aimed at securing the country's long-awaited entry into the World
Trade Organization (WTO), expected to take place by mid-year.
250 words moved. Will update
Austria-Nazi
VIENNA
Follow-up on the resumption of negotiations between Austria and the United States over the cash payout
to victims of the Nazi Third Reich, after chief US negotiator Stuart Eizenstat warns there was still a long
way to go before a settlement could be reached.
Will provide coverage
Eizenstat to hold press conference at midday
Warcrimes-Bosnia
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina/THE HAGUE
Former Bosnian Serb president Biljana Plavsic, an ultra- nationalist who openly accepted ethnic
cleansing during the war in Bosnia from 1992-1995, was to formally surrender to warcrimes prosecutors
in The Hague.
Expect update
Lockerbie
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands
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Lawyers for two Libyans accused of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing will begin their closing submissions
with the aim of defeating an all-or- nothing bid by prosecutors to secure a murder verdict.
Expect update
Court resumes at 0845 GMT
Azerbaijan-Russia,lead
BAKU
Russian President Vladimir Putin, on second day of landmark visit to ex-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan,
urges Baku parliament to join Moscow in building long-term military cooperation in the troubled Caucasus
region.
550 words 0900 GMT by David Stern
Putin flies back to Moscow around 1200 GMT
Madcow-Germany
BERLIN
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder reshuffles his government after the resignation of his health and
agriculture ministers over their handling of the mad cow crisis.
Press conference at 1100 GMT
Will provide coverage
Turkey-Iraq-Kurds
ANKARA
Iraqi Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani meets with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on a second day of talks with
Turkish officials on how to purge northern Iraq of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels.
Meeting scheduled for 1300 GMT
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-- MIDEAST -Mideast
JERUSALEM
The Middle East peace process appears doomed as US mediator Dennis Ross puts off a visit to the
region and Israeli right-winger Ariel Sharon, favourite to win next month's elections, declares the seminal
1993 Oslo accords dead.
800 words 0930 GMT
-- AMERICAS -US-Bush
WASHINGTON
President-elect George W. Bush kicks off a two-day visit to Washington during which he will attend
education forum and get Pentagon and intelligence briefings.
500 words moved by Maxim Kniazkov
Mexico-Chiapas
TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico
Foreign ambassadors and government officials were to witness the withdrawal of Mexican troops from
areas where Zapatista guerrillas have a strong influence.
600 words moved by Patrick Moser
Colombia-violence
BOGOTA
At least 35 Colombians, including 20 civilians, have died in the last 48 hours, in violent attacks attributed
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to right-wing paramilitaries and clashes between soldiers and leftist rebels.
600 words 0900 GMT by Alexander Martinez
Chile-Pinochet
SANTIAGO
Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was expected at the Military Hospital here to undergo courtordered physical and mental tests to see if he is fit for trial.
Expect coverage
US-Albright
WASHINGTON
Outgoing Secretary of State Madeleine Albright prepares for a three-day visit to France and Spain.
US-pandas
WASHINGTON
Two pandas on loan from China are released from quarantine at the National Zoo for all Washingtonians
to admire, at event attended by the Chinese ambassador.
Release set for 1500 GMT
-- AFRICA -Nigeria-politics
LAGOS
Governors from Nigeria's 17 southern states will hold a second meeting on increasing autonomy amid
rising regional strains.
Expect coverage
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Burundi
DAR ES SALAAM
Burundi's President Pierre Buyoya is expected here Wednesday for talks with his Tanzanian counterpart
Benjamin Mkapa -- who is trying to bring peace to war-torn Burundi and the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) -- the day after Buyoya and Hutu rebel leader Jean-Bosco Ndayikengurukiye met in
Libreville for the first time since civil war broke out in 1993.
Will update
SthnAfrica-cholera
JOHANNESBURG
Cholera is scything through southern Africa, carried in contaminated rivers, with 63 deaths and more
than 16,000 cases reported since August in South Africa, and new cases -- and deaths -- in Mozambique,
Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.
600 words by 1600 GMT
-- ASIA -Myanmar-politics-reax
BANGKOK
The international community welcomes the start of historic contacts between Myanmar's junta and the
opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and urges both sides to work towards national reconciliation.
700 words 0900 GMT
Also moved: Myanmar-UN-meet
Myanmar-US
Myanmar-politics,analysis
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BANGKOK
With news that Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has held secret meetings with the core of
the ruling generals, analysts question where the historic contacts are headed.
600 words 0800 GMT by Sarah Stewart
China-space,5thlead
BEIJING
China moves a step closer to becoming just the third nation to put an astronaut in space with the launch
of the unpiloted Shenzhou II spaceship.
650 words 0800 GMT
Indonesia-Aceh-talks,2ndlead
JAKARTA
Separatist rebels in Indonesia's Aceh province have agreed to stop using arms and adopt political means
instead to win independence in talks in Geneva with government representatives, Defense Minister
Mohammad Mahfud said.
600 words moved. Expect update
We also moved Indonesia-Aceh-truce ex-GENEVA
Australia-origins,lead
SYDNEY
Mungo Man, the 60,000-year-old Aborigine now confounding conventional wisdom with new evidence
about the origins of modern humanity, probably descended from Australia's first Chinese immigrants,
experts say.
650 words 0815 GMT by Jack Taylor
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India-pilgrim-technology
ALLAHABAD, India
With mobile phone-wielding sadhus, cyber cafes, dedicated websites and satellite TV crews from around
the world, India's Kumbh Mela -- the world's largest religious gathering -- has gone high-tech with a
vengeance.
650 words 0830 GMT by Krishna Chatterjee
NKorea-nuclear,lead
SEOUL
A Japanese consortium takes over from General Electric of the United States as the supplier of two
nuclear reactors being built at an agonisingly slow pace in North Korea.
550 words 0815 GMT
Thailand-vote,lead
BANGKOK
Voters stage a fifth day of protests angered by delays to Thailand's vote count with official results still not
in, election officials say.
650 words 0800 GMT. Pictures
afp
Document afpr000020010709dx1a00lgi
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NEWS
New Mafias Go Global / High-tech trade in humans, drugs
Frank Viviano
Chronicle Staff Writer
3,537 words
7 January 2001
The San Francisco Chronicle
SFC
FINAL
A1
English
© 2001 Hearst Communications Inc., Hearst Newspapers Division. Provided by ProQuest Information
and Learning. All Rights Reserved.
By any standard, the journey of Mohammed Hodrat from Tajikistan to Western Europe is an astonishing
testament to international financing, state-of-the-art communications and pinpoint logistics. It is also,
European law enforcement authorities say, the signature of an unprecedented organized crime network -a worldwide archipelago of "mafias," loosely modeled on the Sicilian original, equipped with the latest
tools of high technology and linked in powerful underworld alliances that stretch across the Earth.
The chief business interests of the Mafia Archipelago are drugs, arms and, increasingly, a multibilliondollar traffic in human beings that carried Hodrat and three members of his family to Italy.
On a two-month trip by land and sea that ended with a midnight voyage across the Adriatic Sea in an
open boat, the Hodrats passed through Afghanistan, Iran, eastern Turkey and Yugoslavia, crossing
several of the world's most dangerous and heavily militarized borders without passports or visas.
Even for a family fleeing a bloody civil war in the ruins of the Soviet empire, the experience was terrifying.
"We expected to be killed at any moment," said Hodrat, who under an assumed name spoke with a
Chronicle reporter at a crowded refugee camp in southern Italy.
But at every border, he said, someone was waiting in a minivan, a boat or a truck with a concealed
passenger compartment to transport the family to a hiding place until the time came for them to move on
to the next border. At no point were they asked for any more money than the $24,000 fee that was paid
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by a relative in Norway to a Serbian "businessman" before their departure.
Interpol, the international police agency, estimates that 4 million human beings per year are being
smuggled across international borders by transnational criminal syndicates: Chinese triads and Italian
Mafia clans, and their counterparts from the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Israel, Lebanon, Vietnam,
Nigeria, Colombia and elsewhere.
Never in history, say leading law enforcement figures, have such far-flung criminal organizations
combined their financial and logistical operations in a single enterprise. The traffic in human beings by
this network "is among the most serious and fastest- growing problems in the world," warns Raymond E.
Kendall, Interpol's secretary general.
According to the Turin-based United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, human
trafficking now earns multinational criminal syndicates up to $7 billion annually. Britain's Immigration and
Nationality Directorate believes that the number of immigrants involved exceeds 25 million per year, and
that the mafias' take is as high as $30 billion.
On Dec. 15, the Clinton administration released a 120-page report characterizing global organized crime
as a full-fledged "national security crisis" for the United States, equivalent to international terrorism.
Yet at present, no one in the world's beleaguered police and legal establishments knows how the Mafia
Archipelago's labyrinthine partnerships are formed.
No one knows who monitors its costs, keeps the accounts, supervises itineraries, transport and
warehousing -- whether the "goods" are heroin, weapons or desperate human beings -- and sees to it that
profits are satisfactorily shared.
No one knows how the network is directed, or from where. "What we do know, because such
sophisticated operations would otherwise be impossible, is that there must be a single umbrella
organization that oversees illicit trafficking, with representatives everywhere," says Umberto Santino, a
leading expert on the criminal underworld.
Beyond that assumption, says a U.N. criminologist based in Europe, there are only questions.
"It is as though all of us, at international agencies and national police forces alike, are working separately
on a 5,000-piece puzzle, but none of us has more than five pieces," the official said.
UNDERGROUND PASSAGE
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At its most basic level, the traffic in human beings through the Mafia Archipelago is a gigantic
transportation system, arranging passage from the world's poorest or most conflict-ridden corners to the
rich nations of Western Europe and North America.
Most of its "clients" disappear into Europe's clandestine economy, spending years trying to pay off travel
debts. Others, like the Hodrats, are quickly apprehended by police and languish for years in refugee
camps, or are returned penniless to their homelands.
They are the lucky ones. The United Nations estimates that 1 million women and children per year -some no older than 8 -- are drawn or forced into vast prostitution and sexual exploitation rings after
setting out into the Mafia Archipelago.
In 1975, the worldwide flow of migrants was estimated at fewer than 85 million people. Today, it is
thought to approach 145 million per year, reflecting an immense increase in the desperation that makes
the Mafia Archipelago so lucrative.
"The income gap between the richest and poorest countries was 30- to-1 40 years ago. By 1997, it had
increased to 74-to-1," notes Enzo Bianco, minister of the Interior in Italy, Western Europe's principal port
of entry for trafficked immigrants. "There is a direct connection between those numbers and the
globalization of organized crime."
There is also a direct connection between the massive flow of clandestine immigrants and blatant
contradictions in Western immigration policy.
For a quarter of a century, the rich European nations have made legal immigration impossible. Yet these
same nations have extremely low birthrates and a growing labor shortage that makes newcomers
essential. To maintain its economic standards, according to a recent U.N. report, the European Union
needs 1.6 million workers per year more than it produces through natural population growth.
The criminal organizations that govern the Mafia Archipelago, in that sense, provide a service to the
legitimate economies of the West.
"The European Union needs workers, and the criminal groups deliver them," points out Spartak Poci,
Albania's minister of public order. "The absence of a clear policy addressing these population and
economic trends is what makes the involvement of criminal actors possible."
As in America, undocumented workers in Europe are commonly employed in the food, textile and
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construction industries, with many local police departments turning a blind eye to their presence -- and to
evidence of labor abuses by unscrupulous employers, according to the International Organization for
Migration in Geneva.
In the implicit relationship between the Mafia Archipelago and the legitimate economies of Europe, "it is
increasingly difficult to establish who services whom, who learns from whom, and ultimately who corrupts
whom," says criminologist Vincenzo Ruggiero of Britain's Middlesex University.
Almost always, it is the immigrants who pay. A 1998 University of London study found that clandestine
immigrants are charged from $3,000 to $30,000 each by organized crime groups for transport, depending
on the difficulty of the journey and the wealth of the destination country.
Chinese undocumented immigrants in Europe -- an estimated 80,000 are in Paris alone, according to
Interpol -- are reportedly forced to work in triad-run sweatshops for up to five years to pay off travel debts.
"For organized crime, the narcotics trade is like investing in high-risk stocks. It offers the prospect of fast
money if things work out right," says a U.N. official. "But trafficking in human beings is like investing in
bonds. The money can keep coming for years and years, and the risks are much lower."
International agencies believe each immigrant woman or child smuggled into prostitution generates from
$120,000 to $150,000 annually for an underworld boss.
Altogether too typical is the story of "V," a 21-year-old Moldovan whose case profile was made available
to The Chronicle by the Italian government.
In the summer of 1999, V paid a fee to an "employment agency" in her hometown that promised
opportunities for domestic work in Italy. The agency, she now understands, was a front for a multinational
network of underworld prostitution bosses.
Along with 20 other women, V was first bused to Romania, then delivered by train to Belgrade, where
Serbian racketeers took over and put them on another bus to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro.
Montenegro has no extradition treaty with the West, which makes it a valuable "transshipment hub" in the
Mafia Archipelago for contraband of every description.
From Podgorica, the women proceeded on foot over the mountains into Albania. Exhausted and
disoriented, they were divided into groups of two or three, under the supervision of armed gunmen who
beat and raped each of them.
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Two days later, V was literally sold for $2,000 to a man who traveled with her to Milan and forced her to
work as a streetwalker until her detention by Italian police, who returned her to Moldova.
"People have become products" for the transnational crime network, says Interpol's Kendall.
GLOBAL CONNECTIONS
These "products" are shipped through the Mafia Archipelago on carefully designed, systematic routings
that highlight the extraordinary level of collaboration among crime groups.
Lithuania is one of the few countries to have conducted a detailed study of the traffic in human beings,
based on lengthy debriefings of arrested clandestine immigrants in 1996.
Although Lithuania itself is only a transit country, separated by Poland and Belarus from the nearest
major immigrant destination, Germany, 80 percent of the immigrants had already crossed three or four
borders before they were arrested. More than 75 percent confirmed that the routes were determined
completely by the gangs that organized their passage. Indeed, very few had ever heard of Lithuania
before they were detained in it.
They were housed and fed in a series of constantly changing "safe houses," which they were not allowed
to leave until it was time to move on, according to the study.
Each of the detainees had on the average used four different means of transportation, a bewildering
combination of airplane flights, boat and train voyages, cars and buses, journeys on foot and periods
enclosed in truck containers similar to the one in which 58 Chinese immigrants died after crossing the
English Channel last year.
On Oct. 20, in a similar tragedy, six Kurds from Iran suffocated near the Italian city of Foggia in a sealed
truck with Greek plates, driven by a Bulgarian.
The journeys often begin and end with brokers from the same ethnically defined clans. "We find, for
instance, that Chinese immigrants are usually handed over to Chinese criminal groups resident in Italy
when they arrive here," says Piero Luigi Vigna, director the Italian National Anti-Mafia Prosecutors Office
in Rome.
Constant intimidation in Western Europe by ethnic gangs from their own native lands tends to reinforce "a
wall of silence" surrounding the immigrants themselves, says Interior Minister Bianco. Fearful that their
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families back home will be targeted if they alert authorities, the vast majority of clandestine immigrants are
trapped helplessly in the shadows of illegality.
"We know, and certainly the Italian bosses know, that the Albanians, the Chinese triads and Turkish and
Nigerian crime groups operate in Milan, Florence, Turin, Rome and along Italy's eastern coasts and
borders," says a top international law enforcement official.
In 1999 alone, more than 17,000 ethnic Albanians, either from Kosovo or Albania itself, were arrested in
Italy on criminal charges or placed under investigation for illegal activities. Altogether, 14,000 of the
52,000 inmates of Italy's maximum-security prisons today are foreigners, a third of them convicted of
narcotics trafficking.
"But to use American terminology," the official continues, "the various syndicates aren't bumping each
other off. On the contrary, they are working very efficiently together, inside and outside of their own
respective territories. That is unprecedented and profoundly troubling."
Michael Koutouzis, a former Greek official regarded as a leading expert on the narcotics trade, says, "The
borders between criminal clans were even more important than the borders between states in the past."
Today by contrast, Vigna says, "Albanian criminal groups fulfill the functions of a kind of service agency,
establishing, for the management of clandestine immigration toward Italy, ties with the Chinese mafia,
and with its Turkish and Russian counterparts."
In a rare interview with a trafficker, conducted by a voluntary organization that assists refugees, "it
emerged that joint ventures between southern Italian organized crime and groups operating in Albania
are frequent, and that such partnerships are imposed by local criminal entrepreneurs who expect to be
given a percentage of the profits earned by their Albanian counterparts," says criminologist Ruggiero.
Some criminal syndicates have gone so far as to seal their distant clans in marriage alliances. Josip
Loncarcic, 45, the Croatian-born mastermind of human trafficking along the western border of Slovenia,
was apprehended Nov. 28 by Slovenian police with his wife, Xue Mei Wang -- granddaughter of a
Chinese triad boss deeply involved in the smuggling of Asians to Europe.
DANGEROUS CROSSINGS
The cross-border collaboration is most striking on the long leg, sometimes lasting four months, between
the departure of clandestine immigrants from their Asian, African or Eastern European homelands, and
their arrival in a destination country. En route, they may pass through a gamut of powerful underworld
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clans, most notably those of Russia, Albania and Turkey.
At any given moment, according to Interpol, from 200,000 to 300,000 clandestine immigrants are hidden
in Moscow, awaiting onward transportation under the auspices of the Russian mafia.
The Moscow hub is just one on a dizzying array of routes through the Mafia Archipelago. Thanks to hightechnology communications, its directors are able to shift enormous numbers of clandestine immigrants
from one route to another within hours, depending on unexpected political developments or changing
conditions at borders.
The next stops, after Moscow, are usually the westernmost nations of the former Soviet Union, most of
which require no inbound visas from Russia, en route to the Turkish Black Sea coast.
"In Turkey, illegal traffickers buy old, cheap trucks and ships to transport illegal immigrants so that they
can easily abandon their vehicles (and vessels) when they come close to the destination countries," says
Hikmet Sami-Turk, Turkey's minister of Justice.
On Nov. 6, 1,200 clandestine travelers, including hundreds of small children, came perilously close to
drowning when the leaking Ukrainian ship transporting them from Turkey was abandoned by its crew off
the southern Italian coast. Another ship full of undocumented immigrants, this time under the flag of
Georgia, broke apart in a storm off the Turkish coast on New Year's Day, killing dozens.
In the past three years, Sami-Turk says, the number of people arrested while attempting to transit his
country illegally has more than doubled, and is now running at close to 6,000 per month. But that is a
fraction of the numbers who reach the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro or Albania, the primary final
jumping off points for the European Union.
The capture last year of Princ Dobroshi, one of the Albanian transit corridor's most infamous "godfathers,"
dramatizes the global character of the new crime links.
Dobroshi was tracked down by police in Prague, in the Czech Republic, en route to a destination
unknown in a BMW with German plates. In his bags, the police found a Croatian machine gun, a shotgun
with a Chinese silencer and a Czech dagger. He had been imprisoned six years earlier on charges of
trafficking in Turkish heroin in Norway, with other charges pending in Sweden and Denmark, but escaped
from prison in Oslo.
A LOSING STRUGGLE
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To meet the rising menace of the Mafia Archipelago in human trafficking, almost all experts on the
phenomenon agree, the governments of source, transit and destination countries must develop
coordinated policies.
"But national law enforcement agencies are just that -- 'national,' " says Irena Omelaniuk of the
International Organization for Migration. "They don't share information or equipment with their
counterparts in other countries."
The result, at the moment, is a losing struggle in which no single police force or judiciary has the power to
confront a criminal network with operations as globalized as those of Microsoft. "The international crime
networks are better equipped, better organized and have more money than national law enforcement
agencies," says Omelaniuk.
She cites a new anti-counterfeit paper, developed to prevent passport fraud, that was recently adopted by
several countries along the primary routes of the Mafia Archipelago. "It took the criminal organizations
exactly 24 hours to come up with a near-exact reproduction of the new paper," she says.
"It's not simply a matter of organized crime employing the swiftest means of transporting illicit goods -- or
human beings -- or even their embrace of continuous innovations in the field of communications, which
often produces an overwhelming gap in tools with those of the states where they operate," says Italy's
Vigna.
"We also have to contend with the global dimensions of financial markets, which are indispensable to
criminal groups in managing their immense earnings, and the introduction, even in this field, of
technological instruments like the Internet that are outside of effective government control."
According to the International Monetary Fund, money-laundering activities could add up to more than
$1.5 trillion per year, a figure that exceeds the gross domestic products of all but the world's five largest
economies.
No single element in this ocean of dirty cash is larger than the proceeds laundered by the burgeoning
network of organized crime.
In August, scandal rocked the U.S. financial community over disclosures that the venerable Bank of New
York had been used to launder some $10 billion in underworld money. The principal account- holder in
the scheme was Semion Mogilevich, boss of the "Red Mafia," with operations in Ukraine, the Czech
Republic, Hungary and the United States. The group has been identified by the FBI as a major player in
the transnational trafficking of drugs, arms and women into sex rings.
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The crisis is compounded by the huge costs necessary to mount a successful police and judicial
campaign against criminal syndicates engaged in human trafficking.
In a single 1997 case, involving Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants smuggled into Germany, "over 140
house searches were made in 27 German cities, 12,000 phone calls were registered on five phone lines,
170 suspects were identified and 280 cases of illegal immigration detected," says Interpol's Kendall.
"The main suspect had connections in Portugal, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United
States," he says.
If the task is daunting for Germany, one of the world's richest nations, it is all but impossible for
impoverished transit and source nations.
"It takes practical measures, implemented at every border, with sophisticated controls to enhance security
and identify traffickers in human beings, drugs and weapons," says Vladimir Turcanu, minister of the
Interior for Moldova.
"But our financial resources only allow such measures at two of our 31 crossing points, and we have no
database at all for things like fingerprinting suspected traffickers."
The rich countries often respond by complaining that former Communist nations, especially, either lack
laws against trafficking or seldom invoke them.
In Albania, the hub from which hundreds of thousands of clandestine immigrants are smuggled annually
into Western Europe, a grand total of 20 people have been charged with trafficking in human beings this
year.
Both sides contend that progress is being made. They point to a ground-breaking conference held in midDecember -- convened, symbolically, in Palermo -- at which government ministers from 150 nations met
and hammered out the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, laying the groundwork
for joint research, enforcement and judicial action.
But rich and poor alike admit that a long, difficult road lies ahead. "At this juncture, we don't even have a
shared data bank on organized crime prosecutions," Vigna says. "We don't have compatible laws."
In Italy, where Chinese triads are a growing criminal force, police departments and courts seldom have a
staff member who can read or speak Mandarin. "Local Chinese who might act in that capacity for us are
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traumatized by the fear of reprisals," says a law enforcement official in Turin.
Ukraine, which has the bleak distinction of being both a major source country and a major transit country
for clandestine immigrants, finally passed a law against human trafficking in 1998. To date, notes
Ukranian criminologist Lydia Gorbunova, "not a single person has been convicted for trafficking in human
beings." -- Tomorrow: The Cosa Nuova, the new version of the Mafia, is more mysterious than its parent
and every bit as ruthless.
PHOTO (5), MAP; Caption: PHOTOS: (1) A group of illegal Chinese immigrants arrested in Thailand
formed the backdrop for a law enforcement news conference in Bangkok in late November. / Richard
Vogel/Associated Press 2000, (2) Italian police officers passed out food and drink to Romanian and
other Eastern European nationals arrested after being smuggled into Italy. / Franco Dalla
Pozza/Associated Press 1998, (3) Italian Ministry of Finance forces closed in on a freighter full of illegal
refugees near the port of Otranto in southern Italy last Oct. 11. / Associated Press 2000, (4) Six Kurds
suffocated while being smuggled through Italy. The smugglers left the bodies by the roadside., (5) An
officer of Italy's Guardia di Finanza helped a refugee found with 460 others on a rusty freighter off
southern Italy in October. / Associated Press 2000, MAP: Chronicle Graphic
Document sfc0000020010713dx170013y
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TABS
A GLOBAL LEARNING VILLAGE METRO PITTSBURGH FIFTH IN ATTRACTING COLLEGE
STUDENTS Series: PG BENCHMARKS
BILL SCHACKNER, POST-GAZETTE STAFF WRITER
1,220 words
31 December 2000
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PPGZ
TWO STAR
F-2
English
© 2000 Post Gazette Publishing Company. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights
reserved.
It's sundown, and 10 Muslim students assembled in a dormitory lounge have lined up facing east, their
shoes removed for worship marking Ramadan.
The daily prayers are routine, save their location, smack in the middle of a Catholic college.
The makeshift mosque at La Roche College is one way the North Hills school is embracing a rapid influx
of foreign students. La Roche, which had virtually no international students in 1990, now estimates that
one of every five of its 1,200 full-time undergraduates is from outside the United States.
Other Western Pennsylvania campuses also are opening their doors to more foreign students.
The Pittsburgh metropolitan area is fifth among PG Benchmarks regions in how successfully its colleges
and universities attract all undergraduate and graduate students. The success by those schools is helping
to give a youthful feel to a region with an otherwise aging population.
And increasingly, that youth is an eclectic global mix -- some raised in prosperity and others wracked by
memories of war and famine. It's part of a national trend, and it's changing the environment not only at
urban schools but on campuses miles from the city.
Undergraduates from China and Ethiopia and the former Yugoslavia are learning side by side with natives
of Ambridge and Butler.
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That is certainly true at LaRoche, which in 1993 launched what is now the Pacem In Terris Institute,
dedicated to helping subsidize the studies of students from war-ravaged and developing nations.
The small school has broadened its mission to reflect the new population and has discussed adding the
word "International" to its name. It has hired a full-time administrator to consider ways to make courses
such as finance and education more relevant to students from Eastern Europe, Africa and South America.
Language and immersion instruction are in high demand, said Monsignor William Kerr, president of La
Roche.
And the campus calendar of events now includes such holidays as Ugandan Independence Day (Oct. 9)
and Yemen Unity Day (May 22).
"I think it's important to recognize ... we may live in Western Pennsylvania, but we are part of the world,"
Kerr said.
The growing ranks of foreign students strolling the tranquil campus in McCandless has rankled a few
students and alumni, but Kerr said the school by-and-large is behind the program. The campus still draws
most of its students from Allegheny and Butler counties.
"There have been occasional tensions, but not as much as I thought there would be," he said.
"What we've got here is a small community. When 22 percent of your population is from other parts of the
world, it forces everyone to interact," Kerr said. "They're forced to come out of their provincial cocoons."
The school learned that early. Some of the first students admitted through the program were Croatians,
Bosnians and Serbs, whose homelands were embroiled in violent civil and ethnic war.
"We really didn't have any outbreaks of violence or anger because I think they realized the intent of the
program," said Kathleen Sullivan, campus director of Pacem In Terris, which is Latin for "peace on Earth."
That's not to say the program hasn't produced uncomfortable moments over the years.
A student from Ambridge asked one from Macedonia whether people there used knives and forks, and
was humbled by the answer. "He said, 'I think we Europeans invented knives and forks,"' Kerr recalled.
A group of students from Africa was stopped and questioned harshly by guards at a store off campus who
mistook them for shoplifters.
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And, there is plain old culture shock.
Shakir Mohammed, 22, a sophomore from Ethiopia with a double major in business administration and
computer information systems, had to get used to Americans' reserved nature and Pennsylvania winters.
And getting news from loved ones back in non-Internet-wired homelands isn't always easy, he said.
"You write a letter and then wait for an answer. That can take a month," he said. "A five-minute phone call
can cost $20."
The PG Benchmarks numbers represent totals for all students, both from the United States and abroad.
The region's students made up a larger share of Pittsburgh's overall population than in Seattle, Miami,
Atlanta, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Portland, Tampa, Kansas City, and Milwaukee. The Pittsburgh area
trailed Denver, Cincinnati, St. Louis and San Diego.
Experts say the arrival of tens of thousands of students each year is a boost to the region's economy,
from what they purchase in the clothing and record stores to the meals they buy to the concerts and
movies they attend. Those from foreign countries also provide a measure of diversity.
Nationally, what foreign students spend on tuition and living expenses represents a $12 billion industry,
according to the Institute for International Education in New York City. Last month, the group announced
that the number of foreign students in the United States had grown by 5 percent to a record 514,723
students, the second-largest gain in a decade.
The organization says the benefits of those students continue to accrue long after they graduate.
"When these students return home, they take with them an appreciation of American values, culture and
society that contributes to improved bilateral relations, business relationships and cultural ties," said
William Bader, assistant secretary of state for cultural and educational affairs.
Allegheny County ranks 33rd among the top 100 counties for international students, according to the
institute. Many of them attend classes at Pittsburgh's three major universities.
The 2,021 international students at Carnegie Mellon University account for 24 percent of the school's
8,514 students. The largest group, 341, is from India, followed by 273 from China; 179 from Korea; 85
from Taiwan; and 78 each from Canada, Singapore and Turkey.
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At the University of Pittsburgh's main campus in Oakland, there are 1,633 foreign students, 6 percent of
the total. The countries most represented are China, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Duquesne University has 532 foreign students, or 5 percent of the total enrollment, double the number
from a decade ago. They come from 110 nations including China, India, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.
Muslim students on the campus hold daily prayers in an international prayer room in Towers residence
hall.
Like other schools, Carnegie Mellon offers foreign students orientation when they arrive and counseling
on everything from tax laws to how much participation in class is expected by American instructors.
Even so, students from some parts of the world can be thrown for a loop -- sometimes by something as
simple as an American habit of saying, "Hi, how are you" while passing on the street.
"Some [students] say, 'Why would you ask me about how I am and then not wait for, or care about, the
answer," said Linda Melville, interim director of Carnegie Mellon's office of international education. "The
answer is it's not a real question. It's just part of a greeting ritual."
THE DOWNTOWN DILEMMA
PHOTO; Caption: PHOTO: Lake Fong/Post-Gazette: Aside from generating ideas and generally
elevating regional culture, Pittsburgh universities and colleges also invigorate the region with a youthful
and increasingly international presence.
Document ppgz000020020306dwcv000mb
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CHP-DSP spring atmosphere turns chilly - Death toll exceeds 110 in holiday's traffic accidents - Yes ...
By Ilnur Cevik., and Tolga Demiroz., and Mert Gozde.
4,421 words
30 December 2000
Turkish Daily News
TURKDN
English
The Turkish Daily News (TDN)
CHP-DSP spring atmosphere turns chilly - Death toll exceeds 110 in holiday's traffic accidents - Yes to
common sense, but remember there is a limit to our patience - Turkey's population to exceed 100 million
by 2050 - Villages being repopulated in Diyarbakir - ANAP scythes away YOK's powers.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM TDN
CHP-DSP spring atmosphere turns chilly
BAYKAL WINS: Baykal may be courting the DSP crowd with his latest defense of Ecevit as a political
investment for the future in case the prime minister departs
NO RECONCILIATION: What started as an exchange of warm remarks did not yield political results and
the split remains as deep as ever between DSP and CHP
EDITORIAL: Turkey needs a strong and revamped social democrat movement. Yet we see this is
impossible for the time being despite some gestures and overtures...
Death toll exceeds 110 in holiday's traffic accidents
Unfavorable weather conditions and heavy snowfall caused many accidents all over Turkey
Yes to common sense, but remember there is a limit to our patience
'We are what we are. We always say, "Do not label us, get to know us." Unfortunately, people always
stick labels on us. They have always put labels on us without getting to know all our aspects and this
label does not reflect the truth. They say we are a group of ignorant uneducated louts and vandals being
manipulated by certain forces. We are misunderstood'
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Turkey's population to exceed 100 million by 2050
Estimates say that Turkey will be the 18th country in the world whose population exceeds 100 million by
2050
Villages being repopulated in Diyarbakir
Diyarbakir Governor Serhadli: Some 3,813 people have been moved back to their villages in the last two
years
ANAP scythes away YOK's powers
ANAP has submitted a bill amending 32 articles of the Higher Education Law and adding two more;
ANAP deputy leader Professor Yildirim said their aim was for free and modern universities
BAYKAL WINS: Baykal may be courting the DSP crowd with his latest defense of Ecevit as a political
investment for the future in case the prime minister departs
NO RECONCILIATION: What started as an exchange of warm remarks did not yield political results and
the split remains as deep as ever between DSP and CHP
EDITORIAL: Turkey needs a strong and revamped social democrat movement. Yet we see this is
impossible for the time being despite some gestures and overtures...
It all started when some deputies criticized Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's frail condition during the
parliamentary budget debates. These remarks created an uproar among Ecevit's Democratic Left Party
(DSP) deputies and there were fist fights between them and members of the opposition parties.
Then came True Path Party (DYP) Chairperson Tansu Ciller's remarks during the closing debate of the
fiscal year budget where she said the prime minister was clearly very weak and could not move around
properly. She went on to say Ecevit could not run the country in his current state.
Earlier Hurriyet columnist Ismet Solak, known to be close to Ecevit, commented on the health of the
prime minister and urged him to step down.
That was followed by the remarks of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) Chairman Mehmet
Yildirim who said Ecevit and his wife Rahsan, who is the deputy chairperson of the DSP, should retire and
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sit in their home.
The answer to all this came from the opposition left-wing Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman
Deniz Baykal who said such statements were crude and out of place. He said it was inappropriate to
comment about the state of an aged person and that there were several elderly leaders at home and
abroad who had successfully served their countries. Baykal said U.S. President Roosevelt served his
country from a wheelchair and Ismet Inonu, the late veteran politician of Turkey who served as president,
prime minister and CHP leader, was in politics right up to his death.
Coming from an old Ecevit foe, the remarks by Baykal were seen as an olive branch from the CHP leader
to Ecevit, the mentor of the left-wing movement in Turkey.
Ecevit was the leader of the CHP in the '70s and turned it into a popular left-wing party. However, Ecevit
was fed up with internal bickering in the CHP and quit as the leader of the party soon after the 1980 coup.
He frequently accused factions within the party for ruining it; Deniz Baykal was one of the faction leaders.
Once the CHP as well as the other parties were closed down by the military Ecevit founded his own party,
the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and did not allow any CHP people into it.
The CHP was reopened after the military bans were lifted and banned parties were revived. The CHP
became the melting pot of the left-wing political movement with the exception of the DSP.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Ecevit kept a clear distance from the CHP and regarded it as his arch
rival.
When Baykal defended Ecevit earlier this week there were rumors that this was the start of a political
rapprochement between the two parties. However, Ecevit was quick to dampen this atmosphere saying
what Baykal had done was a civilized gesture but no one should draw any political conclusions form this.
After Ecevit's move Bakyal too made similar remarks showing the political chill between the CHP and
Ecevit was still continuing.
Observers said even today Rahsan Ecevit, the deputy chairperson of the DSP, is extremely careful not to
enlist anyone with a CHP background. She carefully screens candidates for party posts as well as
candidates for Parliament to make sure people with CHP background do not infiltrate the DSP.
Observers said Ecevit was prompt in his reaction to dampen any possible speculations that the DSP and
the CHP were setting a course for a possible merger.
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Observers also said Baykal may have made these remarks as a gesture to the DSP crowd and thus
establish some warm links with them in case something happens to Ecevit in the future and the DSP falls
into disarray.
Political analysts said the CHP had started gaining some ground in recent months in winning back some
of its lost political support and Baykal's latest gesture would win him more points from all sides
irrespective of what Ecevit says.
Unfavorable weather conditions and heavy snowfall caused many accidents all over Turkey
Traffic accidents taking place last week killed more than 110 people, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Holidays are usually the time for busy roads, with millions of people taking to highways to either go to
tourist centers or their hometowns. Joining the Ramadan Feast holiday with that of the New Year, the
government announced a 10-day holiday for public workers but given the snowy weather, officials warned
about traffic accidents.
The Interior Ministry announced that measures on the roads were intensified to prevent traffic accidents
on the eve of the holiday.
Some people travelling through the central Anatolian province of Afyon had to wait 16 hours in the first
day of the long holiday to see the road opened after being closed due to heavy snowfall.
But officials say the weather conditions will be more positive during return travels. Western and central
parts of Turkey will have rainy but warm weather for the next few days, according to forecasts. The
temperature will continue to rise in central and eastern Anatolia but fog could be seen in these regions.
State Meteorology Deputy Director Recep Yilmaz said that the negative circumstances at the beginning
of the holiday will disappear for return travels.
"We do not expect snowfall until the end of the holiday," Yilmaz said.
Yilmaz also said that the temperature will rise further in Ankara with fog disappearing due to winds
expected this afternoon. The temperature might rise by 5-6 degrees centigrade in Ankara.
To reopen the roads closed by heavy snowfall is expensive work, officials said, with the cost of clearing
one-kilometer of road reaching up to TL 129 million. Such work is necessary especially in the eastern part
of Anatolia where the weather conditions are particularly bad in winter.
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Chairman of Idealist Hearths Atilla Kaya:
'We are what we are. We always say, "Do not label us, get to know us." Unfortunately, people always
stick labels on us. They have always put labels on us without getting to know all our aspects and this
label does not reflect the truth. They say we are a group of ignorant uneducated louts and vandals being
manipulated by certain forces. We are misunderstood'
The events Turkey has witnessed in recent days reminded everyone of the clashes between the left and
the right that led to the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup. The hunger strikes and death fasts that began about
two months ago with the aim of protesting the new F-type prisons found themselves reflected on the
streets having won the support of certain non-government organizations (NGOs) in Turkey.
Kizilay Square, famous for being the rallying point for protest gatherings, became the scene for clashes
between crowds of people protesting the F-type prisons and the police on Dec. 12. The incident escalated
with the participation of youth making the "grey wolf" (sign of ultranationalists/idealists of the Nationalist
Movement Party [MHP]) sign with their hands.
That same evening, an "idealist hearth" in Zeytinburnu came under fire and a 15-year old boy lost his life.
Everybody who had lived through the events prior to the Sept. 12 coup began to fear: "The left and rightwing clashes have started up again."
Before the military intervention, Turkey lost thousands of young people on both sides of the political
spectrum and nobody wanted to see a return to those times. We talked with Atilla Kaya, the overall
chairman of one of the protagonists, the Idealist Hearths, about their approach to the recent events and
about Turkey from A to Z.
The state can never rule prisons with these laws
When I think about the events witnessed in Turkey just recently, the first thing that catches my attention
is what has happened in the prisons. The penal system and the laws being put into practice make it
impossible for the state to rule the prisons.
As for the reason, our prisons are inadequate from the perspective of rehabilitating people. In addition to
this, there are a host of problems to do with prison security. This became most apparent with the latest
operations mounted to secure law and order in the prisons. The weapons seized disclosed the true
situation in the prisons.
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It became clear how a person who sympathizes with an organization can be turned into a militant by
means of the cell-ward system. Another problem is the mafia members inside. They work inside the
prisons just like the terrorist organizations do. A young man goes into prison and may leave as a trigger
man.
These problems have to be rectified as soon as possible. However, it is not possible to straighten out the
prisons using the current structure and laws. We are not opposed to F-type prisons but there is one point
that should be borne in mind and that is people have to be allowed to benefit enough from communal
areas. I mean, these people should not be confined to one or three-person rooms. They should be able to
benefit from exercise areas, libraries and other facilities as much as possible.
Peace hangs by a very thin thread
The economic and other crises Turkey has witnessed over the past month to 45 days have shown us
that peace and normality are practically hanging by a silken thread here. This is a grave situation.
Those who want to throw Turkey into confusion can easily do so just by focusing their attention on the
current makeup and by using a little provocation. The environment is conducive to such provocation and
this has to be rectified.
The media have a very important role to play here and ought to be more careful when covering these
issues. They should not fan the flames. They should also report incidents from a neutral stance.
Let me give you an example. There was an unauthorized demonstration in Istanbul a few years back and
one of the protestors mistakenly ran into MHP premises. When he tried to jump out of a window, the
idealists inside held on to him and tried to pull him back in. The young man's friends misunderstood what
was going on and it got reported in the press as "the idealists wanted to throw him from the window."
Just a few days later in Bolu, three young idealists were cornered by a group of eight or so Peoples
Democracy Party (HADEP) supporters as they were leaving the Hearth. The HADEP boys said, "That's
not how to throw someone out the window, this is," and attacked the idealists. One man died in the fight.
Another is in prison. The news put out in the paper is responsible for one man being killed and another
being put in jail. Thus, the media has a huge responsibility. It must be more careful.
If we have to look at the events of Dec. 12 we see that a handful of people making "grey wolf" signs were
obstructing protestors. I looked into this in my capacity as chairman of the Idealist Hearths.
I found out we had nothing to do with these events. It was a reaction by local shop keepers and artisans
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or by people passing through. We had nothing to do with it. But look at how it got reflected in the media.
"Idealists join forces with police and attack protestors" is what they said.
When they write this stuff, why don't they come to the Idealist Hearths and ask us why we got involved
like that? Look. Left-wing militants reading and watching this in the news start thinking that as the idealists
and police united to attack them, they will now attack us.
And that's what led to the incident at the Zeytinburnu Idealist Hearth. Four young boys of secondary
school age, maybe 15, 16 or 17 years of age, were inside waiting to break their fast. One of them lost his
life just as it was beginning.
We have always had a common sense approach right from the outset. We go to great lengths not to
succumb to such provocation. Common sense is all well and good, but people have to know that there is
a limit to our patience. Whenever incidents kick off, we tell our members studying at university not to go to
lessons that day out of our concern that there will be provocation. We keep as far away from chaos as we
can.
We are not concerned about a change in image
Contrary to what the press says, we are not concerned about changing our image nor are we trying to
change it. For one thing, I take a change in image as a kind of two-facedness. I mean, this is what you
are and if it is understood that you are trying to conceal this fact by changing your image then this is being
two-faced.
We are what we are. This is very clear. We have always said, "Do not label us, get to know us."
Unfortunately, people always stick labels on us. They have always put labels on us without getting to
know all our aspects and this label does not reflect the truth.
They say we are a group of ignorant uneducated louts and vandals being manipulated by certain forces.
But this definition does not reflect the truth. We are misunderstood, all because of the blinkered way
people looked at the polarized events prior to Sept. 12, 1980.
Over time, as these polemics reduced, as people began to sit down and confront each other at the
meeting table, they saw that their views regarding one another were at least misplaced.
We encourage our colleagues to study, to advance themselves, to understand the changing conditions in
the world and to be people who will be of great benefit for the country in the future.
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The amnesty in this form is a mistake
In my opinion, the amnesty as it stands is full of contradictions and its structure could harm social order.
We are opposed to any amnesty that erodes society's belief in justice.
Privatization is a reality these days, but we must be careful
As a movement, we are the children of families known for limited incomes. When we look at the
economy, we especially look at the streets and the markets. Governments have been saying for years
now that inflation is falling, has fallen but in real terms we have not seen any fall in the cost of living. On
the contrary, it keeps on going up.
There is a huge system of robbery in Turkey. The money accumulated by the nation, things the nation
holds valuable are grabbed and sold off by a handful of people. The best example of this is the bank
operations. The confessions read by the public show just all too clearly how the banks' coffers were
drained and how these involved were conducted. Politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen were all party
to a menage-a-trois formed to drain the banks.
The most important topic in the economy that has to be considered alongside these deviations is that of
privatization. Yes, privatization is a fact of life today. However, attention must be paid to ensure that those
institutions the public has paid for over the years with tax and sweat should not be sold off for a song.
They should be sold for their true value. Attention must be paid to this matter.
The economy and other problems in Turkey can only be straightened out when the warped system of
ripping people off is changed and attitudes mature.
Yes to EU, but on equal terms
We do not have any objections to Turkey joining the European Union. But we do say there are points we
have to be careful over. Turkey should join the EU only if it will do so on an equal footing.
We will not condone Turkey joining as a country to be treated like a second class citizen, that is pushed
around from pillar to post and whose identity is considered worthless. We think it is wrong to be the
submissive partner in our relations with the EU.
In addition, one should not forget the reality of the Turkic world. Turkey has always been one step ahead
of the 200 million people that make up the Central Asian countries, in spite of its erroneous policies.
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Estimates say that Turkey will be the 18th country in the world whose population exceeds 100 million by
2050
Average estimates for the size of the world population come 2050 reckon there will be some 8.9 billion
souls on this planet with India being the most crowded at 1.529 billion, the Anatolia news agency reported
yesterday. The world's population is said to be growing at 78 million a year, but this would fall off to 30
million in the period 2045-2050, say estimates. At the end of the 20th century there were only 10
countries with a population greater than 100 million and this figure is set to rise to 18 with Turkey being
one of them with 101 million. Those countries with populations in excess of 100 million today are: China,
India, the United States, Russia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Japan. By 2050
these will be added to by Ethiopia, the Congo Democratic Republic, Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam,
Iran, Egypt and Turkey.
China is enforcing a strict one family one child policy that is expected to keep the population count as low
as possible but there is no such policy in India, which will take over "first place" from China by 2050. Their
populations will be an estimated 1.478 billion and 1.529 billion respectively. The United States is
expected to have a population of 274.349 million by 2050 and Pakistan, currently with 148 million, will
become the fourth most crowded country with 346 million people. Indonesia will have 312 million people,
Nigeria and Brazil around 244 million, Bangladesh will have 213 million, Ethiopia 170 million, the Congo
Democratic Republic 160 million, Mexico 147 million, the Philippines 131 million, Vietnam 127 million,
Russia 122 million, Iran and Egypt 115 million or so each, Japan 105 million and Turkey will have 101
million people.
Diyarbakir Governor Serhadli: Some 3,813 people have been moved back to their villages in the last two
years
The governor of the Southeastern city of Diyarbakir, A. Cemil Serhadli, has said that over the last two
years some 3,813 people have moved back to villages abandoned because of the fight against separatist
terrorism, the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday. Commenting that people returning to their
villages were given material and financial aid, Governor Serhadli said that 3,813 people had moved back
to 19 villages in the last two years and added: "We are giving cash, cement, ironwork, sand and similar
materials to all those citizens that wish to return to the villages. In addition to this, we get the people to
use the provided vehicles for transport back to their villages. We are constructing 50 modern housing
units in the Islam village of the Kulp district for those citizens that wish to return. As soon as they are
completed, we will hand the accommodation blocks over to them."
ANAP has submitted a bill amending 32 articles of the Higher Education Law and adding two more;
ANAP deputy leader Professor Yildirim said their aim was for free and modern universities
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Coalition junior partner the Motherland Party (ANAP) has submitted to Parliament a bill that would curb
the powers of the Higher Education Board (YOK) and restructure it along more democratic lines, giving
them more administrative and financial freedoms. The ANAP deputy leader and Parliament deputy for
Sirnak, Professor Salih Yildirim, who prepared the Legal Proposal for Amending Certain Articles in the
Higher Education Law, said their aim was for universities that were freer and more democratic.
Pointing out that in its current form, higher education created numerous problems and heartache across
all sectors from administration and finance to education and student placement exams, Professor Yildirim
said the only way to overcome these problems was for YOK to be brought into line with the conditions of
the day. Stating their aim was to do away with the problems and heartache seen in higher education,
Yildirim said:
YOK's powers given to universities
"We do not want YOK to run the universities as it doing so today. We envisage all the authorities
concerned with running universities, both within YOK and within the universities, transferred to boards. In
this way, individual people will no longer be able to run the universities single-handedly in accordance
with their own initiative. The boards would take decisions based on objective criteria and would find the
opportunity to get them legislated. All of YOK's powers vis-a-vis the running of universities would be
handed over to the universities. In this way, we would no longer hear many of the problems and
complaints that arose from the way YOK used its powers."
Universities will be better off economically
Maintaining that the bill would put the universities at ease from a financial perspective, Professor Yildirim
said:
"We are bringing in a new structure that would centralize all revenue, apart from that coming from the
supplementary budget, under a single roof called the universities autonomous budget and which would
allow the universities to use that money. This will be a provision that would put the universities minds at
ease from a financial perspective."
Yildirim further noted that there were many injustices in the university student placement exams and said
they had looked into this as well. He said that the system as it stands did not take into account regional
imbalances and discrepancies. "This system, which does not reflect in the exam the fact that there are
regional differences, should be reviewed," he said.
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What does the bill justification paper say?
Certain important articles in the new proposed bill drawn up by Professor Yildirim and his ANAP
colleagues are justified as follows:
"We propose that YOK continues in its current form as a coordinating body between the universities but,
in the belief that it has exceeded the aim of a number of the authorities granted to it by law number 2547,
we propose that by means of this bill some of the authorities vested in the YOK chairman and in
university rectors be rescinded and the decision making bodies transferred to boards."
YOK kept out of appointing rectors
While the bill proposes that the election system for choosing university rectors remain unchanged, it does
remove YOK's initiative from the process. After listing the duties of a university rector, the article
concerning their appointment says:
"YOK's input into the university rector appointment procedure has been removed. By introducing an
arrangement whereby deans are similarly elected to their positions, an attempt has been made to spread
free will and the spirit of participation throughout the entire university from the faculties downwards."
Means to investigate YOK chairman
The bill also allows the YOK chairman to be investigated. The relevant article says:
"It has been seen that preliminary investigations into the chairman of YOK are impossible in practice
because even though the investigating person or persons who will carry out such preliminary
investigations against other people are appointed by the YOK chairman or a disciplinary authority, no
arrangements have been laid down stating who is to task people with conducting preliminary
investigations into the YOK chairman. In order to negate this objection and to allow preliminary
investigations into the YOK chairman to be carried out if and when required, this bill was written in such a
way as to enable the Education Ministry to elect a board comprising at least three YOK members. In this
way, an effective means of monitoring the YOK chairman will be formed."
( $=669.967 TL Official Rate).
Document turkdn0020010819dwcu002nr
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Without vote, Assembly adopts text on consolidation of new, restored democracies; Begins debate on
strengthening of UN humanitarian, disaster relief
13,720 words
28 November 2000
M2 Presswire
MTPW
English
Copyright 2000 M2 Communications, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
By the terms of a resolution it adopted without a vote this morning, the General Assembly encouraged
Member States to promote democratization and to make additional efforts to identify possible steps to
support the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies. The
Assemblys adoption of that text concluded its consideration of support by the United Nations system for
the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies.
The Assembly will invite the Secretary-General, Member States, the relevant specialized agencies,
programmes, funds and other bodies of the United Nations system, as well as other intergovernmental
organizations, to collaborate in the holding of the Fourth International Conference on New or Restored
Democracies, to be held in Cotonou, Benin, from 4 to 6 December.
Also this morning, the Assembly took up consideration of strengthening of the coordination of
humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance.
Mexicos representative said that while humanitarian assistance was one of the noblest expressions of
human solidarity, it was better to prevent than to remedy. Development was the best deterrent for
conflicts, and, at the same time, the best defence against the ravages of natural disasters.
Strengthening international cooperation for development, therefore, remained the highest priority.
Humanitarian assistance was a complex task, requiring real and definite parameters, he said. It was
essential in that regard that there be full respect for the sovereignty of States, and that action should
always be taken at the request or with the consent of the recipient State. In recent years, there had been
an increase in the impact of natural disasters in numbers, victims, and the scale of damage caused. That
had forged a growing awareness of international solidarity, and pointed towards the need to move on
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from merely reacting to disasters to a comprehensive strategy of sustainable development and efforts to
prevent and reduce natural disaster effects, such as early warning, emergency mitigation and
reconstruction.
The representative of Tajikistan, introducing a draft resolution on emergency international assistance for
peace, normalcy and rehabilitation of Tajikistan, said more coordination in humanitarian assistance was
needed.
Humanitarian multilateral assistance should not compete with bilateral assistance. Both needed to be
part of a single whole, and inter-agency appeals must be taken into account.
The increase in the incidence of natural and other disasters had placed new demands on the
international community, and one priority was effective use of the most advanced technologies for dealing
with catastrophes. That could be facilitated by a comprehensive inventory of the available technologies on
a national, international and regional level.
With regard to sanctions, he said it was important to maintain neutrality, impartiality, a lack of political
conditions and respect for sovereignty. Sanctions must be governed in accordance with international law
and the law of the country that had suffered the disasters. There was a need for a humanitarian approach
to sanctions, and they needed to be targeted. They should not be applied to foodstuffs, medicines or
other emergency supplies.
The representative of Canada said an effective reaction to crises which, over the last couple of years,
had tested the Organizations ability, was of vital importance, and would impact the life-and-death situation
of millions of people in need. Armed conflicts, floods, drought, earthquakes, among other calamities, were
crises in which people frequently had their first contact with the United Nations.
Regarding the protection of civilian victims of conflict, he said the Assembly needed to address the
underlying causes of conflict and to help create conditions for sustainable peace and reconciliation. The
Assembly could help through promoting humanitarian rights law, encouraging respect of international
humanitarian law and principles, and ending impunity.
Civilians were increasingly becoming targets in armed conflicts, and those providing protection and
assistance to them were also likely to find themselves under attack.
Humanitarian workers needed protection but also proper training, and they needed to be provided with
enhanced United Nations security resources to ensure that assaults were investigated and prosecuted.
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The representatives of Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Venezuela, Norway, France (on behalf of the
European Union and associated States), Pakistan, South Africa, Japan, Mongolia, Russian Federation
and India also spoke. The representative of Poland spoke in explanation of vote.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue its debate.
Assembly Work Programme
The fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly met this morning to conclude its consideration of
support by the United Nations system of the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or
restored democracies, and to start consideration of strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and
disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance.
Support by United Nations System of Efforts of Governments To Promote and Consolidate New or
Restored Democracies
The General Assembly had before it a draft resolution (document A/55/L.32/Rev.1) sponsored by
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Monaco, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway,
Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino,
Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United
States, Uruguay and Yemen, on support by the United Nations system of the efforts of governments to
promote and consolidate new or restored democracies.
By the terms of the draft, the General Assembly would invite the Secretary-General, Member States, the
relevant specialized agencies, programmes, funds and other bodies of the United Nations system, as well
as other intergovernmental organizations, to collaborate in the holding of the Fourth International
Conference on New or Restored Democracies.
By the same terms, the Assembly would stress that activities undertaken by the Organization must be in
accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and would encourage the Secretary-General to
continue to improve the capacity of the Organization to respond effectively to the requests of Member
States through coherent, adequate support of their efforts to achieve the goals of good governance and
democratization. The Assembly would encourage Member States to promote democratization and to
make additional efforts to identify possible steps to support the efforts of governments to promote and
consolidate new or restored democracies.
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Strengthening of Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance of United Nations
The General Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/82) on
strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations. The report
states that the past year has been marked by emergencies in which the predicted worst case scenario
was far surpassed in terms of the number and scale of complex emergencies and natural disasters that
once against wrought devastation in some of the poorest places on Earth.
The report makes several recommendations and observations on coordinated response to natural
disasters and complex emergencies, protection of civilians in armed conflict, the role of technology and
coordinated response to crises of displacement. The report urges Member States to commit adequate
resources to humanitarian operations through multilateral channels, encourages Member States to
stimulate support for emergency response from private corporations, including by providing tax relief for
such activities, and encourages United Nations agencies and departments to strengthen existing early
warning, preventive and preparedness mechanisms and to engage the active participation of the United
Nations country-teams in that respect.
The report states that the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council may wish to welcome
Security Council resolution 1261 (1999) and the initiative to place child protection advisers in peace
operations as a way of ensuring consistent attention to the protection of children through the peace
consolidation process; to encourage partnerships among the governments of countries affected,
humanitarian agencies and specialized companies to promote the use of technologies for humanitarian
operations, including for the safety and security of humanitarian personnel; and to urge Member States to
remove or suspend restrictions on the use of technology during sudden-onset emergencies.
The General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council may also wish, according to the report, to
reiterate that the primary responsibility for protection of and assistance to civilians in crises of internal
displacement lies with the national authorities of the affected countries; to appeal to all governments and
local authorities in countries affected by internal displacement to extend full cooperation and access to
the agencies of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee in their efforts to bring help to the displaced; and to
urge donors to ensure adequate financial support for international activities on behalf of the internally
displaced, including activities for strengthening their protection, and for promoting self-sustainability and
durable solutions.
The General Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary-General on safety and security of United
Nations personnel (document A/55/494), which was submitted pursuant to resolutions 54/192 of 17
December 1999 and 54/429 of 23 December 1999. The report contains an outline of the threats against
United Nations personnel, a comprehensive description of the existing security management structure
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and proposals to enhance the safety and security of staff. It is prepared in consultation with the members
of the Administrative Committee on Coordination and covers the period from 1 July 1999 to 30 June
2000.
According to the report, the current security management is designed to meet the operational
requirements of the United States system which existed 20 years ago, with the result that, from 1 January
1992 to 18 September 2000, 198 staff members were killed and some 240 have been taken hostage or
kidnapped since 1 January 1994. The Secretary-General points out that United Nations personnel have
had to work in difficult and dangerous situations and have increasingly become victims of the
environments in which they operate. The purpose of the United Nations security system is to protect the
protectors, but regrettably, it is currently not able to adequately fulfil its responsibilities despite the best
efforts and dedication of all those involved. Both the General Assembly and the Security Council have
focused attention on the issue of the security of staff. The Assembly reiterated that the primary
responsibility under international law for the protection of United Nations personnel lay with host
governments, and urged all parties involved in armed conflict to ensure the security of humanitarian
personnel. For its part, the Council had held an open debate on the protection of staff on 9 February, in
which the Deputy Secretary-General outlined efforts to improve the security management system while at
the same time calling on Member States to provide the necessary support.
The report discusses the many threats to United Nations system personnel, including negative
statements by senior officials, sometimes inciting people to violence against staff members.
Kidnapping and hostage-taking incidents were reported, as well as occupying United Nations system
offices; for example, in Afghanistan, the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) were stormed by mobs eight times during a one-week period as a result of a protest against the
Organization. Criminality and the presence of mines were other threats that staff members faced. The
Secretary-General said, to date only 3 of the 177 cases involving the violent death of United Nations
system personnel have been brought to justice.
While the Secretary-General, as Chief Executive Officer of the Organization, is responsible for ensuring
the protection of staff members and their dependants, he depends upon the Office of the United Nations
Security Coordinator for all policy and procedural matters related to security. The Office, which was
created in 1988, consists of nine Professional and four General Service staff members, who are expected
to coordinate security at 150 duty States. The current level of staff is clearly inadequate to meet the
minimum requirements for the large number of staff assigned. Moreover, the operating budget for the
Office of the Security Coordinator totals $650,880. In 1998, a trust for the security of staff members of the
United Nations system was established; since 1 August, contributions had been received from the
Governments of Finland ($102,000), Japan ($1 million), Monaco ($8,500) and Norway ($100,000).
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In the view of the Secretary-General, the existing system, which relies on unpredictable and piecemeal
funding and outdated, cumbersome and complex procedures, is not suited for the difficult and dangerous
situations in which United Nations personnel are obliged to work. The report calls for proposals to
strengthen the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator at Headquarters for the biennium 20022003, including 18 Professional staff members and appropriate support staff as well as increasing the
number of field security officer positions from 60 to 100. The Secretary-Generals estimation of the total
cost of these proposals is approximately $30 million per year.
Before the Assembly was a resolution on international cooperation on humanitarian assistance in the
field of natural disasters from relief to development (document A/55/L.38), sponsored by China, Mexico
and Nigeria.
By the terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would stress that humanitarian assistance for natural
disasters should be provided in accordance with and with due respect for the guiding principles contained
in the annex to resolution 46/182, and should be determined on the basis of the human dimension and
needs arising out of particular natural disasters. It would also stress the importance of strengthening
international cooperation in the provision of humanitarian assistance for all phases from relief to
development, including through the provision of adequate resources.
The Assembly would invite Member States to consider developing a framework for international
humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural disasters, outlining the responsibilities of countries
receiving and providing support.
Further to the draft resolution, the Assembly would stress the need for partnership among governments
of the affected countries, relevant humanitarian organizations and specialized companies to promote the
transfer and use of technologies to strengthen preparedness and response to natural disasters, and calls
for the transfer of required technologies to developing countries on concessional and preferential terms.
The Assembly would also encourage governments in natural disaster-prone countries to establish, with
the support of the donor community, national spatial information infrastructure relating to natural disaster
preparedness, response and mitigation, including the necessary training of personnel.
Further to the draft resolution, the Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to prepare
recommendations on how to improve the United Nations potential to mitigate natural disasters, including
through the development of an inventory of existing capacities at the national, regional and international
levels.
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The Secretary-General would also be requested to continue to consider innovative mechanisms to
improve the international response to natural disasters, through addressing any geographical and
sectoral imbalances in such a response where they exist, as well as a more effective use of national
emergency response agencies, taking into account their comparative advantages and specializations, as
well as existing arrangements.
Special Economic Assistance to Individual Countries or Regions
The General Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/90) on assistance
for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Liberia. After the inauguration of the elected Government of
Liberia, headed by Charles G. Taylor, the Government launched the National Reconstruction Programme
to address critical needs arising from the conflict and to lay the foundations for sustainable long-term
goals. The Programme identified the governments priority areas as the consolidation of peace and
democracy, resettlement, reintegration and active participation of the people, and rebuilding the physical,
social and institutional infrastructure that had been virtually destroyed during the conflict.
The report focuses on the specific actions taken in the field of governance, security and the rule of law;
macro-economic performance; humanitarian assistance, resettlement, repatriation and reintegration;
health; education; community revival and restoration; food security; gender concerns and major
challenges facing the country. The report states that there is a dire need for greater recognition of the
post-conflict challenges facing Liberia and the subregion, within the international community in general
and among the major donors in particular.
The report recommends that the General Assembly reaffirm its resolution 53/1, expressing gratitude to
the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the major donor countries, and the Bretton
Woods institutions for their continuing efforts towards building sustainable peace in the subregion and
calling for further support for rehabilitation and reconstruction effort in Liberia, while reaffirming its support
for the United Nations system collaboration and dialogue with the Government of Liberia in the fields of
human rights, national reconciliation, peace-building, and the strengthening of the rule of law.
The report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/92) on emergency economic assistance to the
Comoros states that 46 per cent of households, or around 50.6 per cent of the population of the Comoros,
one of the group of least developed countries, is living below the poverty line. Whereas, in light of the
growing population, the State should be expanding the educational infrastructure and taking steps to
create jobs, in fact, it has been forced for almost 10 years to pursue a policy of curbing budgetary
spending and cutting public sector staff. The social sector has been particularly hard hit.
Since 1997, according to the report, the Comoros has been torn by a separatist crisis, which was
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coupled with a political crisis following the military coup d'etat on 30 April 1999.
This has prompted most of the countrys development partners to withdraw or to adopt a wait-and-see
attitude. The country also missed the opportunity to hold a donors' round table. The political context has
been marked by institutional instability and has not facilitated the introduction of a suitable framework for
consultation to mobilize donors and maintain assistance.
The report suggests that resolution 53/1 F of 16 November 1998, concerning special emergency
economic assistance to the Comoros, be referred to the Economic and Social Council with a view to
initiating a reconstruction and rehabilitation programme so as to lay the groundwork for national economic
recovery on a sound basis. This is a prerequisite for the establishment of lasting peace and harmony and
reconciliation among the islands.
The report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/123-E/2000/89) on assistance to Mozambique
following the devastating flood states that the floods in February and March in southern Mozambique
triggered a massive outpouring of international support. The emergency hit a country which is among the
10 poorest of the world and affected 12.1 per cent of the population.
According to the report, Mozambique already had a disaster management system into which the United
Nations system could feed, but the disaster was of a magnitude far beyond anything with which the
Government could reasonably have expected to cope. The United Nations system showed it could
mobilize support quickly and yet was able to work with and through the Government. Lessons learned will
provide the Government and the United Nations valuable information for better preparedness, response
and improved coordination mechanisms in the future. The unusually strong Government/United Nations
partnership will be embraced in future initiatives.
The General Assembly also had before it a report from the Secretary- General (document A/55/124) on
assistance to Madagascar following the tropical cyclones. Tropical Cyclone Elaine and Tropical Storm
Gloria struck Madagascar within three weeks in February, followed by the very severe Tropical Cyclone
Hudah. The successive onslaught of these three cataclysms caused significant damage to the
agricultural, health, educational and public infrastructures, as well as loss of human life.
The report focuses on the impact of the three disasters, the impact on economic conditions and food
security in the affected areas, impact on availability of basic social services, structural constraints and
difficulties facing intervention in the affected regions; the response by agencies of the United Nations
system, the Government and donors; and the prospects for rapid and durable reconstruction.
The Secretary-General's report (document A/55/125-E/200091) on international assistance for the
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rehabilitation and reconstruction of Nicaragua: aftermath of the war and natural disaster, states that at the
Consultative Group for Nicaragua meeting held in Washington, D.C. on 23 and 24 May, the sound
economic performance of Nicaragua during the biennium 1998-99, with economic growth and decreasing
inflation, was emphasized.
There was a general agreement that combating poverty is the most important development goal for the
Country. The floods and mudslides of Hurricane Mitch (October 1998) killed over 3,000 Nicaraguans and
affected nearly 20 per cent of the nation's population.
The report's chapter on consolidation of democracy covers human rights, solution of property conflicts,
and strengthening of the rule of law. A chapter on demobilization, reintegration and reconstruction of
municipalities focuses on landmines, productive reintegration of ex-combatants, and reintegration of
Nicaraguans in exile. Regarding natural disaster prevention and management, the report states that
although Nicaragua is frequently affected by natural disasters, it lacks a permanent disaster prevention
and handling system. With the passing in April of a modern, decentralized, participatory and realistic law,
Nicaragua became the first Central American nation to move towards an integrated disaster prevention
and response system.
The report also covers decentralization and local development, population, women's rights and sexual
and reproductive health, and environmental management.
The Assembly had a report by the Secretary-General on international cooperation and coordination for
the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of
Kazakhstan (document A/55/212). The report consists of information on the institutional framework for the
Semipalatinsk Relief and Rehabilitation Programme, the Tokyo International Conference on
Semipalatinsk and donor assistance to the health, humanitarian, economic and environmental sectors of
the Semipalatinsk region.
The Tokyo International Conference on Semipalatinsk had the following objectives: to raise the
awareness of the international community; to appeal to the international community for further assistance
to meet the urgent needs; to consider possible cooperation and coordination of the international
community and to exchange technical knowledge and experience in the areas of health, ecology,
economic rehabilitation and humanitarian support and to inform participants of the institutional
arrangements of Kazakhstan to manage, coordinate and account for international assistance.
The Conference conveyed three important messages aimed at improving the effectiveness of the health
and medical care provided to the population of the Semipalatinsk region. First, there was a need to
improve the scientific evidence to be used as a basis for determining priorities and taking action.
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Second, there was a need for transparency and accountability, including an improved communication
strategy and involvement with the public, as well as better coordination of all national and international
participants in the action. And finally, the handling of the health-related consequences of people affected
by nuclear testing should be seen as part of the broader public health strategy and reforms in Kazakhstan
and should be balanced with other health needs in the region, including mother and child health,
reproductive, environmental and mental health, and communicable disease prevention.
The report states that, during the last two years, the international donor community has given
considerable attention and delivered humanitarian and development assistance to the affected
populations of the Semipalatinsk region. However, because of the longer-term effects of radiation, as well
as the consequences of nuclear explosions, the population remains exceptionally vulnerable and is not in
a position to meet the economic, social and ecological challenges of the ongoing transition process. The
report stresses the importance of addressing the compelling needs of the affected population, prioritized
in the Semipalatinsk Relief and Rehabilitation Programme of the Government of Kazakhstan and
emphasized by the participants at the Tokyo International Conference on Semipalatinsk. The initiatives of
the government, complemented by the support of the international donor community, can help to improve
the situation of the affected population.
There was also a report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/317) on assistance to Mozambique.
The report states that the dramatic economic and political recovery of Mozambique after the end of the
16-year civil conflict continued in 1999.
For Mozambique, 1999 was the year in which it laid the foundation for a take-off that, in the absence of
unforeseen shocks, should eventually remove it from the group of the poorest countries in the world. On
the political front, the second successful multiparty election confirmed that Mozambique is on the path to
parliamentary democracy. Results of both the first-ever national poverty assessment and the first postwar census were published in 1999, with both making clear the depth of the problems to be faced in the
development of a comprehensive poverty programme.
Mozambique remains one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, where 69 per cent of all Mozambicans
live in absolute poverty. The recovery of Mozambique from such devastation in the relatively short time of
seven years is considered remarkable, but the countrys economy remains extremely fragile. However, the
post-war reconstruction has still not been completed.
The report contains information on the political context, including multiparty elections, political
development, land law and peasant rights. The report also provides information on the economic context,
including privatization and investment, macroeconomic trends and action to reduce poverty.
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There is a section on HIV/AIDS and an overview of United Nations initiatives. The report also consists of
an update on initiatives, including three strategic objectives. These objectives include the increase of
access to, and quality of, basic social services and employment; the fostering of an enabling environment
for sustainable human development; and a culture of peace and the promotion of sustainable
management of natural resources.
There was also a report by the Secretary-General (document A/55/319) on special assistance for the
economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The present report
describes the financial and material assistance provided by the United Nations system to the Democratic
Republic of the Congo in its economic recovery and reconstruction process. The country is the third
largest in Africa, bordering with nine other countries. For more than four years, the country has been
experiencing a major crisis due to a succession of wars.
The latest war, which continues even today, interrupted the process of democratization which had begun
to show signs of reviving as a result of the change of political regime in May 1997. The protagonists in
this war are the country's neighbours in the east -- Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda -- in a loose alliance
with rebels now divided into three different and rival factions, and the Congolese Government supported,
at its request, by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
At the initiative of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a ceasefire agreement was signed in Lusaka
on July 10 1999.
Unfortunately, little headway has been made with implementation of the above-mentioned agreement
due, on the one hand, to the various difficulties created by the belligerents and between allies -- the most
blatant being the confrontation that occurred between Ugandan and Rwandan troops in Kisangani from 5
to 10 June 2000 -- and on the other hand, to the rejection by the Government of the Democratic Republic
of the Congo of the facilitator designated for the inter-Congolese dialogue.
The current armed conflict, which extends over more than half the national territory, has thwarted most of
the efforts to stabilize and revive the national economy, reversed the nation's reconstruction priorities and
blocked all attempts by the new government to restore structured international cooperation.
The report focuses on the level of production, including the inflation and exchange rate, the monetary
situation, external debt and official development assistance, and the social and humanitarian situation.
The report also provides information about the economic measures and the situation and challenges
relating to governance. Furthermore, the report focuses on the situation and challenges of sustainable
economic and human development, and the cooperation between the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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and the United Nations.
The report concludes that the determination of the United Nations to ensure the rapid departure of
foreign armed forces from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a great source of
hope for the return to a situation of lasting peace. In order to overcome the impending crisis, substantial
assistance from the international community will have to accompany the country's reconstruction efforts,
consistent with the priority themes outlined in the previous report. Once again, they were: peace, security
and reconciliation; preparing a stabilization, reconstruction and recovery strategy; and the resumption of
structural cooperation.
The General Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/333) on
emergency assistance to countries affected by Hurricanes Jose and Lenny. In October and November
1999, several small island developing States and territories of the eastern Caribbean were struck by
Hurricanes Jose and Lenny. International, regional and national response efforts were mobilized in
support of the affected countries, many of which suffered extensive damage. The report provides an
account of the extent of the damages and destruction caused by the hurricanes, the response of the
international community and that of the governments of the countries affected, as well as the assessment
of efforts by the governments of the Caribbean region as a whole to deal with such occurrences.
The Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary-General (A/55/347) on emergency international
assistance for peace, normalcy and rehabilitation in Tajikistan. The report was submitted pursuant to
paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 54/96 of 8 December 1999 and covers the period from 1
July 1999 to 30 June 2000.
The main provisions of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in
Tajikistan have been implemented, and the transition period ended with the first multiparty parliamentary
election and the first session of the professional parliament, which was held earlier this year. The United
Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) should be regarded as a successful peacekeeping
operation.
Tajikistan had now entered a new phase of post-conflict peace-building. This process is still affected,
however, by problems such as organized crime, drug trafficking, the need to promote and protect human
rights, unresolved refugee problems and the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan. The extreme poverty
faced by 80 per cent of the population renders the achievements of the peace process extremely
vulnerable.
The report stresses that Tajikistan needs to receive more than exclusively humanitarian aid. Sustained
economic growth is the key to maintaining peace and stability in Tajikistan, and the programme of
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economic and social recovery requires urgent international development assistance. The United Nations
Tajikistan Office for Peace-building was established in June 2000 for an initial period of one year to
pursue the objectives of post-conflict peace-building. It will help mobilize international support for the
implementation of programmes aimed at strengthening the rule of law, the promotion and protection of
human rights, demobilization, voluntary arms collection and employment creation for irregular fighters.
Furthermore, the disintegration of the former Soviet Union and the civil war seriously affected the
economic viability of the newly independent Tajikistan. The delivery of basic social services has
deteriorated and living standards have continued to decline. As a result, Tajikistans economy requires
urgent support.
Part IV of the report refers to humanitarian operations and contains sections on security developments
affecting humanitarian relief efforts, activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), relief food
assistance, agriculture support, refugee repatriation and support, health and nutrition, water and
sanitation, education, child protection, rehabilitation and development, and drug control and abuse.
The report contains further sections on international assistance and concluding observations.
A report of the Secretary-General on humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(document A/55/416) covers developments from 1 July 1999 until 30 June 2000. The Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia consists of the Republics of Serbia (including Central Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina) and
Montenegro.
According to the report, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia hosts the largest refugee population in
Europe, with over 500,000 from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Since June 1999, there has been
an additional influx of displaced persons, mainly Serbs and Roma, from Kosovo to the rest of Serbia and
Montenegro. In 1999, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia showed a sharp economic decline, exacerbated
by infrastructural damage during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) campaign and economic
sanctions. The gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 32 per cent in 1998-1999.
The social services capacity in the Republic significantly decreased, and the educational system is also
rapidly declining. The social welfare system is facing serious problems. With the trade restrictions
imposed on Montenegro in early 2000, the relationship between Serbia and Montenegro continued to
deteriorate.
In Kosovo, the stability of the social situation differs markedly by region. The scope and quality of social
services is gradually improving. The industrial and manufacturing sectors of the province, which
accounted for about one third of pre-crisis GDP, were heavily damaged during the air strikes. Prospects
for their rehabilitation are in doubt.
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The human rights crisis within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has deepened as political tensions
escalate. The majority of the population is now considered to be vulnerable to violations of their basic
human rights. Trafficking of persons has increased the number of persons who remain unaccounted for
as a result of the regional crisis.
The report describes assistance provided by the United Nations and its partners in the area of
coordination arrangements, winterization efforts, food aid, shelter, health, water and sanitation, education
and child welfare, agriculture, promotion of durable solutions, environmental damage, mine action and
human rights. It also describes assistance provided by Member States.
The report concludes that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is expected to face significant
humanitarian challenges for the foreseeable future. For Serbia, the immediate future is likely to be
characterized by continued deterioration of its economy. In Montenegro, it is unlikely that the government
will be able to take over the responsibility for all humanitarian caseloads in the near future. International
support will continue to be needed for delivery of assistance, protection, advocacy and assessment of
needs, so that the humanitarian requirements of both the displaced and social cases can be consistently
addressed. The provision of humanitarian assistance in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should be
based on the needs of the most vulnerable groups, without political conditionality.
Among the report's conclusions is the observation that the international community has scored
impressive achievements in Kosovo. As the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK)
takes over basic public services, the remaining assistance programmes of international humanitarian
agencies are expected to focus on protection and the provision of goods and services to minority
populations. The goal of promoting tolerance and peaceful coexistence among ethnic groups has so far
proven elusive. The return of all displaced persons must remain a top priority. At the same time, it must
be recognized that it may take many years to overcome the bitter resentment and mistrust engendered by
recent events in Kosovo. This will require a sustained and determined effort by all concerned, not least by
the people of Kosovo themselves.
Finally, the United Nations remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation throughout the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Until the underlying political and economic problems can be resolved, the
Organization will continue its efforts to address the urgent needs of the affected populations.
The Assembly had a report of the Secretary-General on humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and
development for East Timor (document A/55/418), covering developments immediately prior and
subsequent to the passing of Security Council resolution 1272 (1999) of 25 October 1999, establishing
the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) with three components:
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governance and public administration; humanitarian assistance and emergency rehabilitation; and
military. On 8 November 1999, Sergio Vieira de Mello was appointed as the Secretary-Generals Special
Representative in East Timor and Transitional Administrator.
According to the report, the outbreak of violence in the aftermath of the Popular Consultation of 30
August 1999 resulted in widespread destruction and the internal and external displacement of 75 per cent
of the population. The establishment of the multinational peacekeeping force (INTERFET) resulted in the
restoration of a secure working environment. In order to address emergency needs, the humanitarian
community agreed upon a series of common guidelines for priority intervention, which served as the basis
for activities of more than 200 humanitarian actors.
Priorities were, among other things: to assist refugees return from West Timor; to ensure food security;
and to facilitate community development and economic recovery through emergency repairs to
infrastructure. The guiding principles also provided for the transfer of sectoral coordination responsibilities
to UNTAET, now complete.
The report reviews major humanitarian developments and describes sector requirements and assistance
provided by the United Nations and its partners such as food security, health, education, repatriation of
refugees, cooperation between civilian partners and the military, coordination, and community
development, economic recovery and rehabilitation.
The report concludes that the difficulties presented by the massive displacement and widespread
destruction have been overcome, in large part, owing to the rapid and generous response of donors. The
humanitarian community was able to provide the necessary assistance at an early enough stage to
prevent the deterioration of the physical condition of the population. Those factors, along with the
resilience and determination of the East Timorese people, have militated against the creation of a
dependency cycle and have contributed to the maintenance of human dignity among the East Timorese.
Also important for the transition from relief to development has been an acknowledgement by all
humanitarian partners that the focus must be on rehabilitation and development issues.
The report states that the continuing engagement of the international community will be required for the
foreseeable future in all sectors in order to ensure that the programmes continue to benefit the people of
East Timor and pave the way to self-reliance and sustainable development.
Before the Assembly was also a report by the Secretary-General on economic assistance to the Eastern
European States affected by the developments in the Balkans (document A/55/620). In its resolution
54/96 G of 15 December 1999, the Assembly expressed concern at the special economic problems
confronting the Eastern European States, in particular, the impact of developments in the Balkans on their
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regional trade and economic relations, and on navigation along the Danube and on the Adriatic Sea. The
Assembly stressed the importance of implementation of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe.
Describing responses from States, the United Nations system and the affected States, the report
concludes that economic assistance has been carried out against the background of numerous political
and economic complexities. Apart from the adverse effects of military conflicts, economic sanctions and
other disruptions during the transition period following the disintegration of the former Socialist Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, the Kosovo crisis produced a devastating impact on the fragile economies of
South-Eastern Europe and beyond.
The report notes that, with broad-based international support, the affected countries have embarked on a
difficult path towards economic and social reform and recovery, including special efforts to fully overcome
the consequences of the Kosovo crisis. The democratic changes in Yugoslavia have paved the way for
the cessation of the country's international isolation and the resumption of regional cooperation. However,
ensuring a lasting stability and sustainable development of South-eastern Europe is a long-term and
difficult process, requiring continued and concerted efforts of the countries of the region and the
international development actors.
At the regional level, particular attention has to be paid to such fields as infrastructure reconstruction,
including the resumption of navigation on the Danube, private sector development, trade integration,
investment promotion and institutional capacity-building. The relevant components of the United Nations
system continue to implement substantial programmes of financial and technical assistance in the
affected countries. For Kosovo, a series of emergency measures and activities has been carried out to
address the regional consequences of the Kosovo crisis, as a result of economic and social constraints
caused by large numbers of refugees and displaced persons, as well as disruptions in trade, transport
and foreign investment in the neighbouring and other affected countries.
The report states that, within the evolving regional priorities, continued donor support, participation of
regional development and investment banks and private-sector involvement would be essential for
developing cross-border cooperation, upgrading infrastructure and promoting trade and investment in the
Balkans as an integral part of Europe. The neighbouring and other affected countries should be
encouraged to participate more actively in international cooperation and support for reconstruction,
recovery and development efforts in the region.
The report concludes that the implementation process of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe,
especially the activities of its Working Table on Economic Reconstruction, Cooperation and Development,
provides an essential mechanism for promoting structural reforms, sustainable development, intraregional
economic cooperation and integration of South-Eastern Europe into the European mainstream as an
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important contribution to peace, stability and prosperity in the Balkan region and beyond.
Before the Assembly was a resolution (document A/55/L.16) on international cooperation and
coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk
region, sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus,
Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt,
Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico,
Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea,
Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, The former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
and Uzbekistan. By the terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would stress the need for continuing
international attention and extra efforts in solving problems with regard to the Semipalatinsk region and its
population.
The Assembly would also urge the international community to provide assistance in the formulation and
implementation of special programmes and projects of treatment and care for the affected population in
the Semipalatinsk region.
By the terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would also invite all States, relevant multilateral
financial organizations and other entities of the international community, including NGOs, to share their
knowledge and experience in order to contribute to the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic
development of the Semipalatinsk region, and would invite, in particular, donor States, relevant organs
and organizations of the United Nations system, including the funds and programmes, to participate in the
rehabilitation of the Semipalatinsk region.
The Assembly would also invite the Secretary-General to pursue a consultative process, with the
participation of interested States and relevant United Nations agencies, on modalities for mobilizing the
necessary support to seek appropriate solutions to the problems and needs of the Semipalatinsk region.
Further to the draft resolution, the Assembly would call upon the Secretary-General to continue his
efforts to enhance world public awareness of the problems and needs of the Semipalatinsk region.
The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution (document A/55/L.35) on emergency assistance to
Belize, sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica,
Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
By the draft, the General Assembly would urge Member States, as a matter of urgency, to contribute to
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the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of Belize in the wake of Hurricane Keith. Further to the
draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the international financial
institutions, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, to assist the Government of Belize in
identifying medium- and long-term needs and in mobilizing resources, as well as to help with the efforts of
rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas of Belize.
The General Assembly had before it a draft resolution (document A/55/L.36) on special assistance for
the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, sponsored by the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, India and Mauritania.
By the draft, the General Assembly would urge all parties concerned in the region to cease all military
activity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which breaches the ceasefire provided for in the Lusaka
Ceasefire Agreement and the Kampala disengagement plan. It would urge them to fully implement those
agreements and create the conditions necessary for the speedy and peaceful resolution of the crisis, and
urge all parties to engage in a process of political dialogue and negotiation.
Further to the draft, the Assembly would renew its invitation to the Government of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo to cooperate with the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other
organizations in addressing the need for rehabilitation and reconstruction, and stress the need for the
Government to assist and protect the civilian population, including refugees and internally displaced
persons, regardless of their origin.
The Assembly would urge all parties to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law, and to
ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to all affected populations throughout
the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the safety of such personnel.
The General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to consult urgently with regional leaders in
coordination with the Secretary-General of the OAU about ways to bring about a peaceful and durable
solution to the conflict and to convene, when appropriate, an international conference on peace, security
and development in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region.
Further to the draft, the Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to keep under review the economic
situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a view to promoting participation in and support
for a programme of financial and material assistance to enable the Democratic Republic of the Congo to
meet its urgent needs for recovery and reconstruction.
The Assembly also had a draft resolution on emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and
rehabilitation of Tajikistan (document A/55/L.41), sponsored by Afghanistan, Armenia, Austria,
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Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt,
Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg,
Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain,
Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan.
By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would stress that Tajikistan has entered a new phase of postconflict peace-building, which requires continued international economic assistance. It would encourage
Member States and others concerned to continue assistance to alleviate the urgent humanitarian needs
and to offer support for the post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction of Tajikistan's economy.
Further to the draft, the Assembly would call upon the Secretary-General to re-evaluate in 2001 all
humanitarian assistance activities in Tajikistan with a view to addressing longer-term developmental
issues, and would stress the need to ensure the security and freedom of movement of humanitarian
personnel, and of United Nations and associated personnel, as well as the safety and security of their
premises, equipment and supplies.
By the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to give special attention, in the dialogue
with the multilateral lending institutions, to the humanitarian implications of their adjustment programmes
in Tajikistan.
Assistance to Palestinian People
The Secretary-General's report (document A/55/137-E/2000/95) on assistance to the Palestinian People
covers the period from May 1999 to May 2000, and provides an analysis of the current status of
development and of development assistance in the occupied Palestinian territory. In September 1999, the
Secretary-General reconfigured the mandate of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied
Territories, whose title was changed to United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace
Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization
(PLO) and the Palestinian Authority.
The report states that throughout the period under review, the Special Coordinator has maintained his
efforts to fulfil the mandate of his office, including ensuring better coordination between the relevant
institutions of the Palestinian Authority and United Nations agencies, as well as the donor community, and
monitoring and documenting economic and social conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory.
According to the report, progress has continued to be made in meeting some of the urgent and most
significant priorities that confront the Palestinian authority and people. Additional support is necessary to
address basic human needs and to improve the physical environment and infrastructure. The planning
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processes and plans of the Palestinian Authority have become more effective in the past three years, and
this has brought greater clarity on the unmet needs. United Nations agencies, the Bretton Woods
institutions and other funds and programmes are making important contributions, in a responsive and
innovative way, to the socio-economic development priorities.
The report states that there is concern about the declining trend of both new commitments and
disbursements for development cooperation, in spite of the present special needs and the challenges that
lie ahead. The Palestinian institutions and the Palestinian Development Plan serve as a reasonable
framework for further international assistance and a sound basis for ongoing dialogue to guide future
development collaboration. The circumstances, assumptions and exigencies which affect the occupied
Palestinian territory and people will continue to evolve in the coming period.
Support by United Nations System of Efforts of Governments To Promote and Consolidate New or
Restored Democracies
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said the item before the Assembly articulated the
aspirations and objectives of new and restored democracies. The first three International Conferences on
New or Restored Democracies had established the foundations on which democratic institutions could be
consolidated.
He said that, in the present international scenario, it was only democratization which could help States to
effectively address many challenges of todays world. Democracy and development were inseparable.
The developing countries depended on international support. The United Nations could play a proactive
role in advancing the process through innovative and wide-ranging programmes. Strengthening of
democracies should be a key objective of activities of the United Nations system. It would be useful if the
Secretary- General brought out a compendium of pronouncements on democracy in all major
intergovernmental decisions of the United Nations.
Enhancing the democracy process had been a rewarding experience in his country, he said. His country
had embarked on a comprehensive programme of reform and deregulations. The commitment to
democracy and rule of law had prompted it to accord priority to human rights. Social development had
remained the main focus of development strategy. Rights of women and children had been focused upon.
The role of civil society in development and democratization efforts, particularly in the social sector, had
been very extensive.
He recommended that the world body improve the capacity of the Organization to respond effectively to
requests of Member States for support to their democratization efforts, but recognized the responsibility of
the respective countries in ensuring peace, justice, equality, human rights, individual freedom, rule of law,
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pluralism, development and better standards of living.
Action on draft resolution A/55/L.32/Rev.1
The Assembly was informed that Ireland had become a co-sponsor of the resolution.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the issue without a vote.
JANUSZ STANCZYK (Poland), responding to the previous speaker on behalf of the Convening Group of
the Community of Democracies, said that the Convening Group noted with satisfaction that this resolution
had been adopted by consensus, and thus the entire membership of the United Nations had spoken
resolutely with one voice on the issue of democracy. This was of utmost importance, not only for the
States on whose behalf he spoke but for the international community at large.
He said that on 4 December in Cotonou, Benin, the Fourth International Conference of New or Restored
Democracies would open its deliberations. The Convening Group of the Communities of Democracies
strongly appealed to all Member States to be represented at the Conference at the highest possible level,
and that they participate actively in it.
The Convening Group underlined its strong interest in promoting democracy and democratization in the
world. He deeply believed that the Groups strong approach and determination would stimulate and
facilitate efforts of other governments, as well as international organizations, to intensify their national and
international action to strengthen the rule of law, further develop and enhance democratic institutions and
mechanisms, and strongly stand by democratic ideals.
Emergency International Assistance for Tajikistan
RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan), introducing the draft resolution on emergency international assistance for
peace, normalcy and rehabilitation of Tajikistan, said his country attached great importance to United
Nations work in extending humanitarian assistance, which was making an important contribution to
overcoming the consequences of natural, man-made and other disasters. With regard to sanctions, he
said that it was important to maintain neutrality, impartiality, a lack of political conditions and the respect
for sovereignty.
Sanctions must be governed in accordance with international law and the law of the country that had
suffered the disasters. There was a need for a humanitarian approach to sanctions, and they needed to
be targeted. They should not be applied to foodstuffs, medicines or other emergency supplies.
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It was important to continue work on rendering sanctions regimes more humanitarian.
More coordination in humanitarian assistance was needed, he continued. Humanitarian multilateral
assistance should not compete with bilateral assistance. They needed to be part of a single whole, and
account must be taken of inter-agency appeals. His country was concerned with the low level of coverage
of financial needs in response to inter-agency appeals of 2000. The increase in the incidence of natural
and other disasters had placed new demands on the international community, and one priority was
effective use of the most advanced technologies for dealing with catastrophes. That could be facilitated
by a comprehensive inventory of the available technologies on a national, international and regional level.
He informed the Assembly that, since the release of the draft resolution, the following countries had
added their names to the list of co-sponsors: Bangladesh, Japan and India.
International Cooperation for Rehabilitation, Economic Development of Semipalatinsk Region of
Kazakhstan
MADINA B. JARBUSSYNOVA (Kazakhstan), introducing the draft resolution on international cooperation
and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the
Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan, said the region remained a matter of serious concern. International
effort was required in solving the problems of the region, particularly in addressing health issues, and its
human and ecological rehabilitation. The report of the Secretary-General had stated that the longer-term
effects of radiation had left the population extremely vulnerable. A team of independent experts from
Japan had examined the nuclear test site and had come to the conclusion that the level of radiation was
600 times above normal. In fact, it was equal to the level in Japan following the Hiroshima bombing.
Further international assistance was needed in addressing the situation, she said.
She also informed the General Assembly that since the release of the draft resolution the following
countries had added their names to the list of sponsors: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands and Poland.
GELSON FONSECA, JR. (Brazil) noted that both natural and man-made disasters continued to cause
pain and suffering, whereas the resources to alleviate their consequences fell short of what was needed.
He felt that preparedness was crucial, particularly international assistance in mitigating damages and
reducing the need for post-disaster aid and reconstruction. Prevention involved the construction of solid
pillars for a peaceful society through cooperation for development, poverty eradication and the
strengthening of the rule of law. Strategies to tackle humanitarian problems should focus on conflict
prevention, peacemaking and post-conflict peace-building.
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In evaluating three aspects of United Nations humanitarian assistance, he pointed to coordination of the
many different humanitarian agencies, whose efforts must be based on the principle of shared
responsibility. His Government believed that a synergy in the realm of humanitarian assistance was
needed. The second aspect was related to the access of humanitarian personnel to those who needed
assistance. Often there was a denial of access in situations of armed conflict.
He called on States to take into account their international obligations and facilitate the work of
humanitarian personnel.
Brazil was very concerned with the safety and security of humanitarian personnel, referring to 198 civilian
staff killed in the service of the Organization since 1992 as shocking.
He said gross violations of human rights, humanitarian and refugee law were at the centre of todays
complex emergencies.
It was important, therefore, to strengthen the advocacy efforts of the United Nations system and put
pressure to halt such abuses, by ensuring that those responsible are held accountable for their crimes.
Brazil urged the United Nations to widen the scope of protection under the 1994 Convention on Safety of
United Nations and Associated Personnel. He paid homage to those who had lost their lives to provide
some hope for the underprivileged of the world, called them "heroes of real life.
PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) said during the last couple of years the world had been shaken by
successive crises which had tested the ability of the Organization to react to them. An effective reaction
was of vital importance, impacting the life-and-death situation of millions of people in need. Armed
conflicts, floods, drought, earthquakes, among other calamities, were crises in which people frequently
had their first contact with United Nations agencies. To meet the objectives of assistance should be given
top priority. The Secretary-General, in a report to the Security Council, had made 40 recommendations
for protecting civilian victims of conflict.
Security Council action was necessary but not sufficient.
Humanitarian action was often independent of political situations. The Assembly needed to address the
underlying causes of conflict and to help create conditions for sustainable peace and reconciliation. The
Assembly could help through promoting humanitarian rights law, encouraging respect of international
humanitarian law and principles, and ending impunity. He called on the Assembly to integrate the
recommendations of the Secretary-General into its own work, and to promote practical strategies for
implementation at the field level.
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He said that next spring the Secretary-General was mandated to report on the protection of civilians to
the Assembly and the Security Council. His country would continue to actively promote that dimension of
the Human Security agenda. Civilians were increasingly becoming targets in armed conflicts, and those
providing protection and assistance to them were also likely to find themselves under attack. Working
under the flag of the United Nations or the Red Cross or Red Crescent was no longer a guarantee of
protection. Humanitarian workers needed protection but also proper training, and they needed to be
provided with enhanced United Nations security resources to ensure that assaults were investigated and
prosecuted. The Secretary-Generals recommendations with regard to the scope of legal protection under
the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel should be considered
carefully. It was vital that the Assembly took greater responsibility for monitoring conditions on the ground,
and, where conditions merited, for acting promptly to invoke the 1994 Convention.
He welcomed progress made in more coordinated approaches in complex emergencies and natural
disasters. He urged OCHA to improve collaboration within the humanitarian community. In order to
ensure coherence among the various United Nations bodies, a sense of partnership among the
Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council must be promoted, he said.
JULIA LOPEZ (Venezuela) said that natural disasters had a profound effect on developing countries,
delayed the integration of their economies into the world economy, caused loss of life and damaged
infrastructures and basic services.
Venezuela expressed recognition for the support received following the tragedy on 17 December 1999,
which had taken her country by surprise. Since then, Venezuela had stepped up efforts to improve its
system for the management of disasters.
A special Working Group had been set up to design strategies in order to work on risk management. Her
country was also working on revising risk management policies in order to give them a preventive
dimension, and was strengthening prevention measures at all levels of decision-making.
The lesson that had been learning from last years disaster was that atypical climate change could cause
extensive damage. The Government of Venezuela had been working on relief efforts with the private
sector, yet the affected areas had not been yet reconstructed. At the moment, there was heavy rainfall in
several areas in Venezuela, and a state of emergency had been declared in 11 states. A further
challenge was that of access to technology. That meant not only the allocation of financial resources, but
also the training of highly specialized human resources. Venezuela appealed to the more developed
States of the international community to share that technology.
ARNE HONNINGSTAD (Norway) stated that humanitarian emergencies were increasing in scale and in
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number, requiring more resources to react effectively. In addition, the international community's collective
effort to fulfil obligations were out of tune with the real needs. Norway urged Member States to reverse
that trend through sustained, adequate financial commitment from donors and further improved
coordination by the United Nations. In that regard, his country welcomed the report of the SecretaryGeneral on "strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United
Nations.
The enlarged membership of the United Nations Inter-Departmental Framework for Coordination Team
was a positive step toward better preventive action, he said. Norway believed that the expansion would
strengthen the development of improved mechanisms for early warning, contingency planning and
preparedness. He felt that the extensive attention aimed at better coordination of assistance when natural
disasters struck was both helpful and relevant. Moreover, the references to legal instruments, notably the
International Criminal Court and the 1994 Convention of the Safety of United Nations and Associated
Personnel, were rightly given centrality in the report. Further, his Government supported the Consolidated
Appeals (CAPs) to be launched in eight cities around the world, starting in New York tomorrow, and
hoping to generate $2 billion for 2001. That amount would represent emergency life-saving assistance to
more than 35 million persons.
Norway had responded generously in mobilizing resources to the CAPs, which should be used as a
strategic tool and an important channel for contributions to emergency humanitarian assistance. But the
international community was faced with a paradox: the more work and inter-agency coordination
undertaken in order to improve the CAPs and make them more user-friendly, the fewer funds had been
mobilized. His country expressed concern at the fact that only 55 per cent of the CAP for 2000 had been
funded as of mid-November. Norway recognized that important improvements in the coordination of
emergency humanitarian assistance had taken place, but more remained to be done. He called on the
United Nations to include NGOs and local national organizations when coordinating the utilization of
scarce resources. In closing, Norway also took note of those who had lost their lives in the service of the
Organization, saying that a clear message must be sent that the situation was unacceptable and
intolerable. Norway urged the United Nations to establish a full-time post of United Nations Security
Coordinator.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said
it was essential to provide victims of natural disasters with the assistance they needed. The European
Union welcomed the work of the OCHA on enhancing the effectiveness of operations, and the transition
between humanitarian assistance and reconstruction. Full support was required for the many tasks the
OCHA had to carry out, he said. The security of United Nations staff could not be ignored, and the
European Union shared the concern of the Secretary-General as to the deterioration of working
conditions in terms of safety of personnel. There were many problems and several measures needed to
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be taken. In one year, 21 United Nations staff had lost their lives, crimes that had gone unpunished in
almost every case. That was clearly an intolerable situation. The European Union urged all States to
include in their legislation provisions for the battle against impunity, and to sign and ratify, if they had not
already done so, the 1994 Convention on Security of United Nations Personnel.
The European Union welcomed the efforts of the United Nations system and the Coordinator of Security
to address the above-mentioned issues and to find effective solutions.
However, financial strengthening was required in the field of cooperation. Security had been discussed
within the OCHA and the Inter- Agency Standing Committee, and the European Union encouraged the
continuation of their work, particularly in terms of training of staff. It was vital to train staff, particularly firsttime staff in complex situations. The Inter-Agency meetings had also resulted in arrangements to remedy
the situation of insufficient coordination in favour of internally displaced persons.
The Third Humanitarian Session of the Economic and Social Council had allowed reflection on the
objectives in that field, he said, as well as on the reform by the Secretary-General of United Nations
operating procedures. The European Union encouraged the humanitarian segment to exchange views
regarding coordination in a specific and targeted manner. The European Union also supported the action
of the OCHA in developing its coordination with other sectors of the United Nations system. The General
Assembly had created an international strategy for the mitigation of disaster, yet a great deal remained to
be done. In the battle for the reduction of disasters, international cooperation made full sense and needed
to be supported.
MANUEL TELLO (Mexico) said that while humanitarian assistance was one of the noblest expressions of
solidarity, it was better to prevent than to remedy. Development was the best deterrent for conflicts, and
at the same time, the best defence against the ravages of natural disasters.
Strengthening international cooperation for development therefore remained the highest priority. It was
an unavoidable challenge facing the United Nations.
Mexico had always maintained that solutions to disputes must be in accordance with the United Nations
Charter, he said.
Today, there were no clear mandates or universally accepted criteria for dealing with situations with
grave humanitarian consequences. His country had rejected the right of interference based on unilateral
decisions or decisions of small groups of countries. While the international community could not stand
aloof from the tragedies of humanitarian crises, action must be based on universally accepted principles.
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Humanitarian assistance was a complex task, requiring real and definite parameters, he said. He
supported the guidelines of Assembly resolution 46/182, which provided a Plan of Action and Standard of
Conduct for the display of international solidarity. It was essential that there be full respect for the
sovereignty of States and that that action was always taken at the request or with the consent of the
recipient State.
In recent years, there had been an increase in the impact of natural disasters in numbers, victims, and
the scale of damaged caused. The International Decade for the Reduction of Natural Disasters was
aimed at mitigating the negative impact of among other things, El Nino, cyclones, hurricanes, which
afflicted every corner of the world. It had forged a growing awareness of international solidarity, and had
pointed towards the need to move on from reacting to disasters to a comprehensive strategy in terms of
sustainable development and efforts to prevent and reduce natural disaster effects, such as early
warning, emergency mitigation and reconstruction.
Humanitarian assistance was a shared responsibility and a collective commitment, he stressed.
SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said that in complex humanitarian emergencies the role of the United
Nations became pivotal. One had not only to respond to the immediate needs of the victims, but also to
address political and development aspects of the situation. The United Nations could perform those two
roles.
However, it needed to be assured that the independence and impartiality of humanitarian activities were
not compromised by their association with the political process. The United Nations could also be more
effective in ensuring access of civilians to areas requiring humanitarian assistance and to ensure the
safety of civilians. Efforts had been made by the United Nations system to strengthen both legal and
physical protection for civilians caught up in armed conflicts.
However, such steps became extremely difficult when State machinery was used to kill innocent civilians
in situations of armed conflict and foreign occupation. Terrorism perpetrated by State troops should be
curbed with stern action. The international community should bring to justice those who violated the
human rights of people living under foreign occupation.
In the last decade, he noted, Africa had suffered from a number of complex humanitarian emergencies.
However, the response of the international community had not been very supportive of Africas efforts.
Bilateral actions had been very selective. In most cases, those were not driven by the sole consideration
of meeting the needs of victims, but were based on political considerations. It was well known that the
effects of disasters could be mitigated by early warning and rapid response. To develop those abilities,
the developing countries must be provided access to relevant technologies and sufficient resources. The
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needs of small island developing States should be given special attention in that connection.
Although there had been an overall increase in resources allocated for humanitarian assistance, the
proportion of international humanitarian aid delivered through multilateral channels had declined. The
utilization of resources through bilateral channels made coordination of international resources more
difficult. It also resulted in a loss of opportunities to develop the national capacities of affected countries,
as most of the organizations tended to focus only on the delivery aspect of assistance, and not on the
long-term question of development. The CAP should be the overall framework for channeling
humanitarian assistance from all sources.
Pakistan was bearing the burden of an emergency which had been virtually forgotten by the international
community, he said.
His country was host to approximately 2.6 million Afghan refugees. They had played a critical role in
putting an end to the cold war but had been denied a share in the peace dividend. The world had
abandoned that mass of displaced humanity. Consequently, the onus of responsibility had shifted to the
Government of Pakistan. Its limited resources had seriously curtailed its ability to address the needs of
those refugees. He called on the international community to respond to the appeals issued for
humanitarian assistance to Afghan refugees living in Pakistan.
DUMISANI S. KUMALO (South Africa), said that United Nations staff were constantly faced with the
prospect of being physically and psychologically harassed, violated and murdered with impunity.
According to the Secretary- Generals report on the issue, 217 civilian staff members of the United Nations
system had been killed in the line of duty since 1992. Worse yet, only 3 cases of violent deaths out of 177
had been brought to justice. The situation was untenable and required concrete action. It was vital for
Member States to acknowledge their obligations for the safety and security of United Nations personnel.
Where criminal or violent acts occurred, it was crucial to ensure swift and effective action against the
perpetrators. One could not expect United Nations staff members to take on difficult and dangerous
assignments without proper training and equipment.
Earlier this year in South Africa, and particularly in Mozambique, the most devastating floods in history
had occurred. South Africa and Zimbabwe had not been spared, he said. Despite problems of their own, it
had been heartwarming to note the number of ordinary South Africans and Zimbabweans who had
crossed the border to assist the people of Mozambique.
Much of that would not have been possible, or sustainable, without the assistance of United Nations
bodies such as OCHA and the World Food Programme (WFP). It was important to learn from those and
similar disasters in order to better prepare for future calamities. The southern African floods illustrated the
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value of using multilateral channels for emergency assistance. However, it also underlined the fact that
relief agencies were acutely under-funded. The need for national disaster plans and management policies
had also become painfully evident.
This years humanitarian segment of the Economic and Social Council had addressed the thorny issue of
internally displaced persons, and as the Assembly was aware, had failed to come up with any agreed
conclusions. He found that turn of events particularly disconcerting. The issue of internally displaced
persons was of major concern to the African region. Ten African countries alone accounted for over 12
million of the estimated 20 to 25 million people displaced in the world today. The conflict in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo had displaced some 1.3 million of its citizens, and caused similar
displacement in neighbouring countries. Piecemeal approaches on internal displacement had to end, he
said. He called on all Member States to cast aside ideological inflexibilities and commit themselves to a
serious debate on the issue.
MR. CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that, although there were some encouraging signs of greater
responsiveness on the part of the international community in coming forward with increased assistance,
the pace was not sustained. With the increase in the number of humanitarian emergencies, the range of
organizations getting involved in humanitarian response to crises was also increasing. That was giving
rise to coordination challenges. The need for better coordination was indeed a priority. The CAPs was a
key tool for coordination of the international response to emergencies, and that more emphasis must be
placed on the process as a continuous year-round process of inter-agency coordination.
It was a matter of hope that there had been a good response to the consolidated appeal in 1999, when
some 75 per cent of requirements were met. Every effort must be made to maintain that upturn in donor
response. He emphasized the need to ensure the safety of personnel who were risking their lives to help
people in distress. It was important for all to ensure that humanitarian personnel had safe and unimpeded
access to all people in need of assistance.
The role of technology in disaster preparedness and alerting people to an impending natural disaster
could not be overemphasized, he said. The best way to minimize loss of human lives and reduce the
impact of a disaster was to alert people to an impending crisis sufficiently ahead of the event.
In Bangladesh, early warning and disaster preparedness had already made a huge difference in the way
that natural calamities and cyclones were tackled. He urged all donor countries and international
agencies to prevent, mitigate and mount adequate response to disasters.
HIDEAKI KOBAYASHI (Japan) said effective humanitarian activities were possible only in an
environment where humanitarian personnel could discharge their responsibilities, without hindrance or
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fear for their lives. In that context, he said arrangements for the safety and security of United Nations
personnel should be strengthened. Japan thus supported the initiative of the Secretary-General to ensure
the safety and security of personnel from different organizations on the ground, in a complex and rapidly
changing context.
He said efficient and adequate training was also a key factor in guaranteeing the safety and security of
personnel. Last year, Japan contributed $1 million to the trust fund created to strengthen security training
of field personnel, and would contribute another $1 million this year. Other countries should join his in this
effort, and the United Nations should make the best use of it. He said Japan also wanted to highlight the
importance of a legal framework for the security of humanitarian personnel.
The primary responsibility for ensuring a secure environment for humanitarian workers lay with the
government of the host country, he said. He pointed out the need to further strengthen the coordination of
humanitarian assistance in light of the increasing number of actors involved, the growing complexity of
situations and the differentiated needs of victims. Also crucial, in addition to the need for horizontal
coordination, or synergy between actors on the ground, was the coordination needed to ensure a smooth
continuum between humanitarian emergency assistance and assistance towards reconstruction.
JARGALSAIKHANY ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) said the heavy snows and extremely cold winter of
1999/2000 in his country had led to the loss of nearly three million head of livestock -- about nine per cent
of the nation's entire livestock population.
More than a fifth of the nation's human population had also been affected by what was the worst multiple
disaster in his country in the last 30 years. Cattle-raising was the main source of income for most of the
rural population hit by the natural calamity. Even more alarming was the effect of the death of their herds
on nomadic families.
Mongolia was large, he went on, and it was not easy to deliver assistance to remote localities that had
been hit by disaster.
Responses for international assistance had been nevertheless quite helpful, but given the scope of
damage, it would be extremely difficult for Mongolia to cope on its own with all the negative
consequences, which would affect the country for several years. Winter had already started in Mongolia
and the herders faced the prospect of another harsh season.
He said the relief operation in his country offered some lessons for consideration in similar situations in
the future.
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There was a need for faster reactions to appeals, faster assessment of disaster damage and, of course,
faster implementation. As was evident from the Secretary-General's report, the overall response to
international appeals was still not satisfactory. Multilateral responses to humanitarian emergencies were
needed, in support of national efforts. Since natural disasters often struck States lacking the resources to
cope with them adequately, his delegation wanted to stress the need for further concrete measures to
reduce the vulnerability of societies in those countries, such as disaster-reduction mechanisms which
should also be an integral part of sustainable development strategies. He stressed the importance of
appropriate technologies for early warning, prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response to natural
disasters.
Such technologies should be made available on preferential and concessional terms.
YURIY ISAKOV (Russian Federation) said that progress had been achieved in the approach of the
United Nations system to natural disasters, particularly in readiness and early warning systems. On the
other hand, an increase in natural disasters presented new challenges and made it necessary to further
improve the existing tools. It was vital that neutrality, impartiality, and the agreement of the country
affected, were all adhered to. Otherwise, there could be no improvement, he said. Humanitarian
intervention was directly opposed to the above-mentioned principles, and destructive to international
relations as a whole. The effectiveness of United Nations work was decisively dependent on consensus
decisions. He stressed the importance of the Economic and Social Council humanitarian segment, which
had functioned in a businesslike atmosphere, avoiding politicization. The Inter-Agency Standing
Committee was an important forum for improvement, and its work should be published on a regular basis.
He was gratified that the appeals for 2001 were to be held tomorrow, and encouraged donor States to
remember the so-called forgotten emergencies.
He said that the increase in number and scale of natural disasters lent topicality to the report on the role
of technology. However, it seemed to focus mainly on early warning technologies, such as
telecommunications and space technologies. There was no information about the use of technology at
the stage of recovery and rescue. The Russian Federation had submitted a list of its specialized
technologies for disasters. He urged other countries to submit similar information in order to coordinate
machinery in crisis situations.
He stressed the need to increase assistance to Tajikistan, where drought and refugees from Afghanistan
exacerbated the situation. Impartial assistance to Afghanistan was also required, he said. He emphasized
the need for sanctions regimes to take into consideration consequences on civilians.
It was vital that humanitarian assistance did not fall under sanctions regimes.
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He pointed out that next April would be the fifteenth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The
consequences and scale of the accident required serious international attention. The three countries
primarily affected -- Ukraine, Belarus, and the Russian Federation -- called upon the international
community to find solutions to minimize the consequences.
ATUL KHARE (India) said it should be a matter of concern that some serious issues in delivering
humanitarian aid did not get more notice. The uncoordinated aspect of humanitarian assistance was one
of those. Also to be addressed was the question of delivering assistance to populations at risk in areas of
recent conflict where a United Nations peacekeeping operation was deployed. The assistance itself was a
bone of contention between parties to a conflict. Also, further attention should be given to the issues of
increasingly using armed forces to deliver aid and of increasing reliance on private sector largesse or
transnational corporate involvement, which could be driven by commercial interests rather than local
needs. Finally, the Relief Web's platform should be truly useful for the information of impartial
humanitarian agencies.
All those problems could be addressed by scrupulously adhering to the Guiding Principles for
Humanitarian Assistance, he continued. However, those were honoured more in the breach than in the
observance. Nevertheless, those guidelines made it clear that however much the assistance of others
was appreciated, primary responsibility for humanitarian assistance lay with the affected country.
He said state-of-the-art technologies such as remote sensing, computer modeling and electronic
information management should be developed for better global management of natural disasters. To
ensure the safety of humanitarian workers delivering assistance, the genuine impartiality of the
assistance must be made clear to those being helped. On a bilateral basis and despite limitations, India
had been assisting the Palestinian people and would continue to do so through scholarships and cultural
exchange programmes. It had also assisted the people of Afghanistan, but the humanitarian situation
there was assuming serious proportions. The Taliban authorities must revoke their discriminatory
practises against minorities.
((M2 Communications Ltd disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data
prepared by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at
http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web. Inquiries to info@m2.com)).
Document mtpw000020010808dwbs013o8
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Mercosur [Common Market of the South] and the EU managed to overcome the main ...
9,102 words
18 November 2000
BBC Monitoring Service: Latin America
BBCLA
English
(c) 2000 The British Broadcasting Corporation [date of publication]. All Rights Reserved. No material may
be reproduced except with the express permission of The British Broadcasting Corporation.
Text of report by Brazilian newspaper `Valor' web site on 9th November
Mercosur [Common Market of the South] and the EU managed to overcome the main stumbling-block in
the third round of negotiations on free trade between the two blocs: the European indifference regarding
these negotiations. Ambassador Jose Alfredo Graca Lima, the main negotiator for the South American
bloc, yesterday acknowledged the change of the EU's attitude and admitted that these negotiations could
develop faster than those regarding the FTAA [Free Trade Area of the Americas].
"We could burn some stages in the negotiations with the EU that were obligatory in the FTAA," Graca
Lima said. "In addition to this, the delays of the last few months could be compensated for without
problems."
The ambassador also foresees the implementation of the timetables for reductions of import tariffs in the
agreements between Mercosur and the EU as well as in the FTAA between 2005 and 2006. In general,
the reductions will be implemented over 10 years until they reach a zero tariff rate.
The signal of the EU's renewed interest was the fact that it sent EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner
Christopher Patten, who delivered a categorical speech stressing the priority that the EU gives to these
negotiations. A delegation of 40 experts is accompanying Patten.
"I would like to repeat: We are very seriously involved in these negotiations," Patten said yesterday after
presenting a working proposal for the three groups that will be created to carry out the process. "They
convinced us of their interest in the negotiations," Graca Lima said.
The agreement should improve the atmosphere of the talks, which will begin to be held in earnest with
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effect from July 2001. For these give-and-take negotiations, Foreign Minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia
repeated that Mercosur would have to give way on some points. In principle, he expects Mercosur to
make concessions for the access of industrial products and services (such as financial services, transport
and communications) and government procurement. In exchange, Mercosur hopes to obtain a greater
opening up of the European agricultural market.
Source: `Valor' web site, Sao Paulo, in Portuguese 9 Nov 00
Text of report by Brazilian newspaper `Gazeta Mercantil' web site on 8th November
Brasilia: Yesterday, at the opening of the third meeting of the Mercosur [Common Market of the South]EU Negotiating Committee, Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia said that the free trade
agreement being discussed by the two blocs must not use similar agreements being discussed by the EU
as parameters. Lampreia said: "Mercosur intends to establish an agreement that will increase trade
between the two blocs in a balanced manner." Although he did not refer to Mexico, Lampreia expressed
Mercosur's desire to carry out comprehensive negotiations with Europe. The free trade agreement being
discussed by the EU and Mexico does not include agricultural products. The meeting is due to end on
Friday 10th November.
According to Lampreia, Mercosur and the EU must seek a consensus of views, taking into account the
characteristics of the South American bloc and without restricting the subject to trade issues. He also
pointed out that the agreement with the Europeans would take place at the same time as the creation of
the FTAA [Free Trade Area of the Americas] is being discussed. Lampreia once again criticized the EU
subsidies for agriculture, which distort the market and penalize developing countries such as Brazil.
Lampreia said that the great obstacle to be overcome is the imbalance between the two blocs. "The great
challenge that lies ahead of us is the growing social imbalance that makes the prospects of a balanced
world seem remote."
EU External Relations Commissioner Christopher Patten said that the two blocs must prepare the
grounds for the next phase of negotiations. As from July 2001, Mercosur and the EU start the most
difficult phase of the negotiations - the progressive elimination of tariffs on products, including agricultural
products and the liberalization of the trade in services. According to Patten, the surfacing of obstacles in
the negotiations must not jeopardize the main objective, that is, creating a partnership among 595 million
inhabitants, approximately 10 per cent of the world's population.
Source: `Gazeta Mercantil' web site, Sao Paulo, in Portuguese 8 Nov 00
Tax cut
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Social security reform
Special pensions
Contribution for retirees
Revenue sharing
Argentine Economy Minister Jose Luis Machinea has unveiled a package of tax and spending cuts and
social security reforms to tackle the country's economic difficulties. Machinea said he would also be
discussing with provincial governments a freeze on their spending. The following is the text of a report by
Argentine news agency Telam on 11th November; subheadings as published:
[No dateline, as received] Economy Minister Jose Luis Machinea tonight praised President Fernando de
la Rua's leadership in moving forward with the implementation of structural reforms. Machinea also
announced a new economic package, and that the IMF supports the Argentine government's initiative.
Machinea made these remarks after delivering the closing speech of the 36th IDEA Forum in Mar del
Plata and after reading a communique issued by IMF managing director Horst Kohler expressing support
for the Argentine government's measures.
Machinea praised President de la Rua's speech and said: "We have a helmsman steering the ship. We
are working together with him. We are convinced that Argentine economy will grow again and that we will
lower the country risk factor."
The economy minister emphasized that the presidential message broaches "two key issues: The
structural reforms and the measures to improve competitiveness".
Machinea said: "After the labour reform and the deregulation of the telecommunications sector, there are
three important pending reforms in Argentina. These have to do with the social works system, the social
security system and the relationship between the central government and the provinces."
The finance minister acknowledged that "Argentine economy is growing at quite a slower pace than what
we had expected. This has resulted in a low tax yield and in an increase of the fiscal deficit despite the
fact that the spending cuts far exceed what was budgeted".
Machinea said: "This has compelled us to revise our fiscal revenue estimates for 2001. In view of the
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situation, we preferred to be more prudent regarding our growth estimates. Therefore, we will be
submitting to Congress an amendment bill that will reflect lower revenues as a result of a lower economic
growth."
Machinea said that as a result of this situation, the administration believes that "it is necessary not only to
change fiscal revenue estimates, but also to submit a draft bill to amend the fiscal responsibility law. This
amendment bill will not only reflect the above-mentioned requirements but also contemplate a greater
fiscal deficit that will be previously approved and financed by multilateral organizations."
Machinea added: "This bill is far stricter regarding government spending than the current one. It enforces
much tighter restrictions regarding the administration's primary nominal spending." The economy minister
reported: "The new bill establishes that the national government's nominal expenses will have to either
remain unaltered or decrease at least until 2005. We are freezing government expenses for five years."
Furthermore, the economy minister announced the following draft bills package that will be submitted to
Congress in the next few days:
Machinea reasserted the enforcement of the tax cut timetable that was announced 15 days ago. He also
announced that the administration will submit to Congress a draft bill that will totally eliminate tax on
interest from October 2001 until mid-2002. Furthermore, the executive branch will submit a draft bill to
allow a profit tax deduction on all future mortgage credit instalments.
The economy minister believes that this was the most courageous part of President de la Rua's speech
and announced that the administration will replace the draft bill drafted at the beginning of the year by
another bolder draft bill that will eliminate the Basic Universal Allowance (PBU). Machinea said: "In the
future, no new retiree will receive less than 300 pesos. We are also including a basic allowance of 100
pesos for the unemployed."
He also announced a gradual increase of the retirement age for women as of 2002.
Machinea said: "What is important here is that all discussions and doubts about the private or public
system are terminated. The president has just announced that within the context of these measures, the
government-controlled pension system is senseless, that it will be abolished, and that the capitalization
regime will be the only one in force."
Furthermore, he reported that a reform will be submitted to Congress that will include armed forces and
security personnel in the capitalization regime.
Machinea concluded: "This modification definitively eliminates a bankrupt system and presents us with a
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system that will allow the financing of not only the public sector but also private enterprise."
Machinea also announced measures that seek to increase competitiveness in the private pensions
system; grant greater transparency in commission fees; authorize the AFJP [Pension and Retirement
Fund Managing Companies] to manage more funds. He also announced the issuance of a package of
measures that will seek to improve the control system of funds and grant the AFJP superintendency
flexibility to increase or decrease by 20 per cent the different investment tools.
Benefits granted through Law 13,337 cannot be over 120 pesos under any circumstances (they currently
stand at 600 pesos) and have an expiration term of 5 years for people over 65 years of age but they can
be renewed.
Also eligible to receive special pensions for a 6-month period are heads of family under 65 years of age
with three children. The benefits granted prior to this regulation will have to adjust to this norm.
Machinea asserted that "the extraordinary savings resulting from this retirement system will allow us to at
least give something to the have-nots. Therefore, all those retirees who are older than 80 years of age will
have access to a retirement pension of at least 200 pesos in 2001. Later on, the same will also apply to
those retirees older than 75 years of age. [quotation marks as published]
The central government proposes to work with the provinces on this regime but on the basis of the
following guidelines:
Machinea said: "Until the agreement is completed, we propose the provinces to extend the federal
commitment, a pact that will guarantee that in the next five years, they will not increase spending at either
the national or the provincial levels."
Machinea also reported that this pact will be discussed this weekend on the basis of a freeze on primary
spending, the transfer of funds to the provinces on the basis of quarterly averages, and the assistance of
provinces whenever they have problems in the payment and financing of debts.
Furthermore, Machinea announced that the Anses [National Social Security Administration] will be
placed under trusteeship to improve its effectiveness which still needs a great deal of improvement. He
also announced the issuance of an ART [Work Risk Bill] draft bill which will increase money payments,
eliminate civil suits, deregulate and allow the free election of social works systems as of 1st January and
the privatization and subcontracting of the payment of some taxes.
Source: Telam news agency, Buenos Aires, in Spanish 1032 gmt 11 Nov 00
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Text of report by Argentine news agency Telam
Mar del Plata, 11th November: President Fernando de la Rua said today that he is "the president of a
country that has to grow and compete with the rest of the world - and this is not wishful thinking". The
president was speaking tonight at the IDEA [Institute for the Development of Executives in Argentina]
colloquium under way in this city where he called on businessmen to generate trust in the country.
"I am also the president of a country with very serious poverty levels." And it is all because "we behave
like political juveniles", he added. De la Rua was quoting Miguel Cane in his book describing the
problems and lives of students of the Buenos Aires National College at the beginning of the 20th century.
The president complained that "we have a big problem of trust that is costing us several million a day".
He called on the businessmen to work together to generate this trust.
"To those who say I do things because the IMF tells me to," to those who say "I am trapped by an
Alliance that does not allow me to govern", to those people I say "I am here to tell you of my economic
plan."
In this connection, the president stressed "public savings" and "competitiveness".
He ascertained that "it was hard" to overcome the political crisis that ensued in the wake of [VicePresident] Carlos Alvarez's resignation, but he emphasized that "we have emerged with a stronger
legislative bloc" that approved all the necessary bills.
"The Alliance was elected to govern the country," he added, saying that this Alliance "is composed of
honest and well-intentioned political leaders".
"The political class has the opportunity of showing the people whether they are patriots or a burden on
the nation, and it seems to me that no one is willing to miss that opportunity," De la Rua said. "Much was
done and it was well done, but it is not enough. If we were to content ourselves with what we have done,
it would be an economic disaster" because "the lack of trust (of the markets) is costing us many millions
of dollars each day", he said, reiterating elements of his earlier message over a national hook-up of
television and radio stations.
"We are determined to go for more, for deeper reforms" to generate "more public savings, more
investments", the head of state said, adding: "I want to secure the financing of the economy" to find
"sustained growth and stable employment for my people, who are my most profound and definitive
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cause".
He said: "We are receiving American, Chinese and Spanish investments, and we expect to receive more
than 7bn dollars in investments next year." "Savings and investments are competitiveness and exports,
and that is the economic plan," he emphasized.
De la Rua maintained that he "is ready to pay all the necessary political costs, but I shall secure
sustained growth and stable employment; only then will I expect your recognition and that of the people".
De la Rua said that "the results are going to be measured by the Alliance bloc's effectiveness in obtaining
approval of the laws the government is asking for. At times it seems that the voices of a few dissenting
deputies, who only know how to oppose everybody else, can mean more than the overwhelming
legislative majority of our deputies who work with courage, patriotism, and political maturity."
"We are determined to go for more, with deep reforms by means of concrete decrees and laws, to go on
until no more reforms are needed, in order to generate more public savings, more investments, more
competitiveness, and more exports," he said.
Lastly, he stressed: "I want to bring the economy back to health, win strong financial support, and switch
on that long-awaited trust in a combination that gives us the strong growth in the short term that we need,
sustained growth and stable employment for my people."
Source: Telam news agency, Buenos Aires, in Spanish 0208 gmt 11 Nov 00
Text of report by Argentine newspaper `Pagina 12' web site on 11th November
IMF Managing Director Horst Koehler has welcomed the measures announced by Argentine President
Fernando de la Rua which aim, he said, "to strengthen economic policy". In an official communique, the
IMF stresses that "the measures announced by President De la Rua on the evening of 10th November
demonstrate strong leadership and represent a significant strengthening of economic policy as well as
evidence of Argentina's commitment to strengthen the measures adopted in the last decade".
Koehler discussed the proposal for reaching a fiscal pact with the provinces, which, together with
"additional financial support", will allow Argentina to "have access to the capital market". The IMF
managing director said that "the negotiations with Argentina will continue being held and that they could
be concluded in a relatively short time", in relation to the financial rescue.
"Once an agreement is reached the IMF directors will be ready to recommend to the executive board that
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it approve a stand-by package for Argentina. Additional support will be available for Argentina, including
the SRF [Supplemental Reserve Facility] in support for the economic policies," Koehler added in his
communique.
The German banker stressed that the Argentine government "has also been discussing the economic
programme with the World Bank and IADB [Inter-American Development Bank]" adding that "these
institutions would make similar announcements shortly".
Source: `Pagina 12' web site, Buenos Aires, in Spanish 11 Nov 00
Text of report by Fernando Alonso, published by Argentine newspaper `El Cronista' on 8th November
The administration has reached an agreement with a group of PJ [Justicialist Party] governors to finalize
accords this month to refinance provincial debts maturing in 2001 and to begin renegotiations of the pact
that was signed in December. These commitments also include guaranteeing the passage of the budget
through Congress within the legally required time.
This decision was reached during a meeting of the cabinet secretary, Chrystian Colombo, with
Governors Juan Carlos Romero (Salta), Gildo Insfran (Formosa), Eduardo Fellner (Jujuy), Julio Miranda
(Tucuman), Carlos Rovira (Misiones) and the deputy governor of Tierra del Fuego, Daniel Gallo.
Even though Salta took part in the negotiations, it has decided to continue refinancing its maturing debts
on its own. It did, however, cite the need for progress in the discussions of the Federal Revenue Sharing
Bill in order to have a foreseeable horizon in its negotiations with banks.
This northern province, which is controlled by the Federal Bloc (whose members met for dinner last night
[7th November] to prepare for their meeting next Tuesday [14th November]), is considering a bond issue
backed by hydrocarbon royalties but first it needs the new revenue-sharing legislation to be passed.
At the meeting, which was held in the cabinet secretary's office, Secretary-General of the Presidency
Horacio Jaunarena and the deputy secretary for relations with the provinces, Oscar Cetrangolo, who is
responsible for filling in the figures that need to be refinanced, were also present.
The government will negotiate the equivalent of 50 per cent of the deficit of each province for next year.
The amount of this deficit should be less than its deficit in the present year, because of the application of
the current fiscal commitment. In the case of the nine provinces that opted to refinance their debts with
the assistance of the national government, the deficit reduction pledged for this year was 394m pesos.
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The funds required will come from the Provincial Development Trust Fund, with loans to be provided by
the Argentine National Bank, Colombo said. Private banks will take part in this programme through the
Trust Fund, the resources of which were depleted after the assistance of 1.2bn pesos that it provided to
the provinces this year.
Colombo said that the districts that have entered the bail-out plan have complied with the fiscal accords,
which are reviewed quarterly before authorizing disbursements. He pointed out, though, that along with
the new agreements, it would be necessary to revise the document that was signed on 6th December
1999. "It may be necessary to make some changes to it and to take a look at the issue of refinancing in
2001, because the situation has changed," he said. Among other factors, he pointed out that the tax cut to
promote investment would affect the funds available for revenue sharing.
Fellner, acting as the spokesman for the governors, said that this was "a new vote of confidence" by the
Justicialist governors in favour of President Fernando De la Rua.
The interest of the provinces in speeding up the debt renegotiations also includes a commitment to
secure passage of the 2001 budget, since the provinces have been critical of the cuts in the Special
Tobacco Fund and in the subsidy for fuels in Patagonia. At the meeting in the cabinet secretary's office, it
was agreed to leave this discussion up to the deputies and senators but they did confirm their
commitment to guarantee passage of the budget within the legal deadline. This has been one of the
administration's major concerns.
"We have no doubt that this debate in Congress will take place in the right time and form, and that the
country will have a budget that is in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Law and with the debt
limits. Then we will be able to show the world that we are a credible and reliable nation," was Colombo's
assessment.
To continue this course of action, the cabinet chief has scheduled a larger meeting for next Tuesday, to
which he has invited all of the Justicialist governors.
Several items on the agenda include a discussion of the new federal revenue sharing law, the debt
situation of the provinces and issues on which there are disagreements between the national government
and the provinces. One day later Colombo will repeat this meeting, but this time with the Alliance
governors.
Source: `El Cronista', Buenos Aires, in Spanish 8 Nov 00 p 8
Text of report by Alberto Lippi published by Argentine newspaper `El Cronista' on 8th November
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The administration was not frightened by the record high interest rates that it had to accept yesterday at
the triple auction of Treasury bills aimed at securing 1.1bn pesos in financing. It is already working with
the pension and retirement fund management companies (AFJPs) to set up a trust fund to raise another
500m pesos this week, which will close the financing programme for the year, not counting the
announced auction timetable.
The Economy Ministry's trek through the markets in November has just begun. The fact is that it will have
to raise another 1.55bn pesos by the end of the month, including the remaining 900m pesos
disbursement from the syndicated loan agreed on with the banks, another 400m pesos in new Treasury
bonds and 250m pesos that the AFJPs will put up through the new financial trust fund (they put up half in
November and the rest in December). To this must be added 100m pesos in rolled-over notes. The threemonth yield is the highest since 15th September 1999, when it hit 13.48 per cent. The one-year yield is
without precedent and the six-month rate is the highest in the history of Treasury bills, although the
margin over Libor [London Inter-Bank Offer Rate] is not (it was exceeded on 13th October last year when
it hit 933 points). In any event, the country-risk premium rose again, albeit more modestly, reaching 915
points, 5 points higher than the previous day.
The yields were 12.59 per cent on three-month Treasury bills, 13.52 per cent on six-month bills and
13.77 per cent on one-year bills. These are the discounted yields and thus the equivalent yields to
maturity are 13 per cent, 14.51 per cent and 16 per cent respectively, reflecting margins over Libor of
624, 778 and 927 points.
"The markets are tough for Argentina, but we will not change the rules; we will maintain the auction
timetable and we will not try to force the yield," said Economy Minister Jose Luis Machinea.
The yields could have been worse, since the Bank of the Nation was active in offering an interest rate
lower than private banks were asking for, and it placed 200m pesos (70m pesos in six-month bills and
130m pesos in one-year bills). Finance Secretary Daniel Marx reported that the bank would make these
funds available to its customers so that they can underwrite bills on the secondary market.
In spite of Marx's prior agreements with the banks, the bids did not reach twice the amount being offered
by the government, thus standing at the July 1999 levels.
"We will always systematically comply with the timetable for issues, hence we do not plan to postpone
these auctions. A postponement means a change in the rules, and the reaction would have been
negative," the minister said.
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Marx emphasized that in the light of experience, next year he would try to stagger the issues more
evenly over time, thus avoiding a crunch like yesterday's.
Machinea did not agree with the idea put forward yesterday by his new colleague Enrique Martinez (who
takes over today in the secretariat dealing with small and medium-sized businesses); Martinez suggested
that the government finance itself by making use of the reserve requirements that the banks must set
aside on the deposits that they take in.
"If we go against the grain of the market, the situation will become untenable and we would be sending
out a bad signal. Using reserve requirements would be forcing the market," he said. Marx agreed with his
boss but shifted the issue to the Central Bank, which "has good reason to refuse to do this, because it is
there to safeguard deposits and the solvency of the banking system", he said.
The minister pointed out that yesterday's yields "will not continue for much longer because there is no
reason for hysteria: the country is just as solvent as other emerging countries, or more so; the maturity of
our debt is better; the local market is growing strongly, and there is no reason for problems of fiscal
solvency".
Source: `El Cronista', Buenos Aires, in Spanish 8 Nov 00 pp 1-3
Excerpt from report by Spanish news agency Efe
Madrid, 8th November: The Spanish-Argentine multinational Repsol YPF has today announced a net
profit for the first nine months of this year of 1.772bn euros [approximately 1.5bn dollars], up 204.4 per
cent on the 1999 figure of 582m euros [approximately 501m dollars]...
Source: Efe news agency, Madrid, in Spanish 1255 gmt 8 Nov 00
Assistance
Text of report by Roberta Jansen published by Brazilian newspaper `O Estado de Sao Paulo' web site on
8th November; subheading as published
Rio de Janeiro: Paulo Teixeira, coordinator of the National DST/AIDS Programme of the Health Ministry,
yesterday said that if the international pharmaceutical industries do not reduce the price of medicines for
the anti-AIDS cocktail, the Brazilian government is willing to produce them here even if it means violating
some patent rights. Brazil currently produces eight of the non-patented medicines that make up the antiAIDS cocktail. Brazil is studying the possibility of producing four other medicines here. "If the prices don't
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fall, we will produce them," Teixeira said.
To violate some international laboratories' patent rights, Brazil would resort to international agreements
and domestic laws that allow such a measure in national emergency cases.
The Health Ministry coordinator said that Brazil is seeking the support of other countries and it will hold a
meeting with representatives of India, Russia, China, Nigeria and Bangladesh in February 2001.
"The eight drugs we have been producing for the past four years have had their prices reduced by 71 per
cent in this time. Now, the prices of the four medicines we still buy fell by only 9 per cent, despite the
increase in consumption," Teixeira said.
The international pharmaceutical industry does not only fear that Brazil could violate patent rights for
domestic production. The government announced in July that it is willing to transfer medicine production
technology to other developing countries and distribute small quantities of drugs produced in Brazil.
Components of the anti-AIDS cocktail have already been sent to Uruguay and the Bahamas. Brazil is the
only developing country that produces drugs for the anti-AIDS cocktail through public laboratories. "It is
not our objective to turn into medicine exporters."
According to Teixeira, the pharmaceutical industry has been spreading doubts about the quality of the
medicines. For him, the greatest proof of the efficiency of the Brazilian drugs is the fact that the AIDS
mortality rate in Brazil is the same as that of developing countries. Teixeira announced that Brazil is
offering to host the International AIDS Conference in 2004, which is the most important event on the
subject.
Source: `O Estado de Sao Paulo' web site, Sao Paulo, in Portuguese 8 Nov 00
Text of "exclusive" interview with Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia by Luis Esnal at
Itamaraty Palace (the Foreign Ministry) in Brasilia; date of interview not given; published by Argentine
newspaper `La Nacion' web site on 10th November
[Esnal] Brazil is being hurt by the turbulence in Argentina. Is there anything you could do to help
Argentina and, at the same time help yourselves?
[Lampreia] I don't think so. No-one has asked us for help. Recently, we were in Madrid with President
Fernando de la Rua, Ministers Adalberto Rodriguez Giavarini [foreign minister] and Jose Luis Machinea
[economy minister] and they have made no request to that effect.
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[Q] A few days ago, when Argentina launched a package of measures which included a reduction of the
Common External Tariff [CET], Brazilian officials immediately stated their objection to this measure. That
did not help.
[A] We are prepared to study that possibility but, obviously, we have to take our interests into account.
We are not prepared to make a hasty opening-up and we have a number of sectors that are vulnerable
and, therefore, the tariffs for them are high. These are legitimate interests we must bear in mind.
[Q] How far do you think macroeconomic convergence could really go?
[A] For the time being, we can achieve convergence on the debt, public deficit and possibly inflation. We
can set goals in these three areas.
[Q] Since the last decade, the EU has established a single currency and has made strides in economic
convergence, while Mercosur [Common Market of the South] became virtually paralysed... [ellipsis as
published] [A] There has undoubtedly been a deceleration here, especially on account of the crisis of the
real, but one could not draw a comparison with the EU because there you get behind the wheel of a car
and could drive on a highway from Sicily to Lisbon. One can travel there in high-speed trains linking large
capital cities and the gas pipelines and power grids are interconnected. There are levels of income and a
number of other conditions there that we do not have. We cannot attempt to become another Europe in
10 years. We are going well, but we do not have that level of maturity and interaction.
[Q] What about the Mercosur common currency?
[A] If we can achieve the above three goals on convergence, I believe that within a few years we could
start thinking about a common currency, gradually. Nevertheless, I do not know how soon we could do
that.
[Q] Other issues, like that of motor vehicles, also appear to be stagnated.
[A] I believe the two sides are now taking a more pragmatic position. The two governments have been
holding a dialogue in a more effective fashion. Today, I am much more optimistic than I was a month ago
about reaching an agreement before the end of this year.
[Q] There are more than 200 cases of misunderstanding between the United States and Canada, many
more than within Mercosur. Nevertheless, Mercosur always seems to be on the brink of collapse. Why?
[A] That is perhaps because here trade issues frequently are politicized and go beyond the economic
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pages of the newspapers. There are very serious conflicts within NAFTA [North American Free Trade
Agreement], between the United States and Mexico; or between the United States and Japan; everyone
has conflicts with everyone. Nevertheless, they are not talking about these conflicts all the time. Among
us there is a certain tendency towards overplaying every dispute.
[Q] Does Brazil want to emerge officially as the South American leader?
[A] Brazil cannot ignore its specific weight, its GDP (which amounts to about 500bn dollars a year), its
market, its size and its population, but it should not forget that it has 11 neighbouring countries and that it
is not in a position to impose its will on them.
[Q] It seems as though Brazil wishes to impose a soft leadership, so as not to create discomfort, but in
the end it is forced into it by the aggressive US style.
[A] The truth is that Brazil has sufficient strength to impose its will and decisions on other countries.
Conversely, it is not part of our tradition to be interventionist regarding our neighbours. This is a 200-yearold tradition and we have no intention of departing from it.
[Q] Isn't the Brazilian strategy to bring all South American countries together to negotiate with the United
States the creation of the FTAA [Free Trade Area of the Americas] under advantageous terms?
[A] South America consists of 12 different countries. It is difficult for all of them to have the same position
on something as complex as the FTAA. I do not believe that would be possible.
[Q] What would "negotiating the FTAA on good terms" entail?
[A] To obtain as much preferential access as possible for our products into the United States, to improve
general economic relations and so that we are not forced to concentrate all our foreign relations within the
continent, excluding extracontinental relations (the EU).
Source: `La Nacion' web site, Buenos Aires, in Spanish 10 Nov 00
Text of report by Mauro Zanatta for Brazilian newspaper `Valor' web site on 9th November
Brasilia: In the absence of any possibility of reaching a negotiated solution to the chicken crisis, the
Common Market Group (GMC) of Mercosur [Common Market of the South] has ended the debates
between Argentina and Brazil and resorted to an arbitration tribunal to decide the issue. Since 24th July
Argentina has imposed an anti dumping barrier against Brazilian exports. The Argentine government
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imposed a 92-cent and 98-cent minimum price per kilo for Brazilian chicken sold in Argentina.
The special GMC meeting that took place in Brasilia yesterday clearly demonstrated that reconciliation
between the two parties would be impossible. "We have tried everything possible in the field of
negotiations but we did not get anywhere. Now we will decide through the court," said Claudio Martins,
executive director of the Brazilian Association of Chicken Exporters (ABEF).
Besides the Mercosur tribunal, the Brazilian government is not ruling out the possibility of taking the
conflict to the WTO.
Source: `Valor' web site, Sao Paulo, in Portuguese 9 Nov 00
Text of report in English by Caribbean news agency Cana
St George's, Grenada, 8th November: Civil aviation ministers from the Organization of Eastern
Caribbean States (OECS) are meeting in Grenada to devise ways of improving aviation standards in the
sub-region.
Herold Wilson, director of civil aviation for the OECS, told delegates [on] Tuesday that the US Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) was still not convinced the OECS was serious about air safety.
"Since l996 the United States FAA have made three visits to the directorate and are still not convinced
that we are serious about aviation safety. A fourth visit is now scheduled for the week beginning
November 2000 [lack of date as received]," Wilson said.
The ministers and other delegates are mandated to come up with ways of improving aviation standards
and start shaping the much talked about air transport policy.
Wilson did not outline specific examples but said that regional airports have often been the scene of
collisions between aircraft and equipment.
"At our very own airports in the OECS we have had far too many incidents of collisions between
equipment and aircraft on the parking apron," Wilson said.
"These accidents/incidents bring pain and suffering to loved ones and also drive up the operating and
business costs of airlines," he said.
The most recent incident happened over the weekend in Grenada when a woman driving a baggage tug
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crashed into a private airplane parked on the apron at Point Salines International.
Wilson called for "policies and procedures to reduce if not eliminate the occurrence of `aviation related'
accidents and incidents in the OECS".
Source: Cana news agency, Bridgetown, in English 1946 gmt 8 Nov 00
Text of report in English by Japanese news agency Kyodo
Tokyo, 8th November: Japan on Wednesday [8th November] offered support and cooperation with
Caribbean countries in such areas as environmental protection, improving living conditions of the
disadvantaged and helping them integrate into the global economy, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
The Japanese government proposed the initiatives at the first ever ministerial conference between Japan
and Caribbean countries in Tokyo aimed at enhancing bilateral partnerships and increasing Japan's
economic cooperation with the region.
Japan is considering providing some 3m dollars in assistance to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency
Response Agency, via the UN Human Security Fund, to reinforce the region's disaster emergency
response and rescue operation capabilities, the ministry said.
It will also strengthen the Caribbean Community's (Caricom) capabilities in terms of preventing and
mitigating environmental degradation, in areas including sewage treatment and marine pollution. Japan
will also support the countries' efforts to improve health care, develop the primary education programme,
reduce poverty, enhance gender equality and democratize the governments, according to the ministry.
Tokyo will also provide training on information technology and encourage trade and tourism in the region,
as well as promote exchanges with the 14 member countries of Caricom which sent cabinet ministers to
attend the one-day meeting.
The participants also approved a "New Framework for Japan-Caricom Cooperation for the 21st Century,"
which spells out their intentions to develop friendly and cooperative relations. The framework also calls for
cooperation between Japan and the Caribbean countries in multilateral settings such as the United
Nations and the World Trade Organization and the promotion of exchanges among the private sector.
"We are entering a new era of Japan-Caricom relations as we hold the ministerial-level talks for the first
time at the dawning of the new century," Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said in his opening
statement. Senior State Foreign Secretary Kiyohiro Araki represented Japan during most of the
conference proceedings at the Foreign Ministry.
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Caricom groups Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana,
Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, Trinidad and
Tobago, as well as British-ruled Montserrat.
The ministers from the Caribbean countries will meet with Japanese lawmakers and business leaders on
Thursday and Friday before moving to Osaka to spend Saturday touring the ancient Japanese capital of
Kyoto. They are scheduled to leave Japan on Sunday.
Source: Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 1014 gmt 8 Nov 00
Text of report published by Colombian RCN radio web site on 8th November
The government and Telefonica Data Colombia, an affiliate of Telefonica de Espana, have signed a
contract to develop a programme called "social Internet", which will bring the World Wide Web to 270
communities around the country after an investment of 19bn pesos (8.3m dollars).
The "social Internet" programme will be launched in the first quarter of 2001 and will operate through
community centres for Internet access.
It will cost less than 70 cents an hour to be connected, and priority will be given to educational sites,
including encyclopaedias, games and language training.
According to the government, the programme will generate more than 2,000 new jobs in Colombia once
it is up and running and will benefit over 2.5m Colombians in its initial six years.
According to Communications Minister Maria del Rosario Sintes, the programme "will fulfil a government
goal to make Internet access readily available to the general population".
Sintes explained that "once all three phases of the Compartel programme have been completed, almost
all Colombians (population 40m) will have Internet access".
Source: Radio Cadena Nacional web site, Bogota, in Spanish 8 Nov 00
Text of report by Colombian newspaper `El Tiempo' web site on 9th November
If Colombia wants to return to the path of growth and solve in the mid-and long-term its worst economic
problem - unemployment - it must undertake three urgent reforms: tax, transfer and pension reform. If
those adjustments are not made, national finances will not be viable, the Economic Commission for Latin
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America (ECLA) today warned.
These reforms will allow the government to increase income, rationalize spending and correct the course
of the public debt, which has reached explosive levels.
ECLA Executive Secretary Jose Antonio Ocampo, who took part in a forum on the challenges and
perspectives of Colombia, said that the magnitude of the Colombian adjustment is very big and that,
therefore, it is necessary to make profound corrections. Otherwise, the debt by the year 2010 may reach
70 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For now, the government has already presented the reform bill on transfers and is awaiting modifications
to the tax initiative, which is designed to increase tax revenues by 2bn pesos.
However, the government has not submitted the pension reform bill, which is a thorny issue from the
political and social standpoint. It implies reducing the future benefits of those who reach retirement age.
Ocampo, who served as finance minister in the Samper administration, declared that these three reforms
are not enough and that the government and monetary and foreign exchange authorities must maintain a
stable macroeconomic policy, with low interest rates and a competitive foreign exchange rate. In other
words, they should not devalue the peso further.
For ECLA, there is another worrying thing for Colombia: while direct foreign investment in Latin America
has grown, in Colombia it has declined.
ECLA expressed its concern over the deterioration in the conditions for peace and the course
interpretative power of the constitution has taken.
"The political declaration of recognition of rights does not allow a distribution of something that does not
exist," warned Ocampo, in clear reference to the Constitutional Court rulings.
Source: `El Tiempo' web site, Bogota, in Spanish 9 Nov 00
Text of report by Spanish news agency Efe
Quito, 10th November: The Ecuadoran Congress has passed a motion of censure today against the
banking superintendent, Juan Falconi, who is accused of illegal enrichment, trafficking in influence,
conflict of interest, and actions and omissions in his performance.
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The majority of congressmen who make up the Ecuadoran one-chamber Congress, in total 70 votes out
of a possible 123, passed the motion of censure presented by Deputy Fernando Rosero, of the
Ecuadoran Roldosist Party (PRE).
The PRE was supported by the powerful Social Christian Party (PSC), independent legislators, the
Pachacutik indigenous Movement (MP), the Popular Democratic Movement (MPD) and the National
Integration Movement.
The marathon session which began yesterday, Thursday, ended this morning after debates which were
both passionate, boring and, at times, repetitious, mainly focusing on criticism of Falconi's performance
and accusing the banks over the economic crisis that is affecting the country.
Source: Efe news agency, Madrid, in Spanish 1112 gmt 10 Nov 00
Text of report by Caribbean news agency Cana
Georgetown, Guyana, 11th November: The Guyana government announced [on] Friday [10th November]
that it was lowering the consumption tax on diesel to 20 per cent, a decrease of 15 percentage points and
the third reduction in the tax for this year.
A joint statement from the Ministries of Agriculture, Finance and Trade said the reduction is effective from
9th November and would continue until the end of January 2001. According to the statement, the
reduction will result in substantial loss of revenue to the government but was done primarily in recognition
of the role the tax plays in the productive sector of the economy.
"The government expects that this action to alleviate the impact of the steep international prices for
diesel will be passed on to the public and will be reflected in lower wholesale and retail prices," the
statement said.
In March this year government lowered the tax from 50 per cent to 40 per cent. Another five per cent
decrease followed in June, making it 35 per cent. In recent months, businessmen, farmers, fishermen and
others in the productive sector complained that they were facing "unexpected" expenses because of the
high and increasing cost of diesel. Government said it agreed this could have a negative effect on
employment and the export of Guyana's products.
At the pump, Guyanese currently pay about 380 Guyana dollars (or 2.11 US dollars) per gallon for diesel.
It is expected that the price should now drop to around 360 Guyana dollars (or 2.00 US dollars) per
gallon.
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Source: Cana news agency, Bridgetown, in English 1918 gmt 11 Nov 00
Objectives discussed
Excerpt from report by Mexican newspaper `El Universal' web site on 14th November; subheading as
published
During talks with the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, President-elect Vicente Fox
announced plans to create three regulatory commissions, one to combat monopolies and the others for
telecommunications and banking, in order to minimize the discretionary powers of the public sector in
these three areas. The creation of these commissions is also intended to guarantee increased
transparency and effectiveness in the incoming administration.
According to information from the transition team, these commissions are intended to provide greater
autonomy to the regulatory bodies that already exist so that penalties can be levied on companies that
may be damaging the interests of other firms.
Fox said that no specific recommendations had been made during his private meeting with Greenspan,
although the US official had warned him that "we should be prepared" for a slowdown in the growth of the
US economy (from 5 to 3 per cent), which could have an impact on Mexico.
"We had already taken this precaution into account in our budgetary policy," Fox commented later when
he was interviewed as he was emerging from a meeting with philanthropic groups. Fox explained that a
slowdown in the US economy would affect growth in the Mexican economy, bringing it from levels
between 6 and 7 per cent to 4.5 per cent.
He also commented: "We never promised that during the first year of our administration we would have
growth of 7 per cent. We said in about 2003, after we have made structural changes in the economy, after
we have introduced financial reforms, which are essential for growth, and after we have brought inflation
under control, which we estimate we can reduce to 3 per cent in 2003."
The president-elect reiterated to Greenspan "our commitment to maintaining fiscal and financial
discipline, as the best course to reduce inflation. For in order to be able to combat poverty, we need
macroeconomic stability to promote microeconomic development".
The Fox administration plans to create several telecommunications and banking regulatory commissions.
The telecommunications commission will work with the Federal Commission on Competitiveness and the
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Federal Telecommunications Commission. The banking commission will work with the National Banking
Commission, with Consar [National Commission of the Retirement Savings System], and the insurance
sector.
At a meeting attended by governors of 27 central banks from around the world, including the governor of
Mexico's central bank, Guillermo Ortiz Martinez, Fox emphasized some of the objectives of his
administration.
These objectives include: simplifying the payment of taxes; increasing incentives to promote private
investment and savings; reducing the weight of debt servicing; investing in human capital and making an
all-out attack on poverty; and also creating micro, small and medium-sized industries. These enterprises
will be a fundamental tool for generating jobs and boosting the nation's economic growth.
He then announced a strategy to combat corruption and plans to deter organized crime and reduce
levels of drug production, consumption and distribution.
He emphasized the necessity for private capital to invest in the secondary petrochemical industry and in
the electricity sector so that they can be modernized, and so that these industries will become competitive
world-class companies. However, Fox did make it clear that this proposal does not mean privatizing these
sectors...
Source: `El Universal' web site, Mexico City, in Spanish 14 Nov 00
Text of report by Yadira Mena published by Mexican newspaper `El Economista' web site on 8th
November
With the termination of the negotiations between Mexico and the European Free Trade Association
(EFTA), the business owners established in the country will have preferential access to 31 nations with
which free trade treaties [FTTs] have been concluded.
Mexico's negotiations with the EFTA, consisting of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, were
based on the agreement signed between Mexico and the European Union, hence there were only four
rounds of discussions which began as recently as July.
Commerce Secretary Herminio Blanco explained that when the FTT takes effect next year, 100 per cent
of the exports of Mexican industrial products will have tariffs eliminated immediately. He also remarked
that flexible rules of origin have been achieved for the chemical and automotive sectors, as well as for the
electrical and electronic industries.
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However, a strict rule of origin was requested to promote the inclusion of components in the textile,
ready-made clothing and footwear sectors. As a counterpart, Mexico will immediately eliminate the tariffs
for 60 per cent of imports coming from the EFTA. There will be a 3.5 per cent elimination in 2003, and
11.7 per cent will be liberalized in 2005. Finally, in 2007, the tariffs will be eliminated for 24.9 per cent of
the imports coming from that bloc.
There was no negotiation for sensitive products, including cereals, meat and dairy products. Luis de la
Calle, Secofi's [Commerce and Industrial Development Secretariat] deputy secretary, observed that there
were three negotiations pertaining to agriculture, because bilateral negotiations were held with
Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which operate with a customs union in that sector, and later, with Iceland
and Norway.
In these negotiations, a more favourable treatment was obtained than in the negotiations with the
European Union, because there was a better access for tropical products, such as coffee, orange juice,
molasses for industrial use, table grapes, beer, tequila and bananas, and for sugar there will be a tariff
discount of 35 per cent.
The texts will be reviewed by the legal team of Secofi and the Foreign Relations Secretariat, with the aim
of having the FTT signed in Mexico during the final week of President Ernesto Zedillo's administration, in
a location yet to be decided.
Mexico's imports from the EFTA consist mainly of industrial products, machinery and some chemical
products.
Mexico granted preferential access for imports of fishing products coming from the bloc, especially for
salmon, herring and cod.
The per capita income in those four nations is 35,000 dollars per year, the highest in the world, and their
imports during 1999 totalled 120bn dollars, of which Mexico's share was only 500m dollars. Hence, there
is great potential.
The Mexican Foreign Trade Council expressed its gratification at the conclusion of the EFTA
negotiations, the terms of which are expected to take effect from 1st July 2001.
The agency explained: "The implementation of the Free Trade Treaty with the European Union last July
made it necessary to negotiate an agreement with the EFTA countries, inasmuch as this is a natural step
towards integrating our country's commercial relations with nearly all the nations of the old continent."
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The most recent estimates anticipate that, by the end of this year, our country's annual exports will have
exceeded 165bn dollars. Moreover, between 1995 and the first half of this year, productive investments
from abroad totalling over 60bn dollars arrived in Mexico.
Source: `El Economista' web site, Mexico City, in Spanish 8 Nov 00
Excerpt from report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap on 14th November
President Kim and Chilean President Lagos agreed to sign a free trade agreement soon to allow the free
flow of agricultural products between the two nations to take advantage of the opposite seasons in the
northern and southern hemispheres. Lagos asked Kim to make a state visit to Chile and Kim pledged that
he will positively pursue a tour of Central and South American states in 2001.
Kim then met [in Brunei] with Mexican President Zedillo to sign an investment guarantee treaty and
agreed that they will discuss signing a free trade agreement to upgrade bilateral economic cooperation
later. "The signing of the investment guarantee agreement laid the legal groundwork to promote direct
investment and foster a better and more stabilized investment atmosphere," a government official said.
"We recorded over 1.7bn dollars in trade surplus with Mexico in 1999 and the agreement paved the way
for the development of a higher level of economic cooperation," he said...
Source: Yonhap news agency, Seoul, in English 0740 gmt 14 Nov 00
Text of report by Arturo Gomez Salgado for Mexican newspaper `El Financiero' web site on 8th
November
The Mexican government plans to introduce a pilot programme that will recruit and select farm workers to
be hired for temporary jobs in the United States. They will be given the broadest possible protection under
labour laws, stated the general coordinator of international issues at the STPS [Secretariat of Labour and
Social Security], Carlos Tirado Zavala.
The intention behind this programme is to make use of the positive experience that has been gained
from the Mexican Temporary Farm Workers Programme with Canada, which was begun in 1975 and
which annually benefits over 7,500 farm workers. Of these temporary workers in Canada, 85.6 per cent
come from the states of Mexico, Tlaxcala, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Morelos and Puebla, added the STPS
official.
These farm workers would be hired after a cooperation accord is signed with the US government. The
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consulates would handle the immigration status of the Mexican workers and make sure that there is strict
compliance with international labour laws. Tirado Zavala stated that it would be the next federal
administration that will actually formalize this agreement. Although he declined to give any possible
statistics on the number of farm workers who might be hired under this programme, he did say that [to get
some idea of the potential numbers] it is only necessary to take a look at the enormous amount of labour
that is needed during the planting and harvesting seasons in the southern part of the United States.
Document bbcla00020010804dwbi003h4
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DIARY - Energy - to December 21.
2,348 words
7 November 2000
07:04 PM
Reuters News
LBA
English
(c) 2000 Reuters Limited
N2
REUTERS DIARY OF ENERGY MARKET EVENTS
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8
LATHAMN, N.Y. - Plug Power Q3 results prior to 1600 GMT.
WARSAW - Petroleum refiner PKN Orlen SA holds a news conference to comment on Q3 financial
results, 1000 GMT.
BERLIN - "Refining and Petrochemicals in Russia and the CIS Republics - 4th Annual Roundtable"
(second day).
LONDON - Conference on "Independent Power Production in Nigeria" (final day)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9
PARIS - International Energy Agency releases its monthly oil market report.
SAO PAULO - Last day for companies to present documents for qualification to bid in an auction of 11
power plant concessions in Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Goias.
DAMASCUS - Syria Investment Forum. Speakers include Syrian Prime Minister, Finance, Oil and
Electricity Ministers, representatives of International Finance Corporation, Arab Monetary Fund. Venue:
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Congress Palace. Organised by IBC Gulf Conferences +9714 336 9992 susan.webb@ibc-gulf.com (to
November 10).
PRAGUE - Unipetrol a.s. presents third-quarter consolidated results.
SARAJEVO - Bosnia and the European Investment Bank sign a 60 million euro loan for the
reconstruction of the power system.
BERLIN - "Refining and Petrochemicals in Russia and the CIS Republics - 4th Annual Roundtable" (final
day).
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10
LONDON - Gas oil, fuel oil November contracts expire on International Petroleum Exchange.
AMSTERDAM - Euroilstock Inventory Report for October.
RIGA - Privatisation agency supervisory council planned ruling on a two-percent state stake sale in
Latvian Gas .
DAMASCUS - Syria Investment Forum (final day)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12
VIENNA - OPEC extraordinary conference to monitor oil market conditions.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13
ABUJA - Annual conference of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE).
LONDON - Conference on "E-Business for Oil and Gas". Case studies presented include ones by BP,
Cap Gemini Ernst and Young, Amerada Hess, Exxonmobil, Shell, TotalFinaElf and Statoil. Venue:
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel. Organised by IQPC conferences +44 20 7430 7300
www.iqpc.co.uk(to November 15)
THE HAGUE - COP 6 Environment Conference - sixth conference of the parties of the United Nations
climate change convention to discuss implementation and policing of Kyoto Protocol (to November 24).
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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14
LONDON - 21st Annual Conference "Oil and Money". Speakers include Algerian Energy Minister Chakib
Khelil, Kuwaiti Oil Minster Nasir al-Saud Sabah, CEOs of TotalFinaElf, Chevron, ENI, Statoil, KPC, Chief
Economist BP Amoco. Hotel Inter-Continental, Hyde Park Corner. Contact: Deborah Melrose,
International Herald Tribune +44 20 7510 5704 dmelrose@iht.com.
LONDON - Conference on "Managing Risk in Electricity under NETA (UK's New Electricity Trading
Arrangements)". Speakers include representatives of TXU Europe, National Power, Norweb. Organised
by IIR Conferences +44 20 7915 5055
HOUSTON - Gastech 2000, the 19th international conference and exhibition for the LNG, LPG and
Natural Gas Industries. George R. Brown Convention Center. For information call +44 1895 454533 or e mail 100730.131@compuserve.com (to November 17).
HO CHI MINH, Vietnam - 8th Asia LPG Forum 2000. Speakers include top executives from Poten &
Partners, Saigon Petro, Total Petroleum, Petrolimex Gas Company, Laos State Fuel Company, Mynamar
Petrochemical Enterprise, Petroleum Authority of Thailand, Niger Delta Gas Development Company,
Guangdong Gas Trade Association, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Garden Plaza ParkRoyal. Contact Dawn
Seet +65 345 7322 or e-mail dawn@cmtsp.com.sg (to November 15).
TRIPOLI - Conference "Development and Investment in the Great Libyan Jamahiriya (Republic)".
Speakers include Libyan assistant secretary for investment and external trade, sector heads from oil and
gas, power, agriculture, banking, healthcare, telecommunications, transport and tourism. Organised by
CWC Associates +44 20 7704 8825 jneale@thecwcgroup.com (to November 15).
DUSSELDORF - UmweltKontor Renewable Energy AG news conference on the company's baltic sea
offshore wind energy project, 0930 GMT
MOSCOW - Media-Most group and Russian gas company Gazprom expected to announce whether they
have reached agreement on settling Media-Most's debts.
LONDON - Conference "E-Business for Oil and Gas" (second day - to November 15).
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15
LONDON - December contract expires on International Petroleum Exchange.
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MILAN - Conference "Italian Energy - Examining Italy's reshaped energy markets" Organised by SMI
conferences +44 20 7252 2222 www.smi-online.co.uk. (to November 16).
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei - APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Leaders meeting. They
are expected to discuss high oil prices worldwide and to deliberate on a possible call for oil-producing
nations to increase output and on ways to cope with oil fluctuations (to November 16).
TRIPOLI - Conference "Development and Investment in the Great Libyan Jamahiriya (Republic)" (final
day).
LONDON - Conference "E-Business for Oil and Gas" (final day)
HOUSTON - Gastech 2000 (Second day).
LONDON - 21st Annual Conference "Oil and Money" (final day).
LONDON - Conference on "Managing Risk in Electricity under NETA" (final day).
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16
SHANGHAI - 3rd China Olefin & Polyolefins Markets conference. Speakers include top executives from
Sinopec, PetroChina, Basell Polyolefins, and BP. Organised by CMT Conferences +65 346 9132,
rebecca@cmtsp.com.sg. (to November 17)
HOUSTON - Gastech 2000 (third day).
MILAN - Conference "Italian Energy - Examining Italy's reshaped energy markets" (final day)
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei - APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Leaders meeting. (final
day).
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17
RIYADH - Oil producer/consumer conference hosted by Saudi Arabia. The sixth in a series of dialogues
between oil producing and consuming nations first established by France and Venezuela after the 19901991 Gulf crisis (to November 18).
SAO PAULO - List of qualified bidders in an auction for 11 power plants concessions due to be released.
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CHENGDU - China Gas'2000 - International conference with special focus on LNG, sponsored by China
Gas Association (to November 29).
HOUSTON - Gastech 2000 (final day).
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18
RIYADH - Oil producer/consumer conference hosted by Saudi Arabia (final day)
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20
AMSTERDAM - E-Mart Energy 2000. "The Meeting Point For Energy Traders And Marketeers"
Organised by Synergy. Contact: Marije Groenenboom, Project Manager +31 343 590 901 Fax +31 343
590 601 marije@synergy-events.com (To November 22).
ABERDEEN, Scotland - Conference "Optimising Cluster Fields" on ensuring maximum Capex and Opex
gains from marginal oil and gas fields. Case histories of UK Continental Shelf, Norway, Trinidad, and
latest subsea technologies. Venue: Airport Thistle Hotel. Organised by IBC Global Conferences +44 20
7453 5491 cust.service@ibcuk.co.uk (to November 21)
ZAGREB - Extraordinary shareholders meeting of Adriatic pipeline operator Janaf, at 1100 GMT.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21
WASHINGTON - American Petroleum Institute weekly national petroleum report, after 2100 GMT.
AMSTERDAM - Conference E-Mart Energy 2000 (Second day).
ABERDEEN, Scotland - Conference "Optimising Cluster Fields" (final day).
LONDON - Conference "Sakhalin Oil and Gas". (final day).
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22
AMSTERDAM - Euroilstock Refinery Report for October.
ALGIERS - Energy and Mining Ministry conference on energy use rationalisation (To November 23).
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WASHINGTON - Energy Information Administration weekly petroleum stocks and output data, 0900/1400
WASHINGTON - American Gas Association weekly underground storage data, 1400/1900
RIGA - Shortlisted candidates in a privatisation agency tender for financial adviser for the selloff of a
state-owned stake in Ventspils Nafta oil terminal proposal deadline.
AMSTERDAM - Conference E-Mart Energy 2000 (final day).
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23
ALGIERS - The Energy and Mining Ministry conference on energy use rationalisation (final day).
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24
GELSENKIRCHEN - Beginning of international future energies trade fair "Megawatt 2000" lasts through
November 25th.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27
LONDON - Conference on "Caspian Energy Retreat". Speakers include top officials from SOCAR, GIOC,
OKIOC, Shell, Chevron, Texaco, Statoil, U.S. Department of Commerce, Russian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Organised by CWC Associates +44 20 7704 8440 bookings@cwconferences.co.uk (to November
28).
LUANDA - Second Annual Conference "Oil and Gas Investments in Angola". Speakers include Angolan
Petroleum, Industry and Agriculture Ministers, represenatatives of Texaco, Bouygues Offshore, Chevron,
BP Angola, Halliburton. Organised by The CWC Group +44 20 7704 8825 jneale@thecwcgroup.com (to
November 28).
COLOGNE - Euroforum seminar on "Energy business".
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28
LONDON - Conference "The German Electricity Market". Speakers include representatives of German
Ministry of Economics, Stadtwerke Jena, Energybynet, Concorde Power. Venue: The Waldorf. Organised
by IIR Conferences +44 20 7915 5055 registration@iir-conferences.com (to November 29).
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BEIJING - China International Environment, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Conference (to
December 1).
SICHUAN, China - China Gas'2000. International conference with special focus on LNG, sponsored by
China Gas Association (to November 29).
BRIGHTON, England - "Interspill 2000" conference and exhibition of European oil spill response industry.
Organised by the British Oil Spill Control Association and the Instutute of Petroleum. Contact: Pauline
Ashby +44 20 7467 7100 pashby@petroleum.co.uk (to November 30).
SINGAPORE - OSEA2000, The 13th Offshore South East Asia Exhibition & Conference, to be held in
conjunction with RLPAsia2000, the 5th Asian International Refining, LNG & Petrochemical Technology
Exhibition and Conference. Contact: Juliet Lim +65 233 8626 jul@sesmontnet.com (to December 1).
WARSAW - EuroForum holds two-day conference on Poland's energy market.
BRUSSELS - International Facility for Executives (IFE) holds conference on "Renewable Energies Biomass, hydraulic, wind and solar power", 0820 GMT (to November 29).
PARIS - French oil institute IFP gives update on deep offshore reserves 1030 GMT.
WASHINGTON - American Petroleum Institute weekly national petroleum report, after 2100 GMT.
LUANDA - Conference "Oil and Gas Investments in Angola" (final day).
LONDON - Conference "Caspian Energy Retreat". (final day)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29
LONDON - Natural gas December contract expires on International Petroleum Exchange.
LONDON - Conference "Predators and Prey in the Pwer Sector - The acquisition of assets in the world's
power markets". Organised by SMI conferences +44 20 7252 2222 www.smi-online.co.uk. (to November
30).
WASHINGTON - Energy Information Administration weekly petroleum stocks and output data, 1400
GMT.
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WASHINGTON - American Gas Association weekly underground storage data, 1900 GMT.
LONDON - Conference "The German Electricity Market" (final day).
BRIGHTON, England - "Interspill 2000" conference and exhibition of European oil spill response industry
(Second day).
SINGAPORE - OSEA2000, The 13th Offshore South East Asia Exhibition & Conference, to be held in
conjunction with RLPAsia2000, the 5th Asian International Refining, LNG & Petrochemical Technology
Exhibition and Conference. (second day, to December 1)
SICHUAN, China - China Gas'2000. International conference with special focus on LNG, sponsored by
China Gas Association (final day).
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30
ABUJA - Nigeria's national assembly meets to approve the appropriations bill.
SAO PAULO - Auction of concessions to build and operate 11 power plants in Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de
Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Goias.
SAO PAULO - Auction of concessions to build and operate 11 power plants in Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de
Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Goias.
BRIGHTON, England - "Interspill 2000" conference and exhibition of European oil spill response industry
(final day).
MADRID - Gas Natural Chairman Antonio Brufau speaks in two-day seminar "Gas Trading" at 1030
GMT.
LONDON - Conference "Predators and Prey in the Power Sector - The acquisition of assets in the
world's power markets" (final day)
SINGAPORE - OSEA2000, The 13th Offshore South East Asia Exhibition & Conference, to be held in
conjunction with RLPAsia2000, the 5th Asian International Refining, LNG & Petrochemical Technology
Exhibition and Conference. (third day, to Dec 1).
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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1
MOSCOW - "Russian Energy Summit". Meeting point for leading policy-makers, investors and oil and
gas executives of Russia's energy sector. Venue: The President Hotel.
SINGAPORE - OSEA2000, The 13th Offshore South East Asia Exhibition & Conference, to be held in
conjunction with RLPAsia2000, the 5th Asian International Refining, LNG & Petrochemical Technology
Exhibition and Conference. (final day)
MONDAY, DECEMBER 4
BRUSSELS - European Information Service (EIS) holds conference-debate on "Energy Options for
Europe", Hotel Le Plaza (to December 5).
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5
BRUSSELS - European Union energy and industry ministers meet.
BERLIN - "European Utilities Summit". Venue: Hotel Crowne Plaza. Speakers include Johannes Mater,
Director General, European Commission, and top management from BG, Centrica, BP Amoco, Gasunie,
Preussenelektra, RWE, Powergen and the LPX, APX and Nord Pool energy exchanges. Organised by
ICBI. +44 207 915 5103 icbi - registration@icbi.co.uk (to December 6)
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6
LONDON - Conference "Iranian Petroleum - A global hydrocarbon opportunity". Venue: The Hatton.
Organised by SMI conferences +44 20 7252 2222 www.smi-online.co.uk. (to December 7).
BERLIN - "European Utilities Summit" (final day).
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7
BERLIN - "European Utilities Summit - e-Commerce Forum". Optional extra day to two-day "European
Utilities Summit".
BERLIN - The Utilities e-Commerce forum. One-day supplement to "European Utilites Summit". Venue:
Hotel Crowne Plaza. Organised by ICBI. +44 207 915 5103 icbi - registration@icbi.co.uk
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LONDON - Conference "Iranian Petroleum - A global hydrocarbon opportunity" (final day).
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8
VILNIUS - Lithuanian Gas spinoff Gas Equipment to hold first EGM.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11
PARIS - International Energy Agency releases its monthly oil market report.
AMSTERDAM - Euroilstock Inventory Report for November.
LONDON - Annual conference on "Floating Production Systems". Speakers include representatives of
U.S.'s Halliburton, Brazil's Odebrecht, Norway's Kvaerner. Marriott Hotel. Organised by IBC Global
Conferences +44 20 7453 5491 cust.service@ibcuk.co.uk (to December 12).
LONDON - UK Conference "Practically Preparing Your Business for Emissions Trading". Venue: Strand
Palace Hotel (to December 12).
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12
LONDON - Gas oil, fuel oil December contracts expire on International Petroleum Exchange.
LONDON - Conference "Accounting for Oil and Gas Companies". Speakers incude representatives of
from Lasmo, Ernst and Young Talisman Energy. Venue: Regent's Park Marriott. Organised by IIR
Conferences +44 20 7915 5055
LONDON - Annual conference on "Floating Production Systems" (final day).
LONDON - UK Conference "Practically Preparing Your Business for Emissions Trading" (final day)
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13
LONDON - Conference "Taxation for Oil and Gas Companies". Speakers include representatives of
Texaco, BP, the UK Inland Revenue, PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Venue: Regent's Park Marriott.
Organised by IIR Conferences +44 20 7915 5055 registration@iir-conferences.com
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15
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ABUJA - Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo, is expected to sign the 2001 budget.
KIEV - Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant due to be closed.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21
AMSTERDAM - Euroilstock Refinery Report for November.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Reuters Diary Desk Fax +44 171 542 8402.
NOTE: The inclusion of diary items does not necessarily
mean that Reuters will file a story based on the event.
Document lba0000020010822dwb802jrj
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© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
DIARY - Energy - to Dec 31.
2,934 words
26 October 2000
08:05 PM
Reuters News
LBA
English
(c) 2000 Reuters Limited
N2
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28
RIYADH - Conference "Opportunities in the Power Sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". Speakers
include governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, Saudi Minister of Industry and Electricity
and Vice Minister of Finance and National Economy.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29
RIYADH - Conference "Opportunities in the Power Sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". (final day)
MONDAY, OCTOBER 30
LONDON - Natural gas November contract expires on International Petroleum Exchange.
LONDON - Conference "UK Gas Market" Speakers include representatives from Transco, regulator
Ofgem, Scottish Power, Shell UK Expro, Statoil, National Power and Powergen. Venue: The Forum Hotel.
Organised by IIR Conferences +44 20 7915 5055 registration@iir-conferences.com (to Oct 31)
RABAT - Morocco issues it's first tender for an oil exploration in an offshore region between Rabat and
Safi.(Date to be announced).
SYDNEY - New South Wales Power and Gas conference, Merchant Court Hotel, 2300 GMT (to October
31).
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BOMBAY - Reliance Petroleum Ltd. (RPL) to announce its half yearly unaudited financial results for the
year 2000/2001.
CARACAS - Cuban President Fidel Castro and President Hugo Chavez sign bilateral agreement for
Venezuelan oil exports with soft loans attached.
BARCELONA - Gas Natural holds press conference at 0915 GMT prior to special shareholders meeting
to be held at 1100 GMT. Shareholders are set to approve a plan to streamline assets of distribution unit
Enagas ahead of its expected flotation.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31
BARCELONA - Gas Natural holds special shareholder meeting to approve a plan to streamline assets of
distribution unit Enagas ahead of its expected flotation, 1100 GMT.
ATHENS - The 5th "Energy and Development 2000" National Congress gets under way, Grande
Bretagne Hotel (to November 1).
LONDON - Trade and Industry Committee hears from bosses of BP, Shell, Texaco, TotalFinaElf, Exxon
and CBI on fuel duty, 1000 GMT
SYDNEY - New South Wales Power and Gas conference, Merchant Court Hotel 2300 GMT (final day).
LONDON - Conference "UK Gas Market" (final day)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1
LONDON - Conference "B2B Marketplaces in Oil and Gas" focusing on e-procurement. Speakers include
top management of Envera, Transco, Petrocosm, energy 24.com, energyprism, theoilsite.com, Texaco,
Transco, Amerada Hess. Venue: The Hatton. Organised by SMI conferences +44 20 7252 2222
www.smi-online.co.uk/B2Benergy.asp(to November 2)
RABAT - Conference "Morocco and Tunisia - The emerging hydrocarbon markets of the Maghreb"
Organised by SMI conferences +44 20 7252 2222 www.smi-online.co.uk. (to November 2)
TEHRAN - International Workshop On Energy Efficiency in the Oil and Gas Sector (to November 2).
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WASHINGTON - Energy Information Administration weekly petroleum stocks and output data, 1400
GMT.
LONDON - Trade and Industry Committee hears from Road Haulage Association, Petrol Retailers
Association and Freight Transport Association on fuel duty, 1000 GMT
LONDON - Trade and Industry Committee hears from National Farmers Union, Transport and General
Workers Union on fuel duty, 1600 GMT
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2
SEVILLE - Spanish Energy Club Chairman Victoriano Reinoso opens two-day international seminar on
"Petroeleum and Gas in the Mediterranean Area" at 1700 GMT. Algerian Energy Minister Chekib Khelil
and Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique give opening speech at 1730 GMT (to November 3).
LONDON - Conference "B2B Marketplaces in Oil and Gas" (final day).
RABAT - Conference "Morocco and Tunisia - The emerging hydrocarbon markets of the Maghreb" (final
day)
BERLIN - German industrial energy association (VIK) annual news conference 0930 GMT.
DUSSELDORF - Allgemeine Kreditversicherungs AG news conference on "E-Commerce", 1300 GMT
FRANKFURT - Emaro AG news conference to present the company as Deutsche Bank and SAP AG
joint venture, 0930 GMT.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3
LONDON - "B2B Marketplaces in Oil and Gas" post-conference workshops.
SEVILLE - Gas Natural CEO Jose Luis Lopez de Silanes speaks at 1400 GMT in last session of two-day
international seminar on "Petroeleum and Gas in the Mediterranean Area". European Union Energy
Commissioner Loyola de Palacio closes seminar at 1700 GMT.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4
TEHRAN - Conference "The Impact of the Middle East/Caspian Oil on Energy Markets". Speakers
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include Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh. Venue: IRIB Conference Centre. Contact: +9821
225 8089 conference@iies.org (to Nov 5)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5
TEHRAN - Conference "The Impact of the Middle East/Caspian Oil on Energy Markets. (final day).
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6.
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan to host the Economic Cooperation Organisation ministerial conference on energy
(To November 8).
FUJAIARAH, United Arab Emirates - FUJCON 2000: First International Fujairah Bunkering and Fuel Oil
Forum, Al Diar Siji Hotel (to November 8).
ALGIERS - Energy and Mining Ministry presents technical informations and contractual terms for an
international licensing round for six oil and gas exploration blocks.
LONDON - Trade and Industry Committee on fuel duties with Iron and Steel Trades Confederation and
British Steel Association 1500 GMT.
MADRID - Spanish Energy Club holds working breakfast with Environment Minister Jaume Matas at
1300 GMT.
MADRID - National Energy Commission Chairman Pedro Meroqo gives opening lesson in the 13th
Energy Business Course held by Spanish Energy Club at 1730 GMT.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7
BERLIN - "Refining and Petrochemicals in Russia and the CIS Republics - 4th Annual Roundtable".
Speakers include top management from LUKoil Slavneft, Yukos, Alliance, Rosneft, Tyumen, Gruzneft,
GIOC, Ukrtatnafta and Azerikhimia and the directors of the region's 12 key refineries. Government
representatives of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Kempinski Hotel Bristol. Organised by the World Refining
Association +44 1242 52 9090 www.theenergyexchange.co.uk(To November 9).
LONDON - Conference "Independent Power Production in Nigeria". Speakers include Nigerian minister
of power and steel and officials from Nigerian Gas Company, power company NEPA. Venue: Mandarin
Oriental Hyde Park Hotel. Organised by CWC Associates +44 20 7704 8440
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bookings@cwconferences.co.uk (to November 8)
LONDON - Conference "Post Merger Divestment, Acquisition and Consolidation in the Oil and Gas
Industry". Venue: One Whitehall Place. (To November 8).
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8
BERLIN - "Refining and Petrochemicals in Russia and the CIS Republics - 4th Annual Roundtable"
(Second day).
LONDON - Conference "Independent Power Production in Nigeria". (final day)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9
PARIS - International Energy Agency releases its monthly oil market report.
SAO PAULO - Last day for companies to present documents for qualification to bid in an auction of 11
power plant concessions in Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Goias.
DAMASCUS - Syria Investment Forum. Speakers include Syrian Prime Minister, Finance, Oil and
Electricity Ministers, representatives of International Finance Corporation, Arab Monetary Fund. Venue:
Congress Palace. Organised by IBC Gulf Conferences +9714 336 9992 susan.webb@ibc-gulf.com (to
November 10)
BERLIN - "Refining and Petrochemicals in Russia and the CIS Republics - 4th Annual Roundtable" (final
day).
PRAGUE - Unipetrol a.s. presents third-quarter consolidated results.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10
LONDON - Gas oil, fuel oil November contracts expire on International Petroleum Exchange.
AMSTERDAM - Euroilstock Inventory Report for October.
DAMASCUS - Syria Investment Forum (final day)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12
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VIENNA - OPEC extraordinary conference to monitor oil market conditions.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13
ABUJA - Annual conference of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE).
LONDON - Conference "E-Business for Oil and Gas" Case studies presented include by BP, Cap Gemini
Ernst and Young, Amerada Hess, Exxonmobil, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Statoil. Venue: Mandarin Oriental
Hyde Park Hotel. Organised by IQPC conferences +44 20 7430 7300 www.iqpc.co.uk(to Nov 15)
THE HAGUE - COP 6 Environment Conference - sixth conference of the parties of the United Nations
climate change convention to discuss implementation and policing of Kyoto Protocol. (Ends November
24).
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14
LONDON - 21st Annual Conference "Oil and Money". Speakers include Algerian Energy Minister Chakib
Khelil, Kuwaiti Oil Minster Nasir al-Saud Sabah, CEOs of TotalFinaElf, Chevron, ENI, Statoil, KPC, Chief
Economist BP Amoco. Hotel Inter-Continental, Hyde Park Corner. Contact: Deborah Melrose,
International Herald Tribune +44 20 7510 5704 dmelrose@iht.com.
LONDON - Conference on "Managing Risk in Electricity under NETA (UK's New Electricity Trading
Arrangements)". Speakers include representatives of TXU Europe, National Power, Norweb. Organised
by IIR Conferences +44 20 7915 5055 registration@iir-conferences.com.
HOUSTON - Gastech 2000, the 19th international conference and exhibition for the LNG, LPG and
Natural Gas Industries. George R. Brown Convention Center. For information call +44 1895 454533 or e mail 100730.131@compuserve.com (To November 17).
HO CHI MINH, Vietnam - 8th Asia LPG Forum 2000. Speakers include top executives from Poten &
Partners, Saigon Petro, Total Petroleum, Petrolimex Gas Company, Laos State Fuel Company, Mynamar
Petrochemical Enterprise, Petroleum Authority of Thailand, Niger Delta Gas Development Company,
Guangdong Gas Trade Association, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Garden Plaza ParkRoyal. Contact Dawn
Seet +65 345 7322 or e-mail dawn@cmtsp.com.sg (To November 15).
TRIPOLI - Conference "Development and Investment in the Great Libyan Jamahiriya (Republic)".
Speakers include Libyan assistant secretary for investment and external trade, sector heads from oil and
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gas, power, agriculture, banking, healthcare, telecommunications, transport and tourism. Organised by
CWC Associates +44 20 7704 8825 jneale@thecwcgroup.com (to Nov 15
LONDON - Conference "E-Business for Oil and Gas" (second day - to Nov 15)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15
ABU DHABI - United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Obaid bin Saif al-Nasseri hosts an oil exhibition. He has
invited key OPEC oil ministers to attend (to 18 October).
LONDON - December contract expires on International Petroleum Exchange.
MILAN - Conference "Italian Energy - Examining Italy's reshaped energy markets" Organised by SMI
conferences +44 20 7252 2222 www.smi-online.co.uk. (to Nov 16)
TRIPOLI - Conference "Development and Investment in the Great Libyan Jamahiriya (Republic)" (final
day).
LONDON - Conference "E-Business for Oil and Gas" (final day)
HOUSTON - Gastech 2000 (Second day).
LONDON - 21st Annual Conference "Oil and Money" (final day).
LONDON - Conference on "Managing Risk in Electricity under NETA" (final day.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16
HOUSTON - Gastech 2000 (Third day).
MILAN - Conference "Italian Energy - Examining Italy's reshaped energy markets" (final day)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17
RIYADH - Oil producer/consumer conference hosted by Saudi Arabia. The sixth in a series of dialogues
between oil producing and consuming nations first established by France and Venezuela after the 19901991 Gulf crisis. (to November 18)
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SAO PAULO - List of qualified bidders in an auction for 11 power plants concessions due to be released.
HOUSTON - Gastech 2000 (final day).
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18
RIYADH - Oil producer/consumer conference hosted by Saudi Arabia. (final day)
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20
AMSTERDAM - E-Mart Energy 2000. "The Meeting Point For Energy Traders And Marketeers"
Organised by Synergy. Contact: Marije Groenenboom, Project Manager +31 343 590 901 Fax +31 343
590 601 marije@synergy-events.com (To November 22).
ABERDEEN, Scotland - Conference "Optimising Cluster Fields" on ensuring maximum Capex and Opex
gains from marginal oil and gas fields. Case histories of UK Continental Shelf, Norway, Trinidad, and
latest subsea technologies. Venue: Airport Thistle Hotel. Organised by IBC Global Conferences +44 20
7453 5491 cust.service@ibcuk.co.uk (to November 21)
ZAGREB - Extraordinary shareholders meeting of Adriatic pipeline operator Janaf, at 1100 GMT.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21
AMSTERDAM - Conference E-Mart Energy 2000 (Second day).
ABERDEEN, Scotland - Conference "Optimising Cluster Fields" (final day).
LONDON - Conference "Sakhalin Oil and Gas". (final day).
WASHINGTON - American Petroleum Institute weekly national petroleum report, after 2100 GMT.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22
AMSTERDAM - Euroilstock Refinery Report for October.
ALGIERS - Energy and Mining Ministry conference on energy use rationalisation (To November 23).
AMSTERDAM - Conference E-Mart Energy 2000 (final day).
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WASHINGTON - Energy Information Administration weekly petroleum stocks and output data, 0900/1400
WASHINGTON - American Gas Association weekly underground storage data, 1400/1900
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23
ALGIERS - The Energy and Mining Ministry conference on energy use rationalisation (final day).
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27
LONDON - Conference "Caspian Energy Retreat". Speakers include top officials from SOCAR, GIOC,
OKIOC, Shell, Chevron, Texaco, Statoil, U.S. Department of Commerce, Russian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Organised by CWC Associates +44 20 7704 8440 bookings@cwconferences.co.uk (to November
28)
LUANDA - Second Annual Conference "Oil and Gas Investments in Angola". Speakers include Angolan
Petroleum, Industry and Agriculture Ministers, represenatatives of Texaco, Bouygues Offshore, Chevron,
BP Angola, Halliburton. Organised by The CWC Group +44 20 7704 8825 jneale@thecwcgroup.com (to
November 28)
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28
LONDON - Conference "The German Electricity Market". Speakers include representatives of German
Ministry of Economics, Stadtwerke Jena, Energybynet, Concorde Power. Venue: The Waldorf. Organised
by IIR Conferences +44 20 7915 5055 registration@iir-conferences.com (to November 29)
BEIJING - China International Environment, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Conference (To
December 1).
SICHUAN, China - China Gas'2000. International conference with special focus on LNG, sponsored by
China Gas Association (to November 29).
BRIGHTON, England - "Interspill 2000" conference and exhibition of European oil spill response industry.
Organised by the British Oil Spill Control Association and the Instutute of Petroleum. Contact: Pauline
Ashby +44 20 7467 7100 pashby@petroleum.co.uk (To November 30).
SINGAPORE - OSEA2000, The 13th Offshore South East Asia Exhibition & Conference, to be held in
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conjunction with RLPAsia2000, the 5th Asian International Refining, LNG & Petrochemical Technology
Exhibition and Conference. Contact: Juliet Lim +65 233 8626 jul@sesmontnet.com (To December 1).
WARSAW - EuroForum holds two-day conference on Poland's energy market.
LUANDA - Conference "Oil and Gas Investments in Angola" (final day).
LONDON - Conference "Caspian Energy Retreat". (final day)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29
LONDON - Natural gas December contract expires on International Petroleum Exchange.
LONDON - Conference "Predators and Prey in the Power Sector - The acquisition of assets in the
world's power markets" Organised by SMI conferences +44 20 7252 2222 www.smi-online.co.uk. (to
November 30)
SINGAPORE - OSEA2000, The 13th Offshore South East Asia Exhibition & Conference, to be held in
conjunction with RLPAsia2000, the 5th Asian International Refining, LNG & Petrochemical Technology
Exhibition and Conference. (second day, to December 1)
LONDON - Conference "The German Electricity Market". (final day)
BRIGHTON, England - "Interspill 2000" conference and exhibition of European oil spill response industry
(Second day).
SICHUAN, China - China Gas'2000. International conference with special focus on LNG, sponsored by
China Gas Association (final day).
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30
ABUJA - Nigeria's national assembly meets to approve the appropriations bill.
SAO PAULO - Auction of concessions to build and operate 11 power plants in Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de
Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Goias.
SAO PAULO - Auction of concessions to build and operate 11 power plants in Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de
Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Goias.
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BRIGHTON, England - "Interspill 2000" conference and exhibition of European oil spill response industry
(final day).
LONDON - Conference "Predators and Prey in the Power Sector - The acquisition of assets in the
world's power markets" (final day)
SINGAPORE - OSEA2000, The 13th Offshore South East Asia Exhibition & Conference, to be held in
conjunction with RLPAsia2000, the 5th Asian International Refining, LNG & Petrochemical Technology
Exhibition and Conference. (third day, to Dec 1)
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1
MOSCOW - "Russian Energy Summit". Meeting piont for leading policy-makers, investors and oil and
gas executives of Russia's energy sector. Venue: The President Hotel.
SINGAPORE - OSEA2000, The 13th Offshore South East Asia Exhibition & Conference, to be held in
conjunction with RLPAsia2000, the 5th Asian International Refining, LNG & Petrochemical Technology
Exhibition and Conference. (final day)
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5
BRUSSELS - European Union energy and industry ministers meet.
BERLIN - "European Utilities Summit". Venue: Hotel Crowne Plaza. Speakers include Johannes Mater,
Director General, European Commission, and top management from BG, Centrica, BP Amoco, Gasunie,
Preussenelektra, RWE, Powergen and the LPX, APX and Nord Pool energy exchanges. Organised by
ICBI. +44 207 915 5103 icbi - registration@icbi.co.uk (to December 6)
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6
LONDON - Conference "Iranian Petroleum - A global hydrocarbon opportunity". Venue: The Hatton.
Organised by SMI conferences +44 20 7252 2222 www.smi-online.co.uk. (to Dec 7)
BERLIN - "European Utilities Summit". (final day)
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7
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BERLIN - "European Utilities Summit - e-Commerce Forum". Optional extra day to two-day "European
Utilities Summit".
BERLIN - The Utilities e-Commerce forum. One-day supplement to "European Utilites Summit". Venue:
Hotel Crowne Plaza. Organised by ICBI. +44 207 915 5103 icbi - registration@icbi.co.uk
LONDON - Conference "Iranian Petroleum - A global hydrocarbon opportunity" (final day)
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11
PARIS - International Energy Agency releases its monthly oil market report.
AMSTERDAM - Euroilstock Inventory Report for November.
LONDON - Annual conference on "Floating Production Systems". Speakers include representatives of
U.S.'s Halliburton, Brazil's Odebrecht, Norway's Kvaerner. Marriott Hotel. Organised by IBC Global
Conferences +44 20 7453 5491 cust.service@ibcuk.co.uk (To December 12).
LONDON - UK Conference "Practically Preparing Your Business for Emissions Trading". Venue: Strand
Palace Hotel (to December 12).
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12
LONDON - Gas oil, fuel oil December contracts expire on International Petroleum Exchange.
LONDON - Conference "Accounting for Oil and Gas Companies". Speakers incude representatives of
from Lasmo, Ernst and Young Talisman Energy. Venue: Regent's Park Marriott. Organised by IIR
Conferences +44 20 7915 5055
LONDON - Annual conference on "Floating Production Systems" (final day).
LONDON - UK Conference "Practically Preparing Your Business for Emissions Trading". (final day)
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13.
LONDON - Conference "Taxation for Oil and Gas Companies". Speakers include representatives of
Texaco, BP, the UK Inland Revenue, PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Venue: Regent's Park Marriott.
Organised by IIR Conferences +44 20 7915 5055 registration@iir-conferences.com
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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15
ABUJA - Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo, is expected to sign the 2001 budget.
KIEV - Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant due to be closed.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21
AMSTERDAM - Euroilstock Refinery Report for November.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Reuters Diary Desk Fax +44 171 542 8402.
NOTE: The inclusion of diary items does not necessarily
mean that Reuters will file a story based on the event.
Document lba0000020010822dwar038i7
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© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
CHINA TELLS NIGERIA IT WILL WRITE OFF DEVELOPING COUNTRY DEBT.
285 words
18 October 2000
OPECNA Bulletin
OPECNB
English
(c) 2000 OPECNA
CHINA IS COMMITTED TO WRITING OFF ABOUT ONE BILLION DOLLARS OF DEBT OWED IT BY
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, THE CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA, LIANG YINZHU, SAID
HERE TUESDAY.
SPEAKING DURING A COURTESY VISIT TO NIGERIA'S MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS,
MUHAMMED ARZIKA, HE SAID THE DEBT CANCELLATION WAS AIMED AT REDUCING THE DEBT
BURDEN OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND TO ALLEVIATE THE SUFFERINGS OF THEIR
CITIZENS.
"WITH THE DEBT CANCELLATION, SUCH COUNTRIES WILL HAVE MORE MONEY TO FINANCE
PROJECTS THAT WILL IMPROVE THE LIVING STANDARDS OF THEIR PEOPLE," THE ENVOY
SAID.
THE MINISTERS ALSO DISCUSSED WAYS OF IMPROVING BILATERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN
THE CHINESE AND NIGERIAN GOVERNMENTS IN THE AREA OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS.
YINZHU NOTED THAT THE ANNUAL GROWTH RATE IN CHINA WAS ABOUT NINE PER CENT,
ADDING THAT ITS TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY ACCOUNTED FOR A GREAT PART OF THE
INCREASE.
HE EXPLAINED THAT WITH THE DEREGULATION OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY IN
CHINA, PRICES HAD BECOME COMPETITIVE AND LOW, STATING THAT TELEPHONE LINES IN
CHINA HAD INCREASED FROM 60 MILLION IN THE RECENT PAST TO 380 MILLION.
"IT IS NOW EVIDENT THAT WITH GLOBALIZATION AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER, THE
NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE AND ENSURE THAT NIGERIANS
HAVE ACCESS TO TELEPHONE FACILITIES," HE MAINTAINED.
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RESPONDING, ARZIKA SAID CHINA'S GESTURE TO CANCEL THE DEBTS OF POOR COUNTRIES
WAS COMMENDABLE.
HE URGED OTHER CREDITOR NATIONS TO "FOLLOW THIS NOBLE, HUMANITARIAN ACT".
HE STRESSED THAT NIGERIA WAS READY TO LEARN FROM THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE TO
IMPROVE ON THE STANDARDS OF LIVING OF ITS CITIZENS.
"WE INTEND TO BUILD STRONG BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT SO
THAT NIGERIANS CAN HAVE ACCESS TO CHEAP AND AFFORDABLE TELECOMMUNICATIONS
FACILITIES," HE OBSERVED.
Document opecnb0020010815dwai0018q
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China Prepared To Write Off $1 Billion In Overseas Debt - Agency
141 words
18 October 2000
08:17 AM
Emerging Markets Report
EM
English
(Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- China will write off about $1 billion of debt owed to it by developing countries,
the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Liang Yinzhu, said Tuesday, according to Opecna, the official news
agency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Wednesday.
Speaking during a visit to Nigeria's minister of communications, Muhammed Arzika, Liang said canceling
the debt would help reduce developing countries' debt burden.
With the debt cancelation, these countries will have more cash to finance various projects, the envoy
said, according to Opecna.
Opecna also said the ministers had discussed ways of improving relations between the Chinese and
Nigerian governments, especially in the area of telecommunications.
-By Sally Jones, Dow Jones Newswires 44-207-842-9347
sally.jones@dowjones.com
-0- 18/10/00 12-17G
Document em00000020010805dwai0047l
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China Prepared To Write Off $1 Billion In Overseas Debt - Agency
141 words
18 October 2000
08:17 AM
Capital Markets Report
CM
English
(Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- China will write off about $1 billion of debt owed to it by developing countries,
the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Liang Yinzhu, said Tuesday, according to Opecna, the official news
agency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Wednesday.
Speaking during a visit to Nigeria's minister of communications, Muhammed Arzika, Liang said canceling
the debt would help reduce developing countries' debt burden.
With the debt cancelation, these countries will have more cash to finance various projects, the envoy
said, according to Opecna.
Opecna also said the ministers had discussed ways of improving relations between the Chinese and
Nigerian governments, especially in the area of telecommunications.
-By Sally Jones, Dow Jones Newswires 44-207-842-9347
sally.jones@dowjones.com
-0- 18/10/00 12-17G
Document cm00000020010804dwai00pdx
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© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
China Prepared To Write Off $1 Billion In Overseas Debt - Agency
141 words
18 October 2000
08:17 AM
Dow Jones Asian Equities Report
AER
English
(Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- China will write off about $1 billion of debt owed to it by developing countries,
the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Liang Yinzhu, said Tuesday, according to Opecna, the official news
agency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Wednesday.
Speaking during a visit to Nigeria's minister of communications, Muhammed Arzika, Liang said canceling
the debt would help reduce developing countries' debt burden.
With the debt cancelation, these countries will have more cash to finance various projects, the envoy
said, according to Opecna.
Opecna also said the ministers had discussed ways of improving relations between the Chinese and
Nigerian governments, especially in the area of telecommunications.
-By Sally Jones, Dow Jones Newswires 44-207-842-9347
sally.jones@dowjones.com
-0- 18/10/00 12-17G
Document aer0000020010802dwai00ek4
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China Prepared To Write Off $1 Billion In Overseas Debt - Agency
141 words
18 October 2000
08:17 AM
Dow Jones International News
DJI
English
(Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- China will write off about $1 billion of debt owed to it by developing countries,
the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Liang Yinzhu, said Tuesday, according to Opecna, the official news
agency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Wednesday.
Speaking during a visit to Nigeria's minister of communications, Muhammed Arzika, Liang said canceling
the debt would help reduce developing countries' debt burden.
With the debt cancelation, these countries will have more cash to finance various projects, the envoy
said, according to Opecna.
Opecna also said the ministers had discussed ways of improving relations between the Chinese and
Nigerian governments, especially in the area of telecommunications.
-By Sally Jones, Dow Jones Newswires 44-207-842-9347
sally.jones@dowjones.com
-0- 18/10/00 12-17G
Document dji0000020010805dwai051w2
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Arizona-Based Company Sells Unapproved HIV Product in China
2,089 words
17 October 2000
California
KRTBN
English
Copyright (C) 2000 KRTBN Knight Ridder Tribune Business News; Source: World Reporter (TM)
BEIJING--In a country with an AIDS problem that could one day outstrip Africa's, Optima Worldwide Ltd.
promised hope in a pink plastic applicator.
Using prominent billboards and product giveaways, the Arizona company touted its contraceptive gel,
Surete, to the Chinese public as "the world's first approved product preventing AIDS" -- a seemingly
miraculous microbicide that could also help prevent or even clear up other sexually transmitted diseases.
But none of these claims can be substantiated, the company has admitted in interviews with the Mercury
News. The gel has never been approved as an anti-AIDS product in any country, and Optima has not
conducted any large-scale tests in humans to demonstrate its effectiveness.
Optima said it is recalling the product in China, although it was still available in several pharmacies in
Beijing as of Friday.
The company said it intends to relaunch Surete as a "vaginal disinfectant" and contraceptive in China
and around the world, but a new government ruling could make that difficult: After receiving inquiries from
the Mercury News, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month declared Surete an
"unapproved new drug product," and ruled invalid the export certificates Optima had obtained for Surete
as a contraceptive.
The story of Surete is a cautionary tale for Third World countries desperate for ways to prevent the
spread of AIDS -- and for medical researchers, some of whom condemn Optima for marketing an
inadequately tested product to an unsuspecting public. Some researchers fear that Chinese women may
have used the product in place of condoms, putting them at risk. They also worry that the company's
actions could sully international research into microbicides, which are gels or creams that can kill sexually
transmitted pathogens.
"From a public health standpoint, to make any claim that any known product on the market prevents HIV
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other than a condom is just plain irresponsible . . . it's false security for women," said Polly Harrison, who
directs the non-profit Alliance for Microbicide Development, an advocacy group in Silver Spring, Md.
Although Optima said in an August press release that it was selling more than 1 million units of Surete
monthly in China, its own representative in the country told the Mercury News that sales were sluggish.
Optima blames "overzealous" Chinese distributors for some of the claims made for Surete. But until this
summer the company's own Web site made similar claims. Officials in the privately held company
defended the Web site's language by saying it was an effort to attract investors, not to mislead the public.
Optima has now taken down that Web site. It also says it is changing distributors in China, is bringing in
a new management team and is instituting new corporate policies regarding scientific and legal review of
its products.
"It is not the company's policy to be saying anywhere in the world that it (Surete) prevents the
transmission of the HIV virus in humans," said Optima attorney Donald Elliott, a former FDA official. "We
may eventually be able to do the science that will justify that claim."
Chinese officials familiar with Surete could not be reached for comment.
Although there are only 17,000 documented AIDS cases in China, the actual number is believed to be
closer to 600,000 and growing by 30 percent per year. Within 10 years, scientists warn, China could have
one of the world's biggest populations of HIV carriers.
Knowing that an AIDS vaccine could take a decade or more to develop, many scientists now believe that
finding an effective microbicide is critical in preventing the spread of AIDS in developing nations like
China. The hope is that these compounds, when inserted into the vagina or rectum, would kill the human
immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted pathogens. Microbicide advocates say the gels are
particularly important for women, who are being infected with HIV at alarming rates in the Third World and
who need a way to protect themselves when their partners will not use condoms.
But the search for a safe, effective microbicide has proven difficult. A large-scale study of one promising
microbicide that used the well-known contraceptive ingredient nonoxynol-9 showed earlier this year that
the gel actually appeared to promote the spread of HIV.
Surete -- the word is French for safety or security and is pronounced soor-i-tay -- uses two different
ingredients: octoxynol-9, a spermicide, and benzalkonium chloride, a chemical compound commonly
used as a preservative in eye drops and as a disinfectant in Bactine.
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Optima contends that the FDA had approved Surete as a "lawfully marketed product" because it
contained commonly used ingredients previously deemed safe. Indeed, it was able to obtain four export
certificates on that basis from the FDA in 1999 and 2000.
But after a review, the FDA said in an Oct. 6 letter that the product is, in fact, an unapproved new drug.
The agency invalidated the export certificates Optima had obtained for China, India, Thailand, Taiwan,
Hong Kong, the Philippines and Nigeria. Some countries require such permits before they will accept
certain drugs from the United States.
An Optima attorney said Monday that the company takes issue with parts of the FDA's interpretation of
Surete's status but will comply with the agency's ruling while it prepares a response.
Although the export certificates listed Surete as a contraceptive, Optima promoted the product almost
exclusively as an HIV preventive in China.
In subway stations and major shopping districts, Optima placed billboards featuring a young woman with
an enigmatic expression and a cryptic slogan: "Myriad amorous feelings, safety first." (Chinese law
prohibits explicit advertisements of contraceptive or other sexually oriented products.)
Optima also offered some 2,000 samples of the product to newlyweds through a program sponsored by
the All-China Women's Federation, a women's philanthropic and advocacy group, according to Eric Liu, a
representative of the company in Beijing.
In the product's delicate pink and silver packaging, Surete was described in Chinese as the "latest
American scientific breakthrough . . . approved by the U.S. FDA medical regulation division." Surete, "the
friend of romance," was said to be "effective against many kinds of sexually transmitted diseases such as
hepatitis B, AIDS, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis."
In August and again on Oct. 13, a Mercury News correspondent found Surete in three of nine Beijing
drugstores visited, as well as in a store that is popular with foreign tourists. The price for a single
application was quite high -- 25 yuan, or about $3 -- which puts it out of reach of most Chinese citizens.
Liu and clerks at several pharmacies noted that sales were slow. The Mercury News was unable to locate
women who had used the product.
Some microbicide researchers were aware of the claims Optima made for Surete, but they were deeply
distressed to hear the company was selling it in China.
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"We're really trying to bend over backwards to do things . . . the right way, and anything that sounds as
though it's being done the wrong way is of great concern and does not help a field that's really important
for women," said Harrison of the microbicide alliance.
In an initial interview with the Mercury News, Optima president Stephen Drake defended the company's
marketing practices.
"I wouldn't say that beyond a shadow of a doubt we're an HIV preventative," Drake said. "I think the tests
we've done have been very interesting, very encouraging, very successful."
"Some of these countries are so desperate for something that might work," Drake said. "We try to lay our
cards on the table, we show them all our tests, and every country makes their own decision."
China, however, had made no such decision -- at least on a national level -- when Surete came on the
market.
Optima says it has sought nationwide approval for Surete from China's Ministry of Health. While it awaits
a ruling, the company says it gained permission in the past year from a number of provinces to sell the
product in pharmacies and department stores as a "disinfectant" --an approach that a veteran
pharmaceutical consultant based in Beijing and the United States described as unorthodox at best.
`We have no tangible substantiation'
"I was kind of appalled, personally," said Margaret Hsu of Pro Re Nata Inc., who studied Surete for a
client who was considering a business venture with Optima. Hsu said. "They should have done clinical
trials here before they went to market. We have no tangible substantiation as to whether it works, except
by their own say-so."
Despite numerous inquiries at Chinese government agencies such as the State Drug Administration and
the Ministry of Health, the Mercury News could not find an official familiar with Surete. Optima referred the
Mercury News to one of its representatives in China to identify officials in China who were familiar with the
product, but that representative did not return phone calls.
Optima provided the Mercury News with approval certificates from local health authorities in Beijing,
Shandong, Heilongjiang, Ganzhou, Jianxi, Xinjiang and Shenzhen. Of the provinces that conducted their
own tests, most simply noted that Surete killed germs in the test tube and approved it as a disinfectant.
Another study provided by the company, conducted at China's National Research Institute for Family
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Planning, demonstrated Surete's effectiveness as a contraceptive, but did not examine its anti-HIV or
anti-STD claims.
In the United States, researchers found that Surete, like other microbicides in the early stages of testing,
killed or inactivated HIV and other STD pathogens in a test tube. But they also noted that many
compounds that show promise in a test tube prove less effective in humans.
Optima provided the Mercury News with the results of several small clinical tests in patients -- one
showing that the gel alleviated herpes symptoms in 63 women, and another in which Surete appeared to
reduce levels of HIV in the vaginal secretions of 11 women known to be infected with the virus.
Yet Surete did not impress two American microbicide researchers who performed lab tests on the gel -- a
precursor to the large-scale clinical tests in humans that are typically part of the drug approval process in
the United States and around the world. The researchers said other compounds in development seemed
more promising, and Surete was not one of the ones chosen for further testing in their labs.
"We did not see anything special. (The gel) did inactivate the HIV virus, but not in a more potent way
than our standard controls," said Dr. Gustavo Doncel, director of sperm biology and contraceptive
research at the Arlington, Va.-based Contraceptive Research and Development (CONRAD) Program,
which is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Sharon Hillier, who directs reproductive infectious disease research at the University of Pittsburgh's
Magee Women's Hospital, tested Surete in the lab for its effectiveness in preventing sexually transmitted
diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. "We didn't find that it was the strongest one we had looked at
for some of the STDS," she said.
The company also faced roadblocks in trying to obtain FDA approval of Surete as an anti-HIV product.
A planned National Institutes of Health trial never materialized, in part because Optima at the time was
fighting with two other companies for control over Surete's formula. In 1998, the FDA told Optima to stop
testing Surete in the United States because it had not filed a research progress report, according to
correspondence obtained by the Mercury News.
Yet none of this deterred Optima, which contends the FDA, NIH and other agencies stymied Surete's
progress because they favored Optima's competitors.
The company has recently renewed its push to get Surete approved in the United States as a
microbicide. It intends to make an initial public offering in 2001, according to a company press release.
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When it reintroduces Surete as a "vaginal disinfectant" in China, Drake said, the new packaging will
include a warning to use the product with condoms.
But the FDA's recent withdrawal of Optima's export certificates could hamper the company's efforts to
pursue approvals for Surete, even as a contraceptive alone, around the world.
Still, Optima recently teamed with OmniComm, a Miami-based company that manages clinical trials via
the Internet, and plans a large-scale study of Surete in Brazil by January.
By Barbara Feder and Michael Dorgan
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FEATURES, IDEAS
Will VOA extend its reach? Voice of America struggles to redefine itself in a multimedia world
Kim Campbell Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
891 words
28 September 2000
The Christian Science Monitor
CHSM
ALL
16
English
© 2000 Christian Science Monitor. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All Rights
Reserved.
When Rwandan President Paul Kagame was a guest earlier this month on a new call-in show called
"Straight Talk Africa," the phone lines lit up at Voice of America.
For the first time, VOA was offering Africans a chance to directly ask questions of a head of state. His
answers were broadcast simultaneously on TV, radio, and streamed on the Internet.
It's just one example of how the government-funded VOA is moving into the future -losing its cold-war
focus and embracing new technology.
At VOA headquarters in Washington - a stone's throw from Capitol Hill - the organization now broadcasts
in 53 languages and in three different mediums. Though the building's architecture is dated, the thinking
going on inside reflects an attempt to evolve an old- fashioned radio network into a modern multimedia
organization.
"It's no longer good enough to deliver programs that only go one direction," says Gwen Dillard, director of
VOA's Africa division. Africans in particular, she says, see media like CNN, and it fuels their expectation
of what citizens can expect under a democracy - like a give and take with politicians.
This summer, VOA simulcast its first live coverage on radio, the Internet, and TV from the political
conventions. Next month, it plans to roll out its second Web site - voa.com - as the service aims to
broaden its weekly audience of an estimated 91 million listeners. The majority of its listeners are in China,
Afghanistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh.
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Once communism was a primary obstacle for VOA. Today it must battle an ever-growing field of media
players -keeping pace with international competitors like BBC World Service (151 million listeners) and
now also local challengers in countries it serves.
"They have a very complicated transition to make from essentially a cold-war agency ... to a broadcaster
that lives in the new economy," says Everette Dennis, a professor of media management at Fordham
University in New York.
He says in an increasingly commercial world - and with VOA's expenses - the question becomes, "What's
the role of this enterprise?"
VOA contributed to the free flow of information during the cold war, beaming transmissions to closed
countries. Observers say it can play a similar role now, reporting on how a democracy works.
"They have a unique contribution to make in the post-cold-war era because people are [asking] 'How do
we do this?'," says Kevin Klose, head of NPR and former CEO of US International Broadcasting. He says
there is little commercial programming that could substitute for VOA's product.
"What we do would never be commercially viable for CNN or anybody else," says Sanford Ungar, VOA
director since June of 1999. "I mean, you are not going to get an investor to say, 'I just can't wait to get
this Uzbeck service on the air.'"
Mr. Ungar is spearheading VOA's technological change - and doing some housecleaning. In February, he
and the VOA's governing body cut 51 positions in the European and East Asian divisions.
Ungar calls these "tough choices," but says that audiences in some areas had been declining since the
end of the cold war a decade ago and no adjustments had been made. In 1994, for example, 23 percent
of VOA's audience was in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and 23 percent was
in Africa. Now, those numbers have shifted to 10 percent and 40 percent respectively.
VOA's first radio broadcast was in 1942 during World War II. In 1976, its 16-year-old charter was signed
into law. Under it, the VOA is required to report news reliably and accurately, and to represent American
culture and US policies. Since last fall, it has been overseen by a bipartisan board of governors.
A 1948 law prohibits the VOA from broadcasting in the US (to protect citizens from propaganda - though
its now available on the Web), but it is well known overseas. Villagers in Central Africa use it to tell how
close rebels are, and bellhops in Hanoi use it to learn English. In Iran, people disguise satellite dishes as
birdbaths.
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While radio -particularly shortwave -continues to be the backbone of VOA, audience preferences are
influencing its decisions in other media, like TV. To further its television presence, VOA is asking
Congress to merge it with with the government's television and film service, WORLDNET, whose
resources it is already sharing.
Meanwhile, it is looking for ways to stretch its $160 million budget, which has remained flat in recent
years. Its new multimedia newsroom -originally scheduled to be finished by the November election -sits
unfinished, waiting for more funds, among other holdups.
"We don't have a domestic constituency - there's not a single member of Congress who would say that he
or she will be elected or defeated on the basis of VOA appropriations," Ungar says. "This is a terrible
dilemma for us, because at the same time, you get editorials in major newspapers saying the free flow ...
of information across boundaries may do more to sustain the peace than the dispatch of American
battleships." (c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society
Document chsm000020010804dw9s0050h
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Nigerian Envoy invites Pakistani businessmen to invest in Nigeria.
838 words
20 September 2000
Pakistan Press International
PAPRIN
English
(c) 2000 Asia Pulse Pte Limited
ISLAMABAD September 20 (PPI)Nigerian High Commissioner in Pakistan Mr.Adamu Danjuma Idris
Waziri has invited Pakistani business community to come forward and invest their capital in Nigeria as the
present government has created investment-friendly atmosphere in the country by offering lucrative
incentives.
"We give our firm assurance to international community that Nigeria is quite safe for them to invest",he
said while addressing a seminar on `investment opportunities in Nigeria" jointly organised by the Nigerian
High Commission and Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here.
He said scores of economic missions and delegations from South Africa, the United Stated of America,
Japan, China, Canmada,Venezuela and other, daily visit Nigeria,as the present government has now
restored calm and peace within the country and also restored their confidence. In this connection, he
referred to the recent visit of the United States President Bill Clinton, who visited Nigeria with a huge
official delegation comprising 1000 people, with majority of industrialists and businessmen.
He said Nigeria the 7th biggest oil producing country of the world, with rich natural resources, invites
foreign investors to come forward to invest in the country as the present democratic government under
the leadership of H.E. Olusegun Obasango GCFR, President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has created very congenial and conducive atmosphere for them.
While introducing the present democratic government's economic policies which has set priority areas
has now turned around the economy. These priority areas which are most favoured in the administration
of government industrial incentives are Metallurgical Engineering, industires, Agriculture (Forest based
and agro-allied activities,Chemical Petrochemical sector and Construction sector.
He said that Pakistan and Nigeria have very close bilateral cultural and economic ties with rich natural
and human resources needed to be exploited. Government can only create conducive environment and
extend facilities to the investors. It is for the investors to get fruitful results from the investment policy of
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the government.
He added that the existance of the market of 100 million people who require the provision of adequate
communications, power and transportation services further extend the demand for investment in Nigeria.
The government's stance towards the attraction of more investment resources is indicated by its resolve
to expand and consolidate the economic liberalisation and globalisation. Furthermore, the government's
commitment to privatise the national economy has now opened new avenues for the business community
in Nigeria.
He said a lot of enquiries continue to flow in to the Nigeria Investmnet Promotion Commission(NIPC)
from investors visting to stake their investments in the country.The investment climate is very conducive.
We are now producing the finest quality of tea and coffee in large quanitity and invite the Pakistani
investors to invest in such areas, even they can establish their export businesses over there and export
such items to their own country, High Commissioner of the Nigeria Embassy added.
He pointed out that tele-communications, power and steel, solid minerals,maritime and
railway,transportation sectors, tourism and export processing zones have been identified as areas for
foreign investment, to complement the already available profitable ventures.
He further deliberated that the thrust of the nation's current economic development policy as enunciated
in the VISION 2010 is to make Nigeria a major industrialized nation and economic power that continually
strives for sustained economic growth and development towards improving the quality of life of all the
Nigerians.
While referring to his visits to different Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan, he added that
since he assumed the Charge, he visited various chambers and met with the leading pakistani business
community and invited to visit Nigeria, for which prompt visa services would be provided to them.
The Nigerian High Commissioner lauded the role of Pakistani businessmen and added that Pakistan has
got a lot of expertise in telecommunication and can play most effective role in modernizing our economic
system. In this connection,he added that the present Nigerian government has now liberalized the
national economy and it is the investors who can get benefits from our policies.
He said the Nigerian government is also trying to alleviate poverty from the country.High Commissioner
added that we have lot of natural resources but are still mismanaged.
In the end of his speech, he referred to the newly trends of globalization with a focus on economic
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diplomacy and underlined the need for working together seriously to solve the economic problems facing
both Nigeria and Pakistan. He assued his utmost cooperation to Pakisani intending investors and said
business visas will be promptly issued to them.
On the occasion, President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented welcome
address. He lauded the present economic policies of the Nigerian government and assued his utmost
cooperation on behalf of the business community.
Members of the business community also participated in the seminar and admired the efforts of the High
Commissioner as very positive and constructive.
Document paprin0020010816dw9k00q45
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Factiva Energy Digest - September 20, 2000.
5,079 words
20 September 2000
Factiva Energy Digest
RTEN
English
(c) 2000 Dow Jones Reuters Business Interactive LLC, trading as Factiva
OIL & GAS HEADLINES
*OPEC Says It May Raise Output an Extra 500,000 Barrels a Day in October
*OPEC, Non-OPEC Added 4 Million Barrels a Day in Less Than 6 Months
*OPEC President Says $40 a Barrel Would Be "Delicate"
*Debate Intensifies Over Tapping U.S. Oil Reserve as Prices Skyrocket
*U.S. Governors Gather for First-Ever Natural Gas Summit
*American Petroleum Institute Crude Draw, Slight Heating Oil Build Bullish
*Iraq Complains to U.N. About Oil Pipeline Via Saudi
*Kuwait Says Iraq Trying to Foil Its Oil Projects
*European Fuel-Tax Storm Still Brewing - EU May Fight Measures
*Germany Plans Steps to Ease Oil-Price
*France Plans Fuel Price Compensation From October 1
*Swedish Truckers Scale Back Fuel Price Blockades
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*Truckers in Israel End Fuel Protest
*Russian Government Sells Stake in Oil Concern for $1.08 Billion
*China National Offshore Oil Expects to Build $4 Billion Plant With Royal Dutch/Shell
*Nigerian Oilworkers End Strike, Get Pay Rise
POWER & UTILITY HEADLINES
*Trade Group Says Utility Earnings Soared in 1999 Amid Diversification
*Kepco's Fans are Undeterred by its Exposure to Surging Oil Prices
REGULATORY & ENVIRONMENT HEADLINES
*U.S. Electric Power Deregulation Uncertain
*Commerce Department Told to Reconsider Case Filed by Small Oil Firms
**************************************
OIL & GAS
*OPEC Says It May Raise Output an Extra 500,000 Barrels a Day in October
JAKARTA (Dow Jones) - The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may increase oil output
another 500,000 barrels a day in October if crude oil prices don't fall from 10-year highs, said OPEC
Secretary-General Rilwanu Lukman. First he said, OPEC has to see the market's reaction to the
scheduled 800,000 barrel a day increase effective Oct. 1.
Crude oil has rallied during the previous three sessions before Wednesday, gaining more than three
dollars a barrel and setting a series of 10-year highs; the latest was Monday's intraday high of $37.15.
Experts said the market's sentiment has changed little since OPEC agreed last week to raise production
quotas by 800,000 barrels a day. The market has viewed that output increase as insufficient to bring
down oil prices in the short term.
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OPEC, which has raised production quotas three times this year in an unsuccessful effort to restrain
prices, is determined to bring prices down to the level of $22 to $28 a barrel, the group's president, Ali
Rodriguez, said. If prices remain above the OPEC basket price band of $22-$28 a barrel, Mr. Lukman
said, then another increase in output targets late October is possible before the next OPEC ministerial
meeting Nov. 12 in Vienna. "We don't even have to have a meeting," Mr. Lukman said.
*OPEC, Non-OPEC Added 4 Million Barrels a Day in Less Than 6 Months
SINGAPORE (Dow Jones) - The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, and nonOPEC members have released more than 4 million additional barrels of crude oil a day to the world's
crude market in less than six months, Rilwanu Lukman, OPEC's secretary general, said Wednesday in a
CNBC interview. Speaking by telephone from Jakarta, Lukman said oil producers have released "a hell of
a lot of oil in such a short time," and prices should come down.
OPEC countries have the capacity to produce up to 2 million barrels a day of crude over current levels,
Lukman said.
"In due course, all other things being equal, prices should fall to the level we are looking for," he said,
without specifying what that level is. OPEC has released "more than 3 million (additional) barrels a day in
the past six months," he added. Lukman attributed current high crude prices to "speculative manipulation
in the futures market."
Lukman reiterated the terms of OPEC's price band mechanism, by which the organization's members will
increase crude production by an additional 500,000 barrels a day if the price of OPEC's benchmark
basket of crudes trades over $28 a barrel for more than 20 consecutive days, beginning Oct. 1.
*OPEC President Says $40 a Barrel Would Be "Delicate"
CARACAS (Reuters) - OPEC President, Venezuela's Ali Rodriguez, said Tuesday that if sizzling oil
prices reach $40 a barrel, oil markets would be facing a "delicate" but not necessarily an "emergency"
situation. "If prices reach $40 it would without doubt be a delicate situation. If it is permanent then it would
be an emergency but if it's temporary then it wouldn't be," he told reporters.
U.S. light crude futures on Monday set a post-1991 Gulf War peak of $37.15 a barrel, but on Tuesday,
sliced as much as 55 cents off to trade at $36.25. Rodriguez' comment however saw the barrel pare
losses with to trade up to $37.00.
Rodriguez said that OPEC members, excluding Iraq, should have restored oil supply by the third quarter
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of 2001 to the level it was at before the 4.3 million barrels a day output cuts of 1998 and 1999 that lifted
oil prices from 13-year lows. OPEC has restored about 3.2 million barrels a day of the output cuts in a
series of production hikes this year.
*Debate Intensifies Over Tapping U.S. Oil Reserve as Prices Skyrocket
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) - As oil prices climb toward $40 a barrel, debate is intensifying within the
Clinton administration over whether to ease the economic and political pain by tapping into the
government's emergency oil reserve, Wednesday's Wall Street Journal reported. The potential
advantages are clear: The rare use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve could help cap, at least
temporarily, soaring fuel prices at a time when the economy appears to be slowing, slumping corporate
profits are spooking Wall Street, and the November elections loom.
But some officials remain reluctant, arguing the government action might distort the workings of the free
market for oil, possibly increasing the chances of future shortages. There is also concern that the
government has only a limited ability to move oil prices, and that attempting to do so now would reduce
the impact of tapping the reserve during a more a serious crisis, such as if Iraq's current saber-rattling
against Kuwait turns more serious.
Officials are also weighing the political risks both abroad and at home. Suddenly dumping governmentowned oil on the market could undermine efforts to enlist Saudi Arabian help in increasing the supply of
oil, U.S. diplomats fear.
*U.S. Governors Gather for First-Ever Natural Gas Summit
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With crude oil prices at 10-year highs, governors from 37 states will gather on
Wednesday to discuss another energy threat - soaring natural gas prices that could boost consumer
heating bills by 50% this winter. The unprecedented meeting of state officials and energy company
executives in Columbus, Ohio will focus on natural gas prices and what can be done to keep supplies
flowing smoothly.
Industry experts have cautioned that if this winter has severe or unusually cold weather, prices will jump
sharply. That would leave factories - which account for 40% of U.S. natural gas demand - and
homeowners with a potential headache. Prices for natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile
Exchange have set record highs in recent days. Prices have risen above $5.30 a million British thermal
units, double last year's price.
The jump in natural gas prices comes at the same time that U.S. oil supplies are dwindling and pushing
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heating oil prices sharply higher. On Monday, U.S. crude oil futures briefly topped $37 a barrel, the
highest since the Gulf War a decade ago. Even though industry experts point to ample near-term supply and a reinvigorated long-term production effort - stock levels are below last year and current output is
running close to capacity.
But these same industry players contend that current price inflation can be traced to the summer of 1998
when U.S. crude oil prices dropped to $10 a barrel and energy companies slashed drilling at a time
demand for fuel kept increasing.
*American Petroleum Institute Crude Draw, Slight Heating Oil Build Bullish
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A two-million-barrel fall in U.S. crude stocks and the modest rise of heating oil
inventories shown in Tuesday's American Petroleum Institute weekly report may lead to fresh 10-year
highs for crude prices on Wednesday, oil analysts said. National crude stocks fell 2.03 million barrels in
the week ended Sept. 15 as foreign crude imports ran well below recent weeks.
After-hours ACCESS trading Tuesday evening on the New York Mercantile Exchange showed October
crude at $36.96 a barrel, up 45 cents from Tuesday's regular trading settlement. The 10-year high posted
Monday was $37.15 a barrel, which can easily be challenged on Wednesday, several analysts said. They
added that with Wednesday being the last day for trading on the October futures contract, prices are likely
to make wide swings.
Crude imports fell from about 9.4 million barrels a day to 8.7 million barrels a day, the API said.
After the API figures were released, October heating oil prices were up 1.09 cents to $1.03 a gallon.
Gasoline prices rose a half cent to 96.80 cents a gallon. Also seen as bullish was the drop of PADD 1
(East Coast) distillate stocks by 1.4 million barrels. But this drop is bullish for jet fuel and diesel prices and
not for closely watched heating oil.
There was no relief for consumers wanting to avert high heating oil bills this winter. Heating oil stocks in
PADD 1 rose 704,000 barrels in the week but are still down a whopping 23.7 million barrels from this time
a year ago. That's down 50%.
*Iraq Complains to U.N. About Oil Pipeline Via Saudi
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq confirmed on Tuesday it had written to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
complaining about damage inflicted on the Iraqi-Saudi pipeline because of the suspension of oil exports
since 1990. The Iraqi News Agency said a letter had been presented to Annan by Iraq's United Nations
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ambassador Saeed Hasan in which Baghdad held the Saudi government responsible for the damage
caused by suspension of oil exports via the pipeline.
"Iraq holds the Saudi regime responsible for the damage inflicted on the Iraqi pipeline which extends in
the Saudi territory to the Red Sea because of suspension of oil exports since August 13, 1990," INA said.
"Export via the pipeline was suspended under the will of the Saudi side claiming that storage capacity of
al-Moajjez terminal was full," the letter said.
The Iraq-Saudi pipeline was shut down immediately after the imposition of the United Nations sanctions
against Iraq in August 1990. The pipeline, which used to carry Iraqi crude to the Red Sea, was
commissioned in September 1989 according to the Iraqi letter with a total capacity of 1.6 million barrels a
day.
*Kuwait Says Iraq Trying to Foil Its Oil Projects
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait said on Tuesday that former occupier Iraq had launched accusations against
it in an attempt to foil its plan to develop oilfields close to their mutual border with the help of major oil
companies.
"Maybe Iraq feels that its interests are against the development of the northern fields, over which the
Kuwaiti government is seeking to reach a deal with foreign companies," Minister of State for Foreign
Affairs Suleiman al-Shaheen said.
The minister was speaking late on Tuesday night at Kuwait's journalists' society. Kuwait is seeking to
double output to 900,000 barrels a day from northern fields by allowing foreign oil firms to operate wells
for the first time since fully nationalizing the petroleum sector in 1980.
Shaheen expressed his country's gratitude for the "clear reaction" by allies to claims this month by Iraq
that its much smaller neighbor was stealing its oil from a border field. The accusations were a reminder of
claims made by Iraq weeks before its invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. The United States promptly
warned Iraq of military action if it threatened its neighbors.
*European Fuel-Tax Storm Still Brewing - EU May Fight Measures
Europe's fuel-tax protests have by and large subsided, but could the quiet be merely a lull in the storm?
That will depend a lot on the European Commission, as well as governments in London and Berlin. The
commission has started an inquiry into tax breaks and subsidies which several countries granted to road
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haulers to convince them to drop the protests that congested Europe's roads this month, the Wall Street
Journal reported. If it rules that the measures constitute unfair subsidies - "state aid" in European Union
jargon - it has the power to cancel them and demand repayment. That, says an EU official, could provoke
"another big fight" with truckers.
Even if the concessions stand, protesters may be back in the streets before long. British truckers ended
their blockades Thursday giving the government 60 days to cut gasoline taxes, the highest in Europe. But
Finance Minister Gordon Brown continued to take a hard line on the protests, telling The Times
newspaper that the government would not be pressured into changing tax policy. His statement sparked
panic-buying of gasoline yesterday. (While ruling out across-the-board cuts in gas taxes, however, Mr.
Brown left the door open to offer truckers fuel-duty rebates and cuts in the vehicle tax - details may come
in November's pre-budget statement.)
While the German government still vows to stick with a planned increase in energy taxes, it could
announce as early as today two billion marks ($4.58 billion) worth of measures aimed at reducing the
burden of rising fuel costs. The legislative package, which will be discussed at a regularly scheduled
cabinet meeting today, will likely include an increase of a tax-deductible allowance for commuters, as well
as financial assistance to defray higher heating costs expected this winter. But that may not be enough to
prevent a resumption of protests in Germany.
*Germany Plans Steps to Ease Oil-Price
The German government could announce as early as today measures amounting to two billion marks
(1.02 billion euros) to lessen the burden on the country from the more than trebling of oil prices in the past
year, the Wall Street Journal reported. The legislative package, which will be discussed today at a
regularly scheduled cabinet meeting, will likely include an increase of a tax-deductible allowance for all
commuters, as well as financial assistance to defray higher heating costs expected this winter. The
government insisted again, however, that it wouldn't back down from its planned increase in energy taxes.
The development comes as governments across Europe struggle to quell unrest from the recent spike in
oil prices. As the varied responses during the past 10 days show, despite a common currency, Euroland
is far from united on how to cope with its first real crisis since the introduction of the euro 20 months ago.
"We won't be able to strengthen the euro if we don't strengthen efforts to forge common policies," said
Spanish Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro in an interview Tuesday. European governments "should
maintain a coordinated policy on oil," he added. "It doesn't help if one country takes unilateral action."
Ernst Welteke, president of the Bundesbank and a council member of the European Central Bank, said
the lack of unanimity to date is "regrettable," and called for more coordinated measures.
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*France Plans Fuel Price Compensation From October 1
PARIS (Reuters) - The French government, grappling with discontent over fuel prices, will apply tax
compensation measures from October 1, knocking current prices at the petrol pump by 0.20 francs a liter
on average, ministry sources said. The fuel price measures are part of the 2001 budget bill presented to
cabinet on Wednesday morning. The budget bill is based on the hypothesis of a euro worth $0.95 next
year and world oil prices of $25.8 a barrel, the finance ministry sources said. The current price of a liter of
high grade petrol in Paris petrol stations is about eight francs a liter, taxes included.
*Swedish Truckers Scale Back Fuel Price Blockades
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish truckers scaled back their diesel price protests at two of Sweden's
main ports on Wednesday, but the main blockade at Gothenburg remained in place, port spokesmen
said. "They are still there. Nothing has changed from the last few days," Gothenburg Port spokeswoman
Ann Flyning said.
Truckers at Stockholm port withdrew their blockade, with only a dozen or so remaining to protest at the
main entrance. "They are just standing there demonstrating. They are not blocking anything," Stockholm
port Operational Manager Bo Araskog said.
And it was business as usual at the southern port of Malmo. "There's nothing at all in Malmo today," a
spokeswoman said.
The Swedish actions, which had threatened fuel supplies and forced carmakers Volvo and Saab to curb
production at their factories, followed similar protests elsewhere in Europe as oil prices neared 10 year
peaks. The truckers want the government to scrap a proposed tax increase of 0.10 crowns and to cut the
present tax by 1.12 crowns a liter. Wednesday's 2001 budget however went ahead with the diesel tax
increase.
*Truckers in Israel End Fuel Protest
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli truckers, saying the government had met their demands, ended a day of
protest against high fuel prices on Tuesday after mounting a "go-slow" cavalcade along Israel's main
north-south road. The truckers' association, known as the Israel Road Transport Board, said in a
statement that Finance Minister Abraham Shohat had agreed to adjust the price of diesel fuel each month
based on an international average.
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In Israel, retail fuel prices are regulated by the government and until now have been adjusted every two
weeks. Extending that to once a month means truckers will not be faced with increases so often if
international oil prices continue to rise.
"We were able to respond to the request...to desist from the protest activities and return to regular work,"
the truckers' association said.
Israel already levies a relatively low 5% excise tax on diesel fuel compared with a 48% tax on unleaded
petrol. Israeli Transport Minister Amnon Lipkin-Shahak had said earlier the government was powerless to
lower the pump price on fuel. A finance ministry spokeswoman told Reuters after the truckers ended their
protest: "The ministry has not agreed to lower taxes - there is nothing to lower - and the pump price won't
go down."
*Russian Government Sells Stake in Oil Concern for $1.08 Billion
MOSCOW (Dow Jones) - The Russian government auctioned off an 85% stake in oil company Onako for
$1.08 billion to a company affiliated with Russia's Tyumen Oil Co. and its parent Alfa Group holding
company. Russia has been criticized by both domestic and foreign investors for earlier privatizations in
which many companies went to politically connected buyers for fire-sale prices. The sale of Onako had
been closely watched as a sign of whether President Vladimir Putin and his government were committed
to creating a level playing field for investors.
The sale was "honest, open, and absolutely competitive," said Vladimir Malin, the chairman of the
Federal Property Fund.
Some analysts said the results of the sale bodes well for the government's efforts to restore its
reputation. "It was a very good price for the government, and shows that privatization in Russia is much
more transparent than before, and that no political (intrigue) can help people win auctions," said Dmitry
Avdeev, oil analyst at Moscow-based investment bank United Financial Group.
The winning bid from among the four competing companies came from Yevrotek, which outbid the $1
billion offered by Profit House, an alliance between Yukos and Sibneft oil companies.
*China National Offshore Oil Expects to Build $4 Billion Plant With Royal Dutch/Shell
JAKARTA (Dow Jones) - The president of China National Offshore Oil Corp. said Wednesday that the
state-owned company will sign a joint venture agreement with Royal Dutch/Shell Group by the end of
October to develop a $4 billion petrochemical plant in Guangdong province.
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Wei Liucheng said CNOOC will own 45% of the petrochemical plant, Shell (RD SC) 50%, and local
Guangdong petrochemical companies the remainder. The petrochemical plant will produce ethylene. Mr.
Wei confirmed that CNOOC plans to list its shares in New York and Hong Kong in the first quarter of next
year.
"CNOOC plans to list in New York and Hong Kong in the first quarter of 2001," he said. "I don't know how
much we want to raise in terms of proceeds, but we plan to offer 25% of total shares," Mr. Wei said on the
sidelines of an energy seminar in Jakarta. The company is aiming to raise between $1-$2 billion through
the offering, industry executives say.
CNOOC is China's major offshore oil operator with annual production capacity standing at 160 million
metric tons. Shell and CNOOC are already in talks to cooperate on natural gas distribution, offshore oil
and gas exploration and development, as well as building China's first liquefied natural gas project in
Guangdong province.
*Nigerian Oilworkers End Strike, Get Pay Rise
LAGOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian oil workers agreed on Tuesday to end their six-day-old strike after
winning a major concession from employers to raise their salaries. The white-collar PENGASSAN and
blue-collar NUPENG oil workers' unions said at the end of a seven-hour meeting with the managements
of the oil marketing companies held in Lagos, that the workers would return to their posts on Wednesday.
"The workers have been offered a satisfactory percentage increase in their salaries. It is on this basis
that the strike has been called off," General Secretary of NUPENG, Joseph Akinlaja, told Reuters.
When reminded that the workers defied an earlier directive by the unions to suspend the strike, Akinlaja
said: "The last directive was not based on an agreement, but an appeal. But now we have an agreement
and so it will be effective."
The oil workers began the strike last Wednesday to press home a demand for a pay rise to reflect the
new monthly minimum 7,500 naira ($73) wage approved for federal civil servants last May by President
Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo ordered the oil workers earlier on Tuesday to immediately resolve their
pay dispute and end the strike or risk government intervention.
*Talisman Energy to Buy Midstream Assets From TransCanada Pipelines
CALGARY (Dow Jones) - Canadian oil and natural gas company Talisman Energy Inc. said Tuesday it
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has agreed to buy the pipeline systems of Central Foothills Gas Gathering and Columbia Minehead Gas
Gathering from subsidiaries of TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. for about $97 million to boost revenue.
Talisman (TLM) said the two gas gathering systems include more than 186 miles of pipe and connect
parts of the Western Canada Basin and several major sour gas processing facilities. The purchase is
expected to provide cash flow of almost $20 million after taxes in 2001, Talisman said.
Talisman said it expects to produce about 770 million cubic feet of gas a day in Canada this year, an
increase of 13% over 1999.
**************************************
POWER & UTILITY
*Trade Group Says Utility Earnings Soared in 1999 Amid Diversification
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) - U.S. utility companies enjoyed a robust 1999 as earnings jumped 39%
over 1998, partly because the industry relied less on power-related activity for revenue, according to a
report from the Edison Electric Institute. The trade group - which represents most investor-owned utilities
- released a 1999 financial review that painted a picture of an industry in flux, as utilities react to
competitive pressures with rapid consolidation and diversification. Non-electricity activities accounted for
43% of the utilities' revenue last year, an increase from 37% in 1998, EEI reported, citing increased
diversification into telecommunications, home security, fuel cells, and other unregulated businesses.
"The overall trend of an industry traditionally dominated by electric revenues is changing," the report said.
"Electric revenues decreased from a 62.8% share of total revenues in 1998 to a 57% share in 1999
Since 1997, utilities have auctioned off more than 73,000 megawatts of generating capacity, "The
industry is moving from the regulated market of the past century to the defining characteristics that will
dominate the new century," the report said.
Total 1999 revenues increased 10%, to $325.6 billion, as net income rose more than 23% to a record
$21.5 billion, EEI reported. The group said solid growth pushed earnings to $2.11 a share last year as the
industry delivered nearly 2.5 gigawatt-hours of electricity.
*Kepco's Fans are Undeterred by its Exposure to Surging Oil Prices
SEOUL - Surging oil prices haven't damped the enthusiasm of some analysts and fund managers for
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Korea Electric Power Corp., the Wall Street Journal reported. Kepco says it imports more than 95% of the
crude oil it uses to generate power. That may seem to make the surge in crude prices to 10-year highs
above $35 (41 euros) a barrel enough to cloud the utility's outlook, despite its near-monopoly as a
provider of electricity services in South Korea. Yet some still rate the stock a buy, arguing in part that
increases in electricity fees - which are set by the government, holder of 52.2% of the company - will
offset the unexpectedly high cost of imported oil.
Last week, cabinet ministers said the government may raise electricity fees by 50% starting in October
for high-consumption households, defined as those using more than 300 kilowatt-hours a month. The
government also plans to raise retail electricity prices for industrial use, which accounts for 60% of the
country's total electricity consumption, by an average of 5%.
The move to raise electricity rates is part of the government's drive to curb oil consumption. The prospect
of a prolonged stretch of high oil prices is stoking inflation concerns, because South Korea doesn't
produce a drop of its own oil. The government said Tuesday that an average oil price of $30 a barrel
would shave $1 billion from its estimate of a $10 billion current-account surplus this year, and result in a
surplus or deficit of about $1 billion next year.
"Considering the government's plan to raise electricity prices, the oil-price hikes are quite manageable,"
says Kim Hocheol, a senior analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston in Seoul.
Mr. Kim says an average oil price of $30 a barrel this year would cost Kepco 305 billion won (315.4
million euros) in net profit. To compensate, Kepco needs about a 1.8% increase in electricity fees, he
says. He expects electricity rates to increase roughly 5%, allowing Kepco to register a big increase in net
profit. Including asset sales, Mr. Kim estimates Kepco's net profit will climb 55% this year to 2.28 trillion
won.
***************************************
REGULATORY & ENVIRONMENT
*U.S. Electric Power Deregulation Uncertain
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new report released on Tuesday said efforts to deregulate North American
electric markets has been a prolonged and confusing transition for the $230 billion power industry. The
report from Arthur Andersen Consultants and the Cambridge Research Associates (CRA) said recent
problems in the California electricity system and extremely volatile energy prices have raised public
concern about the industry's ability to deliver reliable service at affordable costs.
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"The most important case in point is California, where recent system failures are not a surprise because
the trends indicated a reliability crisis would happen, the only question was when," said Larry Makovich,
CRA senior director for electrical power.
Some 24 states and the District of Columbia have acted to open their retail power markets to
competition. Congressional efforts to pass legislation to restructure all the nation's electric markets have
stalled thus far.
The report warned that the doubling of natural gas prices in the last year displayed a "surprising
disconnect" between the amount of new gas fired generation plants that are planned and the lack of new
natural gas discoveries to fuel the plants. Although natural gas is currently the popular fuel of choice for
power plants, mainly because it is environmentally clean, high gas prices may encourage plants to switch
to other less expensive fuels.
*Commerce Department Told to Reconsider Case Filed by Small Oil Firms
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) - The Court of International Trade ruled the Commerce Department should
reconsider an antidumping petition brought against four of the top foreign suppliers of crude oil to the U.S.
Judge Thomas J. Aquilino, Jr. of the New York-based court issued a summary opinion in favor of Save
Domestic Oil Inc., or SDO, a coalition of small U.S. oil producers. The judge found the Commerce
Department's decision to dismiss SDO's petition for lack of support from the domestic industry was "not in
accordance with the law," said Jahna Hartwig, a clerk for the judge.
The group's petition was rejected by Commerce in 1999. It sought tariffs based on the allegation that
Mexico, Venezuela, Iraq and Saudi Arabia dumped oil on the U.S. market in 1998 to purposely drive
down prices and run U.S. producers out of business.
The petition claimed that Iraqi, Mexican, Saudi and Venezuelan oil companies were selling oil in the U.S.
at prices below the cost of production. It also charged that the governments in those countries were
unfairly subsidizing oil production. Countries guilty of such subsidies are subject to tariffs of 33% to 157%
on their crude-oil exports to the U.S.
The four countries denied the charges in the petition which was filed as the petroleum industry particularly in the U.S. - was being downsized due to falling crude prices which reached $10 a barrel in
late 1998. Prices have since recovered to attain post Gulf war highs of over $35 a barrel and so have
prospects for the industry.
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**************************************
Full versions of these and other energy stories are available from Dow Jones Interactive and Reuters
Business Briefing
**************************************
Factiva Contact: Marc Donatiello, +1 609-520-7834, marc.donatiello@factiva.com.
(c) Copyright 2000, Dow Jones Reuters Business Interactive LLC, trading as Factiva
Homepage Address: http://www.factiva.com.
Document rten000020010815dw9k0005s
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Nigerian Envoy invites Pakistani businessmen to invest in Nigeria.
839 words
19 September 2000
Pakistan Press International
PAPRIN
English
(c) 2000 Asia Pulse Pte Limited
ISLAMABAD September 19 (PPI)Nigerian High Commissioner in Pakistan Mr.Adamu Danjuma Idris
Waziri has invited Pakistani business community to come forward and invest their capital in Nigeria as the
present government has created investment-friendly atmosphere in the country by offering lucrative
incentives.
"We give our firm assurance to international community that Nigeria is quite safe for them to invest", he
said while addressing a seminar on `investment opportunities in Nigeria" jointly organised by the Nigerian
HIgh Commission and Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here Tuesday.
He said scores of economic missions and delegations from South Africa, the United Stated of America,
Japan, China, Canmada,Venezuela and other, daily visit Nigeria, as the present government has now
restored calm and peace within the country and also restored their confidence. In this connection, he
referred to the recent visit of the United States President Bill Clinton, who visited Nigeria with a huge
official delegation comprising 1000 people, with majority of industrialists and businessmen.
He said Nigeria the 7th biggest oil producing country of the world, with rich natural resources, invites
foreign investors to come forward to invest in the country as the present democratic government under
the leadership of H.E. Olusegun Obasango GCFR, President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has created very congenial and conducive atmosphere for them.
While introducing the present democratic government's economic policies which has set priority areas
has now turned around the economy. These priority areas which are most favoured in the administration
of government industrial incentives are Metallurgical Engineering, industires, Agriculture (Forest based
and agro-allied activities, Chemical Petrochemical sector and Construction sector.
He said that Pakistan and Nigeria have very close bilateral cultural and economic ties with rich natural
and human resources needed to be exploited. Government can only create conducive environment and
extend facilities to the investors. It is for the investors to get fruitful results from the investment policy of
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the government.
He added that the existance of the market of 100 million people who require the provision of adequate
communications, power and transportation services further extend the demand for investment in Nigeria.
The government's stance towards the attraction of more investment resources is indicated by its resolve
to expand and consolidate the economic liberalisation and globalisation. Furthermore, the government's
commitment to privatise the national economy has now opened new avenues for the business community
in Nigeria.
He said a lot of enquiries continue to flow in to the Nigeria Investmnet Promotion Commission(NIPC)
from investors visting to stake their investments in the country.The investment climate is very conducive.
We are now producing the finest quality of tea and coffee in large quanitity and invite the Pakistani
investors to invest in such areas, even they can establish their export businesses over there and export
such items to their own country, High Commissioner of the Nigeria Embassy added.
He pointed out that tele-communications, power and steel, solid minerals, maritime and railway,
transportation sectors, tourism and export processing zones have been identified as areas for foreign
investment, to complement the already available profitable ventures.
He further deliberated that the thrust of the nation's current economic development policy as enunciated
in the VISION 2010 is to make Nigeria a major industrialized nation and economic power that continually
strives for sustained economic growth and development towards improving the quality of life of all the
Nigerians.
While referring to his visits to different Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan, he added that
since he assumed the Charge, he visited various chambers and met with the leading pakistani business
community and invited to visit Nigeria, for which prompt visa services would be provided to them.
The Nigerian High Commissioner lauded the role of Pakistani businessmen and added that Pakistan has
got a lot of expertise in telecommunication and can play most effective role in modernizing our economic
system. In this connection, he added that the present Nigerian government has now liberalized the
national economy and it is the investors who can get benefits from our policies.
He said the Nigerian government is also trying to alleviate poverty from the country. High Commissioner
added that we have lot of natural resources but are still mismanaged.
In the end of his speech, he referred to the newly trends of globalization with a focus on economic
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diplomacy and underlined the need for working together seriously to solve the economic problems facing
both Nigeria and Pakistan. He accused his utmost cooperation to Pakisani intending investors and said
business visas will be promptly issued to them.
On the occasion, President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented welcome
address. He lauded the present economic policies of the Nigerian government and accused his utmost
cooperation on behalf of the business community.
Members of the business community also participated in the seminar and admired the efforts of the High
Commissioner as very positive and constructive.
Document paprin0020010816dw9j00pot
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Diary for Thursday September 14, 2000.
1,255 words
13 September 2000
11:29 AM
Australian Associated Press
AAP
English
(c) 2000 AAP Information Services Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. Available for personal use but not for sale
or redistribution for compensation of any kind without the prior written permission of AAP.
EVENTS ARE IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER AND IN LOCAL TIME UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE
ADELAIDE
1230 - SA Press Club luncheon with guest speaker Peter Sellars, Artistic Director Adelaide Festival,
Novotel on Hindley, 65 Hindley Street. Contact: 8211 9400.
BRISBANE
0930 - Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley tours interactive learning centre. John Paul College, John
Paul Drive, Daisy Hill. Info: Amanda Buckley 0438 950 375.
1000 - Families, Youth and Community Care Minister Anna Bligh to officially open the new Youth Justice
Service for the Logan Area, 21 Station Road, Woodridge. Contact: Caroline Fisher on 3224 7081.
1030 - The Swiss Olympic Team interviews and photographs for the media, Landy/Jackson Conference
Room, Couran Cove Resort, South Stradbroke Island. Contact: Annie Kinnane on 07 5597 9030.
1130 - Emergency Services Minister Stephen Robertson and firefighters appeal to schoolchildren not to
light fires during the school holidays. Runcorn Heights State School, 202 Nemies Road, Runcorn. Info:
Paul Lynch 3247 8194 / 0417 728 676.
1215 - Griffith University's Asia Pacific Council to host a public lecture by the Chief of Army Lieutenant
General Peter Cosgrove, Northern Theatre 2, Nathan Campus, Brisbane. Contact: Narelle Roy on 0413
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946 474.
1730 - The Novotel Hotel, Brisbane "Goose Games", Novotel, Brisbane. Contact: Sherrida Emery 0414
279 997.
CANBERRA
0915 - Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Middle East Inquiry, Committee
Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra. Contact: Margaret Swieringa 02 6277 2313. 1145 - Former
Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot James Coward to welcome Spitfire arriving in Canberra to mark Battle of
Britain commemoration, Tarmac reception on the apron in front of the Vee-H hangar Canberra Airport.
1330 - Employment Services Minister, Tony Abbott to launch the `Jubilee Jobs for the Future', Burgmann
College, Daley Road, Acton, Australian National University, ACT. Contact: Jack Docherty 02 6281 1087
or 0417 254 212.
1730 - Olympic Games 2000 Football, Women China v Nigeria; Men South Africa v Japan. Bruce
stadium.
1800 - Mr Hugh White, Deputy Secretary of Department of Defence, to examine regional defence and
strategic issues on `Australia in the Asia Pacific From 2000' series, Australian Institute of International
Affairs, Stephen House, 32 Thesiger Court, Deakin, ACT. No contact number.
MELBOURNE
0900 - State and Regional Development Minister John Brumby to launch Victorian Partnership for
Advanced Computing (VPAC), RMIT University, Building 91, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton. Contact:
Andrew Yee 9925 3176, 0417 592 398.
1000 - Victoria's Open Range Zoo to launch new tour "Raising Rhinos" to celebrate the introduction of
five Southern White Rhinoceros, Werribee. Contact: Miranda Korkou 9731 9632, 0408 030 643.
1100 - Consul General of Japan Mr Ueno and Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Clem Newton-Brown to
launch Foundations of Gold, a new collaboration between art and business in Asia and Australia, Supper
Room foyer, Melbourne Town Hall. Contact: Ross Bruhn 9658 9475, 0413 274 991.
1230 - Settlements and Regional Infrastructure Minister, Erna Witoelar to address the Asialink Lecture
Series Regional Development: Challenges of Regional Disparities, Allard Room, Pricewaterhouse
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Coopers, Level 8, 215 Spring Street. Contact: Tom Parker 9349 1899.
1400 - City of Melbourne seminar for enterprises focusing on Business Opportunities in Asia, Melbourne
Town Hall, Swanston Street. Contact: 9658 9658.
1800 - Kana Communications media and industry briefing on expansion in Australia, Rialto Towers
Observatory Deck, Level 55, 525 Collins Street. Contact: Bob Lawrence 02 9231 5195 or 0414 355 404.
PERTH
1400 - Parliament of WA sits.
SYDNEY
TBA - Olympic blazer presentations to Australian mountain bikers, women's road cycling and canoe
sprint teams, University of Western Sydney. No contact number.
0900 - First training session for Olympic football teams, Marconi Stadium, Fairfield. No contact number.
0900 - United State's men's volleyball team press conference, Main Press Conference Room, MPC,
Olympic Park. Contact: Mike Wilson 8113 0240 1000 - AOC basketball press conference with Luc
Longley and Peter Montgomery, Room 3, Main Press Centre, Olympic Park. No contact number. 1000 Olympic sailing regatta press conference, Press Conference Room, Sailing Marina, Rushcutters Bay. No
contact number.
1000 - Media briefing on Kana's Communications expansion in Australia, plus world wide perspective on
the evolution of online customer communication software use in business centres, Blackwattle Room,
Star City Casino, Level 2, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont. Contact: Bob Lawrence 9231 5195 or 0414 355
404.
1000 - Aboriginal tent embassy Corroboree for Sovereignty and sacred fire ceremony for peace and
justice, Victoria Park. No contact number.
1100 - Media briefing with Airbus Industry Senior Vice President John Leahy, Raphael's 2nd Level,
Renaissance Hotel, 30 Pitt Street. Contact: Ted Porter 9436 0200 1100 - IOC press conference with IOC
President Juan Antonio Samaranch, Main Press Conference Auditorium, Main Press Centre, Sydney
Olympic Park. Contact: Neil McKenzie 0417 160 423.
1200 - Slovenia Business Conference media briefing, Trade and Investment Centre, Level 44, Grosvenor
Page 205 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
Place, 225 George Street. Contact: Michelle Armstrong 9969 6891.
1200 - US men and women's swim team press conference, Main Press Conference Room, MPC,
Olympic Park. Contact: Michael Wilson 8113 0240.
1215 - Final Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Countdown Auction, The Performance Space, Martin Place.
Contact: Madelaine Cohen 0418 193 998.
1330 - Pub to Pub 2000 Cross Country Classic, Perisher Blue. Contact: 1300 655 822.
1300 - US Women's gymnastics press conference, Main Press Conference Room, MPC, Olympic Park.
Contact: Michael Wilson 8113 0240.
1300 - Fencing competition draw, Finals Hall, Exhibition Hall 4, Darling Harbour. No contact number.
1300 - Canadian Olympic Association press conference, Room 2, MPC, Olympic Park. Contact: Helene
Lapointe 8113 0193.
1400 - Protesters against the Bondi beach volleyball stadium to hold 1,000 mirrors as the Olympic torch
is handed to IOC member Phil Coles, North Headland, overlooking pool, Bondi. Contact: Kevin St.Adler
9130 4468.
1400 - Australian women's cycling road team press conference, Press Conference Room, Centennial
Park. No contact number.
1400 - AOC press conference, Room 2, MPC, Olympic Park. Contact: Danielle Kean 0407 207 727.
1400 - Preview of Speedo's Fastskin bodysuits, Bush Telegraph Bar, Sydney Media Centre, Pirrama Rd,
Wharf 12, Darling Island, Pyrmont. Contact: Ian Dose 9241 3131 or 0419 618 606.
1400 - Men's hockey media day, training pitch one, Homebush. No contact number.
1400 - US synchronized swimming press conference, Main Press Conference Room, MPC, Olympic
Park. Contact: Mike Wilson 8113 0240.
1430 - AOC press conference, MPC, Olympic Park. No contact number.
1430 - US track and field press conference, Main Press Conference Room, MPC, Olympic Park. Contact:
Page 206 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mike Wilson 8113 0240.
1600 - US Olympic Committee press conference to announce the US flag bearer, Main Press
Conference Room, MPC, Olympic Park. Contact: Mike Wilson 8113 0240 1700 - US equestrian dressage
press conference, Room 5, MPC, Olympic Park. Contact: Mike Wilson 8113 0240 1800 - British Olympic
Team press conference, Room 2, MPC, Olympic Park. Contact: Mark Howell 8113 5316 1800 - Marriage
of US Olympic weightlifting squad member Suzanne Leathers to Don Joseph McCauley, Bankstown
Sports Club (Rainforest Lounge), 8 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown. Contact: Christie Hyde 0408 116 863
1830 - US Marine Corps Veteran, Danny Garcia to present Planet Hollywood with United Nations
sanctioned Peace Pole, Planet Hollywood, George Street. Contact: 9267 7827 1945 - Australian women's
basketball team media briefing, Press Conference Room, The Dome, Olympic Park. No contact number
SPORT
HORSE RACING - AWA Tea Rose Stakes, AWA Hill Stakes, Shannon Quality, Rosehill GALLOPS Rosehill Gardens Flemington Doomben Kalgoorlie TROTS - Kilmore Gold Coast Bankstown Maitland
GREYHOUNDS - Dapto Sandown Albion Park Angle Park Cessnock Shepparton Hobart
ENTERTAINMENT
2000 - Pianist Howard Shelley to appear in the final concert at the ABC Odeon, ABC Odeon, Sydney.
Contact: Sue Douglas 0407 973 588
AAP Diary Contact: Nartira Carlson Phone: 02 9322 8673 Fax: 02 9322 8679
Document aap0000020020307dw9d02gro
Page 207 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
Column One
A Belgian Cop's Lonely War Against Human Smugglers --- Despite Talk of Enforcement, His Office
Budget Is Slim --- One Smuggler's Secrets of the Trade
By James M. Dorsey
Special to The Asian Wall Street Journal
2,453 words
5 September 2000
The Asian Wall Street Journal
AWSJ
1
English
(Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
BRUSSELS -- To understand the fight against those who traffic in illegal immigrants, step into Eric van
der Sijpt's office in the shadow of Belgium's domed Palais de Justice.
Stacks of brown case files -- "hundreds of them," he said -- crowd the detective's steel desk. They cover
a Formica table along one wall, and spill onto a couple of wooden chairs. More are piled in his waiting
room. Until late last year, however, he didn't even have his own office -- or a support staff. "I had to make
photocopies myself," he said.
Belgium, a major transit route for Britain-bound trucks from Germany, Central and Eastern Europe and
the Netherlands, is the departure point for nine out of 10 transports of illegal immigrants from the
Continent to Britain, a popular destination, according to Belgian and Dutch law-enforcement officials and
traffickers. The 58 illegal immigrants originally from China who were found dead in the back of a
refrigerated truck in June had passed through the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.
But Mr. Van der Sijpt, who is 38 years old, and his team of 30 detectives are responsible for cracking
down not only on human trafficking but also prostitution, fraud, infiltration and kidnappings in Brussels.
The team has held scores of Chinese, Albanians and Nigerians on suspicion of trafficking, for periods of
up to eight months. But trying to get to the bottom of the business of smuggling economic refugees is
tedious and time-consuming. More often than not, suspects are released and vanish before criminal
investigations against them can be completed.
Page 208 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
"I know exactly who those responsible for human trafficking are," Mr. Van der Sijpt said. "I just don't have
the people to nail down the cases against them." Indeed, he has no budget for hunting traffickers, and all
such expenses must be cleared with the Ministry of Justice. The prosecutor's office refuses to issue him a
mobile phone, so he uses two of his own.
Mr. Van der Sijpt's lack of resources contrasts starkly with the increased importance that governments of
developed-nations have said they are giving to the battle against such traffickers. Shaken by the Dover
tragedy, European nations are pledging to stem the tide with tighter immigration procedures and closer
cooperation. However, "There's a dramatic distance between the political talk and the reality of
immigrants and the police," Italian Internal Affairs Undersecretary Massimo Brutti said.
Yet the higher immigration barriers get, the bigger the market for the traffickers becomes. Several days
spent with Mr. Van der Sijpt and Belgian undercover agents -- as well as interviews with smugglers
themselves -- illustrate the odds they face.
Both traffickers and enforcement officials said thousands of people are smuggled into the European
Union each year, but they are reluctant to be more specific. United Nations Undersecretary General Pino
Arlacchi estimates that up to 200 million people world-wide may now be in one way or another under the
sway or in the hands of traffickers. Dutch police said recently that they believed up to 3,000 Chinese were
currently waiting in the Netherlands for transport to Britain.
"This is the fastest-growing criminal market in the world because of the number of people who are
involved, the scale of profits being generated for criminal organizations and because of its multifold
nature," Mr. Arlacchi said. It is also "the biggest violation of human rights in the world."
One dramatic measure of the problem's scope is the number of people who die while being smuggled.
No official statistics are recorded -- smugglers, of course, keep quiet to avoid manslaughter charges and
survivors and relatives to avoid being deported. But United, a network of 500 antiracism organizations
across Europe, said that since 1993 it has documented the deaths of some 2,000 illegal immigrants trying
to enter Europe. The June tragedy in Dover captured headlines, but it was little noted when 59 died in the
freezing Adriatic last December after a 12-meter dinghy, built to carry 30, sank off the coast of Italy.
Thirty-nine of the victims were Chinese.
Mr. Van der Sijpt has been urging his superiors and politicians for five years to give him the means to
combat trafficking. "This is big business, almost as big as drugs trafficking," he said. In fact, some
traffickers have switched from drugs to human beings. They can use the same routes but with far less
chance of being caught and lighter sentences if they are.
Page 209 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mr. Van der Sijpt faces a multitude of well-organized close-knit crime groups that are difficult to penetrate
because of language barriers, the clannish relations between their members and the fear instilled in them
by their leaders. Physical surveillance of suspects is spotty -- he hasn't the manpower. Telephone taps
are almost impossible; to keep law-enforcement officials off balance, most traffickers use mobile phones
that they often discard or paid cards that are hard to trace.
This conundrum is what allows Ali, a mustachioed Iraqi Kurd, to go about his business. A convicted
human trafficker who declines to reveal his true name, Ali has little fear that Mr. Van der Sijpt will win his
battle any time soon. "Human traffickers are hard to beat," he said, sitting in the Amsterdam office of his
lawyer.
A slight man with a highly developed sense of suspicion, Ali chooses his words carefully as he describes
the world Mr. Van der Sijpt is up against: hard-nosed Chinese, Turkish, Yugoslav and North African
criminals organized into cells that have no direct contact with one another; Iraqi Kurdish and Afghan
groups that seek to help their compatriots while making a little something for themselves; corrupt Turkish,
Greek, Russian and East European border officials; lax European Union border controls, both at land
crossings and at airports as far-flung as Athens and Amsterdam; greedy German and Dutch chauffeurs
who transport illegal immigrants within the EU's Schengen area -- a block of countries that did away with
mutual border checks in 1995 -- from Greece and Italy to the Netherlands; and unwitting drivers with little
sense of what cargo is being loaded onto their bound trucks at one of three Belgian highway parking lots
where they stop to catch a night's sleep.
According to Ali, for most illegal immigrants, the assault on Europe begins with a trip to one of several
way stations just outside Europe's borders -- a trip which, for many of the travelers, is entirely legal. Ali's
account is confirmed by members of the Rogatoir Committee, a group established by the Dutch
government to study the trade in human beings.
Kucuk Pazar, a waterside neighborhood in Istanbul's Golden Horn, is one of these way stations. The
rundown district, pock-marked with cheap boarding houses, is a stepping stone to the better life for
thousands of Kurds, Africans and Arabs, as well as people from the Indian subcontinent and some
Chinese. They travel to Turkey without a visa, and once there, crowd into cheap hotels waiting for a
chance to move on to Europe.
Travel papers flow into Istanbul to meet the demand, traffickers confirm. North African groups specialize
in stolen passports, and Iraqi Kurds and Yugoslavs in false ones that traffickers buy for $70 apiece. Some
documents are easier to alter than others: Israeli passports have watermarks that are easy to falsify;
Dutch and German passports are uncomplicated to pull apart and put together again; and refugee
documents from Britain, Belgium and Germany often don't indicate gender and have pictures that are
Page 210 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
attached with metal buttons rather than lamination.
Passports refitted with pictures of clients are shipped from the Netherlands and Hungary to Turkey or
procured from passport authorities in Turkey itself. Traffickers admit that the prices they charge are stiff: A
passport without a visa fetches $550; one with a European visa costs an extra $3,000, and one with a
U.S. or Canadian visa an extra $10,000. An unidentified Turkish police unit helps acquire hundreds of
European visas a week, often using ever-changing front companies that provide alibis for the applicants,
Turkish traffickers said. Bribes for senior police officials at Istanbul's Ataturk airport run $400.
"The Turkish-Greek border is a marketplace," said Ali. "We have the border guards' work rosters. We
know who is on duty when. I walk into the border station and say: I've got 10 passports, here's the
money." He said he pays the guard $60 per passport to get his stamp on them.
For most illegal immigrants, those costs are too great to bear. They travel the hard way, without papers.
Here too, the traffickers are eager to offer a solution. An undocumented trip from Turkey to Greece can
be arranged for about $700.
The poorest of the immigrants, mostly Africans from Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia, can have their bordercrossing costs covered if they agree to carry several kilograms of drugs. Once the immigrants arrive on
the Greek side, the drugs are collected and the immigrants are left to make their own way to Athens and
from there to Western Europe.
Iraqi Kurds are more fortunate. They can fall back on Iraqi Kurdish networks in Athens and in Italy that
help them find shelter until transport to Northern Europe has been arranged. "We often use German and
Dutch drivers who can cross borders without being stopped because they're European," Ali said.
Most migrants move on to the Netherlands, the next intermediary stop after Greece and Italy. There they
are dropped in public places such as railway stations, bicycle stalls and open fields, where they wait
several hours while traffickers observe them from a distance. Once these observers are confident there is
no risk, they're told over a mobile phone to leave; the immigrants are then picked up by another cell.
"These groups work with a well-defined cell structure," said Ali. "They don't know one another. Even the
coordinator doesn't know the people he is coordinating; all he has is their mobile telephone number."
Turkish groups are crucial to the movement of non-Chinese illegal immigrants across Europe -- mostly by
boat to Italy or by land into Greece. Turks get some of the Chinese business, too. One smuggler explains
with a grin why he prefers Chinese: "They're smaller and lighter. You can put 60 Chinese into a boat
compared to only 40 Kurds, East Europeans or Africans."
Page 211 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
Turkish and Albanian traffickers often drop their clients late at night at one of three highway rest stops on
the road from Brussels to the port of Oostende 100 kilometers away; scores of long-haul trucks from
across Europe spend the night here before making the final leg of their journey across the English
Channel.
On a recent night, a dark minivan pulled up after midnight alongside several trucks whose drivers appear
to be sound asleep. Three men, each with a duffel bag, jumped out of the van, which immediately sped
away -- its driver eager to vanish before the next highway-police patrol passes. The men briefly inspected
the trucks, loosened the tarp of one of them, and climbed into the back.
"England," whispered one of them. An hour later, the van reappeared, its driver making sure the clients
made their way into a truck and aren't waiting in the bushes behind the rest stop. Satisfied that they are
on their way, he headed back toward Brussels.
Most Chinese illegal immigrants entering Europe are moved by Chinese organized crime, law
enforcement officials and traffickers said.
These traffickers, reputed to be more ruthless than their Turkish and Albanian competitors, often
transport their clients in large groups by bus, truck or container across the former Soviet Union to Europe,
law-enforcement officials and traffickers said. The luckier ones are flown from Beijing to Belgrade, where
they continue by road. The clients then wait for months in safe houses in Moscow and the Czech
Republic, from where they cross into Germany or Austria by foot on their way to years of slave labor to
pay off their $30,000 smuggling debt.
Chinese smugglers prefer trucks loaded with vegetables, eggs or wood to transport their human cargo.
The illegal migrants are often provided with pepper, water and towels. When the truck approaches a
border control, the immigrants are alerted by a flickering light in the back of the truck, the signal for them
to spray the pepper to mislead search dogs and cover their noses with wet towels to avoid sneezing. At
other times, they are knocked out by sleeping pills.
Like the 58 Chinese discovered in Dover, many don't survive the trip. Some are accidentally poisoned;
others may be suffocated, frozen or baked to death by the vagaries of a route and trucks designed for
produce. In the Chinese community, people who disappear en route this way are called "the vanished."
Back in Mr. Van der Sijpt's office, two detectives came by to discuss a prominent Chinese family believed
to be behind the smuggling of thousands of their countrymen into Britain through Belgium. "We're getting
closer to formally opening a case against them on charges of money laundering and human trafficking,"
Page 212 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
he told the detectives. They replied that they have evidence that members of the family were recently in
Hong Kong to obtain passports for their clients, and that they have identified a safe house where seven
undocumented Chinese men in their 30s are waiting for transportation to Britain.
The detectives' next step: checking the names on the passports of the seven men. "We suspect that
there are a number of people across the globe using the same name," said one of the detectives.
Even after a year of watching the Chinese family, Mr. Van der Sijpt was treading carefully. "There's no
point in pressing charges until we have all the elements," he said.
Detaining the landlord of the safe house won't do any good, he explained; the case against him is too
tough to prove. Nor will detaining the seven men. "They'll give us a detailed description of their trip up to
the Belgian border and that's where it stops," said Mr. Van der Sijpt. They would spend six hours in
detention and then be released.
"The traffickers tell them not to worry if they're caught," he said, "because they'll have another chance to
make it to Britain once they are released."
Document awsj000020010803dw9500ap2
Page 213 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
Column One
Belgian Detective Fights Trafficking In Human Cargo --- He's Not Alone, but It Often Seems That Way --No Budget; No Cell Phone; Hundreds of Cases
By James M. Dorsey
Special to The Wall Street Journal Europe
2,625 words
4 September 2000
The Wall Street Journal Europe
WSJE
1
English
(Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
BRUSSELS -- To understand why Western Europe is ill-equipped to stop unscrupulous traffickers in
illegal immigrants, step into Eric van der Sijpt's office in the shadow of Belgium's domed Palais de Justice.
Stacks of brown case files -- "hundreds of them," he says -- crowd the detective's steel desk at the office
of the Brussels public prosecutor. They cover a Formica-topped table along one wall and spill over onto a
couple of wooden chairs. Even more pile up on the floor and in his waiting room, which is plastered with
U.S. Justice Department warnings that fraudulent possession of a U.S. passport constitutes a "one-way
ticket to prison."
Belgium, a major transit route for Britain-bound trucks from Germany, Central and Eastern Europe and
the Netherlands, is the departure point for nine out of 10 transports of illegal immigrants from the
Continent to Britain, according to Belgian and Dutch law enforcement officials as well as traffickers.
Indeed, the 58 Chinese illegal immigrants who were found dead in the back of a refrigerated truck in June
had passed through the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. Mr. Van der Sijpt, a 38-year old motorcycle racer, has
no shortage of dedication in his battle against human trafficking. What he lacks are the funds, manpower
and tools to wage an effective war.
Mr. Van der Sijpt and his team of 30 detectives are responsible for cracking down not only on human
trafficking but also prostitution, fraud, infiltration and kidnappings in Brussels. The team has held scores
of Chinese, Albanian and Nigerian human traffickers on suspicion of trafficking for periods of up to eight
months. But trying to get to the bottom of the murky business of smuggling often-destitute economic
Page 214 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
refugees into the European Union is tedious and time-consuming work. More often than not, suspects are
released and vanish before criminal investigations against them can be completed.
"I know exactly who those responsible for human trafficking are," Mr. Van der Sijpt says, a look of despair
crossing his face. "I just don't have the people to nail down the cases against them."
He has no budget for hunting traffickers; all expenses must be cleared with the Ministry of Justice. The
prosecutor's office refuses to issue him a mobile phone, so he uses two of his own. Until late last year, he
didn't even have his own office or administrative support. "I had to make photocopies myself," he says.
He glances around his office and sighs. "This is not normal."
Mr. Van der Sijpt's lack of resources contrasts starkly with the increased importance European
governments say they attribute to the battle against human traffickers. Shaken by the news of the Dover
tragedy and convinced that millions of would-be migrants are banging on their doors, European nations
are pledging to stem the tide with tighter immigration procedures and closer cooperation against
organized crime. Despite the pledge, European law-enforcement officials complain that co-operation and
co-ordination across national borders is often difficult and not forthcoming.
The Italian Foreign Ministry, in a bid to break the deadlock, last month convened officials from Albania,
Turkey and other nations around the Adriatic Sea to press for a multinational police campaign against
trafficking.
"There's a dramatic distance between the political talk and the reality of immigrants and the police,"
Italian Internal Affairs Undersecretary Massimo Brutti said. Police officials from Turkey and Montenegro
said the multinational effort should create a permanent network among police forces, as well as joint
patrols.
Yet the higher immigration barriers get, the bigger the market for the traffickers becomes. Several days
spent with Mr. Van der Sijpt and Belgian undercover agents -- as well as interviews with smugglers
themselves -- illustrate the odds they face.
Traffickers and law-enforcement officials say thousands of people are smuggled into the European Union
each year, but are reluctant to be more specific. United Nations Undersecretary General Pino Arlacchi
estimates that up to 200 million people world-wide may now be in one way or another under the sway or
in the hands of traffickers. Dutch police said recently that they believed that up to 3,000 Chinese were
currently waiting in the Netherlands for transport to Britain.
"This is the fastest-growing criminal market in the world because of the number of people who are
Page 215 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
involved, the scale of profits being generated for criminal organizations and because of its multifold
nature," Mr. Arlacchi says. It's also "the biggest violation of human rights in the world."
One dramatic measure of the problem's scope is the number of people who die while being smuggled.
No official statistics are recorded -- smugglers keep quiet to avoid manslaughter charges, and survivors
and relatives to avoid being deported -- but United, a network of 500 anti-racism organizations across
Europe, says it has documented the deaths since 1993 of some 2,000 illegals trying to enter Fortress
Europe. The June tragedy in Dover captured headlines, but it was little noted when 59 died in the freezing
Adriatic last December, after a 12-meter dinghy -- built to carry 30 -- sank off the coast of Italy. Thirty-nine
of the victims were Chinese.
Mr. Van der Sijpt has been urging his superiors and politicians for five years to give him the means to
combat human trafficking. "This is big business, almost as big as drugs trafficking," he says. In fact, some
traffickers have switched from drugs to human beings. They can use the same routes, but with far less
chance of being caught -- and far lighter sentences if they are.
Mr. Van der Sijpt faces a multitude of well-organized close-knit crime groups, with tentacles across
Europe, that are difficult to penetrate because of language barriers, the clannish relations between their
members and the fear instilled in them by their leaders. Physical surveillance of suspects is spotty -- he
hasn't the manpower. Telephone taps are almost impossible; to keep law enforcement officials off
balance, most traffickers use mobile phones that they often discard or paid cards that are hard to trace.
This conundrum is what allows Ali, a mustachioed Iraqi Kurd, to go about his business. A convicted
human trafficker who declines to reveal his true name, Ali has little fear that Mr. Van der Sijpt will win his
battle any time soon. "Human traffickers are hard to beat," he says, sitting in the Amsterdam office of his
lawyer.
A slight man with a highly developed sense of suspicion, Ali chooses his words carefully as he describes
the world Mr. Van der Sijpt is up against: hard-nosed Chinese, Turkish, Yugoslav and North African
criminals organized into cells that have no direct contact with one another; Iraqi Kurdish and Afghan
groups that seek to help their compatriots, while making a little something for themselves; corrupt Turkish,
Greek, Russian and East European border officials; lax European Union border controls, both at land
crossings and at airports as far-flung as Athens and Amsterdam; greedy German and Dutch chauffeurs
who transport illegals within the EU's Schengen area from Greece and Italy to the Netherlands; and
unwitting drivers with little sense of what cargo is being loaded onto their Britain-bound trucks at one of
three Belgian highway parking lots where they stop to catch a night's sleep.
For most illegals, the road into the European Union starts with a legal trip to one of several way stations
Page 216 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
just outside Europe's borders, says Ali, whose account is confirmed by members of the Rogatoir
Committee, a group established by the Dutch government to study the trade in human beings.
Kucuk Pazar, a waterside neighborhood in Istanbul's Golden Horn, is one of them. The rundown district,
pock-marked with cheap boarding houses, is a stepping stone to the better life for thousands of Kurds,
Africans and Arabs, as well as people from the Indian sub-continent and some Chinese. They travel to
Turkey without a visa, and once there, crowd into &2-a-night hotels waiting for a chance to move on to
Europe.
Travel papers flow into Istanbul to meet the demand, traffickers confirm. North African groups specialize
in stolen passports; Iraqi Kurds and Yugoslavs in false ones that traffickers buy for $70 (77 euros) apiece.
Some documents are easier to alter than others: Israeli passports have watermarks that are easy to
falsify; Dutch and German passports are easy to pull apart and put together again; and refugee
documents from Britain, Belgium and Germany often don't indicate gender, and have pictures that are
attached with metal buttons rather than laminated.
Passports refitted with pictures of clients are shipped from the Netherlands and Hungary to Turkey or
procured from passport authorities in Turkey itself. Traffickers admit that the prices they charge are stiff: A
passport without a visa fetches $550; one with a European visa costs an extra $3,000, and one with a
U.S. or Canadian visa an extra $10,000. An unidentified Turkish police unit helps acquire hundreds of
European visas a week, often using ever-changing front companies that provide alibis for the applicants.
Bribes for senior police officials at Istanbul's Ataturk airport run $400.
"The Turkish-Greek border is a marketplace," says Ali. "We have the border guard's work rosters. We
know who is on duty when. I walk into the border station and say: I've got 10 passports, here's the
money." He says he pays the guard $60 per passport to get his stamp on them.
For most illegals, those costs are too great to bear. They travel the hard way, without papers -- even
forged ones. Here too, the traffickers are eager to offer a solution. An undocumented trip from Turkey to
Greece can be arranged for about $700.
The poorest of the immigrants, mostly Africans from Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia, can have their bordercrossing costs covered -- if they agree to carry several kilograms of drugs. Once the immigrants arrive on
the Greek side of the border, the drugs are collected and the immigrants are left to make their own way to
Athens and from there to Western Europe.
Iraqi Kurds are more fortunate. They can fall back on Iraqi Kurdish networks in Athens and in Italy that
help them find shelter until transport to northern Europe has been arranged. "We often use German and
Page 217 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dutch drivers who can cross borders without being stopped because they're European," Ali says.
Most migrants move on to the Netherlands, the next intermediary stop after Greece and Italy. There they
are dropped in public places such as railway stations, bicycle stalls and open fields, where they wait
several hours while traffickers observe them from a distance. Once these observers are convinced that
there is no risk, they're told over a mobile phone to leave; the illegals are then picked up by another cell.
"These groups work with a well-defined cell structure," says Ali. "They don't know one another. Even the
coordinator doesn't know the people he is coordinating; all he has is their mobile telephone number."
Turkish groups are crucial to the movement of non-Chinese illegals across Europe -- mostly by boat to
Italy or by land into Greece. Turks get some of the Chinese business, too. One smuggler explains with a
grin that he prefers transporting Chinese: "They're smaller and lighter. You can put 60 Chinese into a boat
compared to only 40 Kurds, East Europeans or Africans."
Turkish and Albanian traffickers often drop their clients late at night at one of three highway rest stops on
the highway from Brussels to the port of Oostende 100 kilometers away; scores of long-haul trucks from
across Europe spend the night here before making the final leg of their journey across the English
Channel.
On a recent night, a dark minivan pulls up past midnight alongside several trucks whose drivers appear
to be sound asleep. Three men, each with a duffel bag, jump out of the van, which immediately speeds
away -- its driver eager to vanish before the next highway-police patrol. The men briefly inspect the
trucks, loosen the tarp of one of them, and climb into the back.
"England," whispers one of them. An hour later, the van reappears, its driver making sure the clients
have made their way into a truck and are not waiting in the bushes behind the rest stop. Satisfied that
they are on their way to the promised land, he heads back toward Brussels.
Most Chinese illegals entering Europe are moved by Chinese organized crime. These traffickers -reputed to be even more ruthless than their Turkish and Albanian competitors -- often transport their
clients in large groups by bus, truck or container across the former Soviet Union to Europe, law
enforcement officials and traffickers say. The luckier ones are flown from Beijing to Belgrade, from where
they continue by road. The clients then wait for months in safe houses in Moscow and the Czech
Republic, from where they cross into Germany or Austria by foot -- on their way to years of slave labor to
pay off their $30,000 smuggling debt.
Chinese smugglers prefer trucks loaded with vegetables, eggs or wood to transport their human cargo.
Page 218 of 705
© 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.
The illegal migrants are often provided with pepper, water and towels. When the truck approaches a
border control, the immigrants are alerted by a flickering light in the back of the truck, the signal for them
to spray the pepper to mislead search dogs and cover their noses with wet towels to avoid sneezing. At
other times, they are knocked out by sleeping pills. And like the 58 Chinese discovered in Dover, many
don't survive the trip. Accidentally poisoned, suffocated, frozen or baked to death by the vagaries of a
route and trucks designed for produce, they fall off the face of the earth.
In the Chinese community they are called "the vanished."
Back in Mr. Van der Sijpt's office, two detectives have come by to discuss a prominent Chinese family
believed to be behind the smuggling of thousands of their countrymen into Britain via Belgium.
"We're getting closer to formally opening a case against them on charges of money laundering and
human trafficking," he tells the detectives. They tell him they have evidence that members of the family
were recently in Hong Kong to obtain passports for their clients, and that they've identified a safe house
where seven undocumented Chinese men in their 30s are waiting for transportation to Britain. The
detectives' next step: checking the names on the passports of the seven men.
"We suspect that there are a number of people across the globe using the same name," says one of the
detectives.
Even after a year of surveillance of the Chinese family, Mr. Van der Sijpt is treading carefully. "There's no
point in pressing charges until we have all the elements," he says.
Detaining the landlord of the safe house won't do any good, he explains; the case against him is too
tough to prove. Nor will detaining the seven men: "They'll give us a detailed description of their trip up to
the Belgian border and that's where it stops," says Mr. Van der Sijpt. They'd spend six hours in detention
and then be released.
"The traffickers tell them not to worry if they're caught," he says, "because they'll have another chance to
make it to Britain once they are released."
Document wsje000020010814dw9400c4y
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Nigeria - Largest Market in Sub-Sahara Africa.
1,125 words
21 July 2000
Korea Times
KORTIM
English
(c) 2000 hk internet Co. for the Korea Times
With a population of over 100 million people, Nigeria is obviously the largest market in sub-Saharan
Africa with reasonably skilled and potential manpower for the efficient and effective management of
investment projects within the country. It is well connected by a wide network of motorable all-season
roads, railway tracks, inland waterways, maritime and air transportation.
Nigeria's economy could be aptly described as most promising. It is a mixed economy and
accommodates all comers, individuals, corporate organizations and government agencies, to invest in
almost all ranges of economic activities. Since 1955, the government has introduced some bold economic
measures which have had a salutary effect on the economy by halting the declining growth in the
productive sectors and putting a stop to galloping inflation; they have reduced the debt burden, stabilized
the exchange rate of the Naira (the local currency) and corrected the disequilibrium of the balance of
payments.
Nigeria's current industrial policy thrust is anchored on a guided deregulation of the economy and the
government's disengagement from activities which are private-sector oriented, leaving the government to
play the role of facilitator, concentrating on the provision of incentives, policy and infrastructure that are
necessary in enhancing the private sector's role as the engine of growth. The industrial policy is intended
to:.
- Generate productive employment and raise productivity;.
- Increase export of locally manufactured goods;.
- Create a wider geographical dispersal of industries;.
- Improve the technological skills and capability available in the country;.
- Increase the local content of industrial output by looking inward for the supply of basic and intermediate
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inputs;.
- Attract direct foreign investment;.
- Increase private sector participation.
The Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Acts which hitherto regulated the extent and limits of foreign
participation in diverse sectors of the economy were repealed in 1995. The principal laws regulating
foreign investments now are, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Decree and the Foreign
Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Decree, both enacted in 1995.
Given the need to stabilize the banking and finance sectors, and promote confidence in these vital
institutions, the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks decrees of 1994
were put in place. The Investments and Securities Decree was also promulgated to update and
consolidate capital market laws and regulations into a single code.
Under the Privatization and Commercialization law of 1988, the government successfully sold its
holdings in industrial enterprises and financial institutions, and such divestments were made by way of
"Offers for Sale" on the floors of the Exchange, so that ultimate shareholdings in such enterprises could
be widespread.
The Nigerian government has repealed all existing laws that inhibit competition in certain sectors of the
Nigerian economy. Consequently, with the promulgation of the Public Enterprises Promotion and
Commercialization Decree in 1998, private sector investors (including non-Nigerians) will now be free to
participate in and compete with government-owned public utility service corporations in the areas of
telecommunications, electricity generation, exploration of petroleum, export refineries, coal and bitumen
exploration, hotel and tourism.
As a policy objective, the liberalization and deregulation of the exchange control regime is designed to
facilitate and enhance trading activities. Items on the import prohibition list have been drastically reduced,
with the government opting to utilize tariff structures to protect end-user product pricing of local industries
and discourage frivolous imports.
Nigeria, in addition to its huge population is endowed with significant agricultural, mineral, marine and
forest resources. Its multiple vegetation zones, plentiful rain, surface water and underground water
resources and moderate climatic extremes, allow for production of diverse food and cash crops. Over 60
percent of the population is involved in the production of the following food crops: cassava, maize, rice,
yams, various beans and legumes, soya, sorghum, ginger, onions, tomatoes, melons and vegetables.
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The main cash crops are cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, oil palm, rubber, etc: extractions from these for
export and local industrial use include cocoa flour and butter, rubber crumb, vegetable oil, cotton fiber and
yarns, etc. The rain forests have been well exploited for timber and wood products of exotic and popular
species.
Oil and gas by value, are the most important minerals. They are exploited and produced in the Niger
Delta basin and offshore on the continental shelf and in the deep-sea of the territorial waters.
Nevertheless, there are significant non-oil mineral deposits on land many of which have been identified
and evaluated: coal, iron ore, gypsum, kaolin, phosphates, limestone, marble columbite, baryte and gold.
Nigeria is famous for her huge population of about 110 million people - the largest national population on
the African continent. This population is made up of about 374 pure ethnic stocks. Three of them, Hausa,
Ibo and Yoruba are the major groups and constitute over 40 percent of the population. In fact, about 10
ethnic/linguistic groups constitute more than 80 percent of the population; the other large groups are Tiv,
Ibibio, Ijaw, Kanuri, Nupe, Gwari, Igala, Jukun, Idoma, and Fulani, Edo, Urhobo. The gender divide of
Nigeria's population, as indicated by the last census in 1991, reflects an unusual imbalance in favor of
male dominance about 51 percent male: 49 percent female.
However, the more critical population indices concern:.
- High growth rate - 3.2 percent; this is effected by decreased infant mortality and high fertility.
- High school age population - over 47 percent are 15 years and below.
- High child dependency ratio - one dependent to one worker for the working age group 25-65.
- Large work force: working age group 15-59 is over 40 percent of the population.
Due to a massive expansion in the education sector in the last two decades the coloration and quality of
the Nigerian work force has changed to include a large corps of highly trained personnel in mechanical,
civil, electrical, electronics, chemical and petroleum engineering and bio-technics. There are at present
over 30 Federal and State Universities, some of them specializing in areas such as technology and
agriculture. In addition, there are at least 20 Federal and State Polytechnics. Over 70,000 graduate in
various disciplines from these institutions every year. Disciplines apart from pure sciences, engineering
and technologies, include social sciences, business studies (management, banking and finance) and
architecture, environment and urban management studies. Also, a sizeable Nigerian population has been
and is being trained outside the country, in some of the best colleges in the United States, Canada,
United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, China, etc.
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Every year about 2,000 of these Nigerians return home to seek employment or accommodation within
the economy.
For the less skilled and unskilled labor, the country depends on the primary and secondary school
systems whose annual enrollments are over 3.5 million and 1.5 million respectively.
Document kortim0020010813dw7l000xm
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Today's Domestic News Items from Xinhua (2).
442 words
29 June 2000
Xinhua News Agency
XNEWS
English
(c) Copyright 2000 Xinhua News Agency
BEIJING, June 29 (Xinhua) - Following is the second part of today 's domestic news items released by
Xinhua:
Today's Domestic News Items from Xinhua (1)
Shanghai CPC Official Meets Taiwanese Trade Delegation
Taiwan Authorities Urged to Follow One-China Principle
China to Start Gene Sequencing of Pigs
China's Leading Metropolis Has 235 Centenarians
Offshore Oil Giant to Build China's Largest Fertilizer Plant
NPC Vice-Chairman Meets Nigerian Guests
Rural Power Grid Renovation Project Effective
Weather Forecast for Major Chinese Cities
HK's Tourist Arrivals Continue to Rise in May
HKSFC Sets Up Investment Education Website
Double-digit Economic Growth Expected in HK This Year
China-Related Act in U.S. Senate Strongly Opposed
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Hong Kong Stocks Fall 0.92 Percent
HK Govt Publishes Report on Key Issues of SAR's 3rd Year
Former UNESCO Assistant Director-General Dies
Centuries-old Chinese Writing Tools Survive Country's
Development (1)
Centuries-old Chinese Writing Tools Survive Country's
Development (2)
China Gets Two WB Loans
Chinese Vice-Premier Meets U.S. University President
Taiwan Investors Seek Business Opportunities in Guangdong
Chinese Vice-Premier Meets Thai Guests
Hang Seng China Enterprises Index Down
Chinese Vice President Meets Thai Guests (1)
Guangzhou-HK Optical Network Operational
Gold Price in Hong Kong Up
Chinese Vice President Meets Thai Guests (2)
Website for Chinese Women Launched
State Councilor Meets Japanese Ambassador
Li Peng Meets Russian Duma Delegation
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Coastal City to Host 12th International Fashion Festival
China's Economy Steams Ahead Despite Problems (1)
China's Economy Steams Ahead Despite Problems (2)
Weather Forecast for Major World Cities
HK Remains EU's Important Trade Partner: Envoy (1)
HK Remains EU's Important Trade Partner: Envoy (2)
Precipitation Does Little to Alleviate North China Drought
Sun Microsystems Keen on China's E-Commerce
Xinhua Photo List for June 29
Ten More Bodies of Boat Tragedy in SW China Recovered
Top Legislator Stresses Soil and Water Conservation
Senior Party Official Urges Better Ideological and Political
Work (1)
Senior Party Official Urges Better Ideological and Political
Work (2)
Feature: Tibetan Buddhist Seclusion in Roaring Downtown (1)
Feature: Tibetan Buddhist Seclusion in Roaring Downtown (2)
China Sets up New Cellular Engineering Institute
Chinese Communist Party Structure Changes
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Today's Diplomatic News Highlights
Modern Technology Ensures Preservation of Dunhuang Grottoes (1)
Modern Technology Ensures Preservation of Dunhuang Grottos (2)
HK Wishes to Expand Trade With Spain: Tung
Shunning One-China Principle Is No Way Out (1)
Shunning One-China Principle Is No Way Out (2)
Shunning One-China Principle Is No Way Out (3)
Dramatized "Souls of Red Crag" Exhibition Welcomed in Beijing.
Document xnews00020010819dw6t00cqa
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News Highlights: Procter & Gamble's Jaeger To Step Down
656 words
8 June 2000
09:00 AM
Dow Jones News Service
DJ
English
(Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
Top Of The Hour
Procter & Gamble's Durk Jaeger To Step Down >PG
Procter & Gamble Sees Flat EPS For 4Q - CNBC >PG
US Jobless Claims +20K To 309K June 3 Wk; Consensus +2K >N/EMI
May 27 Week Continuing Claims +12K to 2,000,000 >N/EMI
US Petroleum Import Prices +6.5% In May >N/EMI
US Import Prices +0.6% In May; Non-Fuel Prices -0.2% >N/EMI
U S West Buys Stake In Ultra Wideband Co. Time Domain >USW
Inktomi To Buy Ultraseek Unit Of Disney's Go.com >INKT
N.Y. Stocks Seen Opening Higher, Continuing Wed Strength >N/STK
Top Of The Day
ECB Raises Main Refi Rate To 4.25% Vs 3.75% >N/ECB
Proctor & Gamble To Host 9 A.M. Conference Call >PG
Earthlink To Acquire OneMain.com In $308M Deal >ELNK
Terra Shareholders Approve Merger With Lycos >TRRA
Molecular Devices, LJL BioSystems Agree To Merge >MDCC
Fairchild Semiconductor Restructures Debt, Cuts Interest >FCS
Central Newspapers Mulls Possible Sale Of Co. >ECP
US Microsoft Ruling No Immediate Effect On EU Inquiry >MSFT
German Govt To Decide On Airbus A400M Fri - VWD >F.ABI
Ballmer: Breaking Up Microsoft Would Mean Higher Prices >MSFT
KLM Wants 30% Stake in British Airways Merger - FT >KLM
HK's Johnson Electric FY Net HK$1.06B Vs HK$818.8M >R/HK
FTSE 100 Up 10.00 At 6513.80; Xetra DAX Up 13.33 At 7305.26 >N/STK
Special Reports
=Microsoft Up In Pre-Mkt After Antitrust Ruling >MSFT
=Judge Jackson Blames Microsoft Chiefs In Breakup Ruling >MSFT
=States Won't Seek Civil Penalties In Microsoft Case >MSFT
=Microsoft Ruling Seen Reshifting Power In Software Mkt >MSFT
=Govt Bid For High Ct Review Seen Sidestep Of Appeals Ct >MSFT
=Former Netscape CEO: Microsoft Breakup Ruling Necessary >MSFT
=Microsoft's Gates: Don't Expect Co. To Slow Down >MSFT
=Justice To File For Supreme Ct Review Of Microsoft Case >MSFT
=Procter & Gamble Shrs Slip In Pre-Mkt Ahead Of Conf Call >PG
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=Sigma-Aldrich Down 8% Wed As Analyst Cuts Net Views >SIAL
=Ford $4.5B Bonds Shop With Swaps But Price With Tsys >F
=Fed Watch: Slowdown To Trend May Not Satisfy Officials >G/FED
=Tsy's Eizenstat:'Serious Concerns' Over Online VAT Idea >N/NET
=Intl Stk Exchanges May Boost Latin American Liquidity >N/NET
=Sun Micro Oper Chief Seeks Open-Ended Architecture Devt >SUNM
=Federal-Mogul CFO Lynch Has Much Work Ahead - Analysts >FMO
=Charting Markets: US Equities To Pick Up Strength >R/US
=MARK TO MARKET: They've Only Just Begun >DJDAY
=Why A Breakup May Be Good News For Microsoft >MSFT
=GE's Welch: 'All The Right People' In Place To Run Co >GE
=F/XTRA: Euro Will Be Dogged By Profit-Taking >N/FXC
=Italy's Logos Postpones IPO In Price Dispute With Banks >N/INI
=Asian Stk Mkts Seen Rising As Rates Peak In 2H -Dresdner >N/STK
=First Auction Of Floating JGBs A Success, Buyers Limited >R/JA
=Telstra Talks Growth; Negotiating Cyberworks Deal >TLS
=FX Asia: Korea Restructuring To Underpin More Won Gains >N/FRX
=Indonesia Telecoms Merger Plan May Deter Invest-Analysts >R/IO
In Other Buisness ....
US Jets Bomb Iraq Military Installation In No-fly Zone >R/IZ
Sina.com, Charles Schwab To Offer Fincl Svcs In Chinese >R/CH
Nigeria's Department Of Petroleum Resources On Strike >R/NI
Astronics: Air Force Exercises $9M Pact Option >ATRO
IBM, Heller Fincl Introduce Web-Based Leasing Program >HF
Reuters To Launch Instinet.Com In 4Q '00 >RTRSY
Sanmina Corp. Names Rick Ackel Fincl Chief >SANM
Too Inc. Begins E-Commerce At Limitedtoo.com >TOO
(Category codes may vary, depending on your vendor. Numbers in
brackets refer to page numbers of stories for Bridge/Telerate
subscribers using the pages application.)
09:00 AM
Document dj00000020010805dw6802ayl
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Domestic News Items From Xinhua (1).
565 words
23 May 2000
Xinhua News Agency
XNEWS
English
(c) Copyright 2000 Xinhua News Agency
BEIJING, May 23 (Xinhua) - Following are today's domestic news items from Xinhua:
Market Exchange Rates
Fake NIKE, REEBOK Sports Shoes Destroyed
One In Three Xiamen Citizens Has A Mobile Phone
Forest Police Prepare For Possible Fire in Inner Mongolia
Worst-Ever Drought Hits East China Province
Guangxi to Invest 15 Billion Yuan On 96 Projects
Ningxia to Build State Forest Park
Northeast China's Border City Exports More to Russia
China Launches Emergency Sand-Harnessing Project
Tianjin Invites Foreign Capital to Improve Traffic
Farmlands In Suburban Shanghai Lures Investment
East China City Becomes High-Tech Export Giant
Highlights of Major Beijing-Based Newspapers
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Facts and Figures: China's Main Imports from Belgium
Facts and Figures: China's Main Imports from U.K.
Facts and Figures: China's Main Imports from Malaysia
Facts and Figures: China's Main Imports from Japan
Facts and Figures: China's Main Imports from Indonesia
Facts and Figures: China's Main Imports from Singapore
Facts and Figures: China's Main Imports from Thailand
Facts and Figures: China's Main Imports from ROK
Drought Threatens Summer Harvest
Inspection on Rural Enterprise Law Ends
Local Lawmakers Trained for Legislation Law (1)
Local Lawmakers Trained for Legislation Law (2)
28 Enterprises Clean Up Pollution
XEROX Adjusts Development Strategy in China
100,000 Internet Users In East China Province
Anti-Cancer Element Produced in China
Toshiba Against Chinese Consumer Rights Law (1)
Toshiba Against Chinese Consumer Rights Law (2)
Housing Prices Up in China
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China Develops New Field Stretcher
Chinese FM Meets Pakistani Guest
507 Kg Smuggled Ivory Seized in Shenzhen
China Merges Intermediate Businesses (1
China Merges Intermediate Businesses (2
Scientists to Monitor Mount Everest's Environment
Pollutants Found on Mount Everest: Survey
Shenzhen Outlines Future Development Blueprint
Legend Reports 75 Percent Profit Growth
Project Launched to Improve Ecology Along Yellow River
On-Line Banking Enjoys Great Prospects in China (1)
On-Line Banking Enjoys Great Prospects in China (2)
Macao Hosts Eureka Meets Asia 2000
Shanghai Stock Index Up
Shenzhen Stock Index Down
Xinhua Stock Index Up
Chinese Farmer Makes Fortune by Planting Trees
Senior Army Official Meets Indian Guest
Coastal City to Host Forum of Overseas Chinese Worldwide
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China Clamps Down on Rampant Cable Crimes
Book on Jiang Zemin's Thoughts To Be Published
Senior CPC Official Meets Australian Guests
State Councilor Wu Yi to Attend Special Session of UN General
Assembly
China Concerned about Israeli-Palestinian Conflicts
FM Spokeswoman on Japanese Loans to China
Export & Import Fair Opens in Northeast Port City
China Reiterates Support for Cambodia's Stance on Khmer Rouge
Trial
Banking Training Program Launched in Guangzhou
FM Spokeswoman Slams Ishihara's Remarks on Taiwan
Over 200 TV Journalists Focus on Chengdu
East China Province to Establish Venture Capital Fund
Hotel Management Giants Increase Presence in Shanghai
Liaoning Attracts World's Leading Tyre Makers
China Combats Fake Plugs, Sockets, Switches
NPT Review Conference: Success in General, FM Spokeswoman
State Council Holds Executive Meeting
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Government Officials Punished Over Three Gorges Scandal
Emerging Bamboo Industry in China
First Book on Uruguay Round Agreement Published in China
CDB Advances On-Line Banking
CMC Vice-Chairman Leaves for Trip to Three European Nations
Chinese Vice-President Meets Angolan Delegation
Chinese Defense Minister Meets Pakistani Guests
Chinese Vice-Premier Meets Sudanese & Jordanian Guests
Chinese Vice Premier Meets Nigerian Guests.
(c) Copyright 2000 Xinhua News Agency.
Document xnews00020010819dw5n002hh
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Domestic News Items From Xinhua (1).
341 words
28 April 2000
Xinhua News Agency
XNEWS
English
(c) Copyright 2000 Xinhua News Agency
BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) - Following are today's domestic news items from Xinhua:
Market Exchange Rates
Chinese Aeronautic Employees Enjoy Life Insurance
Highlights of Major Beijing-based Newspapers
Archeologists Find Crocodile is Prototype of Dragon (1)
Archeologists Find Crocodile is Prototype of Dragon (2)
China's On-line Stores Booming
Yungang Grottoes Applies for World Heritage List
Ancient House and Tombs Unearthed in North China
China to Hold Computer, Internet Contest for College Students
NPC Vice-Chairman Leaves for Inter-Parliamentary Union
Conference
Caves Inhabited By Human 15,000 Years Ago Discovered in Yunnan
Hi-tech Fire Prevention System in Use in North China
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China: Top of the Week (1)
China: Top of the Week (2)
Dusty Weather Forecast for Northern China
China: Top of the Week (3)
CAS Holds Activities to Promote Science
Economists Predict Higher GDP Growth Rate This Year
Model Workers Tour Great Wall
VCDs on China's NPC Released
Relief Aid Sent to Landslide Area in Tibet
Labor Day Vacation Sets Off Tourism Boom in Hainan
Chinese Cultural News: Weekly Highlights (1)
Chinese Premier Meets ROK Foreign and Trade Minister
Chinese Cultural News: Weekly Highlights (2)
MOFTEC Holds Trade Training Courses in Northwest
China's Foreign Trade Expected to Grow 10 Percent This Year (1)
China's Foreign Trade Expected to Grow 10 Percent This Year (2)
Chinese Trade Minister Meets ROK Trade, Foreign Minister
Chinese Premier Meets Mongolian Foreign Minister
Shanghai Stock Index Up
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People Daily Calls for Learning from Model Workers (1)
Shenzhen Stock Index Mixed
People Daily Calls for Learning from Model Workers (2)
Xinhua Stock Index Up
China Imports 500,000 Tons of Fertilizer from U.S.
Eximbank Provides Credit for Bangladesh Telecom Project
Beijing to Hold China International Friendship Cities
Conference
Five Chinese Cities Report Hazardous Air
China Maintains Sustainable Energy Development (1)
China Maintains Sustainable Energy Development (2)
Hotline Helps Deal with Complaint Against Police
URGENT: Chinese President Back After Five-Nation Visit
Chinese Vice-Premier Meets Nigerian Minister.
(c) Copyright 2000 Xinhua News Agency.
Document xnews00020010818dw4s01qih
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HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL
OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS HOLDS HEARING ON CHILDREN'S RIGHTS IN CUBA
34,385 words
20 April 2000
Political Transcripts by Federal Document Clearing House
CHTS
English
(Copyright 2000 by Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.)
SPEAKERS: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH (R-NJ), CHAIRMAN U.S.
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM F. GOODLING (R-PA) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE HENRY J. HYDE (R-IL)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS GERARD TANCREDO (R-CO) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE DAN
BURTON (R-IN) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE CASS BALLENGER (R-NC) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE PETER
T. KING (R-NY) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON (R-AZ) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA A.
MCKINNEY (D-GA), RANKING U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA (DEL-AS) U.S.
REPRESENTATIVE EARL HILLARD (D-AL) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA) U.S.
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM DELAHUNT (D-MA) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE GREGORY W. MEEKS (DNY)
MARIA DOMINGUEZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER
REVEREND LUCIUS WALKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR INTERRELIGIOUS FOUNDATION FOR
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION RECIPIENT OF THE ORDER OF FRIENDSHIP CONFERRED BY THE
GOVERNMENT OF CUBA
ILEANA FUENTES, FEMINIST AUTHOR SURVIVOR OF OPERATION PEDRO PAN
JORGE GARCIA, GRANDFATHER OF CHILD KILLED IN THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT'S SINKING OF
THE REFUGEE SHIP "13 DE MARZO" AND FORMER SCHOOLTEACHER IN CUBA
JOSE COHEN, FATHER OF THREE CHILDREN STILL BEING HELD IN CUBA
NERI TORRES, DANCE AND CHOREOGRAPHER, FOUNDER AND ARTISTIC
DIRECTOR OF IFE-ILE
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DANIEL SHANFIELD LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
SMITH: The subcommittee will come to order.
Good afternoon.
The tragic plight of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez has focused the attention of the American public on two
dramatically different views of what life might be like for children in Cuba and in particular of what would
happen to a child who is returned to Cuba after managing to escape to the United States.
The picture presented by the Clinton administration and by many in the news media, especially here in
the United States, might have been drawn by Norman Rockwell. The child is welcomed by a loving
family, by his classmates and teachers, and life soon returns to normal. The only cloud on the horizon is
that the family is poor, which in this version of events is caused by the U.S. trade embargo rather than by
the policies of the Castro regime. But, on the whole, everyone is happy except a few people in Miami
who, in this view, are the ones who caused the whole problem in the first place.
In the other picture, it is the child himself who is unhappy, and he is likely to be very unhappy for the rest
of his life. Upon his return to Cuba, the child is greeted by mass demonstrations ordered by the
government. There are banners announcing that the Cuban people have reclaimed their son who was
kidnapped by the enemies of the revolution. A government official announces that the child is a
possession of the Cuban state. Arrangements are made for a public appearance with Castro himself
provided that measures can be taken to guarantee that the child will not spoil the occasion by showing
fear or some other inappropriate emotion in the presence of the dictator.
But in this version of events, the homecoming is only the beginning. For the rest of his life the child will
be in the effective custody not of his father but of the Cuban government. His education will consist
mostly of political indoctrination, and when he is 11 he will be taken to a work camp for weeks or months
of forced labor and even more intense indoctrination.
The child and his family are watched every day and hour of their lives by government agents. If these
agents see anything suspicious, any signs of independent thought or action as the child grows older,
there will be a stern warning from the security forces and from the local government enforcers.
If he should ever dare to speak his mind, he can be arrested and imprisoned for a crime called
dangerousness, and he will never, never be allowed to leave.
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Today's hearing is an attempt to learn which of these two views is more consistent with the facts. We will
hear from experts on Cuban law who will describe the respective roles assigned to the family and to the
government in raising children. We will also hear the testimony of witnesses who have first-hand
experience with the Cuban education system, the law enforcement system, the committees for the
defense of the revolution, and other agencies of the government and of the Communist Party with which
the child will come in contact.
I hope these witnesses will address not only the way the Cuban government treats ordinary children but
also any special treatment it might be expected to give a child who had to come to it with special
attention.
Finally, we will hear testimony on the extent to which the United States' legal system should take account
of these facts about Cuba or for that matter about any other country in deciding whether to return a child,
whether in the context of an asylum application or any other immigration proceeding.
I want to make clear at the outset that I find the Elian Gonzalez case deeply troubling. On the one hand,
in determining what is in the best interest of the child, I firmly believe there should be a strong
presumption that the child's best interests is to be with his natural parents or parent. But there are
exceptions to this rule, however rare, and what troubles me the most about this case is that there has
never been a judicial or administrative hearing to take evidence and find facts in an attempt to consider
carefully and objectively whether this case falls within one of those rare exceptions.
Instead the attorney general seems to have substituted her own intuitive judgment based solely on an
interview by an INS official in Cuba with the father. This informal fact-finding process seems to have
dramatically underestimated the extent to which the boy's father's actions may have been dictated by fear
of the Cuban government, as well as to the extent to which the child's own life will be controlled by the
government rather than by his father if he returns.
SMITH: Sending a child or anyone else for that matter back to Cuba is not the same as sending him to
Mexico or France. For example, here in the United States, here's what the United States State
Department's 1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices have to say about arbitrary interference
with privacy of the family, home, and correspondence. This is the U.S. State Department speaking.
"Although the constitution provides for the enviability of a citizen's home and correspondence, official
surveillance of private and family affairs by government-controlled mass organizations, such as the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, remains one of the most pervasive and repressive
features of Cuban life. The state has assumed the right to interfere in the lives of citizens, even those
who do not actively oppose the government and its practices. The mass organizations' ostensible
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purpose is to improve the citizenry, but in fact their goal is to discover and to discourage non-conformity."
Elsewhere in the State Department's report it says: "Education is grounded in Marxist ideology. State
organizations and schools are charged with the integral formation of children and youth."
The report goes on to say, and again this is the U.S. Department of State speaking: "The authorities
utilize a wide range of social controls. The interior ministry employs an intricate system of informants and
bloc committees, CDRs, to monitor and control public opinion. While less capable than in the past, CDRs
continue to report on suspicious activity including conspicuous consumption, unauthorized meetings,
including those with foreigners, and defiant attitudes towards the government and the revolution."
State control over the lives of children in Cuba is perhaps even more pervasive than over the lives of
other citizens. For example, Article 5 of the Children in Youth Code of the Republic of Cuba requires all
persons who come in contact with children and youth, quote, "To be an example to the formation of the
communist personality," closed quote.
Article 11 requires that teachers show, and I quote, "A high mission -- the highest mission to the
development of a communist personality in children," close quote.
Article 23 limits eligibility for higher education to children who demonstrate, quote, "proper political
attitude and social conduct."
And there are many more.
Maybe I'm wrong about what all this means for the future of Elian Gonzalez. Maybe an impartial hearing
would determine that Elian's father is acting out of his own free will and that the Cuban government will
leave him in peace to raise his son. But we will never know until we have such a hearing.
The proceedings that are currently going on in federal court do not address the merits of these questions.
Instead they are limited to a narrow procedural question, and that is whether it was in the attorney
general's discretion to deny a hearing by letting Elian's father withdraw his asylum claim.
The government is arguing that the attorney general's discretion is so broad that she can either grant or
deny a hearing, either keep Elian here or send him back, whichever she chooses. This may be correct.
The lower court agreed that her discretion under the immigration laws is so broad that she can send Elian
back to Cuba without due process. But even if it's correct, it is absolutely not right.
I look forward to hearing our very distinguished witnesses, and at this point I'd like to yield to my
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colleague, Cynthia McKinney, the ranking democrat.
MCKINNEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We're here today because as members of the House International Relations Committee, International
Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee, we realize the profound importance the Elian Gonzalez
case has had on all of us. You could say the whole world is watching us right now.
Issues regarding the rule of law, immigration, and foreign policy have risen to the forefront, fueling
heated debate from all sides of the political spectrum. Today our discussion focuses on the rights of the
child in Cuba.
There is no doubt that in the course of this hearing we will hear horror stories about the problems within
Cuban society, but as in any society, a list of problems doesn't paint the entire picture. Right now, any
unarmed black man in America ought to be afraid to go to New York City. I know I'm afraid to let my son
go there, because he might come back to me in a body bag. But does that paint the entire picture of
black life in America?
We can't deny that there are human rights violations within Cuba, and we cannot deny that people lack
certain freedoms in Cuba that we enjoy in our own country. The question is: What is life really like in
Cuba, and how do we measure the quality of life in a nation?
First, let me just state for the record, I believe in America. I believe in the America that puts the health
and welfare of children first, the America that believes in the sanctity of family, the America that believes
in the bond between a father and his child. But like many other Americans I'm forced to confront the stark
contrasts between our rhetoric and our policies.
Here in Washington, D.C., and in other cities across America, Latino children struggle to survive. They
struggle against prejudice and discrimination. They struggle to stay out of prison. They struggle to enjoy
what white American children take for granted --neighborhood schools full of equipment, happy teachers
and high expectations, thriving neighborhoods with sidewalks and street lights, open spaces and parks,
neighborhood sports programs paid for by their volunteer parents, college.
Instead, most Latino children in this country have a much different experience, where their ability to
speak the Spanish language outside of their home is assaulted by policy-makers, and their ability to learn
English is defunded by those same politicians. And if they happen to live in the vicinity of Vieques, then
they could even get bombed dead by live fire from the U.S. military.
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American children have easy access to video games whose objectives are to score as many kills as
possible. And unfortunately, our children bring those video games to life and too often die at the hands of
other children who take deadly aim at their schoolmates and neighbors with handguns and other
weapons.
In our own country, children simply have too much access to guns. They bring them into the schools, and
unfortunately, we know the rest.
Yesterday, President Clinton highlighted again the need for America to tighten its gun laws and to close
the gun show loophole. We can't get that through Congress. In the meantime, however, every day our
children walk into school concerned about their personal security. This simply doesn't happen in Cuba.
Children don't have access to guns.
Cuba is no paradise, but neither is Cuba a place where the health and welfare of children is ignored.
Just as we use health, education, and family life statistics to assess life in America, we, too, can use them
to help us tell about life in Cuba.
Cuba is one of the privileged nations in the world that has virtually 100 percent literacy. By every
standard and in every reference work, literacy in Cuba is as high as it is in the United States.
In Cuba, university is fully funded by the government, and students don't face obstacles based on race or
socioeconomic status, unlike in the United States where affirmative actions programs that embrace
opportunity for America's minorities are being wiped out by political decision-makers. Unfortunately, in
the United States today Latino children are still far less likely to go to college than their white
counterparts.
A recent report by UNESCO concluded that the public educational system in Cuba is the best in Latin
America. In the case of Elian, straight from Cuba's educational system, he was so advanced for a 6-yearold that his Miami school promoted him to the first grade. Despite the debilitating effects of the U.S.
embargo, Cuba has tightened its belt in other areas to ensure that Cuban children receive a quality
education.
In our own country, we have over 40 million Americans uninsured and millions more who are
underinsured. We have a health care system in this country that provides excellent care for the rich, but
too many Americans have health care options that are limited.
In Cuba, however, there's free and universal health care for all citizens. There is no need for an
insurance card or lengthy phone calls over whether your HMO will pay for a certain procedure. Instead,
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Cuba has to deal with the thorny issue of health care tourists who go to Cuba to get medical attention that
they can't get in their own countries.
The Cuban government takes full responsibility for the health of its people. The population receives free
preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services, which range from primary care, routine medical attention,
and dentistry to hospital care requiring the use of highly sophisticated medical technologies. In addition,
all necessary diagnostic testing and drugs are provided free of charge to pregnant women. Perhaps this
is why Cuba has a lower infant mortality than we have right here in Washington, D.C.
Because of the family doctor program, every Cuban neighborhood has a physician and a clinic. There
are almost three doctors for every 500 Cuban citizens. In the United States, our rate is just over one
doctor for every 500 U.S. citizens, and we know the areas that are likely to go underserved. The
preponderance of those doctors are in the swanky suburbs not in our central cities or in our rural areas.
Now, because the Cuban government prioritizes education and health care for its citizens, it has
produced for them solid, recognizable results. However, the Cuban health care system does experience
a lack of medicine, medicine that is desperately needed to ensure the health of Cuban children, medicine
that United States policy restricts from reaching the Cuba shores.
Pay attention to the policy. We are currently sending medicine to Vietnam, China, North Korea, and Iraq.
Vietnam is a communist country with a government that we went to war against. China is a communist
country with a deplorable human rights record, and now with stolen military secrets that threaten our
national security. North Korea is a communist country that will get two nuclear reactors from us. And
Iraq, our former ally, is now an enemy that we are in a state of war against. They all receive medicine
from the United States.
If we're truly concerned about the status of children in Cuba, the first thing we should do is allow
medicine into the country. We should today devote ourselves to making the lives of all Cuban children
better. Representatives Jose Serrano and Charlie Rangel have introduced bill that will allow food,
medicine and supplies from the United States to enter Cuba. We should support them.
The second thing we should do is lift the embargo. The economic embargo of Cuba has not produced
the desired result. Now it might serve as a salve on the consciences of those who have problems with
the current government, but it certainly hasn't produced the results that they or we want.
In addition, the embargo has been condemned by Pope John Paul II as oppressive economic measures
that are unjust and ethically unacceptable. Congressman Ron Paul, Republican, has introduced a bill to
lift the embargo, and we should support it.
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Mr. Chairman, to merely denounce the human rights record of Cuba in order to justify the hardline
approach of U.S. policy is insufficient. If we are serious about making a positive impact on human rights in
Cuba, we need to reexamine our policies.
And by the way, if the law is changed to allow Elian to stay in the United States, then all the children from
Chiapas, Mexico, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Beijing, China, and Iraq need to be included in that law. And
certainly, you wouldn't leave out the Rwandan orphans who lost their parents in the genocide that
Madeleine Albright and President Clinton wouldn't stop. And let's make sure that we go and find that 16year old Chinese girl who was shackled and praying as she was sent back to China. Let's go get the 409
Haitians and Dominicans who entered the United States on New Year's Day and were promptly sent
back. Let's go out and get the children of the indigenous people who are negatively impacted by our
insatiable thirst for oil, uranium, and diamonds. But let's go further back and find all the children who tried
to enter our country during the days of the Latin America's U.S.-supported despots.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I am concerned about the rule of law. Do some people in this country think they're
above the law? Doris Meissner, commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, stated in a
press statement on January 5 that this decision has been based on the facts and the law. Attorney
General Janet Reno has shown tremendous restraint, grace, and courage in the face of mob
intransigence. Today is April 13, and still the child is not with his father.
Let me conclude this way: As a mother, I grieve for Elian's mother who gave her own life to try and bring
Elian to America, and had she lived this would be a different story. But she did not. And now we're left
with a child, a little boy, separated from his father by a series of tragic events.
MCKINNEY: We must not lose sight of the facts, however. Elian's father also had custody of Elian in
Cuba. Elian's mother took Elian away from his father and illegally left Cuba's shores for America. Elian
belongs with his loving father who wants him.
Think what will happen if we don't return the boy to his father. How many American children have been
snatched by one parent and are now in foreign countries? Don't we fight to get our own children back?
Don't all parents have rights recognized by international law? And the last time I checked fathers are
parents too. False principle destroys all credibility and wisdom, and at the end of the day the arguments
that favor keeping Elian here in America, away from his father, are all built on an incredibly transparent
false principle that destroys all credibility and wisdom in their position.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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SMITH: Thank you very much, Ms. McKinney.
Just let me -- a matter of the order that we will proceed. Committee rules stipulate that members who
were here at the gavel in order of seniority will make their opening statements followed by other members
who were here at the gavel and then committee members who came in later at the time of their arrival.
So I'd like to recognize at this point the gentleman, Eni Faleomavaega.
FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to certainly commend you for your leadership
and being a champion of human rights as a member of this committee, and over the years the privilege
that I've had in working with you and your fortitude and courage in trying to bring out to light some of
these issues that are very important, not only to our American community but throughout the world.
I would like to, first, also express my association with some of the comments that were made earlier by
the gentlelady from Georgia. Very keen observation of some of the contradictions and the problems that
we point the finger at other countries of the world or their problems. Sometimes we tend to forget that we
have our own problems and tend to kind of push them aside and not making it as a matter of reality and
to confront these problems courageously and to find solutions to them.
Mr. Chairman, the issue that is before us, I don't need to say how much the media has played this, not
only in the sense of our national norm where every American parent, every American all over the country
has seen through and between and below and above everything that we have seen about this child
named Elian Gonzalez.
Elian Gonzalez to me is not a Cuban; he's a child. And I'm sure that every parent here in America would
have a sense of compassion and understanding of what this child is going through.
And sincerely, Mr. Chairman, I hope we don't politicize this hearing to the extent of making it as an
emotional issue, but to the extent that hopefully that if the witnesses that are before us are going to shed
more light and understanding and appreciation of what is happening not only with Fidel Castro's
administration and his own ruling there in Cuba but also for us to understand more forcefully what we
have to do.
And I can say at this point in time that I don't envy what our attorney general has had to go through in
trying to make those decisions -- not necessarily popular, not necessarily right if there is a rightness in this
issue.
We can all claim laurels and beliefs in everything that we believe what this nation is all about, but the
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bottom line here is that we talk about human rights of everybody else, but we never had a sense of
appreciation if there are human rights also for children.
And I sincerely hope, Mr. Chairman, that when we hear from our witnesses and the dialogue and the
questions -- I do have several questions of my own that I want to proceed with this hearing -- but I hope
that our hearing will be one of construction and not of divisiveness, and hopefully that it will provide a
better bearing, not only for Elian's sake but certainly as a nation we need to reflect deeply about the
serious social and political implications of what this case has brought to the nation by the media.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SMITH: Thank you very much, Mr. Faleomavaega.
Just let me say before yielding to Mr. Diaz-Balart that it's just worth noting at this juncture that if we were
to conduct such an exercise as this in Cuba, unless we agreed with the government, we would be thrown
or at least arrested or interrogated. The country reports on human rights practices makes it very clear
that the estimation is that there are between 350 to 400 political prisoners in Cuban jails.
I yield to Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
DIAZ-BALART: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the committee for its courtesy in permitting me as
a member of the Rules Committee to be here today and express my thoughts.
I think that in the just four and one-half months since the Elian Gonzalez matter has brought to
international attention the issue of Cuba, it's important to point out the abuses against children in Cuba
that highlight the lack of parental and children's rights under the totalitarian state there. I have some
examples that I'd like to mention, just a few, that have come to my attention due to the courageous, very
courageous, work of independent journalists on the island who have managed to send out to the
international community their reports despite a law that Castro's public parliament passed just a few
months ago threatening up to 30 years imprisonment for, quote, "crimes," unquote, such as reporting on
human rights abuses.
On January 14 of this year, the independent journalist Victor Rolando Arroyo was sentenced to six
months in prison for purchasing toys to give to needy children in Cuba to commemorate Three Kings Day,
which is, in the Hispanic world, the day in which Christmas is commemorated for children. During his trial,
Mr. Arroyo stated, and I quote: "I think public opinion, international public opinion, needs to meditate on
what has occurred and evaluate that in Cuba you're not allowed to give toys to needy children. The
government mobilizes thousands to claim a child, while thousands of children are denied a simple toy
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which might bring them a smile," end quote.
January 22 of this year, in the town of Pedro Betancourt, Matanzas, the family of Miguel Sigler Amaya,
an activist of the Movimiento Opcion Alternativa, was brutally beaten by the branch of Castro's state
security forces known as the Brigades of Fast Response. The four children of Mr. Sigler Amaya, who
range in ages between 3 and 14, after the brutal beatings were arrested along with their mother, who was
also arrested in a semi-conscious state due to the attack by Castro's agents.
January 24 of this year, in Las Tunas, a 9-year old girl, Alba Riveron Fuentes, was expelled from school
for not participating in the activities of the Union of Young Communist Pioneers.
The 14-year old daughter of the dissident, Leida Miranda, on January 25, in Cienfuegos, was reported
missing to police. The police informed Ms. Miranda, the dissident, that, quote, "They didn't have gasoline
in their vehicles in order to search for your daughter." Ms. Miranda further denounced the Cuba press
that the police had expressly refused to post missing posters of her daughter.
March 13, in Caibarien, Villa Clara, Duniesky Rodriquez, age 17, was beaten by the police in Santi
Espiritu because of his friendship with members of the dissident movement. A Cuban state security
agent named Jorge Luis -- last name unknown -- told the 17-year old that he has 30 days to leave
Caibarien.
March 14, this year, it was reported from Havana by Hector Maseda that 10th and 11th graders from the
vocational school Lenin were being obligated to participate in daily demonstrations. The students are
taken daily to political activities after completing their class days. One student stated: We're exhausted
due to these countless demonstrations and the lack of proper nutrition in our school. We're awakened at
6:00. Many times we don't get to our room until one in the morning due to these forced demonstrations
April 3, in Las Tunas, dissident Aida Perez, the grandmother of 12-year-old Isidro Quinones Perez, who
has been missing for four months, denounced that the national police refused to search for her grandson.
As a matter of fact they told her, quote, "Look him up. When you find him -- look for him, and when you
find him turn him over so we can place in a correctional school."
April 4, this year, this month, in Camaguey, Jorge Ribes was sentenced to seven months in prison for not
permitting his fourth-grade son to participate in the Union of the Young Communist Pioneers or participate
in political activities during school hours. The school principal, her name is Maritza Varon, denounced Mr.
Ribes to the police. He was charged with, quote, "an act against the normal development of a child,"
unquote.
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April 5, this month, 76 elementary children, the school Arquimedes Colina, were denied a week-end pass
to see their parents, because they had refused to see the television programs, which are daily now, called
tribuna abierta, where Castro discusses the Elian affair.
April 10, reported from Havana -- that's just three days ago --that all the middle schools in the city have
required the children to answer a question at the end of their math exams: What is your opinion on the
Elian Gonzalez case? The children are graded on their responses.
A parent interviewed by Cuba Verdad press stated: At first I didn't understand. I thought I wasn't
listening correctly. Then I thought my child had confused the subject area. Later I was totally shocked to
find out that it's true.
Another parent stated, "My child asked me, 'What does mathematics have to do with Elian?' I didn't
know the answer to that. I was completely dumbfounded," end quote.
The day before yesterday, the El Nuevo Herald reported that Hans Dominguez, who is 15, not only was
harassed but threatened with expulsion, because his father is a member of the Trenta de Noviembre (ph)
Frank Pais Opposition Party.
It's going on now; it's not theory, Mr. Chairman.
I'm always curious as to how it is that it seems that for some people it's not all right for black dictators in
Nigeria, for example, like Abacha, to oppress people, or Cedras in Haiti -- and I know that I certainly was
in the front row of all of our efforts to oppose those dictatorships -- and yet it's all right for a white dictator,
son of a Spanish soldier who went to Cuba, to fight the insurrection, the Cuban insurrection, a white
dictator, it's all right for him to oppress a people, a majority of which are black and mulatto.
The leaders of the Cuban opposition today, people like Vladmiro Roca and Felix Bonne and Jorge Luis
Garciapara Sontunas (ph) are black men and women, and they are going to be elected in the future as
leaders of Cuba when there is a democratic Cuba. And the reality of the matter is postponing the
inevitable is not only abhorrent but it is, as I have said, making excuses for a Spaniard, white dictator to
oppress a people that is majority mixed race.
SMITH: Thank you very much, Mr. Diaz-Balart.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Payne.
PAYNE: Thank you very much.
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I was going to just pass because of the deference to the witnesses, but I do want to clarify the issue of
black dictators in Abacha, I think he was trying to say. But we have -- it was myself and the members of
the Congressional Black Caucus that said we should have sanctions on Nigeria, that we should press all
kinds of ways to have human rights in Nigeria. And so I don't know where race has anything to do with
the rights of children.
I am a new grandfather of triplets -- they're 19, 20 months old -- and I raised my own children, and now I
have triplets real close to me. And so I thought this was dealing with the rights of children and children in
Cuba. And I think that we're already seeing people talking about, as Ms. Cynthia McKinney mentioned,
the fact that there is certainly inequities in the U.S. government system.
Of course a law was passed, and people are taking advantage of the law, but in this country we have
found that African-Americans who have been here since 1492 are still trying to get laws, trying to get
confederate flags taken down, trying to get equal opportunity. And so I think that this whole question is
becoming broader, and it's starting to take a face that I think is not healthy for the residents or Florida and
particular in Miami. I've heard statements recently that I've never heard before.
We are a country of laws, and when you don't like the law you don't defy the law. You don't take the law
into your own hands; you don't say that you're not going to comply; you don't have elected officials say
we're going to restrain our police officers from doing their job.
PAYNE: I've been pretty silent on this case, but I see that it is taking some different -- it's moving in other
directions, and I think that it's unhealthy, and I think that it's stimulating some of us who have sat back to
become very involved and very forceful and very vocal in this whole matter.
So, I'll yield back the balance of my time.
SMITH: Thank you very much, Mr. Payne.
The Chair recognizes Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you so much. I'd like to thank the chairman of this subcommittee, my friend
and dear colleague, Congressman Chris Smith for his commitment to human rights throughout the world
and for his ongoing leadership and for the cooperation in holding this very important hearing today.
When Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death," little did he know that he would inspire
future generations of Cuban freedom seekers who risked life and limb to fight and to escape Castro's
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gulag, little did he know that his words would resonate loudly in the heart and mind of Elisabeth Brotons,
Elian Gonzalez' mother. Her voice is never listened to very much, but she drowned praying for her little
boy to survive and reach our great country, the land of liberty, the United States, that has given refuge to
Mr. Diaz-Balart and to myself.
Stop a moment and think how horrific must living conditions be under oppressive totalitarian dictatorship?
How fearful must Elisabeth Brotons have been for her little boy's future that she would take such
desperate measures? Only those who have personally experienced communism, who have had liberty
taken away from them, could fully understand how heinous the Castro regime is to its people and
especially to its children.
The case of Elian Gonzalez has received much media attention, but despite our best efforts to counter
the Castro propaganda machine, the truth about conditions for children in Cuba, the facts about
communist dictatorship's sense of family and its treatment of children, the reality which awaits Elian if he
is deported to Cuba, these facts have yet to receive the attention they merit.
First, let us address the fallacy that Elian would be returned to his father. Castro officials themselves last
week stated clearly and publicly that Elian is indeed the property of the Cuban state. This country went to
war to eradicate such abhorrent treatment of persons as if they were sub-human or treated as property.
Yet we should tolerate such conditions and such treatment for Elian Gonzalez? No, not for Elian and not
for any child.
This disregard for the value of children as human beings and for the essence of the family is pervasive
throughout the so-called laws which guide Cuba's communist regime. Custody, according to the Cuban
Code of the Family, Codiga de la Ninas y de la Hoventud (ph), can be denied to parents if they engage in
behavior which runs contrary to Communist teachings. It's not me saying it; it's not Lincoln saying it.
They publish it; they're proud of it.
This is further illustrated in Articles 5 and 8 of the Code of the Child, which underscores that "The society
and the state work for the efficient protection of youth against all influence contrary to their communist
formation." And it further states that "the society and the state watch to ascertain that all persons who
come in contact with the child constitute an example for the development of this communist personality."
Those are quotes.
To ascertain whether these dictums are acted upon, all that one needs to do is ask hundreds of children
who have been left orphaned by the regime as their parents' Cuban rights -- activists and dissidents and
political prisoners -- languish in squalid jail cells isolated from their sons and daughters.
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And this is the case of Noami (ph), the 9-year-old daughter of Milagros Cruzcano (ph) who was deprived
of her mother because Cuban state security continued to arrest Milagros (ph) for her anti-social and
dangerous behavior.
Those are Castro's charges for those who call for human rights, for civil liberties, for democracy. That is
a crime in Castro's Cuba.
Milagros (ph) was forced into exile by the Castro regime, forced to board a plane last October. Castro's
thugs, however, refused to let her take her daughter, who is now essentially a hostage of the regime. All
photographs and letters from her mother are seized. Her every move is monitored. She is followed by
state security. Noami (ph) is chastised and subjected to psychological torture because of her mother's
political views. This is not fiction; this is not made-for-TV movie; this is reality right now.
I've had the honor of spending a lot of time with Milagros (ph) who's on a hunger strike in Little Havana. I
have seen her sorrow and her anguish. I have heard her frustration in her voice and her astonishment at
the willingness of so many to believe and promote Castro's facade about family and the need to reunite
Elian with his father. I have seen and heard this same anguish in Jose Cohen, one of the witnesses who
will be testifying today, who has been struggling for over four years for the Castro regime to release his
three children.
However, the pain that Jose and Milagros (ph) feel cannot compare to the unbearable loss experienced
by mothers, by fathers, by grandparents of the children who were murdered by the Castro regime on July
13, 1994, just a few years ago. These infants, toddlers, and teenagers joined their family in a tugboat that
was named "13th of March" for a voyage that would -- they say, they hoped, they prayed --bring them to
the land of liberty, the United States.
However, the Cuban coast guard quickly turned water cannons on them, and when that did not succeed
in drowning them all, they proceeded to ram the coast guard vessels into their tugboat until it was
destroyed. Yes, they heard the cries of the children calling out for their parents as they gasped for air.
Yes, they saw their frail little hands reaching out from beyond the waves. Yes, they felt the presence of
death as their tiny bodies floated into the abyss. But Castro thugs did not care.
Another one of today's witnesses, Jorge Andres Garcia, knows first-hand about this terrible crime, this
gruesome example of the Castro's dictatorship abuse against Cuban children. He will describe the attack
which resulted in the death of 14 out of 17 of his relatives, including his little grandson. He will elaborate
upon the tactics used by the regime to manipulate him into endorsing the official version of events. Mr.
Garcia will explain how the very same Ramirez Este Nos (ph), whom we now see at the side of Juan
Miguel Gonzalez, Elian's father, is the one who was tasked to defend the attack on the 13th of March
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tugboat. The Castro regime had violated the most fundamental right endowed to man by the Creator -the right to life. Yet it would denounce the children and their parents in order to justify its actions.
When looking at children's rights in Cuba and also Codigo de la Familia, another one of their proud
statements about the rights of children, we must look at the indoctrination, the psychological and physical
torture, the destruction of the child's psyche in the sense of right and wrong. We must pause and look at
the evidence such as the one displayed in that photograph of that poster, mandatory physical education
in Castro's Cuba, a photograph taken just a few months ago, children who are 5, 6, 7 years old holding
rifles above their heads as part of their mandated physical education class.
However, these are not mere exercises. This photograph illustrates the requirements that are clearly
outlined in their very proud articles of the Cuban Code of the Child which states, "Children and youth must
prepare themselves for the defense of the country through military education, acquisition of military
knowledge and training." So this is everyday.
And the state reinforces this requirement through books such as this one. And this is an actual
photocopy of a book, a normal, regular text that is used in Castro's Cuba where they are given letters,
and how will they learn the letters? F for fusil, a rifle. And how do they learn the G word? Well, they learn
the G word, the "Gu" by guerrilla, and they have a picture here of guerrilla. And "Che", right here,
pictured front and center, the heroes of the revolution. And how will they learn how groups are formed?
Well, here they have a proud militia, because that's the M word, M for militia.
And that's how they learn education in Cuba. Could anyone argue that this is an example of a healthy
environment for children to be subjected to this type of indoctrination since the age of 4? Is this the kind
of rights that children enjoy in Cuba?
And this is the issue also of child slave labor. Article 44 of the Cuban Code of the Child underscores
how, quote, "The combination of study and work is one of the fundamentals on which revolutionary
education is based. This principle," it states, "is applied from infancy through simple labor activities, in
primary education through farming and pioneer activities, and the modes of production in middle
education through farm labor camps."
Indoctrination, torture, forced labor, combat training, murder -- these are but just a few, microcosm really,
of the gross violations of children's rights committed by the Castro regime, not in the past, right now, the
very same communist totalitarian dictatorship which calls for Elian's return to Cuba. Do not be fooled.
Open your eyes, open your hearts, let them guide you to the truth about children's rights in Cuba, to the
grim reality of Castro's tyranny, right now, right now under our watch.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SMITH: Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, thank you very much.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Sherman.
SHERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Cuban government is oppressive to adults and to children. That will be well documented by these
hearings, as has already been documented before this subcommittee in many other hearings that you've
had -- that we've had on human rights in Cuba and other countries.
But Cuba's not the only oppressive government -- from Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, the
list goes on. We need a rule of law to determine how we will deal with distasteful situations that arise
when there are politically charged instances involving oppressive regimes, a rule of law, established
principles that are applied to all similar cases regardless of politics.
Now in Cuba, they don't need the rule of law, or at least their government doesn't follow it. There, with
their political advantage, a need of the dictator arises. That's what decides the case rather than the
application of principles.
But we in America, we need to follow the rule of law, and we need to establish rules that we're willing to
see followed in case after case. And this is not the only case where a child is here in America, and that
child's parents are planning to take the child back to an oppressive regime. In fact, that is an occurrence
that happens hundreds or thousands of times every year, and we need to adopt a rule of law that applies
in all similar circumstances.
Only in Cuba would they dispense -- or only in an oppressive government would they dispense with
applicable principles and do whatever seems called for in a case where a child is at the center of a
political controversy or where a little boy has become internationally famous.
Now, what should our rule of law be? Our rule of law has been, I think in all circumstances, that a parent
or both parents speaking together, speaking freely, and unless there is proof that that parent or those
parents are abusive, that that parent decides where a child will live and decides many other things about
the child as well.
What has been suggested as a result of Elian Gonzalez' difficult plight is that we adopt a new rule, a rule
that says that where there's a competition for custody between a loving and freedom-loving American
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family on the one hand, and a parent or two parents on the other, parents that want to take the child back
to an oppressive regime, that we should favor not the parent but the loving and freedom-loving American
family.
But what would this mean? This would mean that when the UN ambassador from Afghanistan or Sudan
or North Korea plans to go home, that we stop them at the airport and take their children away and put
those children with any freedom-loving American couple that wishes to adopt them.
Yes, Elian's tragedy rips at our hearts and the death of Elian's mother touches us all. But does Elian
need freedom any less than the children of the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations or the
Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations? Those children will be flying out of this country in a year or
two or three, leaving our jurisdiction and going to oppressive regimes.
In each case, we must look at two values: the value of the parents' duty and obligation and rights to
raise their children versus our natural desire to see all children raised in freedom.
SHERMAN: And if we decide that freedom trumps parenthood, that politics exceeds the connection
between a father and a child, then we had better be prepared to apply that when a little baby girl or boy is
born in the home of the ambassador or a traveler from any oppressive regime. And I don't think we're
ready to do that, Mr. Chairman.
So we must follow the rule of law. And it is a difficult and a harsh rule. But for a variety of reasons
children and adults leave our country everyday, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes deported. Sometimes
the children wish to leave, sometimes the children do not. Sometimes the children are infants and have
no opinion on the matter at all. And we must be prepared to apply the same standards.
In this case, for a while, we wondered whether Elian's father was speaking freely, and those who are
opponents and the most vocal opponents of the Cuban regime said: Let him bring his new wife and his
baby child here to the United States so we know that he's speaking freely. That condition has been met,
and we ought to prove to the world that even in the most politically charged circumstance, we follow the
rule of law and not the rule of politics.
At the same time, we ought to be doing everything possible to end the circumstance where millions of
people live under an oppressive regime just 90 miles south of our state of Florida.
And that concludes my remarks.
SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Sherman.
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Mr. Delahunt.
DELAHUNT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have another engagement, so I'm going to have to excuse myself. In fact, I had doubts as to whether I
would even be able to attend this particular hearing, and I had some reservations as to whether I wanted
to make any statement whatsoever.
I think Ms. McKinney's remarks and Mr. Sherman's reflects my own sentiments, but I was particularly
disturbed listening today to an account that a videotape had been made of young Elian for dissemination
over the public airways indicating that he made a statement before seeing his father that he did not want
to return to Cuba. I think that motivated me to come here today. I think it was a disservice to that young
child. I'm not going to make a statement, but what I am going to do is to read an opinion piece authored
by a gentleman here in the United States House of Representatives who commands great respect on
both sides of the aisle, and his name is Steve Largent, a Republican from Oklahoma. And this is dated
April 5, 2000, and it was published in The New York Times. I'm going to take the time to read it as
opposed to submit it into the record, and I'm quoting.
These are his words; these are not my words -- let me be clear: "Politics is keeping Elian Gonzalez from
his father, and it's time that he is returned. It's already been too long. The torturous four-month old
custody battle over the boy rescued at sea last November continues to play out in the courts and in
Washington, and now the political brawl has taken an ugly turn. Elian's relatives in Miami who have
temporary custody of him and are seeking to block his return to Cuba stooped to criticizing the boy's
father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, attempting to whip up public sentiment for their cause. The relatives have
suggested that the father is somehow unfit to care for his son. How do they know? Why are they only
now raising this question? And what gives them or the court the right to decide such a thing? Do we
really want the government sitting in judgment of every father when there is no apparent cause of action?
How would the United States react if its role and Cuba's were reversed?
"After leveling these charges against Elian's father earlier this week, a lawyer representing the boy's
American relatives acknowledged on television they had no proof. 'We're sure he loves his own son,'
admitted the lawyer, Linda Osberg-Braun, 'and we know Elian loves his father.'
"Making political hay over a 6-year-old's tragedy of losing a mother may only compound his misery,
experts say.
"Ken Dackman (ph), a child psychologist in Chicago, said he worried that Elian's Miami relatives are
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shaping this child so that 'I don't think he will ever be able to recover fully.' Mr. Dackman, who is familiar
with the case, warned that the little boy would be shadowed for a long time by feelings of distrust.
"Elizabeth Loftus, a psychology professor at the University at Washington and a leading expert on
memory in children, said any child as young as Elian would be particularly susceptible to suggestions that
could alter his memory of his father.
"Sadly, Elian's well-being seems to have little effect on the poisonous political rhetoric coming from Miami
and Washington.
"Some conservatives see this case as a long-sought opportunity to stick a finger in the eye of Fidel
Castro. Let me say unequivocally that I am second to none in my dislike for Mr. Castro's totalitarian
regime. But let's be reasonable. Elian is a little boy who has lost his mother and desperately needs his
father. This is a family issue, first and foremost. To forget that and allow our hatred for the Cuban regime
to keep us from doing what is best for the child is shameful. It's already a tragedy that the child lost his
mother. It would be a travesty for our government to come between him and his father. "I came to
Washington with a deep-seeded belief that the family is sovereign. You can't beat the family values and
at the same time advocate that governments be allowed to come between a father and a child. What a
tragic mistake it would be for society to allow the state or federal government to determine what's best for
our children. But that's exactly what's happening in this tug of war over Elian Gonzalez. As a father of
four, including three sons, I know how important daddies are to 6-year-old boys. The question then
becomes: Is it better for Elian to live in our great country without his father or to live with his father in
Cuba? No contest. I say reunite Elian with his daddy today.
"Elian's father and five other Cubans now have their visas for travel to the United States. 'I'm willing to
leave tomorrow,' his father said in a prepared statement, 'and I do not want to talk to any kidnapper nor
accept any condition or take part in any show or publicity over the hand over of Elian.' So, what are we
waiting for?"
That concludes the opinion piece by Representative Steve Largent from Oklahoma.
I yield back.
SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. Menendez?
MENENDEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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As a member of the full committee, I appreciate the opportunity to be with you and the ranking Democrat
on the subcommittee today. And you called this hearing at a time in which I believe that certain
communities and the nation's raw nerves are exposed. They're exposed because of a variety of views
and a variety of issues. Elian is only the focus of the moment, but those issues far surpass Elian.
I do regret the language that is being used by some of my colleagues, and I think that in the days ahead
they will regret the language that is being used. I have tried throughout this whole process to be
balanced and restrained in terms of the language I have used, because I know of some of the pain of
different communities in this country, which I have shared and stood by with in each and every moment
that I have been called upon to do so. But I think it is abhorrent to speak of a community such as we
have heard the Cuban-American community spoken of in this country.
When I hear the words "mob intransigence," when I hear "wackos," when I hear those type of
terminology, it begins a slippery slope in which we will paint other communities who feel very passionately
about their issues to be characterized in the same way.
I am an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and I am an admirer of Dr. King, and their civil disobedience efforts,
which I'm sure were characterized in words just as punishing at the time, are now used today against a
community who has shown nothing to date but restraint, has shown nothing today but except for abiding
by the rule of law, and has shown nothing but the possibility of engaging in the very same acts that
Americans of every strife and of every color in this country engage when they believe that fundamentally
the law is wrong. The civil disobedience that takes place in the streets of the city when people believe
that a law or the enforcement of the law is morally and ethically wrong is not characterized the way that I
have heard this community characterized.
I have sought to believe that the rule of law, yes, must be upheld at all costs, but the rule of law also
means the right of American citizens to seek redress in the courts, to seek appeals when they believe that
the court has ruled inappropriately. The reason that we have appellate courts is because they strike
down the rulings of lower courts.
No citizen in this country is told that their rights must be accelerated and/or abrogated, and we rebel, as
Americans, when we hear that any citizen's rights have to be abrogated or should be abrogated. Yet
Cuban-Americans, and in particular this family that has sought access to the courts for peaceful a
resolution of the dispute of the issues are told: You must accelerate your rights.
No other citizen, when they have to file an appeal, is told: You must accelerate your rights.
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And notwithstanding that, this group of American citizens have sought to go ahead and accelerate their
rights, which in some way abrogates their rights.
You know, I have sought to be consistent on this issue, whether it's in my opposition to most favored
nation trading status in China, in my support for sanctions in Nigeria, or in my support against sanctions
against the Castro regime. I have joined with my friends and colleagues to create greater uniformity and
fairness in the immigration laws of this country. And I really am distressed to hear that while CubanAmericans are not above the law, they're certainly not beneath the law.
Let me just briefly talk about the real reason I came here today, which is to talk about the rights of Cuban
children or the lack thereof. The Castro regime -- and I think it's propitious in one sense that the UN
Commission on Human Rights is hearing in Geneva testimony about these issues -- the Castro regime
considers children to be wards of the state. The state is actually charged with the integral formation of
children and youth; in fact, Article 39 of the Cuban socialist constitution says, and I quote, "that the
education of children and youth in the communist spirit is the duty of a society as a whole."
To ensure the children are properly indoctrinated, the Cuban educational system maintains a dossier for
each child. The record reflects whether the family is religious, the extent of the ideological integration of a
child's parents, what party organizations the parents participate in, whether the child has participated in
political and ideological activities, and the child's progress in the areas of ideological, political, and moral
education. As Americans, we would rebel against such a dossier being kept on our children. Children are
also compelled by the state to participate in the Union of Communist Pioneers where they are further
indoctrinated in Communist ideology and required to participate in political and military readiness
activities. At age 10 -- at age 10 -- children must attend agricultural work camps for three months every
year, and this is whether or not their parents want to give them up. The children are taken from their
parents mandatorily. At the Escuelo del Campo, they engage in military games in which they learn how
to hold bridges from enemy troops, find land mines, learn how to throw grenades through windows, and
participate in other war or combat simulation games.
Indoctrination aside, the future for Cuban children is not very bright. Past the age of 7, children no longer
receive milk rations in a country that when the Soviet Union existed used to get $6 billion a year, and we
did not put more food on the plates of Cuban families when the Soviet Union was pumping in $6 billion
every year. No, we used it for military adventurism in Latin America and in Africa.
According to the State Department's latest human rights report, the government employs forced labor
including that by children. Now sometimes my colleagues seek to refer to the State Department's human
rights reports when they find it propitious and ignore it when they do not find it to be propitious. I don't
think we can do that.
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MENENDEZ: The regime claims to prohibit forced and bonded labor by children, but the State
Department reports that the government requires children to work without compensation. All students
over age 11 are expected to devote 30 to 45 days of their summer vacation to farm work, laboring up to
eight hours per day.
Now I just simply want to say there are many other rights that are violated.
I ask unanimous consent to have my full statement entered into the record so I won't take up any more
time.
But I would -- and I respect the different views that my colleagues hold about our policy, but I would hope
that we would watch the language that we apply to a community, and I would hope that the same passion
would be exercised on behalf of Mr. Cohen who is here before us today, whose children are separated
from his by the Castro regime which refuses to give them an exit visa as a punishment for his political
activities. And I would hope that we would hear voices on behalf of Milagros Cruzcano (ph), an AfroCuban whose children are --or whose child, I should say, Noami (ph), is denied her simply as a
punishment for her activities inside of Cuba. Then there would be a greater sense of fairness. Then
there would be a greater sense of equality. Then maybe we could move forward.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Menendez.
Ms. Jackson Lee.
JACKSON LEE: First of all, let me thank the chairman of this committee and the ranking member for
their extreme kindness in allowing me to both sit in and to listen. Let me give -- allow me to give an initial
apology that I may be in and out with hearings that I am now in the midst of.
I left a hearing that my Committee on Immigration and Claims was holding dealing with justice for victims
of terrorism. And I left that because this is an important day. There are no two more stronger advocates
for human rights than both Chairman Smith and Ranking Member McKinney. So, this is an important day
for us to be able to begin unfolding and understanding the human rights issues for children around the
country and around the world.
Interestingly enough, might I say to you that I look forward to the Immigration and Claims Subcommittee
holding hearings on the inequitable ways children are treated under immigration laws. I'm willing to listen
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and to determine how we can do better. But I think it is important since I might glean from this hearing
the focus of the hearing happens to be in conjunction with the actions that are going on now. And I would
simply like to raise some of the issues that I think are held by a large number of people with a great
concern for human rights, and that is that we do believe that there is merit to the existence of a living and
natural father who has not shown any evidence in the instance of Elian Gonzalez in particular to have
been abusive or unfit as a father.
So we can begin to look at the entire question of human rights for children in this instance in the country
of Cuba, but we can look for countries around the world. And we can begin to look as well for the
treatment of children who are unaccompanied or come in a particular manner to this country and how the
INS may or may not treat them. I look forward to doing that.
In this instance, however, might I share just a few simple points?
We understand just recently that the state court has indicated in Florida that they have no jurisdiction and
that this is not a custody case. This is in fact, as we deal with it by the Department of Justice and the
INS, a case of seeking asylum.
And the only very narrow issue that we have here -- and we understand the difference of opinion. I have
always said I respect the views of Cuban-Americans and their right to civil disobedience. I am a product
of that. I have engaged in that and I respect it. But this is a question of whether or not a natural parent
not accused of unfitness or abuse, at least with no documentation, can be allowed to make the
determination as to whether or not the minor child should have asylum. This is all we ask, that Elian and
his father be reunited.
And, Mr. Cohen, I would ask no less for you.
And so I would hope that as we look to learn today and we look to understand today, we will look at the
larger and broader picture of how we treat our children.
Might I just add, because I have worked a lot on children's issues, I've served as a municipal court judge,
I have engaged in advocacy for children as many of us have, and I would only say and ask in a public
plea, even in this hearing, that we have an opportunity or that we focus on the opportunity for Elian in this
instance and his father to be reunited, and I might say, that the two families be reunited.
And finally, that we might focus on the difficulty for a 6-year-old to be utilized in any manner that would
cause him to be in public display of words that we may not be aware or may not have any basis upon
whether he's actually said these words in a public video. I would ask that whatever position we may have
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that we not utilize those tactics and that human rights be our priority for all people and that we certainly
review the status of human rights for our children.
This is a very important hearing today, and I'm very gratified for the opportunity to have been allowed to
make a few remarks.
I yield back. Thank you.
SMITH: Ms. Jackson Lee, thank you very much.
I'd like to now present our very distinguished panel of seven witnesses in the order that they will present
their testimonies.
And without objection, all of your full statements will be made a part of the record, but you can proceed
however you like.
Dr. Maria Dominguez is an attorney and the executive director of the St. Thomas University Human
Rights Institute, a published specialist in immigration and refugee law. Dr. Dominguez has served on the
U.S. Delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and has appeared as a witness before
several congressional committees and subcommittees. Among her other activities she was the founding
co-chair of the Guantanamo Refugee Assimilation and Self-Sufficiency Project.
The Reverend Lucius Walker, Jr., is the executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community
Organization, the founder of Pastors for Peace, and the founding pastor of Salvation Baptist Church in
Brooklyn, New York. A long-time protester of the United States policy towards Cuba, Reverend Walker is
the recipient of the Order of Friendship and the Carlos Finley (ph) award conferred on him by the
government of Cuba.
Ileana Fuentes is a feminist author and critic living in Miami. She originally arrived here from Cuba as one
of the 14,000 Operation Pedro Pan refugee children whose parents sent them unaccompanied to this
country in the hope that they would find a better life in the United States.
Jorge Garcia lost 14 members of his family in the Cuban government's attack on the 13th of March
refugee tugboat, including his son and grandson. A doctor of education, he served as the director of
several schools and education centers in Cuba. After directing an extensive investigation into the 13th of
March killings, Mr. Garcia testified before the UN Human Rights Commission about that very tragic and
despicable incident.
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Neri Torres is a native Cuban, is the founder and artistic director of IFE-ILE, an artistic organization
specializing in Afro-Cuban dance. A graduate of the National School of Arts in Havana, Ms. Torres is an
accomplished dancer and choreographer and has worked closely with artists such as Gloria Estefan.
During her life in Cuba, Ms. Torres was also a victim of forced child labor.
Jose Cohen served as an intelligence officer in Cuba for six years. In 1994, he escaped Cuba on a raft
and fled to freedom in the United States. In 1996, his parents, wife and three children were granted U.S.
exit visas. However, during the past four years ,the Castro regime has refused to authorize their exit,
holding the family in Cuba against their will.
Daniel Shanfield is a staff attorney with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights where he oversees the
asylum program. Prior to joining the Lawyers Committee, Mr. Shanfield served as a trial attorney for the
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as a research assistant for the United Nations high
commissioner for refugees in Geneva. He will be addressing the rule of law issues, and members might
want to stay on who have expressed concerns about that for his testimony.
Doctor?
DOMINGUEZ: Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of Congress, I thank you for the opportunity to
address you on this very sensitive and important topic. I would like to particularly recognize the
representatives from Florida, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Lincoln DiazBalart; a special salute to Mr. Bob Menendez from New Jersey.
I have prepared a written statement but would like the opportunity to submit a more extensive written
testimony for inclusion in the record.
SMITH: Doctor, without objection, your full statement and that of all of our other distinguished witnesses
will be made a part of the record.
DOMINGUEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I teach human rights and the law at St. Thomas University in Florida, and my students have recently
studied both the declaration and the convention on the rights of the child. They were surprised to learn
that the United States had not ratified the convention, but they're also learning that the implementation
process is very difficult and complex.
I have just returned from Geneva where I attended part of the annual meeting on the Commission of
Human Rights. Some of your concerns are also the concerns of other countries. I am hopeful that
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hearings such as this advance efforts in making human rights a reality for each and every child in the
world. Today, however, I will specifically highlight certain Cuban documents that deal with and set
parameters on the civic, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of Cuban children in the island. I
shall start with the 1992 Cuban constitution and then cover very briefly the Cuban Code of Childhood and
Youth as well as relevant articles in the Cuban Family Code.
The Cuban constitution, as amended in 1992, sets forth the goals for the Cuban state and its society.
Article 1 of chapter one states that Cuba is a socialist state of workers. Article 5 further states that the
Communist Party of Cuba, described as Marxist-Leninist and as the organized vanguard of the Cuban
nation, is a superior leading force of the society and the state, organizing and guiding the common efforts
aimed at the highest goals of the construction of socialism and the advancement toward the communist
society. Article 6 describes the Union of Young Communists as an entity having the preeminent function
of promoting the act of participation of the young masses and the task of socialist construction.
Under chapter four, called The Family, Article 38 declares that Cuban parents have a duty to contribute
actively in their children's integral development as, and I quote, "useful, well-prepared citizens for life in a
socialist society," end of quote.
Chapter five, entitled Education and Culture, starts with article 39, which states that the state guides,
fosters and promotes education in all their manifestations. It lists 10 principles for its educational and
cultural policies. I will only highlight two relevant principles within Article 39.
The first one is that the state basis is educational and cultural policies of Marxist ideologies.
Second, that the state promotes the patriotic education and communist training for the new generation
and the preparation of children, young people, and adults for such a life. To implement these principles,
education is combined with work and participation in political, social, and military training activities. The
state also promotes the participation of its citizens through the country's mass and social organizations in
the implementation of its educational and cultural policies.
Finally, under chapter seven, the Cuban constitution describes fundamental rights and duties. Article 62
leaves no doubt as to the measured principle laid out throughout the text. It reads, and I quote, "None of
the freedoms which are recognized for citizens can be exercised contrary to what is established in the
constitution and the law, or contrary to the existence and objectives of the socialist state, or contrary to
the decision of the Cuban people to build socialism and communism. Violations of this principle can be
punished by law," end of quote.
The second document I would like to bring to your attention is the Code of Childhood and Youth, law
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number 16, enacted on June 6, 1978, which is a legally binding document on all minors, parents, and
teachers in Cuba. I have identified at least 15 articles which should be cause for concern, and I strongly
recommend that you read it and analyze it carefully to gain a wider perspective on how this state controls
children's functions, education and upbringing in Cuba above and beyond the parents.
DOMINGUEZ: I especially would like to highlight articles 3, 5, 7 through 10, 18, 20, 23, 33, 40, 68, 83,
90, and 101. All these articles call for the communist formation of the young generation and the fostering
of the ideological values of communism in the youth. I highlight article 18 in particular, because it states
that educators have the elevated mission in the formation of the communist personality. And article 20
again postulates that the school is the basic educational institution contributing decisively in the
communist formation.
The code highlights the state entity's relationship with mass organizations and the Union of Communist
Youth for the purpose of sustaining a coordinated effort in the development of children and youth. These
articles lead me to believe and conclude that parental decisions are certainly subservient to the state and
that parents, or anyone else for that matter, will be punished if found to disagree with the state's principle
to develop the communist personality in children and youth. In other words, parents are not free to
choose any alternative lifestyle for their children. Article 62 under the constitution makes it very clear.
Furthermore, the Cuban Family Code stipulates under Title 2, chapter 2, entitled "Relationship Between
Parents and Children," section one, patria potestas and its exercise, which is the parental custody article,
number 85, subsection 213, that that the concept of patria potestas entails the duty of the parent to
infiltrate the spirit of internationalism and socialist morality. The socialist concept of the family does not
accept the idea of the family as a private contractual union. The primary role of the family in socialist
Cuba is to contribute to the development and upbringing of children in accordance with socialist values.
And any dissent or attempt to deviate from this role may be punishable under the law. The Family Code,
therefore, underscores the supremacy of the state's principles over the parent's own beliefs and individual
decision-making processes.
In practice, all of these legal norms and laws are implemented through a very rigid and controlled
environment. For example, the child is obligated to carry an identity card that lists all addresses, school
attendance and political attitude, such as the child's participation in the Communist Pioneers Association.
This ID card serves the state's purpose in controlling the child throughout his formative years. The Cuban
state realizes that the early formative years in a child's life are crucial for his personality development.
Therefore, parents and the extended family cannot participate in the child's education or extracurricular
activities which are contrary to the state's principles.
Another method in implementing the state principle is to transport children throughout the cities and
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towns to participate in political activities and without obtaining parental consent. The state also controls
children once they are of school age through another document called "student cumulative dossier." The
child's academic, political, religious behavior is recorded by the teacher.
It also records the parent's behavior towards religion, their political opinion, their economic standing, their
family relations, and much more.
This document also notes the child's participation in the so-called, quote, unquote, "voluntary work."
Children who are 10 years or older are required by the state to perform agricultural work at camps in the
country for three months every year. Parents have no say in this. Promiscuity is reported to be rampant
at these countryside schools.
I have heard numerous accounts and testimony from parents who come to live in the United States out of
desperation and concern for the lack of control they have over their children's lives. I know this because
I'm an attorney who specializes in U.S. immigration law.
In rendering free legal services to the poor, I have encountered many recently arrived Cubans who need
help in filling out their asylum applications. I have learned from them that there's much desperation to
leave the island because they feel very controlled and do not wish the same fate on their children. What
they hope for their children is to have freedom in their decision-making processes that until their arrival in
the United States had eluded them while in Cuba.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SMITH: Thank you very much, Doctor.
I'd just like to -- we just got an Associated Press off the wire, and I'll just read it very briefly. It's, "A
federal appeals court issued a temporary stay today to keep Elian Gonzalez in the United States while the
government and his relatives fight over whether he will be returned to his father and sent home to Cuba.
The order came barely an hour after the passing of a government deadline for the boy's Miami relatives to
hand him over."
I'd like to recognize Reverend Walker.
WALKER: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to testify before this distinguished subcommittee.
I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey where I now reside. And as you are all aware, I
am the executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, a 33-year old
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ecumenical agency which, among other things, has worked for reconciliation in the area of U.S.-Cuba
relations since 1991. I am also the pastor of the Salvation Baptist Church in Brooklyn and have been
serving recently as a co-chair of the National Committee for the Return of Elian Gonzalez to his father in
Cuba.
The issues of rights of children, generally, and of course in Cuba, is an issue about which I am deeply
concerned in all aspects of my work -- as a pastor, as a certified social work and a former instructor of
social work at the University of Wisconsin, and as a community organizer, as well as a general advocate
in the United States and in poor nations around the world for the rights of children.
I am, as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly concerned with family values, for they are
profoundly important to me and are the cornerstone of any stable society. I am also very much shaped
and formed by some of the tenets of scripture, and I shall mention two or three of those in the course of
my comments.
One I should mention now and that is the teaching by the prophets, and I quote from Isaiah particularly,
"that we should come now and reason together," the purpose being to resolve any differences among us.
I recognize that this subcommittee's interest today is founded in part on the question of Cuba's capacity
to serve in the healing process for Elian Gonzalez after he returns home.
With that in mind, let me share with you our perspective, both at the Interreligious Foundation and
through the National Committee for the Return of Elian, our perspective on the rights of the child in Cuban
society. This perspective has been formed by extensive time in Cuba -- more than 40 visits to Cuba, the
first in 1981, and most of them in the recent or in the last 10 years. We have worked and worshipped with
the Cuban church community; we have visited families; we have talked extensively with the old and the
young persons in all aspects of Cuba's life, rural and urban, and in the course of our delivery of more than
2,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Cuba.
We began to engage in the work we do in relationship to Cuba at the urgent and repeated requests of
particularly Protestant church leaders whom we have come to know over the years who, knowing of our
work in relationship to the suffering communities in Africa and Central and South America and the
Caribbean and other parts of the Caribbean, requested that we assist them in addressing the sufferings of
their members due to the effects of the U.S. blockade. Since we are very much moved by Jesus'
teaching in Matthew 25, the ultimate test of Christian discipleship is whether or not one gives a cup of
cold water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, clothes to the naked.
And we are also instructed in our church teachings that the service, according to this mandate from our
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Lord, is not to be determined by whether the persons who are the recipient of that humanitarian and
spiritual response should themselves be of the same either political or ideological or social or
denominational persuasion as the giver. Jesus suggested that we ought to be equal in our sharing with
all persons no matter what their own outlook, no matter what their own political formation, no matter which
political party they belong to, and therefore we ought to respect others whether they are democrats or
republicans. Our perspective is also informed by the declarations of the Cuban constitution, some of
which has been referred to on several occasions today, by the legal codes as well as by public policy and
practices, which we have been privileged to observe in the course of our relations and visits and time in
Cuba.
First, a word about the Cuban constitution. Adopted in 1976 and amended by the Cuban National
Assembly in 1992, it is very explicit on the subjects of family, children, youth, education, culture, and other
matters as well.
Article 35 of the Cuban constitution states that the state recognizes the family as the fundamental cell of
society and attributes to it essential responsibilities and functions in the education and formation of new
generations. Article 37 affirms the equal rights of all children regardless of the circumstances of their
birth. Article 38 states parents have the duty to feed their children, to assist in the defense of their
legitimate interests, and in the realization of their just aspirations, as well as to contribute actively to their
education -- as well as to contribute actively to their education -- the education of their children and their
integral formation as useful citizens. Article 40 says, children and youth enjoy particular protection on the
part of the state and the society. The church, the school, state institutions, and mass and social
organizations have the duty to give special attention to the integral formation of children and youth.
Another source which gives insight into Cuba's understanding of the rights of the child is the Family Code
of 1975. In articles 82 through 85 of law 1289, it is asserted that children are under the patria potestas,
the parental rights of their parents. That parental rights correspond jointly to both parents and accrue to
the surviving parent when one parent dies, that children are obligated to respect, to show consideration
for, and help the parents, and to obey them while under their patria potestas.
These parental rights also entail the following rights and duties of parents: to keep their children under
their guardianship and care, making every possible effort to provide them with a stable home and
adequate nutrition, caring for their health and personal hygiene, to see to the education of their children,
to train their children to be useful citizens, to administer and care for their children's property, and to
represent their children at every judicial action.
At no point does the Cuban constitution state that children are the property of either the state or the
parents. It is my understanding from the reading of these Cuban documents, from talking with people at
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all levels and in a variety of professional capacities in Cuba that children are not considered property, but
rather the terms that are consistently used in the constitution, in the codes, and in the practices through
the courts are "priority of" -- children are the priority of the state and the family. They are the
responsibility of the state and the parents, and that children enjoy particular protection, yes, from the
state, but also that protection is primarily the responsibility of the parents.
WALKER: It has been my observation that Cuban children growing up in a society that is far from
perfect, a society that has a long way to go to even achieve its own objectives of what an ideal society
ought to be, that that society has performed and exercised its responsibilities to its children in such an
effective way that children in Cuba are a wonderful combination of self-awareness, self-esteem, respect
for adults, love of country, knowledge of culture, and understanding of international geography and history
which I wish were equally true in every part of the world.
I am an observer of human behavior, and as I have observed the relationships between parents and
children, the dignity, the sense of calm and self-respect and pride with which children are able to relate to
adults in the Cuban society, I am deeply moved. I am deeply moved, as I witnessed, as this whole nation
has, the strength in young Elian Gonzalez. Where did he get that strength? He certainly did not get it
within the last four months. The strength, the dignity, the calm, the power of this young child must at least
in major part be attributed to his first six years of life in Cuba under this system of education to which we
are now referring.
I have traveled extensively and in no other country have I ever seen more healthy children as well as
self-confidence, more secure and well-behaved children as I have seen in Cuba. The source of this
unique regard for children predates the Cuban revolution. It traces back to more than 100 years to the
founding father of Cuba that everyone in Cuba refers to, Jose Marti, the founding father of modern Cuba
who said, the children of Cuba are our future. Children are the hope of the world.
There is, of course, an obvious shortage of consumer goods in Cuba, and we as citizens of the United
States must take responsibility in considerable measure for those shortages because of our embargo.
The values that underlie the response to this shortage in Cuba is that things are not essential. Consumer
items are not essential to life, health, and education, not so much as are love, nurturing, social
responsibility, and family values.
SMITH: Reverend Walker, excuse me for interrupting. We're asking everyone to keep to around 10
minutes. It's about 13 now. If you could just sum up. We do want to hear what you have to say, but if
you could just ...
WALKER: I thank you.
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SMITH: Thank you. MCKINNEY: Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?
SMITH: Yes.
MCKINNEY: You've selected six of the witnesses, and I got to select Reverend Walker, and I would love
for him to be able to complete his statement and to have his say. He came all the way from New York
City to be here, and I would hate for you to cut him off.
SMITH: Just let me say to the gentlelady from Georgia, nobody's seeking to cut off Reverend Walker.
Reverend Walker, how much more time do you need?
WALKER: Three minutes.
SMITH: That will be fine.
WALKER: It is my observation that in Cuba education and health care are considered basic human
rights. In the Helsinki Accords, human rights are outlined in political and then in economic, social, cultural
categories. I think Cuba has a long way to go in refining its human rights and its work in the area of the
political aspect of human rights. In the area of social, economic, cultural rights it excels, and we should
recognize that. And it is in this area, as well as the strivings that it openly and publicly seeks to make in
the political and the other aspects of its life as it refines its own electoral system, for example, that young
Elian would be nurtured and developed.
Remember that Cuba came into and inherited from a dictatorship which our own country had supported - it inherited a situation in which 60 births out of 1,000 were dead births. The infant mortality rate was 60
per 1,000. It has reduced that to an amount equal to the United States. It is higher in this category than
any other country in this region of the world. It has created more hospitals; it produces more doctors; it
cares for the health of its children in such a profoundly significant way that we see that health reflected in
Elian, and we see it reflected in the children of Cuba. I have never seen an unhealthy child in Cuba. I
have never seen a child in Cuba that was the prototypical Third World child.
Cuba has something to teach us, and it offers the gift of its care for its children to Elian as well as to all of
its children, not only to its own children but -- and someone referred to internationalism -- Cuba produces
more doctors than it needs in order that it might export medical care to the rest of the world. When the
revolution in Cuba triumphed there were 3,000 doctors. Now, there are 66,000 -- one for every 170
residents -- and it is the only country in the world which is shipping doctors by the thousands to the Third
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World to assist in the development of health indices in those countries.
And so it is into this context that we would send young Elian. It is into this context in which there is a
vibrant church, in which there are people of active faith, in which there are people concerned for the
continued development of all aspects of democracy and well being that young Elian would be going.
We've also heard rumors that Cuban children are being taken from their families at the tender age of
eight or 11 and shipped off to mandatory labor camps with harsh working conditions. I would like to offer
a more accurate picture of current realities. Cuban children in junior high school and high school do
spend a month of their school year in the countryside, and during this time they attend school for half of
the day and help bring in the harvest for the other half. Richard Nuccio, former Cuban adviser to
President Clinton and to Senator Torricelli, describes this program as a sort of national service corps,
AmeriCorps, volunteer brigade, something like in some communities the Boy Scout programs in the
United States. Interestingly, the need for this assistance with farm labor has arisen in part because, on
the one hand, of the level of education and the high level of professionalism in Cuba and because of the
negative impact of our own blockade of Cuba.
Mr. Chairman, I would propose that we consider several directions for resolving the problems and the
concerns we have about the climate and the context in which Elian would be returned. First of all, I would
urge that we recognize the right of this child's father, under Cuban law, under U.S. law, and social welfare
practice, to be the guardian of the child.
Secondly, I would urge that we not politicize this issue, but we see the great human tragedy that has
been perpetrated upon this child. And that which we might do in our political discourse to help this child in
his tragedy would be to work assiduously, seriously, for the normalization of relations in order that all of
the differences we have with Cuba, all of the criticisms which have been and will be launched here today
can be discussed in a mutually respectful, bilateral relationship rather than throwing of darts across the
waters, talking past each other, and using rhetoric which will exacerbate the problem for the time to come
rather than to resolve the problem and heal the breach between our two countries.
Thank you.
SMITH: Reverend Walker, thank you very much.
Mr. Garcia.
GARCIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you to the distinguished
congresspersons who are sitting here in this committee.
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Today is a very sad day for me. Today it is the anniversary of the 69th month having lapsed today since
the sinking of the 13th of March tugboat back in 1997, if I'm not mistaken. Each day of this month my
family pays tribute to this memory. We went to the sea -- we went out to sea to throw flowers in the
ocean in memory of our dead. I believe that my presence here today is a way of honoring their memory
as well. And I thank God for having given me the opportunity to be here with you today so that I may
share with you my experience.
I lost 14 family members in the sinking of the 13th of March tugboat. I come from a family of teachers.
My wife and I both are teachers. We are not an anti-social element, as we were classified by the Cuban
government. The first news release by the Cuban government about this incident said a ship, a boat,
capsized in Cuban waters were carrying anti-social elements of our society. Can there be children who
are anti-social elements? I investigated at length the details of this event. The theory of the government
was, and is, that this had been an accident. In reality, this was a crime.
GARCIA: The government, through Lieutenant Colonel Aspidi (ph), who headed the government's
investigating team, blamed an excess of weight on the tugboat for its sinking -- for its going down; the age
of the tugboat, how old it was. I don't want to go into too many details or too much depth with this, but I
only want to appeal to your understanding of the situation.
Can the 13th of March tugboat -- could the 13th of March tugboat have been more fragile than the little
boat Granma used by Fidel Castro at the beginning of the revolution to land in Cuba? The Granma boat
traveled thousands of kilometers carrying 82 men on board to get to Cuban shores. It carried weapons,
munitions, and supplies. It navigated for six days, and it reached its targets -- it reached its destination.
The 13th of March tugboat barely traveled seven miles. Its journey lasted 50 minutes, and it was sunk.
What followed the sinking of the 13th of March tugboat for my family was truly a tragedy. Lieutenant
Colonel Aspidi (ph) proposed to us that we accept a luxurious residence in the plush neighborhood of
Sewanay (ph) in Havana, because the family would be more tranquil, more at peace in such a
neighborhood. He also offered us a car and medical services. This was a proposal that Lieutenant
Colonel Aspidi (ph) made personally to me, and what I really wanted was the return of the 14 corpses. I
did not accept the house, and I never got the bodies either. That is why I have affirmed that Castro is a
kidnapper of corpses.
I want to go on reflecting on our experience -- my experience and my wife's experience as teachers. We
have always worked in the teaching profession. Nobody who has not lived in Cuba can really speak
about Cuban reality. Cuban reality has to be experienced from within, not just on periodic visits. And I
would like to assure you that Cuban education is Spartan in nature, and I affirm that from all the years of
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experience as an educator. An official saying sums it up: To study, to work, and to carry a rifle. We
could call this a subtle way of child abuse.
Instead of continuing to talk about these issues, I am willing to answer any questions that you may have.
I've researched the 13th of March tugboat sinking extensively, and I am here to answer any questions
that you may have later.
Thank you.
SMITH: Mr. Garcia, thank you very, very much.
Ms. Fuentes.
FUENTES: Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of Congress, I thank you also for the opportunity to
address you on the sensitive and urgent issue of children in Cuba. I would like to recognize particularly
the representatives from Florida, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Lincoln DiazBalart, as well as my former representative from New Jersey, Congressman Robert Menendez.
I would like to echo, parenthetically, the distress expressed by Congressman Menendez, as a
constituent, as an American citizen, and as one who has come to this hearing to help educate this
committee on the issues of Cuban children. It has belittled and insulted us, the five individuals sitting at
this table who are Cuban-Americans, to have been encapsulated in the term "mob intransigence." I
would like to request that every member of this subcommittee return our generosity in being here with an
equal measure of respect, and I thank you in advance for that.
I have prepared a statement from which I will read.
First and foremost, a child born in Cuba enters this world in a society where his or her fundamental
human rights, as guaranteed by the universal declaration of human rights and by three United Nations
conventions on the rights of the child, are denied by all existing legal instruments; namely, the constitution
of the Republic of Cuba, the Children and Youth Code, the Cuban Family Code, and the Cuba Penal
Code.
Having said this, let me say that when a child is born in Cuba he joins a family living in state-sponsored
poverty. The greater majority of Cuban families are poor, even by Third World standards. The average
salary of a Cuban worker is equivalent to $100 to $120 in an economy that was dollarized back in 1993
when Fidel Castro himself decriminalized the tenure of American currency. In comparison, the average
salary in Bangladesh is equivalent to $250. Thus a child's arrival throws a family into chaos, for this new
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mouth further aggravates a severely rationed food basket.
He or she shall encounter shortages in every aspect and stage of life from the onset. In fact, women
across Cuba made sure that lack of baby and infant needs be a priority on the agenda in last March
Federal of Cuban Women's Congress. Infant and postpartum mothers' unmet needs were on the agenda,
second only to the total absence of sanitary napkins from the people's market. These hardships are
perhaps one reason why so many women in Cuba resort to abortions. That and the practice of
persuading women to terminate potentially troublesome pregnancies early on, could explain why 40
percent of all pregnancies end in an abortion in the island.
No one should be fooled by Cuba's statistics on infant mortality rate. Those statistics are improved by the
elimination of difficult pregnancies in childbirth. In light of this manipulation, Cuba's infant mortality rate,
which is between nine and 11, depending on whether it's boys or girls, in 100,000 births doesn't fare so
well if compared to countries where no such manipulation occurs, such as Costa Rica, Chile, and
Uruguay where the rate is 12, 13, and 17, respectively. A child born in Cuba has a life expectancy of 75
to 78, depending on the sex. But it's about the same -- it's even better in some -- in countries like Costa
Rica, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina.
Cuban children have fewer opportunities to be given religious upbringing or to be baptized. The Cuban
constitution and the Penal Code both call for sanctions, including prison terms, against individuals who
put their religious beliefs before duty to Communism. There are no vibrant churches of any denomination
in Cuba -- not Catholic, not Protestant, not Jewish, not Avacua (ph), not Santeria.
Between the ages of one and seven the average Cuban child will have a poor diet, lack appropriate
shoes and clothing and will be at want for basic medication against such common childhood ailments as
diarrhea, ear and throat infections, head lice, and skin conditions such as scabies and impetigo. If a child
is an asthma sufferer or needs antibiotic treatment, the prescriptions needed are not available in the
people's pharmacy. They can be purchased, however, at dollar only stores reserved for foreign
personnel and tourists.
Do not be fooled by those who insist that food and medicine are lacking in Cuba because of the U.S.
embargo. Cuba is a natural producer of just about everything in the food chain except wheat, which it
used to import from the U.S. prior to 1959 and from the Soviet bloc countries until recently. Communist
Cuba fails to feed its people, because four decades of Castro design economics have destroyed Cuban
agriculture and industry.
As for medicines, Cuban pharmaceutical industry is an exporting and revenue producing enterprise. Its
clientele is mostly Third World countries, like Jamaica and Nicaragua. Cuba can and has purchased
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medical supplies and drugs at much cheaper prices in Central America, Canada, and Europe. If it had
any purchasing power at all, the United States pharmaceutical market is not even cost effective for us
who are its captive clientele.
When a child reaches seven, the age of reason, two very unreasonable things happen to him or to her:
One, the milk quota is suspended; two, the Organization of Cuban Pioneers kicks in as the first mass
organization to control the life of the individual. What are the Young Pioneers? According to the Children
and Family Code, article 102, and I quote, "It is a volunteer organization that coordinates tasks and
activities to compliment the formation of the Communist personality," end of quote.
A Young Pioneer must wear a red scarf around his neck or her neck, declare that Fidel and not God is
the father of all Cuban children, and repeat at every paramilitary meeting, "Pioneers of Communism, we
vow to be like Che." This is the first identity and personality crisis a Cuban child person must confront, for
to be like Che, a white, non-Cuban, genocidal male must surely pose an identity crisis for little black boys
whose role model should be the great 19th century liberator, General Antonio Maseo (ph) or Martin
Moduel Delgado (ph), another illustrious black Cuban man elected first president of the Cuban senate in
1905.
And what of little girls, black or white, who are told to be like a white man in fatigues? What kind of
gender identity violation is this to have as national role models a roster of white, Eurocentric,
warmongering males? Black Cuban children also hope to have what the White children of the White
government elite have and what some White Cuban children with access to U.S. dollars also have.
In school, the child learns to read with an alphabet that enshrines that roster. F is for Fidel; also for fusil,
rifle. C is for Che, Gu is for guerrilla, M is for Marti, L is for Lenin, S is for socialism, P is for patria, which
spells fatherland.
This child's progress will be charted in a personal file that will follow him or her throughout his or her life.
In that file will be recorded not only his young revolutionary seal but that of the parents as well. Only
good communists will advance in the educational ladder. Only they will pursue the career of their choice.
The file accompanies the child to junior high school, like Escuelo del Campo, the farm schools.
FUENTES: Between the ages of 12 and 14, children are removed from the custody of parents and sent
to study and work in farm schools designed to give a child an education while extolling hundreds of
unpaid child labor hours in return. Parents can visit on the weekend if they find transportation, of course.
Children go home every four to six weeks. This is the time Cuban children officially pass into state
custody, as these farm schools are mandatory.
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Parents and children who violate this mandate forfeit their right to higher education, for the famous file
will reflect, and I quote, "deviant ideological behavior unbecoming a good Cuban revolutionary," end of
quote. The university, Fidel Castro said years ago, is only for revolutionaries. The Federation of
University Students, a mass organization, upheld the dictum on April 10, just a few days ago, at their sixth
congress. After the pioneers are outgrown, two other organizations become the obligatory course: The
Federation of Intermediate School Students and the Federation of University Students I just mentioned.
Then there is the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Federation of Cuban Women, the
National Association of Small Farmers. For a Cuban to have any life at all, he or she must belong to at
least one of these.
It is an obligation for children and young adults to be militants of the Cuban government, and that
includes compulsory volunteer work while a student. Do not be fooled by those who insist that health
care and education are free in Communist Cuba. Cubans pay for these social services through hundreds
of unpaid man and woman hours of forced volunteer labor in the field, in the territorial militia, in national
guard duty, in community-based services.
For boys, the 15th birthday can be traumatic. That is the age they are set aside for the draft. Although
women can join the armed forces and in fact do, only boys are subject to the draft. On their 16th birthday,
boys must report to duty. From age 16 to 19, young men cannot leave Cuba. The military stakes its
claim on his life and allegiance. Thousands of male Cuban teenagers have gone to jail for violating this
requirement. They are marked for a life of ostracism in a system rigged for loyal revolutionaries only.
A word about young women -- and I'm almost through -- I regret that I must end on an even more tragic
note. For teenage girls, life in Cuba is a double jeopardy. In spite of education, without U.S. dollars no
family can make ends meet in the island. The reported $800 million that the exile community contributes
to the livelihood of relatives in Cuba touches at best 10 percent of the population; I should add, the White
population. For the exile community around the world is mostly White European. So must be their
relatives in the island. But the island's population of 12 million people is believed to be about 60 percent
Afro-Cuban. Conditions in Cuba therefore translate into three realities that are gender specific in that
they affect the life choices of young Cuban women and girls.
Three points: Women marry earlier in Cuba than in any other country in the hemisphere, age is 19.5, but
they delay motherhood to avoid the struggle of feeding another mouth. This means women must resort to
birth control and in many cases to multiple abortions in order to remain childless. Women bear the
burden of birth control in Cuba, for Cuban men are traditionally reluctant to condoms much less to
vasectomies. The health implications, therefore, are a woman's issue in Cuba.
Suicide, number two, is the third cause of death for Cuban female teenagers, ages 15 to 19, usually
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related to early pregnancy or motherhood. In the global context let me add that the rate of suicide among
Cuban women in the island is the highest in the world -- one woman for every man who commits suicide.
In order to alleviate poverty, Cuban women as young as 13 and 14 choose to engage in prostitution with
the foreign clientele in order to generate U.S. dollars. This has resulted in a rise of sexually transmitted
diseases in female teenagers. The practice of abortions on girls as young as 12 and 13 was reported last
fall by the Young Communist Union in Cuba weekly paper, Cubantud Rebelde (ph).
This testimony, to close, could fill reams of paper, not only with academic and legal analysis of the
literature but with interviews and personal accounts from children and young adults who have lived
through and escaped the fate that awaits Elian Gonzalez, a fate that a brave young woman, named
Elisabeth Brotons, wanted her son to avoid. Unfortunately for all of us, it looks like she may not succeed.
Thank you.
SMITH: Ms. Fuentes, thank you very much for your testimony.
I regret to say there's two votes on the floor of the House that will require us to have a very brief recess.
We will return and reconvene the hearing and then get to questioning. I thank you for your patience. The
fact that there were so many members here, especially at the outset, shows -- I think demonstrates the
heightened sense of concern.
I know that in my own research for this hearing, while I had heard, generally, in the Country Reports
about the Cuban Code of the Child and other kinds of documents, I had not known its full implications
until this hearing and until I began doing some research earlier in the week.
SMITH: Hopefully, many Americans will be so educated that there is such a thing, when we're talking
about parental rights or lack thereof, this kind of document would be an absolute non-starter in the United
States. It is antithetical to anything that we believe to be parental rights, and we'll get into that when we
reconvene.
Thank you.
(RECESS)
SMITH: Again, I want to apologize for the interruption with the votes.
The subcommittee will resume its sitting, and at this point I would like to welcome Mr. Cohen, if he would
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make his presentation to the subcommittee.
TRANSLATOR: I am going to translate for him, if that's OK.
COHEN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank God that I can thank God after 30 years of living in a virtual prison. I have been living in this
country for six years, and I thank God everyday for having giving me the opportunity to be a free man,
something that was only a dream to me for many, many years in Cuba.
The person who addresses you today is not a Cubanologist, a Cuban expert, quoted often by journalists,
academics and experts who do a lot of research and come up with a lot of official statistics --that's not
who I am. Of course, when they deal with official data and statistics, they are the statistics given by the
Cuban government. Anyone who tries to explain Cuban reality based on the information that the Cuban
government itself releases is truly wrong; it's truly not accurate.
I was born in the year 1964, five years after the triumph of the revolution. At four years of age, I too said,
"Pioneers for Communism, we shall be like Che." I was proud of that red scarf not knowing what
Communism really was about. I received military training when I was 12 years old, and they taught us to
kill just like -- they taught us the ways of the guerrilla warfare. That is Cuban reality. A little while ago, Mr.
Garcia said something similar, that in order to talk about Cuban reality one really had to know it.
If you really want to know what happens to a person that decides to speak about Cuban reality, if you
really want to understand what would happen to Elian's father if he were to decide to stay in the United
States, then you have to see my case. The only thing I have done is I made a decision to live according
to the dictates of my conscience, to denounce what I was a victim of for 30 years.
Sometimes people say, "So-and-so expresses himself this way, so- and-so expresses himself the other
way. They are probably bad people." And I say, "No, they're not bad people. They're Americans who live
in freedom with false information. They're not bad people. If they knew what I know, they would not say
what they say or think the way they think." That's why I respect everyone's opinion. And I am impressed
-- really taken by how in this chamber or in a university or in a symposium people can do what nobody
can do in Cuba. I say that I thank God that we can thank God. I also thank God that all of you were born
and are able to live in this freedom. If we lived in Cuba, many of us would be in prison. It doesn't matter
what you think. If you dare to speak freely, one would be in prison. If I had not left Cuba on a raft, I
would be in prison or I would be dead. That is Cuban reality.
I managed to escape as the only option to save my life, because I saw and I was a witness more than
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once to how people who had believed truly in the Cuban revolution dared to speak their truth one day and
were disappeared on the next day. The Cuban government not only betrays its own minister -- its own
dignitaries or its generals, the Cuban government not only shoots its generals, the Cuban government,
make no mistake about it, would betray any collaborator, any person who would speak freely.
The price I have had to pay for this honesty, for this talking my truth, has been a six-year separation from
my family. I have never engaged in any military action against Cuba or prepared any terrorist activity
against Cuba. The only thing I ever did was to come to this country -- decide to come to this country so
that my children would have a better life and so that my children would not suffer what I had to suffer.
I came to this country motivated by the things that I could observe when I started to work in the Cuban
intelligence section. When I learned what really happened -- what the reality was with foreign investors,
with tourists, with foreigners in Cuba, or when I saw how Pastors for Peace, for instance, would go to
Cuba, could go to Cuba defying U.S. law, I said my children have to be able to enjoy such freedom. And
when investors came to Cuba with good intentions, believing in Cuba, believing in the revolution, and they
used to be invited out for a night of partying at, for example, Tropicana Night Club, and they would take
their information. I was witness to that reality.
I didn't know how to explain to my children in the future, "Daddy, didn't you realize this whole thing, the
reality of this?" My conscious was burdened with such a predicament. But I have had to pay a very high
price for all of this. My wife, my parents, my three little children -- we're talking about three children, one
woman, and two elderly Cubans -- they are, in effect, prisoners in Cuba. Yes, because they are
prisoners, because they are at home without an ability to work, subjected to government harassment
without the press ever knowing about it, nobody knowing about it. When the government threw my
daughter out of school, expelled my daughter from school, or when the mass demonstrations started in
Cuba and the youngest daughter was forced to go to the rallies in favor of Elian's return, when my wife
receives threatening letters or a threatening note and my six-year old picks them up and reads them,
honestly, can anybody believe that the Castro government is really interested in the fate of any child?
Can anyone think or believe that the government of Fidel Castro is interested in the Cuban family?
Elian is a symbol, and I can assure you that Fidel Castro is very, very interested in destroying that
symbol. If Elian returns to Cuba, if his rights to tell his story and his court are denied him, believe me from
the bottom of my heart that Elian will suffer exactly what I suffered. He will return to Cuba without a
mother, without a father, to the hands of a tyrant.
I am here so that you can get a glimpse at what can happen in Cuba, what could happen to your own
children, to your family, to your wife when you decide to speak your truth. I lived 30 years in Cuba. At 18,
God was Castro. That's why I thank God for being in this country, and I hope and I thank you in advance.
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I thank all of you, any one of you, in advance for anything that you can do on behalf of Elian and on behalf
of my family that they may also reach freedom.
Thank you.
SMITH: Mr. Cohen, thank you very much for that very heartbreaking story. I can assure you we will do
everything we can with what limited resources we have available and with what limited --I would hope,
and I mean this very sincerely, that those people who do have access to Castro would avail themselves
of not just of helping your family but also other families who have been hurt so severely by Fidel Castro.
But the subcommittee, and I know myself, as chairman, am very much moved by your statement, and Mr.
Garcia, you earlier as well.
I'd like to ask Ms. Torres if she would ...
TORRES: Thank you, Congressman, thank you for having me here. It's an honor. My specialty is not
talking; it's dancing. But I'll do my best to express myself about the conditions I lived in Cuba.
Like I say, my name is Neri Torres. I am a choreographer. I left Cuba in 1990 via Italy where due to the
reason that the Cuban security found out that I was leaving, they kidnapped me and put me in a
psychiatric institution for four days, and I received all kinds of tortures from the Italian manager who said
that I had to be grateful to the revolution for the things I had.
And that's an old Congo saying -- I mention Congo because we in Cuba have many ethnic African
groups that are part of our ancestors. And they say seeing is believing, and if you don't live in Cuba, like
they say, there's no way that you experience it, and it's hard to convince people about it.
I grew up in a very active environment with intellectuals and politicals. In my home, it was the
headquarters of -- the equivalent here of the Black Panthers. This group was -- my sister was part of it
and many other people. Some of them live here in Miami, some now live in Cuba, and they had to be
removed.
And they were really active. They were trying to create a new system for the black people, a new
government for the black people, and I experienced all that while I grew up. And they were shot and
taken through social services -- the equivalent of social services, and they tried to give them a reward for
them to forget that they were doing something against the government and not to call the attention that
there were black people trying to do a new government. TORRES: And in any case, it just caught my
attention, because I keep seeing a lot of African-Americans that may be dazzled by the Cuban system of
politics about black Cubans, and I think that black Cubans earned a place in Cuban society by fighting
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many years of war in the 19th century to dispel the Spanish colonization. And I'm proud to have
somebody in my family that was part of that government --sorry -- that army. And it's still in my veins, that
spirit, and the stories through all the elders in my family have told me of stories about betrayal and racism
that Cuba couldn't escape, because we are also part of the universe and racism is part of the universe, a
cause that we have now.
Anyway, let me go back to the point.
I came to talk about my personal experience about (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) in Cuba during days when
we were not aware of the many dangers and pressures in our young lives. Our teachers and system
made us feel that we were being part of a party. However, our parents were desperate to obtain medical
papers since only a chronic disease could stop you from going to the fields.
There are no written laws. We in Cuba all followed or feared something that was everywhere and yet
nowhere, like that famous (inaudible) director, movie called "The Exterminator Angel." Paranoia is very
deep inside Cubans for half a century. The hospitality and warmth of Cuban idiosyncrasies has been
manipulated against Cubans themselves.
Our parents tried to protect us the best they can, but the system has used the customary network of
neighbors to make each other's life miserable and unbearable. People spy on you. They report if you
didn't go to the fields or to a meeting, to Plaza de Racion (ph), et cetera. Later on, this will have
repercussions in your life as a grownup when you aspire for a career or a job or which is the biggest
privilege -- travel abroad.
My neighbor, Julia Hoya (ph), my personal experience in names of the person who happened to be part
of this incident I lived, already deceased ironically due to the complication with somebody stepping on her
foot at a meeting with Castro at La Plaza de Racion (ph). It would follow me everywhere for a long period
of time. This was after my sister and brother abandoned Cuba through Mariel. I lived in continuous fear
up to a point that I had to confront her. I told her that she knew I wasn't a criminal. She saw me growing
up, and my family was very decent, only that my parents never belonged to the CDR (SPEAKING IN
SPANISH) Defense Committee of the Revolution. And that was a bad start in your life.
Her reply was: If the state wants to follow you, I follow you. I said: But you are not the state.
And then things start to be more calm. She had to put many people in jail before. Faustino (ph), a rebel
teenager, was one of them only because he was black, and he wouldn't go to school. His mother had a
heart attack and died because of the incident.
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Education and health in Cuba is a Machiavelli manipulation that holds captive Cuban citizens under the
name of gratefulness.
What is la escuela campo or trabajo protivo (ph)? It starts at age 11 or 12, and it doesn't stop until
college. You have to go and serve for 45 days, work in the fields, and the inexperience of teenagers and
the lack of proper supervision would be the source of several accidents such as death due to falls in the
secure wells, the most common. Boys would escape to visit the girls' camps and run in the dark for
several kilometers, and in Cuba the wells sometimes --the majority of them are kept open, so there were
many deaths of teenagers running and escaping through the fields.
Danger on the trucks where we traveled (inaudible).
The condition of work, we had to achieve a certain goal of filling boxes of potatoes, tomatoes, or in the
many harvests they would figure out for us to do. Later on, it would be working in the cane fields with
machetes when we were to the age of college for the university. Our parents would visit us only on
Sundays to bring us clean clothes, food, supplies, and their love to soften our homesickness. But before
arriving, they had to struggle to get several buses in time, waking up in the wee hours of the morning.
I passed out, like many other children, in certain works. The sun was very hot, the food was not good,
and the health conditions were not ideal. It took me a long time to decide to do my basics the first time
that I went there. I, for sure, was comparing my sanitary toilet at home with that smelly hole in the floor
surrounded by all kinds of bugs.
Cold showers were the prize of the day. Moreover, I developed allergies, and children were sick often,
but many times the teachers wouldn't take us too seriously.
Moreover, there were cases of pregnancy that was kept quiet for the system convenience. The case I
witnessed was that of my next door neighbor that was like me, 10 years old at that time, who had to marry
her physics teacher from who she was pregnant.
Many parents tried to get a doctor's dismissal, which is the only valid reason to stop their sons from going
to the fields. Unluckily, this wasn't possible for all.
The sugar cane cutting, the macheteros florotarios (ph), we would call it obligantario (ph), which is the
term with obligatory and voluntary. So, we created obligantorio (ph). When you go to the college, then you
go to an even harder work, such as cutting cane. This work happened at any time, and the people who
plan to leave Cuba are fired from their jobs and sent to the sugar cane or coffee fields. I remember my
mother going crazy with us five minors at home when at my father's work they took him to be a
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machetero, cane cutter, for several months. The money was not coming in time.
Escuela campo became escuela en el campo, so it was calling the country field a permanent state where
work-study was combined. The idea was to strengthen the spirit of the teenager and also repay the free
education that the government provides.
As you may know, teenagers are not too good for work, and I remember that we were majaciendo (ph),
like being lazy and trying to figure out how to avoid to work in the fields. Still we had to work. At some
point we had to work, because there was supervision in the fields.
The government created a dismemberment of the family nucleus in Cuba soon after Fidel Castro took
over. Divide and conquer seemed to be the source of power of the Cuban revolution.
An example of Operation Peter Pan, when parents sent their children alone terrified with what the
country was transforming in. Also, there were parents that were forced to leave without their children.
These children were won over by the revolution. They made them pioneros pora con mejo (ph) -- they
already said that --pioneers. Thus the children decided not to join their parents in America, and the
government would take them from their parents. They became hijo de la patria, sons of the fatherland.
Then from (inaudible) of the patria potestas, parental jurisdiction, I know the case of Ana Maria Barez
(ph), my sister's friend, who was always a dysfunctional adult due to the trauma she suffered when she
realized she was not to see her father again.
Also during Mariel, there were many mothers and fathers that were sent against their will to this country,
leaving behind a mountain of children. I can mention the dichotomy of many mothers when their fathers
denied signing the child's permission to leave the country. They had to choose between leaving the
children behind or staying.
Children have been manipulated like anything else in the Castro government. The image that the Cuban
government wants to create is totally different from reality. I can only pray that all the Cuban children
could enjoy a brighter future like all children in the world.
And like me, when I look through my little piece of sky in the window of my bedroom, they could see
beyond the blue and make their dreams come true. Most important, I wish they were able to establish
and determine their dreams, at least fight their lives in their own manner, finding the right to selfdetermination.
Thank you very much.
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SMITH: Thank you very much, Ms. Torres. We appreciate your testimony.
We'll ask our next witness if he will proceed.
SHANFIELD: Chairman Smith and members of the subcommittee, thank you for convening this hearing
and for inviting us to share our views about this important and complex issue.
We are deeply appreciative to you for your steadfast attention to human rights issues, in particular your
concern for the plight of refugees and for your continued efforts to highlight these concerns in Congress.
The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization. A substantial
focus of our work over the years has been the protection of refugees. The Lawyers Committee has
represented many hundreds of refugees, including children.
Since the pilgrims first landed almost 400 years ago, the United States has served as a refuge for those
fleeing persecution and oppression. After World War II, when the United States and so many other
nations failed to protect many refugees from Nazi persecution, the United States led the effort to establish
a structure of universally recognized human rights norms, beginning with the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights.
Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to seek and
enjoy asylum in other countries from persecution.
Building on the recognition of this right as universal, the United States then worked to establish
international standards for the protection of refugees. More than 30 years ago, the United States formally
bound itself to these standards by acceding to the protocol of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
The central obligation undertaken by the United States and other state parties to the treaty was to refrain
from returning any refugee to a place where his life or freedom would be threatened. This obligation was
codified into U.S. law by the 1980 Refugee Act, which also set out a framework for the independent
adjudication, free from political considerations, of claims for refugee status.
Although not everyone who seeks protection is entitled to asylum, international legal obligations require
states, at minimum, to provide fair and effective procedures to determine who is a refugee. The United
States has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to this principle, although recent changes to U.S. asylum
law, such as expedited removal, place the United States out of step with its tradition of fairness and
compassion towards refugees.
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Fair legal procedures and access to legal remedies serve as the foundation for many international legal
instruments to which the United States is a party, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights
and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as our own domestic jurisprudence.
Moreover, for these rights to be effective, adequate procedures must be available to permit their
enjoyment.
The Refugee Act of 1980 reflected Congress' concern for providing access to a fair procedure by
explicitly providing that any alien physically present in the United States may apply for asylum.
This right to seek asylum has subsequently been subjected to very limited and statutorily defined
exceptions. But importantly, Congress has never deprived children of the right to seek asylum.
Like their adult counterparts, child asylum seekers flee their homelands to escape war, persecution and
political instability. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that children make up
more than half the world's refugee and internally displaced population, accounting for a population of 20
million children.
The situation is acute. Out of this population, an estimated 250,000 of these refugee children are
separated from their parents. Although only a small fraction of this group seeks refuge in the United
States, the need to ensure adequate protection in our laws for this vulnerable group is paramount.
Unfortunately, the factors that turn children into refugees are more prevalent and diverse now than at any
time since World War II. Where child refugees were once bystanders in adult conflicts, this is increasingly
not the case. As witnessed in China, Kosovo and Sierra Leone and so many other countries around the
world, children are the deliberate targets of human rights abuses, including infanticide, conscription, ritual
genital mutilation, slave labor and sexual servitude.
As so eloquently described in the excellent article by Jacqueline Baba (ph) and Wendy Young (ph)
entitled "Through a Child's Eyes: Protecting the Most Vulnerable Asylum Seekers," unaccompanied
children who must make their way to safety without the assistance of their parents are most at risk. I
would ask that a copy of this article be entered into the record of this hearing.
SMITH: Without objections, Mr. Shanfield, it will be made a part of the record.
SHANFIELD: Particularly problematic are cases where parents are incapable of protecting their children
from persecution. Or worse, where parents are complicit in that persecution. For instance, female genital
mutilation is generally conducted at the behest of a young girl's parents.
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In a number of traditional societies, girls are targeted as the victims of honor killings for opposing their
subjugation to demeaning social roles. To illustrate, one of our clients was held captive in her father's
home and regularly beaten just for resisting his authority to marrying her off against her will.
Children asylum seekers who have friends or relatives in the United States to guide them through our
byzantine asylum system are surely the fortunate ones. However, many are not so lucky. And in the
case of an unaccompanied child asylum seeker, their protection from persecution demands a vigilant and
proactive approach.
Many children are simply unable to articulate their need for protection, given their youth, lack of
sophistication and unfamiliarity with our culture. Identification of child asylum seekers is therefore a key
responsibility. Once identified, these children must be provided with assistance to effectuate their rights
to refugee protection.
Parents' rights are fundamental, but they are not absolute. We have seen many instances where parents
of child refugees are either incapable, because of intense pressure or fear of retaliation by their own
government, of protecting their young or are active participants in their children's persecution. In such
cases, a parent's opposition to a child's need for protection cannot be the last word.
In contemplating this matter, we must uphold the important principle that children are part of the human
family and have an independent right to protection from harm and the enjoyment of fundamental rights.
Where the wishes of a parent are at odds with the child's need for protection, those wishes may have to
yield. The attorney general and ultimately the courts must ensure that where there is conflict of interest a
child who needs protection will receive it.
I'd like to thank this committee again for the opportunity to present the views of the Lawyers Committee.
We are grateful for your attention to this matter and look forward to continuing to work with you.
I would like to thank the committee for your excellent and dedicated work to ensure that the United
States will continue to serve as a beacon for the oppressed, whatever their homeland and regardless of
their age.
SMITH: Yield to the gentlelady.
MCKINNEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Shanfield, do you have that document with you?
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SHANFIELD: I'm sorry, which document are you referring to?
MCKINNEY: The one that you asked to be submitted to the record.
SHANFIELD: Yes, I do. Shall I bring it up?
MCKINNEY: Could you make it available? Yes, please; thank you.
SMITH: I want to thank our very distinguished panel for their excellent testimony and ask a couple of
questions and then yield to my colleagues.
I understand, Mr. Garcia, you are under very tight time constraints, so Ms. Fuentes spoke earlier about
the farm schools or the involuntary -- the forced labor that young people are required to undergo as a time
when children pass into state custody. Can you speak to that issue of -- I mean many of us are very
concerned in the United States, and it's a global concern, about parental rights and state intrusion into
those parental rights. And it would seem the face that Fidel Castro, through the Elian Gonzalez case, has
put on is that somehow parents are supreme rather than subordinate to the state. And, frankly, as I stated
earlier before we broke for those votes, the Cuban Code of the Child, which we have the Spanish version
and a number of the articles broken out in English, and I would, without objection, ask that this be made a
part of the record in English as well as Spanish -- if you could speak to the issue of this indoctrination.
For example, if Elian were to go back, will he be forced to become a Marxist?
FUENTES: Are you asking me, Mr. Chairman, or you want me to ...
SMITH: Both of you. Mr. Garcia has to leave, I understand, and then, Ms. Fuentes, I'd like to ask you
that question, as well.
GARCIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): If Elian returns to Cuba, he will be destined to live in a life almost
in captivity. In other words, he will be obligated to comply. It's possible that the slogan of the pioneers
might be changed. At present, it's "Pioneers for Communism, we vow to be like Che." Maybe now the
slogan will become, "Pioneers for Communism, we vow to be like Elian." Elian will not see his old
neighborhood again. Elian will be protected from the rest of the community in an exclusive neighborhood
in Miramar, in the Miramar neighborhood, a neighborhood in Havana that because of its strategic location
is under constant surveillance by Cuban intelligence. That's where Elian will live with his father. In other
words, the press --the foreign press, is what he means -- will not have access to Elian ever again in his
opinion.
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Elian will be made a national -- Elian's father will be made a national hero and maybe will be moved into
a seat in the national assembly. Because in my opinion Elian's father's lack of courage, or perceived lack
of courage, has provided Castro with a victory, a political victory against the United States, which in the
ultimate analysis is what Castro is concerned about, is interested in, a political victory, and not
necessarily the welfare of Elian or of any other Cuban child.
If Castro were concerned about the welfare and justice for children, he would have made sure that the 10
bodies, the children's bodies that are in the ocean from the 13th of March tugboat capsizing, sinking,
would have been properly rescued. If Castro were interested in the welfare of children, he would have
made sure that a judicial process was started to bring to justice those responsible for the massacre.
However, the officers responsible for this mass assassination walk the streets of Havana freely with
absolutely no punishment.
SMITH: Ms. Fuentes, you wanted to respond to that?
FUENTES: Both the Cuban family -- the Children and Youth Code of Cuba, the constitution of Cuba call
for the obligatory formation and the responsibility of everyone involved with the upbringing of a child to
work toward the formation, the shaping of the communist -- and it says so -- I don't have it in front of me,
but it's almost as if I were quoting it -- the communist formation of the personality and of the individual.
Anyone who comes in contact with the child is obligated --whether it be parents, teachers, counselors,
recreation coordinator --anyone who comes in contact with that child's educational process, socialism
process, is obligated under Cuban law to make of that child, be it a girl or a boy, a good communist so
that the answer to the question, will Elian be forced to be a good communist or a communist if he is
returned to Cuba, the answer is in violation of every single assured right of the individual. According to
the Declaration of Human Rights, yes, that child will be forced to become a communist.
It's just -- it's not me saying it. It's these other legal instruments of the society to which Elian will be
returned. There are no options. Being a communist is not an option. Being a pioneer is not an option in
a society where if a child or the parents of a child withhold his participation in the pioneers organization,
that child automatically is stigmatized as someone coming from a family ideologically deviant. And this is
exactly the terminology that is used, "ideological deviance." SMITH: Dr. Dominguez, you mentioned that
this would be punishable under law. Can you tell us what would be meted out to an individual young
person or parents who stood up to being forced to become a communist?
DOMINGUEZ: Well, initially, it depends on the age of when this will occur.
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Obviously, there are many things that could happen to a child, one of them being the prevention of
having the ability to enroll in higher education, in choosing the career that he so desires, he or she so
desires. So that would be the most obvious one, if the child should have selected to go into a higher
education field.
It could be many other subtle ways. It could be harassing in every which way that they could -- they do it
all the time to people with dissenting opinion. And in fact under the penal code it's also endorsed and
envisioned. The constitution itself calls for it. Article 62 very clearly states that it's punishable under the
law. It doesn't go into the detail of what the punishment is under the constitution, but they have a penal
code and they have many other ways of harassing and actually sanctions to people who do not agree
with their system.
SMITH: Let me just ask, Ms. Fuentes, you mentioned in the state, when it puts out these rousing
numbers -- which are very often replicated by UNICEF and others -- as indicating that infant mortality and
child survival is relatively high for Cuba, and yet in very few studies do I see a point that you made, and
that is that they terminate potentially troublesome children, I think is the way you put it. We had a 1998
joint staff report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations
Committee and noted that the Cuban regime coerces abortions for so-called social risk pregnancies.
According to the report, the social risk category is extremely broad and encompasses women over 35,
girls under 20, women who have had three children, women from poor or rural families, and women with
genetically determined illnesses, including things such as diabetes and hypertension.
I've heard this argument for so long about how great the medical care is in Cuba, and yet only human
rights advocates who put the rest of the picture in -- I mean China can also show a very high infant
mortality -- low, I should say, low rate. Several years ago, they initiated a draconian eugenic policy where
handicapped children are singled out -- girls, too -- but handicapped children are singled out and killed.
So you don't have handicapped kids because they're being killed by abortion. And now we see and we
have seen for some time now the doctors in Cuba who bring this out -- and this is noted in our Country
Reports in Human Rights Practices -- are thrown into jail, are beaten.
So the whistleblowers find themselves, when they speak for women who are being coerced and for
children, handicapped kids -- this country made a gargantuan step in the right direction when we passed
the Americans with Disabilities Act which finally, through law, enfranchised handicapped individuals. Now
we see in Cuba, we certainly see it in China as well, that handicapped people are selectively left out of
humanity. If you could speak to that, because you did mention it in your testimony.
FUENTES: Mr. Chairman, precisely that enforcement, that forced coercion into abortion of anything that
could spell trouble at the time of childbirth is the reason why Dr. Ilea Morina (ph) -- who is Cuba's and
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probably Latin America's most prominent neurosurgeon, founder of the Institute for Neurological Studies
in Cuba, a member, by the way, a former member of the Cuban National Assembly, one of Fidel Castro's
pride and joy, a woman who is now in her early 40's, so we could say a product of the educational system
of the revolution --that is precisely the reason why she resigned as a congresswoman, as an
assemblywoman, because the connection between the coercion into abortion and the biomedical
production of placenta products, in other words, placentas from those abortions as raw material, so to
speak, I mean for lack of a better term, for all kinds of pharmaceutical products and beauty products,
especially the cosmetic products, forced her to, in conscience, to resign her position.
FUENTES: And in resigning her position as an assemblywoman, as a member of the Cuban National
Assembly, she was ousted from her position as director of the Institute of Neurological Studies.
And not only that but she is in effect one of those adults who is virtually kidnapped by the Cuban
government. The Cuban government will not allow her to leave the country, not even for a visit with her
son and grandchildren who live in Argentina precisely because, according to the government, her medical
information, her scientific knowledge, is an issue of national security for Cuba.
So there is ample evidence.
There are many doctors. The day that the committee decides or sees it fit -- necessary to conduct some
hearings on the medical -- on the real state of medicine in Cuba and the violations of human rights that
are really rampant in the medical field, anyone could parade through here, dozens and dozens and
dozens of doctors of Cuban researchers and physicians who have even served jail terms for, as you
called it, whistleblowing on these abuses.
So, there is ample evidence, you know, again, reams of paper with that.
If I may, Mr. Chairman, I would like to suggest that perhaps this panel can introduce into the record at
least the sections of the Cuban penal code of the constitution, the Family and Children's Code, that are
germane to what we have discussed here today so that it can -- you know, the committee and other
members of Congress can avail themselves of the record.
SMITH: Ms. Fuentes, without objection, we will do that. And I think it's extremely important. This is the
beginning of a learning curve. Many of us who thought that we knew something about Cuba have held
hearings before. I actually tried to get into Cuba. Was not allowed.
But let me just say that we will make every effort to get the information that's coming out of this hearing
and in subsequent hearings out.
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I mean I find it outrageous that in a pal-parroting (ph) way so many people will suggest this tremendous - this never met -- with all due respect, Reverend Walker -- never saw anybody that was sick. Well, at
least the newly borns and the young people are being aborted. Let me just ask, Reverend Walker, I have
a question for you. You mentioned -- and you've cited my favorite scriptures -- Matthew 25: When I was
hungry, you gave me to eat; thirsty, you gave me the drink. And you might recall our Lord said, When I
was in prison, you visited me.
You also talked about the need for reconciliation, which I couldn't agree more with, but part of my
problem is: reconciliation without justice is accommodation; it's not reconciliation.
And the concern that I have is when you have a dictatorship that continues like Marx -- or not Marx -- like
Lenin or like others, Nicholas Ceausescu, like Mao Tse-tung, or even right now in China, Jiang Zemin -that continues to commit violations each and every day -- the Country Reports in Human Rights Practices
cites 350 to 400 political prisoners, men and women -- everybody at this table, potentially, could be
thrown into prison if this hearing were being held in Havana -- every one. I would be, Cynthia, all of us
would run the risk, and certainly based on what Ms. Fuentes and others have said, you would be going,
you would be getting a very long jail sentence for speaking so courageously on behalf of the oppressed.
So reconciliation it's important, but without justice it's one- sided.
I mean, whether it be on El Salvador or South Africa, truth commissions talk about reconciliation looking
back, but they also demand that going forward that there be human rights observance, otherwise it's a
sham.
And I'm not sure if you've read the Country Reports in Human Rights Practices, but I would -- I mean, do
you agree with its contents where it says that the human rights record is poor, it systematically violates
civil and political rights of its citizens, the authorities harass, threaten, arbitrarily harass, detain, imprison,
defame human rights advocates and members of independent professional associations, including
journalists, economists, doctors, and lawyers, often with the goal of coercing them into leaving the country
-- this is the State Department speaking.
They also point out that the government infringes on citizens' privacy rights, denying freedom of speech,
press, assembly and association.
And my point is: Do you agree with that assessment from the State Department? And secondly, again,
pursuant to Matthew 25, have you yourself gone in and visited with these political prisoners who have
been subjected to torture and all kinds of horrific mistreatment?
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WALKER: Mr. Chairman, since you've asked me about five or six questions, it'll take a little time to
answer them all.
On the matter of reconciliation, in your view, the necessity to hold that as a precondition of some
discussions towards mutual understanding and reconciliation, justice, is certainly not biblical in the sense
that, if we have a standard that is our standard and we indicate that we will not -- I would not discuss with
you how we can reach understanding, how we can resolve our differences unless you agree with my
standard of justice, there is no basis for communication.
SMITH: Could you yield on that one point, very briefly.
WALKER: Yes.
SMITH: The Cuban government, Fidel Castro in particular, has agreed to the myriad of human rights
documents, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a host of other documents. The
problem has been no follow-up, no adherence to those documents, and this isn't just a U.S. congressman
or a U.S. government official speaking. I mean, the UN sent delegates there some years ago. Those
who came forward and spoke out were retaliated against, so severe is the repression. So when you talk
reconciliation, he's got all the guns.
WALKER: Let me complete my statement, if you don't mind.
What I'm suggesting is that there must be mutual respect, and there must be a willingness to sit down
and discuss together, mutually, respecting the sovereignty of each -- each side respecting the sovereignty
of another -- differences, charges, problems that exist. And to my understanding, that has not happened.
I think, secondly, that your matter of visiting those in prison, yes, I have, and I have talked with exprisoners. And I think it is important for you to know that I have been able to do some reconciling, to be
an intermediary in some cases.
I think it is also important for you to know that while we may not like it, or while the kind of, I think to a
large extent, wishful thinking and this sort of psychological obsession with Fidel Castro which is reflected
here, bars our clarity. I think the fact is...
SMITH: With all due respect, and I will -- because you're suggesting that I -- I have been reading from
the State Department's very, very well- considered and well-documented Country Reports in Human
Rights Practices. The fact that there is one man at the helm of that repression doesn't make me or
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anyone else who singles him out --it is the same way that we would single out Lenin or Stalin or anybody
else who was at the head of a repressive regime.
WALKER: My view, and it's consistent, although from a different perspective, with that which has been
said by at least two members of the House, of the committee, that we ought to be careful about our
language, and some of our language has suggested that we're not focusing on this basic right of a parent
to be with his child. We're not basically talking about what is in the interest of a child. We have politicized
the issue, and there are those who are attempting to make it an issue of what we think about Fidel
Castro, what we think about the Cuban government.
My point is that to a certain extent those views are irrelevant. Let me give you an example out of my own
personal experience. I'm old enough that I grew up during the Depression. There were those for whom
my parents worked who wanted to take me and raise me. These were very well-heeled, economically,
people, an officer in Exxon Corporation. My parents made the very clear decision that they had the right
and the responsibility to raise their children. They were incensed that their rich friends for whom they
worked would even think that they would give up the custody of their children.
We grew up in poverty. We grew up learning the values that I talk about today, the values that have
shaped me. I assure you that there were many, many efforts in my own education to shape my
personality, to teach me to be a capitalist, to teach me to favor free market enterprise, et cetera -- that's
the function of any government. I think it would irresponsible of the Cuban government to claim to be, as it
does in its constitution, a socialist state and not teach what that means to its people. We should not deny
that to Cuba. We should allow the parents who may not have as much as the distant relatives here in the
U.S. would have to raise, in this case, his own child. That's the issue.
The issue for me is the welfare of this child in the custody of his father, not what Fidel Castro thinks, not
all of these issues, which need to be addressed in due course and in proper context. This was not what I
was invited to discuss, and I think that we have reached far beyond, in my view, the bounds of the
specific description of the subject of this hearing.
We are now engaging in a certain degree of prophecy. For example, how can we sit here and predict
that young Elian will be forced to be a Marxist? I think this is sort of outlandish and irresponsible. I think
there are those who think that, and they may speak their view, but to declare categorically this is what's
going to happen, I suggest, is not responsible discourse. And I feel that very seriously.
I know many people in Cuba who are not Marxists, who are critical of Marxism, or at least some aspects
of it, and who are patriotic in their country, who are faithful in their family responsibilities, who are good
upstanding, outstanding citizens, and I think that we ought to recognize that people can be of a different
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ideological or religious political persuasion and be quality human beings and be people of respect and
people of integrity.
SMITH: You've sparked some comments from your comments, though.
WALKER: And that we should be able to communicate with them and resolve any differences.
SMITH: Doctor?
DOMINGUEZ: I wanted to respond to that, because it's in the Cuban constitution under Article 39, and
I've read it before, and I need to go back to it, because it's not me who's saying it; it's their own Cuban
constitution. Article 5 starts saying that the Communist Party of Cuba, described as Marxist-Leninist, is
the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation and is the superior leading force of the society and the state,
which organizes everything that goes on.
And then in Article 39, it goes into the state bases its educational and cultural policies on Marxist
ideology. And it promotes the patriotic education and communist training for the new generations. It is
right there in the Cuban constitution. It addresses the very topic and that very issue.
SMITH: Ms. Fuentes or Mr. Cohen?
FUENTES: I'll translate for him, and then I would like to make a comment, if I may.
COHEN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It's very important to know that anyone who intends to study, who
wants to study in Cuba, for example, to finish a university career, first has to have a political file approved
by the school or the educational institution. The case of my daughter, for instance, who was expelled
from school not because she was saying what she thought, speaking her mind, but because of what her
father thinks. And because in order to free her, I tried to get a visa. Automatically that disqualifies her to
continue her higher education.
COHEN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I studied at the university. I graduated with a degree in
mathematics. What does mathematics have to do with communism? During the five years I had to pass
a subject matter titled "Scientific Communism." If you don't pass that subject matter, you cannot become
a mathematician or a physics -- a scientist or a physicist or an engineer -- Ms. Torres is adding or an artist
or anything else.
Reverend Walker was saying before that he knows people in Cuba who are not communists. Probably
that's what they tell him because that is how the political system works. I was a witness to how the
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system worked. The person that is addressing you and telling you this is someone who was there and
was a witness of how the system works. That's why I'm here, that's why I broke with the government.
One of the things that I hated most was how honest people were utilized, people who lived in freedom like
the reverend.
There were three categories in the intelligence service. One is to be an agent. The agent is the one that
is placed outside in a foreign country and provides information to Cuba about the activities in that country.
The second level is a confidence person. Before that there is a category that is referred to as a
worthwhile contact. Those are people who come to Cuba. They are studied, they are actually studied,
and they get them to collaborate in some way with the government, but they have no secret information.
They simply become like spokespersons of the government. The worthwhile-contact people know that
they are, in effect, providing a service to the Cuban government.
There's a third category which is the friendly relation, the friendly contact. This person never knows that
he is, in effect, working for the government. They're used without their knowledge, really; they're used.
They show them the apparent successes of the revolution. They're taken to hospitals, they're taken to
biotechnology centers. Anybody would be impressed because you never really get to know the other
truth. That person gets a file opened --a file is opened for that person in Cuba. If tomorrow any one of
you goes to Cuba, you will have a file opened. It doesn't matter who you are. Every single person that
goes to Cuba has a file. You can't possibly know that reality, but I'm a witness of that reality.
This is a time-consuming activity, but it's done with plenty of time. The person is studied, their
motivations, their weaknesses, their resentments, if they're black, if they're white, and the system grinds
that information into usable information. I'm a witness to that, which is why I broke with the regime,
because there are a lot of honest people, illustrious people, who are very good people, who live in a world
of disinformation, and Castro actually mocks them. Believe me, that is the truth, and I'm a witness of that.
Thank you.
SMITH: Ms. Cynthia McKinney.
And if your time permits, we would like to have a second round of questions, but if anybody does have to
leave, I certainly understand it is getting very late.
MCKINNEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to, I guess, thank you for calling this hearing, because I have to say that it has been educational
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for me as well, and I believe that in due course we will have more hearings, and we will explore the issue
of Cuba even more.
I do want to hear from Mr. Cohen a little more, but I want to yield to my colleague so that she can go
ahead of me.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you, and I'd like to thank my colleague for yielding and also would like to thank
the chair for allowing me to sit in on the subcommittee hearing. I serve on the International Relations
Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, but this is an issue that is very important to me. Human rights of
children anywhere in the world are critical in terms of just the future of the world.
Oftentimes when I travel, and now I'm not talking about to Cuba but I'm talking about throughout the
world, I am asked as an African- American with regard to what's going on with our children here in
America in terms of the millions of children living in poverty, in terms of the millions of children who are
homeless, and the disproportionate number of young African-American men in jail for non-violent
offenses. So, in other countries and other leaders in countries ask me very similar questions that we're
asking today. And, so human rights, of course, for children anywhere in the world are very important.
Let me say that I have visited Cuba on several occasions. I wanted to form my own opinions about the
realities of Cuba. Unfortunately, this 40-year embargo has prevented American citizens from freely
traveling to be able to see and to form their own opinions. We have a right to travel, and we have not
been able, as American citizens, to have that right to travel to Cuba for a variety of reasons unless we
jump through a lot of hoops. So I go so I can come back and try to engage in an objective discussion with
regard to U.S.-Cuba policy, and I think this dialogue must take place. I'm pleased that this hearing is
taking place today, because this gets us at least to the dialogue stage.
Now it's no secret -- and one of the reasons I came over here, Mr. Chairman, is I was sitting in my office
watching the videotape of Elian, and so I said I'm going to have to come over to this hearing, because I
don't know what to do, quite frankly. I have to make this statement. It's no secret that I have supported
the return of Elian to his father. I think that that's the only right thing to do, that parental custody, the bond
between a parent and child supersedes any kind of issue with regard to any government in the world.
And so I have the opportunity...
(AUDIO GAP)
JACKSON LEE: ...in Cuba and here in Maryland, and I have no reason to believe that he is not a fit
parent. He loves his child, and he should be returned.
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Today when I saw this videotape and I wanted to ask members of the panel what they thought about this,
because to me this videotape has crossed the line, Mr. Chairman. This videotape -- when I saw young
Elian on this tape, it reminded me of oftentimes when we see members of our armed services and U.S.
citizens captured abroad and then put on television and asked to say questions and then the tapes are
put out to the media. We as Americans feel incensed that that kind of propaganda can go out. And here
we have a six-year-old child who was on television earlier. It just brought back memories of times when
we had to deal with this as American people. And I wanted to see if the panel, any of you felt that that
crossed the line at all in terms of Elian Gonzalez and his human rights, or if that's something that we think
is the right thing to do convince the American people that he should stay in America? I'm curious.
SMITH: Well, first of all, let me just say, since you're asking the panel rather than the witnesses, I
happen to believe that unlike the POWs -- and I was on the POW-MIA task force for Vietnam and made
trips over to there, and I remember going through the footage. We were talking about life sightings and
then, unfortunately, it became just a matter of trying to repatriate remains.
But in looking at all of those old clippings, there were men under duress who were tortured day in and
day out, witnesses Jeremiah Denton (ph), Sam Johnson (ph), all of whom have written books, and many,
many others who were being coerced, and if they didn't say exactly what they were told to say -- as a
matter of fact, Jeremiah Denton, while he was giving his testimony, false, about how great things were,
was actually blinking torture in Morse code. He had the presence of mind to do that during that horrific
ordeal.
I have met many, many people who have lived in captivity. I have met many people who have lived in
Castro's -- Armando Valodares (ph), one of the greatest leaders of democracy who was actually Reagan's
ambassador to the Geneva convention on human rights. I've read his book, "Against All Hope," and then
talked to him extensively about the torture, the torture that he had to endure day in and day out in
Castro's prison. That may be putting a name on it. It's Castro's prisons, like it or not, just like it was
Stalin's gulags, and then it became Kruzchev's and became other people in the former Soviet Union.
Here we have a young child who has bonded very closely to a young lady, and I've met with this young
lady, the cousin, I've met with other members of the family. He seems to love her and has substituted the
love that he loved so deeply for his own mother for this other caregiver, this surrogate mother, call her
whatever you would like, Marisleysis. And you have a situation where the family deeply loves this child
and they put out a video. I don't think that crosses the line. And to make the comparison to men in
combat or any other prison-like situation where they have been tortured goes over the line. I say with all
due respect to my friend, because I watched that video this morning, and it comported with everything
else that has been said.
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I happen to argue, and I argued again this morning or when we opened up this hearing, I would hope that
a court of competence would look at the best interest of the child. And we have seen, while Reverend
Walker would disagree that we can't have prophetic views whether or not he will become a Marxist, you
know, past is prologue. The clear, unmistakable record of the communist dictatorship in Cuba and their
supporting documents, witnesses to that repression year in and year out have come forward and the
document that in that system of education there will be a very aggressive attempt to mold this individual in
a Marxist-Leninist perspective. That's just based on all the documentation.
JACKSON LEE: Will the chairman yield?
SMITH: And let me just conclude.
JACKSON LEE: I'm sorry.
SMITH: So I happen to think that whether it was right or wrong, that's up to the family, but it certainly,
absolutely does not in any way even -- they can't be compared to men who have been coerced under
pain of kicked when they return to their jail cells in Vietnam or in Iraq when our flyers were paraded by
Saddam Hussein. Absolutely not.
JACKSON LEE: Will the chairman yield?
Mr. Chairman, I think you made the point. What my point is, is given what you just said, is this an
appropriate mechanism or tactic to use ...
SMITH: Well frankly, I think it's appropriate, and -- I thank the gentlelady for yielding -- I also thought -and I know the Cuban government was very outraged when a major network personality interviewed
Elian. What's being left out of this, in my view, is best interest of the child. We just will shortly vote on the
Hague convention on adoption, and riddled throughout that document is that phraseology, "best interest
of the child," and maybe it is to return with his father. I would hope that his father, if given the opportunity,
could make a case for staying here. But we are talking about a situation where we have not heard it all.
I'm learning things myself today, and I have been following Cuba for years about this code that is forced
upon young children. Now we would never settle for that. And I think the more time we have as this goes
forward, I will make a major case on the floor about this robbing of parents of their rights, including Elian's
dad. When his child, Elian, goes -- if he does go back to Cuba -- when he is now handed off for the final
molding by the government, where are we going to be? We will have lost that child. Maybe he'll come
back; maybe he'll resist it. People do resist it. But he will be molded. And I think we've got to think of his
future. That's not prophetic; that's based on all of the available evidence that reasonable men and
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women could possibly have.
MCKINNEY: Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman, would you just yield?
SMITH: Yes.
MCKINNEY: Is it not the case that Elian is being molded now? I've got a report here that says that he fell
in love with chocolate milk, and when his relatives give him chocolate milk they tell him, Fidel Castro won't
let his grandma make that for him in Cuba. Is he not being molded now, and could that have some
bearing on content of hat video? I have not seen the videotape, so I don't know it, but it certainly appears
to me that there's some molding going on right here.
SMITH: Mr. Diaz-Balart.
DIAZ-BALART: Well, I know we have a vote, and I want to first thank you, Mr. Chairman, again for this
opportunity, and I just want to make sure that I have this opportunity to thank all of the panelists.
Ileana, I know you're leaving. Thank you. And I felt very proud of all of the Cuban and Cuban-American
members of the panel and you, sir, for the Lawyers Committee for standing up for children's rights.
Children have rights, and they have a right to seek political asylum, and it's in the regs, and I've read the
regs. And "any alien" means any person, including a child, and I'm glad that you all picked up on that .
I just want to say this: I've had a chance to meet Elian, and Elian is a human being and he's a brilliant
six-year-old. And the fact that people may be bothered because he likes freedom, he likes to be in the
United States, and he doesn't like to go back to oppression is no excuse for saying that he's not speaking
the truth when he tells Sister Jean, changes her mind; when he tells Diane Sawyer, changes her mind;
when he tells a psychiatrist that Diane Sawyer brought, changes his mind. And now he tells the world.
I haven't seen that video -- but everybody who talks to him he knows -- apparently since this
administration is not following even its own precedence in procedure -- that he's got to act as his own
lawyer. And that's the sad case. That's the reality of Elian Gonzalez.
So he doesn't want to go back to oppression. He's six-year-old, and he's convinced of that. And I
remember when I was six years old, I knew what was going on in Cuba, and I wouldn't have wanted to go
back to oppression when I was six years old. And I just want to ask one question of Mr. Cohen, if I may, if
I can ask you a question. Do you believe that after Elian fades as a human interest story, (SPEAKING IN
SPANISH) do you think that Castro will take the risk of letting Elian and his father exist (SPEAKING IN
SPANISH)?
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SMITH: May we have a translation, somebody?
COHEN: You'd better, because I don't want to make any mistakes.
DIAZ-BALART: Dr. Dominguez.
SMITH: She'll translate.
COHEN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): There's a reality -- where is Robaina, where is Aldana (ph)? The
answer is no. I know how the system works. And if you want to know what has happened in the past,
don't look at this humble family. You can look at the example of the best and most prominent government
officials that are part of the regime. The most recent one is Robaina, who was the foreign minister, public
figure, who had traveled the entire world with contacts in every foreign office in the world. The question
is: Has anyone seen Robaina again? Has any foreign journalist been able to interview Mr. Rowina
again? Where is Mr. Robaina?
But before Robaina there was Mr. Aldana (ph) and all the previous VIPs that Fidel has vanished.
So you are really able to answer this question on your own. Would Castro allow this child in another two
years or the grandmothers or his father to stand before the foreign press and say, "Well, perhaps we
made a mistake." Things are already happening. Elian's father can't even get together with his own
family. The grandmothers were not allowed to meet with their own family.
And I wanted to go to Bethesda and speak to Elian's father to ask him to intercede for my own family.
You could witness if you came with me that they would not -- I would not be allowed to do that either,
because it's a risk that Fidel Castro