Essay Preview: Evil Corporations
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Corporations, what are these? These are the things everybody sees/interact with in everyday life. Mc Donalds, Cartoon Network, Viacom, etc. These are the giant conglomerates who control everyday life. They can pretty much control what people do. Corporations can raise/lower prices, makes us watch what they want to watch, etc. They are corrupt, evil, malicious & will not stop for anyone, except if money were to be discussed. They are what control America & pratically many other foreign countried today.
In the film, The Corporation (Achbar, M. 2003), it is stated that the Bechtel Corporation located in San Fransico, Ca, has put a
privatized ownership on the water in Bolivia. In Feburary of 2000, the town of Cochabamba, one of the three largest cities in Bolivia, took to the streets in an angry protest. Adults, along with teenagers and people of all ages & their shouts of “the people untied, will never be defeated!” rang throught the streets. All of this started because of The World Bank putting Bolivia in debt, also there was a 16 percent guaranteed rate of return negotiated by Bechtels affiliate.
Chatterjee (2003) states that the worst of the protest clashes occurred
in Feburary 2000, when President Hugo Banzer called on more
than one thousand of his troops to quell the protests. Using tear gas & rubber bullets, the troops brutally injured more than one thousand
protesters, and killed Victor Hugo Daza. Also many of the injured were left paralyzed from brain injuries received during the violent
Chatterjee (2003) also states that Bechtel got ahold of the rights to Bolivias water because
the country owed 30 million
debt to the previous water company before Bechtel took over. This is what started the famous “water war”. The debt that Bolivia was in
worked out to the revunes for half a day. This is the annual cost fo hiring three thousand doctors, or hiring twelve thousand school
teachers, even giving 125,000 families acess to the public water system! Bechtel claims that the price hikes were “minimal”. “For the
poorest people the rates barely went up ten percent”(Bechtel corp., 2001).
Bechtels leagl action is currently being heard by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, an
international tribunal housed at the World Bank in Washington DC (Chatterjee, 2003). According to Chatterjee (2003), Bechtel filed the case with ICSID under a bilateral investment treaty between the Netherlands and Bolivia. In August 2002, Earthjustice & the Center for
International Environmental Law filed a request to show these procedeings to the public and citizens groups from Bolivia. Bechtel was
handed a victory this Feburary when the ICSID stated that the public nor the media was allowed to participate or witness the proceedings. This was the beginning of the Bechtel trials.
The trial which took place in August of 2002, was a controversial one. The public, nor the media were not allowed to view the trials. The trial, in which Bechtel is suing the people of Bolivia for $25 million. Aguas del Tunari, a subsidiary of Bechtel, is suing South Americas porest nation over the companys failed effort to take over the water system of Cochabamba (WTO, 2003). According to Oscar Olivera, a leader of the coalition of Bolivian peasants, said “Now the World Bank is not only imposing its ideas and programs on us, it is also preventing the people affected from participating in a case that directly affects our lives. This is profoundly undemocratic” (Olivera).
Also, Bechtel is suing Bolivia for the profits it claims it would have made from the water privatization(WTO 2003). The president of the tribunal arbitrating the case replied last week to a petition filed by Oscar Olivera & a coalition of other Bolivian citizens & public interest organizations seeking to participation (WTO 2003). The