Any self-respecting countrywould have long expropiated and nationalized Doe Run Peru (DRP), kicked out the liars, thieves and environmental masters of disaster headed up by US Billionaire Ira Rennert and got the plant cleaned up, opened again and running to world safety standards. But not Peru. The lilly-livered US kowtow merchants of the Twobreakfasts government have just let themselves be pushed around with threats of international court actions and watched as DRP have laughed in the faces of “final demands” that are swiftly followed by “final final demands” then “honestly, this is the real final demand and we’re not joking” etc etc ad infinitum that comes from the hand-tied mining ministry.
Another chapter happened this week, when the shamelessness of DRP showed through as the company demanded four concessions from the government, after which it would consider opening its smelting complex again. Those included yet another delay to the über-necessary enviro clean up plan (natch), but one of the demands was even better than that. We’ll hand over to the (translated) words of mining and energy minister Pedro Sanchez, found in the official MEM press release:
“What the company is looking for with this request is that the main shareholder and companies related are protected against any judicial demand concerning envionmental responsibility, this because in the United States it is facing several lawsuits claiming damage of children’s health in La Oroya due to levels of lead in their blood.
“In other words, it is asking that the government of Peru protects it against any legal action, because it is also asking that these lawsuits in US courts are passed to Peru (courts).”
According to the Energy Ministry press release, debate on just this single point took up nearly all the of two hours programmed for the meeting between DRP and the government.
Otto sez that with presidential elections and a changing of the guard coming up in just a year’s time, DRP is now playing with fire. The expropriation of DRP at La Oroya could easily become an election issue and one that’s backed by multiple candidates and not just the most reactionary ofthe bunch. This author for one would love watching Ira get a taste of the medicine he so richly deserves, FTA with the US or not.