Take physic, pomp

What Twobreakfasts can learn from Samuel Beckett

When Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot exploded on to the London stage 50 years ago, it shocked as many people as it delighted. There had never been a play like it; two men clowning around, joking and arguing, repeating themselves, as they wait through one day and then another, waiting for the mysterious Godot. The combination of music hall, poetry and tension redefined what is possible in theatre, so that these days, Waiting for Godot is accepted as one of the most significant plays of the 20th century.
In Godot We Trust, Davis Smith, The Observer, March 2009
Today we have another episode in the Doe Run Peru (DRP) tragicomedy, with Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines yesterday saying that it’s waiting on an offer from Ira Rennert, Renco and DRP. Here’s how BNAmericas reported it last night:

Peru’s energy and mines ministry (MEM) is waiting for a “serious proposal” from Doe Run Perú to consider extending the company’s deadline for meeting environmental improvement requirements, known as PAMA, at its La Oroya smelter, MEM said in a statement.

Obviously, Beckett’s seminal work Waiting for Godot just sprang to mind of your correspondent. Y’see, Peru just doesn’t get it. They seem to think they an negotiate a deal that gets cash out of a billionaire mega-capitalist for some vague environment and social cause. Last month Rennert’s side sat down and offered between $31m and $38m, depending on which source you read. It also wants yet another extension to its environmental cleanup deadline.

Meanwhile, Peru at least recognizes that the $30-odd million wouldn’t actually be put down by Rennert but come out of tax breaks and government loans to the company; in fact that $38m or so wouldn’t cost Rennert a penny. So Peru is insisting that Rennert comes up with $100m to get a deal done. In the words of deputy mining minister Fernando Gala, Rennert “… must inject cash for the smelter”.

Must? MUST? Peru will be waiting as long as Vladimir and Estragon did for the deal it thinks it can get cos the poor saps now getting a large taste of “the amerikan way” have no idea who they’re dealing with. It’s kinda embarrassing to watch how the innocent neoliberal ideals that Peru wants to follow are making it lose all sense of national pride. Damn, if Rennert tried this kind of tactic with Correa’s Ecuador, or Morales’ Bolivia, or Chávez’s Venezuela the only word he’d hear by way of reply is “expropriation”.

The only reason that Twobreakfasts doesn’t do what any self-respecting leader would do is that he’s just too keen on keeping in the USA’s good books. The country is being screwed over by the hardest of hard-edged capitalists and they actually think they’ll reach a compromise on this? Gimme a break! There are only two possible outcomes to any “negotiation”:

1) Rennert gets Peru to cave in and take his offer
2) Rennert walks, declares DRP bankrupt and Peru picks up the bill anyway.

Sad to watch. So just expropriate now, Twobreakfasts. Make a point, do the right thing, assume the company onto state books and get the thing back to work. And go to the theatre more often cos you might just learn something about human nature that’ll help you run the country in a better way.

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