The Guarani Aquifer

water for the future?

The Conspiracy Theories

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Civil society groups in the tri-border region where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay claim that the US has underlying motives behind allegations of a terrorist presence in the area.

The groups say that Washington is seeking to gain control, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, of access to the Guarani aquifer.

The World Social Forum (WSF) has expressed its fears of a growing U.S. military presence in Latin America through U.S. bases in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.

Up to now there had only been isolated comments and observations on the possible link between the U.S. and Israeli accusations that “terrorist cells” operate in the tri-border region, and what civil society groups have described as Washington’s attempts to increase military control over that area, where the cities of Puerto Iguazo, Foz do Iguazo, Brazil and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, are located.

“Claims that there were weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq served to justify unjustifiable actions there. Now they’re doing the same thing with the tri-border region: creating an enemy through press reports, with the aim of controlling the region’s strategic natural resources,” Miguel Serdiuk, coordinator of the tri-border region social forum, told IPS.

U.S. and Israeli intelligence services began to talk about the alleged presence of operatives from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and other groups reportedly sympathetic to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network after a 1992 blast in the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and the 1994 bombing of AMIA, a Jewish community center in that city, which left a combined death toll of more than 110.

The U.S. government holds Al-Qaeda responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. After the attacks, U.S. allegations of a terrorist presence in the tri-border region increased.
In the past few weeks, the media in Israel have once again been focusing on the supposed presence of terrorists in the tri-border area.
The State Department admitted in February 2004 that it has uncovered no “credible information” on an established terrorist presence in the region.

However, it did state that “terrorist supporters” in the area are “primarily engaged in fundraising” for groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

According to the State Department, the “tri-border region has long been of interest to the United States…and we have undertaken initiatives both bilaterally and multilaterally to understand the true nature of the threat and to design the most appropriate counterterrorist measures.”

Activists say such talk is aimed at creating the conditions for the United States to gain a foothold in the tri-border area, with a view to gaining access to the Guarani aquifer.

The World Bank funded Guarani Aquifer Project, launched in 2003, was also seen by some activists as a US-led imperialist attempt to control the Aquifer’s water.

The stated goal of the project is to develop an adequate legal and institutional framework and to promote public participation so that society contributes to preserving the aquifer.

The project is to cost an estimated $ 27 million, $ 13 million of which will come from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a multi-agency consortium dominated by the World Bank.

The rest will be financed by the Organization of American States, the four countries in question, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and private entities from Germany and the Netherlands.

But social organizations involved in the WSF say large corporations could make use of the project financed by governments and multilateral agencies, with a view to administering water resources in the region as a marketable product rather than a social good.

The groups allege that the United States went to war against Iraq to gain control over the country’s oil, under the pretext that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs — which were never found — and that Washington could use the excuse of its “war on terrorism” in a bid to gain control over the water in the tri-border region.

They also point out that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has linked Canada, Mexico and the United States since 1994, has already generated a market for water, and that the same thing could occur in the rest of the world if a European Union initiative prospers in the World Trade Organization.

“The aim of international actions like the tri-border region social forum is to pressure governments to refuse to accept proposals that would limit the capacity of states to regulate or provide clean water, to the detriment of the poor,” said Serdiuk.

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Written by Annabel Symington

May 3, 2009 at 5:35 pm

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