Now that Martinelli is on the run and Petaquilla is wrecked and delisted from the Toronto exchange, we thought that that other train wreck, the Barro Blanco dam on the edge of the Ngobe comarca, owned by Genisa, would come to an end as well. After all, fake environmental impact reports, bribery and other such cloak and dagger - how much do you really need, even in Panama, to declare that enough is enough?
However, it seems that in our country, the Honduran business people behind Genisa have actually so much power that they can overrule the government.
What happened? A governmental commission, headed by vice-president (!) Saint Malo de Alvarado, went to the comarca to see for themselves if the indigenous complaints had any merit.
And they decided that the Ngobe were right. As the website of the Presidency put it, the commision:
...detected the company’s noncompliance with respect to commitments made in the Environmental Impact Study, management of environmental matters and the issue of cultural heritage.
So, it was agreed that talks would start while construction of the dam would be suspended. Finally. An agreement.
But then, just before the cabinet meeting in which all this was to be confirmed, Genisa people met with members of the government and guess what? Varela and his clique changed their tune, gone is the suspension of construction, and now they will only commit to talks, with Genisa and unspecified representatives of the Ngobe people while they continue to work away at that dam. Those "representatives" would, no doubt, if Genisa gets its way, be those very corruptos who tried to topple Silvia Carrera a couple of months ago.
One wonders, who runs the friggin' show in this country, the elected government or a bunch of Honduran oligarchs of questionable background?
So now what?
Silvia Carrera, during a meeting last year in the comarca attended by this journalist, said that the faith of Barro Blanco will be decided in the streets, not at the negotiating table. And it seems she is going to be right about that.
Read more in The Panama News.