WORLD NOTES: August 30

Indonesia: Strike at Nike supplier

Some 7,000 workers at the Hardaya Aneka shoe factory in Tangerang, who make 15,000 pairs of Nike sneakers a day, stopped work Aug. 21 to protest 60 percent cuts in customary bonuses for holidays marking the end of Ramadan fasting. Strikers roughed up company security agents attempting to ban media coverage of the plant occupation.

The Jakarta Post said the still unconfirmed prospect of massive layoffs in September due to non-renewal of the Nike contract contributed to worker discontent.

In July, the company refused the government’s request to shift weekday production to a weekend day twice monthly as an energy saving measure.



Peru: Protests spread

Irate at decrees seen as promoting privatization of communal territory, protesters during August shut down an oil pipeline in the Amazon region, occupied a hydroelectric plant and blocked highways.

Under the recently approved U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement, Peru’s government must open up indigenous lands to mining operations. Demonstrators in southern Peru, where 60 percent of respondents to a survey identified themselves as socialist, occupied drilling platforms, a helicopter port and mining company buildings.

Strikers denounced governmental failure to rebuild housing following last year’s severe earthquake.

“[President] Garcia’s popularity is in free fall,” according to Upsidedownworld.org. Increasingly, indigenous Peruvians, almost half the population, look to indigenous President Evo Morales in Bolivia for inspiration.



Iraq: Regional help will expand oil production

The Associated Press this week reported that the Iraqi government and foreign oil companies were unable to arrive at arrangements to bolster Iraqi oil production.

Nevertheless, Iran, now Iraq’s top trading partner, recently pledged to supply oil for Iraqi electricity generating plants. Iraqis are continuing negotiations with Russia to build and refurbish power plants.

The Azzaman web site also reported plans for a Chinese company to construct a power plant in southern Iraq — the country’s largest infrastructure project since 2003. Another Chinese corporation is developing a nearby oil field. Additionally, Iraq and Syrian officials agreed in mid-August to repair a war-damaged pipeline. Eventually a million barrels of oil daily will move from Iraq to Mediterranean ports in Syria.



Kenya: Prisoner transfers exposed

In Nairobi, security operatives have been searching for Fazul Abdullah Mohamed, accused of organizing the 1989 attack on the U.S. embassy there.

Human rights groups have expressed concern at the reported arrests recently of 15 terrorism suspects and their subsequent delivery under U.S. auspices to Ethiopia. Alarm bells rang with the discovery that planes operated by the Prescott Support Group were landing at night at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport with CIA operatives aboard.

Two months ago, Kenya’s Civil Aviation Authority licensed the U.S. company “to carry out mapping activities in northern Kenya.” Press TV cites earlier reports linking Prescott with the practice of so-called extraordinary rendition of drugged and bound prisoners to venues of torture and interrogation.



Cuba: Controlling migration through Mexico

Cuba’s government has yet to solve the problem of emigration to the United States. A Granma analysis Aug. 22 accuses Washington of failing to honor agreements to grant 20,000 entry visas annually to legal migrants. It blames the 40-year-old U.S. Cuban Adjustment Law under which the U.S. tempts Cubans into dangerous ocean crossings.

Now an estimated 10,000 Cubans enter the United States annually through Mexico. Negotiations Sept. 11 in Mexico City between Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and his Mexican counterpart are aimed at putting the brakes on a smuggling business yielding millions in profits from individual migrant payments of $10-15,000.

The Yucatan daily Por Esto has documented collaboration between Cuban Americans — primarily the Cuban American National Foundation — and Mexican drug cartels.



World Notes are compiled by W.T. Whitney Jr. (atwhit @roadrunner.com)