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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 07:41 PM
Original message
Harken Energy demands $57 BILLION from Costa Rican government
Edited on Sat Sep-27-03 07:48 PM by arcos
Yes... you are reading it right.

Bush's Harken Energy is asking the Costa Rican government for $57 billion as indemnification because of an oil exploration contract that was cancelled because of enviromental concerns. They are asking for arbitration from the International Centre of Settlement of Investment Disputes, part of the World Bank.

This all started about 10 years ago, when several "blocks" were auctioned for oil exploration, and a few years later, after the vocal opposition of environmental groups, politicians, church leaders, and local communities, the current administration decided to cancel the contract.

Now, Harken is asking for that HUGE amount of money... in Costa Rica, this money is equal to:

-11 times the total budget of the country for 2004
-15 times the total foreign debt of Costa Rica
-3 times the country's GDP

a few links:

Costa Rica rejects oil-drilling along Caribbean coast
http://www.iwc.org/worldanimalnews/we_news/2002/drillin...
(May 17, 2002)

Today's article in La Nacin (only available in Spanish):
http://www.nacion.com/ln_ee/2003/septiembre/27/pais1.ht...

Bush's former oil firm threatens sea turtles
http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/2001/04/04102001/oi...


on edit: included another link.





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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. I hope Costa Rica tells them to go pound sand
But it's nice to see Harken in the news again.. Another opportunity to tie * to stock fraud.. :)
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. well...
the government said they will not accept the arbitration. But who knows what US courts are going to rule??

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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. What CAN the US courts do?? Throw Costa Rica in JAIL???
Edited on Sat Sep-27-03 07:59 PM by SoCalDem
:)

My advice would be for some costa rican journalists and lawyers to start investigating Harken, and help ferret out their dirty laundry...in public :)
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TacticalPeek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. There it is. Wonder if they need any help from the CIA with digging?
:toast:
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. if the arbitration is not accepted...
Edited on Sat Sep-27-03 08:55 PM by arcos
Harken may go to court, and the court would order CR to pay the money. It has happened before, in fact CR was once sued by Millicom in the US. Millicom lost, though.

The US government and international financial institutions (and international credit rating agencies) can lower their ratings and aid.

Lobbying by companies (and you can be sure Harken would do this) would result in the cancellation of trade benefits given to Costa Rican products, and the exclusion from the Central America Free Trade Agreement (which I'm personally opposed to, but some people believe that if Costa Rica is not included, the economy would suffer greatly).

Directly, US courts can't do anything about it. But a verdict could be very important if it is negative to the country, since it would mean the loss of a lot of benefits.

on edit: Exposing all of Harken's dirty laundry is a great idea. I'll search a little for information. Thanks! :hi:
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MercutioATC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. Gotta love Costa Rica !
They recently kicked out a U.S.-based company running a camp for "troubled" U.S. kids in Costa Rica (Outward Bound-type stuff). The Costa Rican government said that Costa Rica doesn't treat it's prisoners as badly as those kids were being treated.

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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. yeah, it seems that camp was a mess! n/t
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Toucano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. How many days
Edited on Sat Sep-27-03 08:34 PM by dralston
Until the new President begins to be slandered as a "leftist" leader in the mainstream US press?

Betcha they'll even have a photograph of him with Casto.

I say less than 30.

:mad:

Edit: language
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. perhaps...
But thanks to the stupidity of President Abel Pacheco, Costa Rica was part of the shameful "coalition of the willing".
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karlschneider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Yes, but unless things have changed since I was there last, they have no
military......
(?)
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. that's why it is so stupid!
Pacheco said that it was a "moral support", and that the country did not support war ( :wtf:), it supported the "fight against terrorism" ( :wtf:).

He went as far as saying that "if given the choice of American and Costa Rican children dead, or arab children dead", he would prefer to save Americans and Costa Ricans.

Obviously there was a national uproar about this, and the whole war thing is one of the main reasons (along with illegal campaign contributions) Pacheco's popularity is the lowest of any of the last 6 Presidents).
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Noordam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-27-03 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
11. There is a lot of retired CIA/DIA people in CR and they love the
country. I really would not like to piss these types off. They are not the DC office types if you understand.

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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 05:34 AM
Response to Original message
13. shameless kick!
It is important for everyone to be aware of the things this companies are doing. Kick!
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 06:05 AM
Response to Original message
14. Nothing more than a fit of pique...
... on the part of Harken, because without the deal, they don't get a bunch of tax dodges in this country. Harken's depended upon the Bushies and friends for their survival for some time.

This company is complaining about, and wanting compensation for, not being able to drill offshore of Costa Rica? Hell, they had a contract for drilling offshore of Bahrain, handed to them on a plate by the BFEE, and they may be the only company in world history to have punched nothing but empty holes in that area.

This is little more than an attempt to use the WTO to pay them for doing nothing. Hey, they let _Bush, Jr._ be a director. How smart or honest are they?

Cheers.
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Sick of Bullshit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-29-03 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #14
31. Not merely a director
Bu$$$h was a member of Harken's audit committee.
ANd the company's outside auditor was-- guess who-- Arthur Andersen

http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/eliteprofile/bush/bu...
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Mortensen Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 06:23 AM
Response to Original message
15. Costa Rica: "Will you take a check?"
What is Costa Rica going to pay them in? Human souls?
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MercutioATC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #15
24. Costa Rica isn't some little bannana republic...it's actually quite
progressive and developed. You are right that NO small country has that kind of cash lying around, though.
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 06:45 AM
Response to Original message
16. still support WTO, GATT, etc.?
This is not about a nation's courts. This is about a secret arbitration panel whose decision may override the laws of sovereign states.

This is one of the more asinine and unjust details of "free trade." Corporations may sue states for profits that they say they would have made had they been allowed to run roughshod over wherever. This is not the same thing at all as suing for losses incurred.

What a surprise that rich companies tend to sue poor countries (see also Bolivia).

The news media does not cover this well. They do, however, spend a great deal of time portraying protestors against economic globalization as illogical youth who express their politics by breaking windows.

Hopefully, more and more people on DU will see how essentially anti-democratic these structures are.
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Mortensen Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 06:55 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Neither WTO or GATT matter
If a country cannot pay 57 Billion freaking dollars, they can't pay. What is Harken going to do? Repossess everyone's cars?

This speaks to corporate idiocy more than any evil corporate empire. Not much will come of this. Harken might as well charge the Sun for its heating bill.
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Of course they matter. Here's why.
They provide the legal pretext for going after the phantom would-be profits.
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Mortensen Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 07:04 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Legal pretext?
How about money?

If Costa Rica can't pay, what are they going to do? They are not going to send in a bank to foreclose on the entire country. Costa Rica will not be renamed Harkenland.

As the RIAA is going to learn, going after people who don't have money will make you bankrupt. There is no real gain for Harken in the long run.
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 07:19 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. painful relevance
The essential problems of unjust laws or predatory treaties do not disappear just because one party is too poor to be effectively exploited further.

Remember: these multilateral agreements do not just apply to Costa Rica. They apply to all signatories. Once you endorse this way of doing things, it applies to those who CAN be disemboweled on the basis of phantom future profits.

So yes, legal pretext is a relevant point here, and painfully so.

And remember, all this assumes that Costa Rica incurs no penalty because they are too poor. That is likely not a safe assumption at all.
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Mortenzen Donating Member (4 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Diplomacy
Spend any time looking at international politics and you'll discover how often "multilateral agreements" are broken. If this happens to enough countries it will be ignored.

Costa Rica is a government and Harken is a company. Costa Rica has the power to refuse to pay any penalty they wish, though it would hurt their international relations. But if enough countries get the same treatment, the international relations won't be so bad at all.
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. incredible
Treaties to which countries are signatory have the effect of law.

It is both wishful thinking and a bankrupt argument to anticipate that Costa Rica will be safe because other laws have been ignored before.

Your estimation of how much I've looked at international politics is just an insulting way of continuing to avoid my points. Nice going.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-29-03 02:58 AM
Response to Reply #20
32. Going after countries with no money makes you rich..
through institutions like the IMF and the USExport-Import bank and through "free-trade" agreements.

The Export-Import bank helps big companies make risky investments in foreign countries without the risk, because US taxpayers are the back-up for the loans.

The IMF is used by wealthy nations to get rid of excess money (yes, there are times that the Fed wants to fiddle with the money supply in this manner) and satisfy certain corporate interests by loaning it to countries for the purposes of certain projects such as hydroelectric dams or other 'development projects'.

A short book called 'Power Politics' (Arundhati Roy) is very readable and enlightening. In India, lower-level officials have been repeatedly bribed to sign the dotted line for VERY expensive dams and powerplants (the biggest being Enron) that were NOT needed and that flooded out more than 50 million people from their land, who are now mainly destitute beggars in the slums of the big cities. Often, cabinet-level US officials help lobby for these big projects. The IMF approves the loans, and the US government strong-arms the other governments into following through on the contract.

In Pakistan, a similar situation occurred with Blair-Clinton supported powerplant projects which led to Musharraf taking power in a military coup.

Then, for many countries, the final step is default on the loans which puts them into an IMF-imposed 'austerity plan' where they basically lose their right to political/economic sovereignty and end up selling off their infrastructure and assets at firesale prices to transnational corporations (again, like Enron). I.e., Argentina.

So, going after countries with 'no money' CAN make you rich.
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #18
26. Iverson is right...
see what I wrote in a previous post here:

"Lobbying by companies (and you can be sure Harken would do this) would result in the cancellation of trade benefits given to Costa Rican products, and the exclusion from the Central America Free Trade Agreement (which I'm personally opposed to, but some people believe that if Costa Rica is not included, the economy would suffer greatly).

Directly, US courts can't do anything about it. But a verdict could be very important if it is negative to the country, since it would mean the loss of a lot of benefits."


Did you know that back in 92, because of pressure from Sen. Jesse Helms, the InterAmerican Development Bank put the brakes on 2 loans totaling $250 million for Costa Rica? A friend of his got a property expropriated by the government to create a national park, and Helms got pissed off.

Fine, the country can't pay the money. But we all know Harken has a lot of friends in government who could push negative consequences.
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PNAC_butter_jelly Donating Member (23 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Then Costa Rica should cozy up to the EU folks
This bullying of small countries has got to stop.. No wonder the rest of the world hates us :(..

Corporations are making our foreign pollicy..It stinks :(
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-29-03 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #27
30. They are a little better...
but not too much. They don't ask for that kind of money, though.
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Fish Eye Donating Member (193 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 06:55 AM
Response to Original message
17. CR was part of the "Coalition of the willing"
they will pay or drill.... :(
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
25. Stop Free Trade
Edited on Sun Sep-28-03 02:05 PM by hippywife
These corporations have been given carte blanche to set up their operations on the lands of poor, indigenous people. NAFTA and WTO give the corporations the right to sue for unrealized profits if the natives rebel and refuse to allow them to set up business. Thanks to Bill Clinton for this bullshit. :eyes:

http://www.citizen.org/trade/nafta/CH__11 /

If you don't understand what NAFTA and the WTO is all about, look into it. I didn't understand the full ramifications. I'm just scratching the surface and my eyes are being opened. The WTO makes it illegal to reform or change these free trade agreements. The only legal action is to opt out.

Vote against the expansion of NAFTA into the rest of Latin America:
http://lasolidarity.org/tools/index.htm

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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. right!
and right now, talks are held for a Free Trade Agreement with Central America. This could be a real mess!
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-28-03 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
28. The CIA/BFEE needs more money for Iraq
so they're squeezing everyone and everything they can.
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Andy_Stephenson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-29-03 03:01 AM
Response to Reply #28
33. BFEE
Bloodsuckers.
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