Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"I've got a little list...": of mines, and oil fields, and more

So with the way cleared by Congressional action passing a new law to monetize the potential of natural resources (the "La Ley de Promoción del Desarrollo y Reconversión de la Deuda Pública"), Porfirio Lobo Sosa has declared that he is ready to start:
Lobo said that the Government has granted around 280 mining concessions that are not being exploited and that, through this law, the Executive Branch can put into use and with them can cope with the enormous burden that the internal debt of the country represents.

That's right: 280 mining concessions ready to be reassigned under the new law.

Lobo Sosa says he is going to call a meeting with various social sectors urging him to veto the law-- but that he doesn't think it is in the best interests of the country to do so. For him, the new law is totally perfect:

"The Government says... there's a mine or there's oil in Honduras, and who would like to buy this project, then they auction this and someone comes and offers more and they calculate the royalties."

"The Government isn't the guarantor, the Government isn't responsible, the Government receives the money and someone else bets that the mine is going to yield the money that he is paying, or perhaps that he is going to win and if he doesn't or interrupts development it won't matter, the Government will receive its money."

Sounds like a great deal for the government, right? Only not everyone in the Honduran government agrees.

One of the UD party delegates, Sergio Castellanos, gave press interviews in Honduras today claiming the law was passed without a legal quorum. That is what we can call a process story: not very interesting. But what is interesting is what he had to say about the content and purpose of the law:
According to Castellanos, there was bad faith in the approval of that decree because they told the deputies in Lempira that what they were going to have was a sale of junk, they never talked about the quantity of idle (natural) resources that the State has, they said one thing and approved another, he reiterated.

At the same time, he affirmed that it appeared that there are people interested in making deals with this law, they are people that have made gold studs in this government.  They did this in secret, in the first place because it is not certain that the product that will result from this law will serve to pay the public debt, nor even the current costs.

"I believe that they have surprised all the deputies by introducing a proposed law of that magnitude, without having gone over it with all the benches", he said.

“Here, what this means is that we are facing a deal by the Government with the parasitic businessmen that have been favored with other deals, like the purchase of security chambers, buying energy and other things".

So yes, Pepe Lobo has a little list... and the interesting thing will be seeing who benefits from it.

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