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On the eve of the implementation of the PPP, although business elites - mostly foreign - do not agree on everything, in what they do seem to be doing, it is "essential" to get it started. In this sense, the PPP is taking shape with various projects, here and there, that are promoted by the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), among other business and government actors from the north and south involved.
Since the PPP is not a free trade agreement or treaty (as is the North American Free Trade Agreement and the alleged FTAA), but rather a "development plan"; the need to privatize and let the "benefits" of the "free market" operate turns out to be one of the central arguments. In this sense, the processes of privatization and foreign direct investment in strategic sectors have not been long in coming. Initially, the PPP must specify a general structure for the operation of industrial, agro-industrial and tourism corridors. In November 2002, during the formal presentation of the Plan to the Spanish business community in Madrid, it was pointed out that: "" it is intended to economically develop the area with the construction of 8,977 kilometers of roads and a regional electrical and telecommunications network and give a first major step to regional integration. "["] Months before, the promoters of the Plan had already indicated that, "" at least 4 thousand 17 million dollars will be destined to finance the PPP "85% of these funds will be destined to infrastructure road "(about 3 thousand 420 million)" The energy interconnection area will receive 11% of the budget "which represents 445 million dollars ... Of the 4 thousand 17 million dollars" 1,512 will be contributed by Mexico and the rest will come from financing from international organizations such as the IDB, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). "["] And of course, international cooperation and private foreign capital. anjeros!
If we try to outline the nodal composition of a corridor, we would have to include: 1) Means of Transportation to move raw materials and merchandise (seaports on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, and other means that vary according to the territorial composition allows it: water canals, high-speed railways, highways, etc.); 2) Energy to make the corridors functional, and above all to move the production systems (oil, gas and electricity - thermoelectric / geothermal, hydroelectric plants, power lines and interconnection, etc.); 3) Water for productive needs that, worldwide, around 65-70% is consumed by agriculture - the bulk of the agro-industrial type - and 20-25% by industry (dams, transfers, aqueducts, pumping, distribution and treatment systems , etc)[§]; and 4) Telecommunications that integrate the region in real time, both internally and externally (fiber optics and location of communication centers with cutting-edge technology).
The fact that water, in addition to being a natural resource, has its dimensions that are intertwined with communications (water channels) and energy generation (hydroelectricity), places it within the framework of the PPP and the potential water crisis in the US, as an extremely strategic resource. It is no coincidence that, along with the privatization process of the state water companies and their corresponding infrastructure [**], old reservoir and large-scale transfer projects are being resumed and new ones are being developed.
Despite the well-known ecological and social costs of dams, optimism seems to be holding up and hydroelectric plans of all sizes are scattered across the region. The following map shows the territorial location of the main reservoirs - under construction or on paper.
The purpose of this publication is not to deal with the problem itself, as this is addressed in another text under the title "PPP, Hydropower and Environment". The interest is to launch as soon as possible a list of projects that are contemplated, designed or are even under construction in the Mesoamerican region. In this way it is intended to offer a panoramic review. Its usefulness for discussion in social movements is timely for both Mesoamericans and South Americans (due to the implications it has for projects to transfer Colombian water and the Guaraní aquifer). Considering the above, the first approximation of the Mesoamerican Hydroelectric Atlas is presented below.
The de facto privatization process, as John Saxe Fernández appropriately calls it in his book La Compra Venta de México (Plaza and Janes, 2002), or the furtive privatization of the electricity sector, as described by the Mexican Electrician Union, has opened the doors to the foreignization of this strategic sector that is combined with that of oil and gas, or what Saxe-Fernández describes as the petroelectric complex. As the author indicates, the former presidents Regarding electricity exclusively, De la Madrid and Salinas had achieved, according to an informal communication from the WB, "limited success" by taking important initial steps in the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE ) and the Compañía de Luz y Fuerza del Centro (LFC). The strategy starting with Zedillo, and which continues with Fox, is to dismember such companies (in addition to PEMEX). Saxe-Fernández writes that, "" the global plan to "reform" the energy sector focuses on three interrelated points: structure, regulation and ownership. The actions it favors are: 1) "restructure the electricity sector to promote competition and allow market forces to establish precise, and thus foster operational efficiency." This deregulation persists as a recommendation despite its great failure in Argentina, England and, more recently, in California. "This scheme is also applied in Central America, even in some countries it is much more advanced (see each case below). In Mexico It is necessary to reform the Public Electricity Law of 1992 to allow private participation in the generation, transmission and distribution of energy, something that Standard & Poor (S&P) advises to do as soon as possible. According to data from Saxe-Fernández, "" the Private investment in Mexico's electricity sector amounted to 3 billion dollars (USD) between 1997 and June 2000, which represents around 17% of the 17 million USD of direct foreign investment between 1995 and 2000. " In a context in which S&P considers it necessary to accelerate the interconnection of Mexico with the US (in addition to the 4 existing interconnections; two in California and two more in Texas), the legal reform made by Salinas to specify what "was not" Service Public and that has allowed the "legal" entry of private capital to the "non-public" areas of self-generation, cogeneration, independent production, small production and export of electricity; it has consolidated the de facto privatization of the sector. (Saxe-Fernández, Op cit) This has been taking shape with hundreds of permits for activities in such "non-public" areas. There is, says the author, the case of the Enertek plant (initially owned by Grupo Alfa de Monterrey), which after increasing its capacity to 290 MW under the heading of "self-generation", was sold to Iberdrola (Spain), today for today the largest foreign private generator in the country. This is not the only business actor operating in the country, they include Enron (USA), Unión FENOSA (Spain), Mitsubishi (Japan / USA) and even Electricité de France. (Ibidem) Another one is El Paso Group (USA) which, as we shall see, has a marked presence throughout Mesoamerica. It is the third largest gas producer in the US, operates a vast network of pipelines, and "among other businesses - owns numerous electricity generating plants throughout the hemisphere that supply both the industrial sector and the distribution network.
There are plans for about 75 hydroelectric plants in the State, the most renowned are listed below.
HYDROELECTRIC SYSTEM OF THE RÍO GRIJALVA (expansion)
Made up of the Belisario Domínguez-La Angostura, Manuel Moreno Torres-Chicoasen, Nezahualcoyotl-Malpaso and Ángel Albino Corzo-Las Peñitas hydroelectric plants, built between 1959 and 1987. It annexes the new Malpaso II dam and extends Las Peñitas. According to Manuel Frías Alcaraz of the Mexico project Third millenniumIt is a scheme that will promote on a large scale tourism, leisure, fish farming and navigation activities in five excellent reservoirs, where new populations can be established on their banks.
HYDROELECTRIC SYSTEM OF THE USUMACINTA RIVER
Located in the triangle that runs from the border between Petén, Guatemala; Marqués de Comillas, Chiapas; and the Boca del Cerro binational project, Tabasco. It is a system of at least 6 dams, canals, aqueducts, transmission lines, roads, etc. Capacity of more than 10 thousand MW (33 billion kilowatts / hour per year). It will flood some 73,700 hectares of invaluable biological and cultural wealth (particularly Yaxchilán and Piedras Negras), in addition to causing the massive displacement of indigenous and peasant communities.0036
1) Joint Usu-Tulijá(part of the Usumacinta river system)
Rio Tulijá and Usumacinta. It includes dams a) Salto de Agua, b) Boca del Cerro (Chiapas-Tabasco), c) Bajatzen and d) Chumpán (Campeche? See corresponding table).
4,200 mw (6 turbogenerators of 700 mw each) and 17,400 million kw / h per year (67% of the hydroelectricity generated in Mexico). 130 m high and a vessel with a capacity of 19, 550 million m3, which would be fed by 62% of Guatemalan waters. It would flood 30 thousand hectares (42% in Mexican territory) and would destroy, in addition to the amazing biodiversity, with archaeological sites such as Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan. The number of displaced is estimated at 50 thousand people.
It contemplates a 350 km aqueduct towards Yucatan so that through drainage systems and waterways they can? Recover? 1.5 million hectares of agribusiness. At a cost of $ 5 billion, is it likely to be built by Associate Civil Engineers? ICA (Mexico), associated with the French multinational Vivendi and the US construction company FLUOR, among others.
The Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala, privatized in July 1998, was 80% sold to Distribuidora de Energía de Centroamérica, S.A. - DECASA (Central American Energy Distributor). It is a consortium made up of Teco Power Corporation (USA), Iberdrola Energía de España and Electricidad do Portugal, S.A (Portugal). Another striking case is that of Grupo Generador de Guatemala y Cía. which was acquired by Constellation Energy (USA). Several contracts have been entered into for the sale and purchase of electricity produced by private initiative (which is just another form of privatization of the sector). For example, that of Generadora Eléctrica San Jose y Cia, which is controlled by Teco Power Services and the US Coastal Power Company (now El Paso Group of Colorado, USA); Generadora Electrica del Norte, Ltda., is part of the Interamerican Power & Light Corp. (part of the North American Energy Services-Itochu International) and Energy Partners of Central America (Energy Investors Fund, Grammercy Development, Inc. , IEF Global Development, Inc., Interamerican Power Light); that of Puerto Quetzal Power LLC is owned by Enron Corporation (USA); etc. Currently the presidential delegate of the PPP of Guatemala is Raúl Archiva, an official of the Shell oil company and a shareholder - along with senior military officials - of hydroelectric projects in the country.
The parastatal Belize Electricity Board was privatized in 1992 to 100%, becoming Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). Fortis Inc. of St. John’s Newfound, Canada owns 67% of BEL.
* BEL buys about 85% of the electricity from the Federal Electricity Commission (Mexico).
Source: Own elaboration based on multiple journalistic notes, official and dissemination documents.
[*] Member of the Seminar? El Mundo Actual? of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Sciences and Humanities of the UNAM. He is currently carrying out his doctoral studies, under the auspices of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
[?] Gualdoni. ? Central America and Mexico launch an investment plan for more than 4,000 million.? The country. Spain, November 12, 2002. Pp. 54.
[?] The Graphic Press-Economics Office. ?AC. and Mexico meet next week? Budget distribution of the PPP ?. The printing press. The Savior. March 15, 2002. 64.
[§] In general, large dam projects are linked to massive agro-industrial irrigation programs, as well as to the generation of electricity, particularly for industrial consumption. In the world, around 65-70% of water consumption corresponds to agriculture, and the bulk of this to irrigation. The latter comprise about a sixth of the cultivated land, but contribute more than a third of the world harvest.
[**] Delgado, Gian Carlo. Privatizing the fresh water of Mesoamerica. New Society. No. 183. January-February, 2003. Venezuela.