Who builds the Manta-Manaus corridor, and why?

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In an article about the falling empire(s) and the rise of (sub-)empires, like the one projected under the banner of “Latin American integration“, Clifton Ross touches upon the subject of the Manta-Manaus corridor:

Tomás Peribonio, ex-Minister of Foreign Trade under President Alfred Palacio, is now working as a contractor for the current Correa government designing the Manaos-Manta multi-modal corridor. He’s a handsome, friendly fellow who has also granted me a spur of the moment interview when I showed up at his penthouse office in the Ministry of Public Works building. He offers to do the interview in his excellent English, but quickly slips into Spanish as he emphasizes that “the most important thing is regional unity.” The construction of this multi-modal corridor, he describes as a “mega-project” that would be constructed “over the course of years and perhaps even decades.” The aim, he says, is to unite “Pacific Asia, which, from my point of view, is the area of major world commerce, managing about fifty percent of world trade” with the Atlantic, specifically Brazil, which is increasing its cultivation of soy and other grains with an eye on exports.”

This new empire – regularly criticized here – of plastic consumption will spell the end of the Amazon rain forest – and a wide range of indigenous cultures…..

It seems that the political project of Correa – and those of the Latin American revolutions in general – are World Bank big style developments: roads, dams, power stations. All in order to better circulate the commodities that most people didn’t even know that they needed.

We may say that the upper techno-bureaucratic classes of the Latin American integration project suffer from a variety of World Domination Disorder in its early phases:

For Peribonio regional integration begins at home, with Ecuador, a country that commonly characterizes itself as the “nation of four regions,” which are the Amazon, the mountains, the plains and coast, and the Galapagos. These regions have experienced strong tensions and this fact has often been posed as a primary problem confronting national leaders as they attempted to unite the country. This multi-modal corridor, Peribonio hopes, will serve to first unite the country and then go on to unite Ecuador with Peru and Brazil, since the corridor would also go through Peru. Finally, says Peribonio, the corridor would integrate Ecuador more firmly into the world economy.

Will that be Venezuela or Brazil, the plan of Chavez for what Napoleon calls the “Bolivarian Coordinate” as embodied in ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or will it be the model defined by Brazil’s need for growth, or an alliance between these two models? Is there another option? Peribonio shrugs. “Our countries have to unite in order to grow and develop. Europe, for instance, has grown enormously as a result of a complete integration. The model which has the greatest support will be the one that wins. But we can learn a lot from Europe and the approach it has taken toward integrating the smaller, poorer countries into its Union. But what’s most important is convincing our people, the workers, indigenous people and people in the neighborhoods that alone we’re small and weak, but that it’s only through regional integration and unity that we’ll become strong.

As Clifton Ross begins his article, after having noted that “Back in 1989 or 1990, as I watched, along with the rest of the world, the collapse of the “Evil Empire,” I remember thinking to myself, “one down, one to go“”:

What I didn’t expect was that new empires would emerge, or attempt to do so, in the wake of the collapse of the two empires that jostled for position throughout the Cold War years. Brazilian revolutionary theorist Ruy Mauro Marini would dub these rising empires, “sub-empires,” and he claimed that the seeds of sub-empires are already visible in Latin America. Of course that’s what we USAmericans were back in the early 19th century, an ex-colony aspiring to sub-imperial status, mingling with the full-fledged, grown up empires of Britain, France and Spain and hoping one day to play in the Major League ourselves“.

……..Bury the rag deep in your face, – for now’s the time for your tears.


2 thoughts on “Who builds the Manta-Manaus corridor, and why?

    […] Ecuadorian politics in the context of Latin American integration (UNASUR). In the entry below elements of an interview by Clifton Ross that were related to the Manta-Manaus corridor project […]

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