As we ponder the proposed new iron mine in northern Wisconsin, we seem to be oblivious to the past when it comes to large U.S. corporations, especially mining companies. The very same company proposing the mine in the Ashland area is in the midst of complaints in southern Illinois concerning environmental damage and leakings into water near Carlinville. The history of mining in the U.S. is littered with environmental damage and huge scars in the landscape. Pollution abounds. Why should we trust them?
The death of Hugo Chavez, dictator in Venezuela, points to the populist uprisings against irresponsible American corporations and the horrible history of U.S. big business in Central and South America. To permit these American corporations to have their way in abusing the people of Latin America, we supported horrible despots who allowed our big corporations to destruct and make huge profits. Pablo Neruda, poet from Chile, wrote about this some time back. Just like the American Indians in the Ashland area who are protesting the new iron mine, their brothers and sisters in Central and South America suffered greatly. Read this poem from Neruda, and consider your Native-American fellow residents of northern Wisconsin...
THE UNITED FRUIT CO.
When the trumpet sounded, it was / all prepared on the earth, / and Jehovah parceled out the earth / to Coca-Cola, Inc., Anaconda, / Ford Motors, and other entities: / The Fruit Company, Inc. / reserved for itself the most succulent, / the central coast of my own land, / the delicate waist of America. / It rechristened its territories / as the "Banana Republics," / and over the sleeping dead, / over the restless heroes / who brought about the greatness, / the liberty and the flags, / it established the comic opera: / abolished the independencies, / presented crowns of Caesar, / unsheathed envy, attracted / the dictatorship of the flies, / Trujillo flies, Tacho flies, / Carias flies, Martinez flies, / Ubico flies, damp flies / of modest blood and marmalade, / drunken flies who zoom / over the ordinary graves, / circus flies, wise flies / well trained in tyranny. / Among the bloodthirsty flies / the Fruit Company lands its ships, / taking off the coffee and the fruit: / the treasure of our submerged / territories flows as though / on plates into the ships.
Meanwhile Indians are falling / into the sugared chasms /of the harbors, wrapped / for burial in the mist of the dawn: / a body rolls, a thing / that has no name, a fallen cipher, / a cluster of dead fruit / thrown down on the dump.