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Who’s a pirate now?


For the last few weeks it has been impossible to watch the TV without finding out about the “Spanish victory” over the evil Somali pirates.

But have you asked yourself who the Somali pirates really are?

Are they members of an armed gang?

Fishermen protecting their waters?

Perhaps a mixture of the two?



Since 1991, when what might have been described as a formal government was overthrown, the territorial waters of this African country have been ceaselessly poached by unscrupulous fishing fleets from all over the world, taking advantage of the lack of supervision and control.

These vessels – according to the always well informed  Corresponsal de paz – generate annual profits of around 450 million dollars from fish and shellfish caught in Somali waters. They do it without notice and with no respect for legal or commercial regulations. And that is not counting the fact that, at the same time as they are extracting the marine wealth of Somalia, they are also using her seas as a dumping ground for dangerous and toxic substances.

Without doubt this case constitutes one of the darker sides of international trade politics and reflects the dangerous synthesis of journalism, business and trade.
So the question of who the real pirates are now seems more pertinent than ever.

The next Fair trade Conference: some fair trade policies, which will take place in Madrid at the end of this month, seems like a good opportunity to listen to and share different views and opinions on the subject.

Many of the causes of the current crisis, in common with the situation in which millions live or rather barely live on our planet, can be explained by trading relationships”, as the organisers of the event would have it.

The guest speakers, among them Mohammed Mongy of the Lobby Office for Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa (COFTA) and José Luis Pardo, deputy director-general of General Matters in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Co-operation of the EU, will alert us to the social, economic and political repercussions of the trade agreements that the great powers have with Africa and Central America.

The organiser of the event,  co-ordinator for Fair Trade, is involved with the Iwith.org Ab•core programme, as is Corresponsal de Paz. Today we are actively inviting you to take part in the conference and by doing so send out a clear message:

The international community must develop and make known an integrated strategy for putting a stop to the rape and pillage of the territorial integrity of less privileged countries.
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Translation by Christopher Carver
on 29/11/2009
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