Saturday, July 22, 2006

What Venezuela can do 

Of late, everyone is concerned about what is going on in the Middle East. We have discussed it on this blog, Chavez has spoken out to condem Israel's agressions, and thousands of Venezuelans have protested on behalf of those suffering in Lebanon and Gaza. Such acts of moral support and solidarity are great and important. But here is something more that Venezuela could do.

Israel has been using heavy equipment made by the Caterpillar company to destroy Palistinian homes and communities. In reaction to this a movement was started to pressure Caterpillar to stop selling Israel heavy equipment (the web-site has an excellent background document on how Israel has used this construction equipment).

Unfortunately, a major U.S. corporation is unlikely to be moved by moral arguements, especially when it cares about profits, not how its equipment is ultimately used. A boycott would be more effective. The problem is most of us probably don't buy heavy equipment very often. Yet Venezuela, with its huge construction boom, almost certainly does. Wouldn't it be a tremendous act of solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese people if Venezuela passed a law stating that companies that have Caterpillar equipment would be ineligible to work on government projects. This may not be enough to force a change, but it is an important act and if Venezuela and even some other countries do this it will show the U.S. its outrageous foreign policy isn't cost free.


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