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Can you imagine -let's say- your African boss (a foreigner without a court order) bursting into your office with 8 men, promptly firing your whole staff, and taking all your computers and hard drives? Can you imagine your boss give all communication and lobbying power to the same company that you are fighting in an unfortunate event called Pascua Lama? Can you imagine him hiring these people that also have the largest gold mine company as clients? Can you imagine what that says about your boss, and the whole global organization that you are part of? Can you imagine what the hundreds of thousands of people -actively rejecting, all over the world, Barrick Gorld Corporation et al. - will say about such curious relationship in the fight for the natural resources? Can you imagine trespassing not being really a matter that your boss respects in a country that is not his own?
Is this what you want for OCEANA?
Clearly, the right to hire and fire employees is a known fact, and corresponds to each organization's internal discretion. However, and surprisingly so, OCEANA took the most outrageous way of handling Marcel Claude's dismissal from the Santiago, Chile office. This not only speaks of an unprecedented action never seen before in environmental affairs, but it also shows that OCEANA is no longer an independent organization. The link between EXTEND Comunicaciones (lobby firm hired to take care of the situation), their client Barrick Gold Corporation (that has no problem destroying glaciers to get to an enormous gold deposit, and that, to date, has payed EXTEND over $ 1 million to pursue the Chilean public of glaciers being "frozen water deposits"), and now, OCEANA, is scandalous.
Furthermore, thanks to OCEANA-Chile active pressure, and knowledgeable approach, the devastation of Chile's beautiful landscape has increased from nothing, to a widespread support in only two years. Three aspects of the Chilean campaign, part of a global fight that seeks to preserve and protect all of our natural resources, installed the environmental threats on the public agenda; CELCO, Pascua Lama, and the few industrial fishing companies that deplete the Pacific Ocean's fish stocks. There is no question about how effective and important OCEANA-Chile's leadership is in the advancement of the cause.
Now, however, OCEANA, and particularly your own actions, have put everything on a enormous, and unnecessary, ethical test. The public opinion will, of course, and no matter how much is payed to the PR firm, sense that an absolute abuse of a foreigner on Chilean matters was conducted in an abhorrent way. Also, the hard-earned victories are now in complete jeopardy.
It's impossible to think that you, a man with ample experience in environmental affairs, was pursued by a small group of environmental activists, that personally disagree with OCEANA-Chile's director, and therefore, on their command, came down from Washington DC to fire Mr.Claude from his post. It's also unthinkable that you would get into local discussions that concerns Chilean public policies, and the typical competition for spots in a future Environmental Ministry.
We can only conclude that OCEANA, for now, is not the organization we once supported. It's suspicious that "strategic differences" and "more concentration on the ocean" are invoked being that the water, from the glaciers, run through rivers that end up in the ocean with all their pollution. But, of course, Jim, you knew that.
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