March 24th, 2011
While hunting for interesting and high impact articles other than those covering the events in North Africa at the moment, I came across an article in The Irish Times titled “Capitalism killed Life on Mars, Chavez tells ‘water day’ event.’ As you can imagine, the title did not only seem curious but also successfully confused and muddled my mind. Words like capitalism, Mars and Chavez do not seem proper in the same sentence but as I read the article, my confusion turned to bemusement.
The article quoted Chavez’s perspective who said “I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that on Mars there had been civilization, but then probably capitalism arrived, imperialism arrived, and did for this planet.” The article also reported that Chavez talked about the importance of caring for the planet and being environmentally responsible also commenting on how the Western Involvement, especially that of U.S., was motivated by the North African country’s oil and water reserves.
I find Chavez’s remark on the deadly potential of capitalism humorous yet grounded in reality. Consider the example of the MNC Chevron and its involvement in the Ecuadorean Amazon. The movie ‘Crude’ details this issue. Chevron has been fighting a lawsuit by thousands of Ecuadoreans whose lives, health and habitat in the Amazon have been destroyed by the dumping of crude wastes. This has contaminated the arable land and the potable water to such an extent that the frequency of cancers and tumors has hiked in the population which is economically marginalized by the controlling Chevron. These people are forced to work for the company of minimal wages and a degraded standard of life. Such examples are also found in other places in the world and in this context, Chavez’s comment seems not only reasonable but something that must be heeded to.