Paper Mills and Border Troubles

It’s always curious to hear about border disputes in South America where I tend to assume they’ve lived next to each other long enough to have nothing to fight over when it comes to borders. I had already heard about Peru and Chilé having issues. But today I’ve been reading up in both the Argentinian Clarín newspaper and on the BBC about the struggle between Argentina and Uruguay over the building of paper mills along the border.

Actually the conflict involves two more important actors: Greenpeace and a Finnish paper company. The company is building two paper mills along the river that separates the two countries. The Uruguayan government talks highly of the jobs and benefits, the Argentinian government says they will take them to the international court for violating treaties, while many people, including greenpeace, are against the building of the mills as they will pollute the river. (because paper mills are, in fact, well known polluters!)

Naturally being the activist and the lover of the earth that I am, I admire the Argentinians who are taking direct action, and peacefully blocking the roads, to prevent trucks from bringing building materials into the area. Meanwhile Greenpeace is doing what they are famous for and never ceases to impress me, putting themselves between the ships and the construction.

It will be interesting to see what happens, Greenpeace has had alot of success recently as they helped pressure the French government to recall their asbestos ship from being sent to be taken apart in India. With the support of the Argentinian government and international law, we may just see a little environmental justice on this one.