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Postre: Cuba, Indonesia and US Financial Claims (Andrew Johnson, Australia) (John Eipper, USA, 01/09/10 4:49 am)
Andrew Johnson responds to Cameron Sawyer's post of 8 January: In answer to Cameron Sawyer's question about the US trusting governments which nationalize assets, I offer that the US seems to have a tradition of trust in such governments. The US seems to have been content when Saddam Hussein nationalised the Dutch Shell assets in 1972. And when Sukarno's Japanese partners left at the end of WWII, the US newspapers and government seemed to call Sukarno and his militia heroes for keeping hold of the Shell assets. Despite nationalisation of the Shell oil assets, Indonesia seems to have enjoyed a favoured nation status with the US, which has provided military aid to Indonesia since 1949. The US has also remained politely silent throughout the atrocities of the 1960s to now. The shooting of suspected GAM supporters in the weeks after the tsunami was one of hundreds of acts which our media and governments seem to develop instant amnesia about. For WAIS reference, Article 33 of the Indonesian constitution says All natural resources in the soil and the waters of the country are under the jurisdiction of the State and shall be used for the greatest benefit and welfare of the People. Indonesia also passed "Law 44" in 1960, formally nationalising all oil & gas exploration and mining, reducing the foreign engineers to contractors of the assets they had developed and managed. By 1965 Shell sold all of its remaining assets to Pertamina. The long-term reality of the Republic of Indonesia (RI) is that Shell concessions were replaced by Exxon & Bechtel as contractors, Freeport and NewMont got access to new mineral wealth without the restrictions which the US would impose on those companies domestically, and Portugal Oil was replaced by ConocoPhillips in the Timor sea. So why should Cuba be the only country where the government's moral conduct is considered a factor? Doing business with Cuba seems a lot more moral than doing business with the RI.