Terrorism, and an aquifer

Published: Wednesday 31 March 2004

Civil society groups Argentina Brazil, Paraguay

Why is the Israeli media, and the us state department, so keenly interested in the region where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay share borders? While the former has been consistently carrying reports of a "terrorist presence" in the tri-border region, on February 10, the us state department issued a statement that "terrorist supporters" in the area are "primarily engaged in fundraising" for groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. It admitted that it has uncovered no ''credible information'' on an established terrorist presence there. Nevertheless, "we have undertaken initiatives to design the most appropriate counterterrorist measures".

This is what civil society groups find fishy. They believe Washington is seeking to gain control of access to the Guaran aquifer, the largest underground freshwater reservoir in South America. The groups have come together and plan to hold a tri-border regional "social forum" on this issue, to be held June 25-27, 2004. "Claims that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq served to justify unjustifiable actions there. Now they're doing the same thing with the tri-border region: creating an enemy through press reports, with the aim of controlling strategic natural resources," says Miguel Serdiuk, coordinator of the forum

An aquifer is a water-bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand or gravel. The Guaran is a system of aquifers that underlies an area of approximately 1.2 million square kilometres: 840,000 in Brazil, 225,000 in Argentina, 71,700 in Paraguay and 58,500 in Uruguay.

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