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Daewoo to Buy Madagascar
March 15, 2009 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Korea blog the Marmot's Hole reports on the crisis in Madagascar: Madagascar’s defense minister has resigned after security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters Saturday (in late January), killing 28. More than 100 have been killed since anti-government protests began two weeks ago. And what may have been the impetus for the protests? The final straw for many was the mooted plan to lease one million acres in the south of the country to the Korean firm Daewoo for intensive farming. Malagasy people have deep ties with their land and this was seen by many as a betrayal by their president.

The Financial Times has been covering this story:

Daewoo Logistics of South Korea has secured farmland in Madagascar to grow food crops for Seoul, in a deal that diplomats and consultants said was the largest of its kind... The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation warned this year that the race by some countries to secure farmland overseas risked creating a “neo-colonial” system.

According to a Korean agricultural group: Daewoo Logistics is a subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate Daewoo Corporation. In November 2008, world media reported that it was securing rights to 1.3 million hectares of farmland in Madagascar -- half the country's arable soils.

Daewoo Logistics: FT is LIES! ALL LIES! Daewoo Logistics — its corporate executives no doubt sitting on the porch of some bungalow in Antananarivo sipping gin-and-tonics and bitching about how the natives can’t fix a proper cup of tea — said the Financial Times got its report on the company’s recent deal for Madagascar’s farm land all wrong.

It’s Not Imperialism! It’s a Uniquely Korean Dream! I feel more convinced than before that Korea needs Daewoo’s success in Madagascar, not only to prove that its model is different from the models of Britain, the United States, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Japan during their colonial pasts, but also that it is setting a new precedent for both African states and outside investors to benefit from.


Some background on the crisis in Madagascar:

The latest, and ongoing, spate of violence has President Marc Ravalomanana pitted against the charismatic Andry Rajoelina, former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo. Since the power tussle started on 26 January, more than 100 lives had been lost. Rajoelina has been able to mobilize his supporters to take to the streets of Antananarivo to demand Ravalomanana's ousting on the grounds of his alleged "autocratic" style of government. UNHCR provides some analysis, plus a Q+A to the latest in the Madagascar Crisis.
posted by KokuRyu (18 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for this post KokuRyu - I had no idea about this.

From the marmot's hole :
Daewoo Logistics said to acquire the land, the company will invest some US$6 billion into the country over the next 20 years. Considering the country only got US$900 million from the IMF, it’s a considerable amount of money.
posted by motdiem2 at 12:32 PM on March 15, 2009


Is today Korea Is Batshit day?
posted by kldickson at 12:37 PM on March 15, 2009


My conclusion is that whether one calls the Daewoo project an act of neocolonialism or not starts with “Korean psychology,” an amalgamation of several elements.

Daewoo should have devoted a little more attention to Malagasy psychology.

It is, after all, their country.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:37 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you for posting this. Madagascar is a fascinating little country.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:39 PM on March 15, 2009


Shut. Down. Everything.
posted by empath at 1:33 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Something makes me think the third movie isn't going to be quite as funny as the first two.
posted by JHarris at 1:34 PM on March 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Korea Blog the Marmot's Hole would make a good user name for somebody. It's somewhat reminiscent of Marisa Stole the Precious Thing.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:55 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


A non-democratic coup is what this is, betrayal or not. If there is an impeachment process than use it, but overthrowing the guy sets bad precedent.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:04 PM on March 15, 2009


Disney must be pissed.
posted by gman at 2:05 PM on March 15, 2009


Madagascar is a fascinating little country.

I know you didn't mean it this way, but it does sound a wee bit patronizing. It's not really a "little" country: out of 230 countries, Madagascar is the 46th largest in the world (land-mass wise). It's bigger than Spain, Iraq, Thailand, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, etc.

posted by ornate insect at 2:17 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


A non-democratic coup is what this is, betrayal or not. If there is an impeachment process than use it, but overthrowing the guy sets bad precedent.

If there's not an impeachment process, and the government is about to do something massively unpopular, what should be done? What if it's unlikely that whatever was done can be easily reversed? Should people just grit and bear it because they voted for someone based on false premises?

Do you feel that the recent government change in Iceland, brought about by constant protests that eventually turned violent is also a coup?

Most parliamentary governments do have a concept of "no confidence" where if a certain vote fails then the government leadership is replaced. There's nothing wrong with a head of government resigning after protests.
posted by delmoi at 2:53 PM on March 15, 2009


I know you didn't mean it this way, but it does sound a wee bit patronizing. It's not really a "little" country: out of 230 countries, Madagascar is the 46th largest in the world (land-mass wise). It's bigger than Spain, Iraq, Thailand, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, etc.

It's also got 20 million people.
posted by delmoi at 2:57 PM on March 15, 2009


Sorry about that.

I didn't mean that comment to come across poorly but I can see how it could rub people the wrong way.

I will keep that in mind in the future.
posted by jason's_planet at 3:13 PM on March 15, 2009


Yeah jason's planet, you be sure to keep in mind the sizes and populations of the world's nations in relation to each other, you insensitive jerk!

Note: sarcasm.
posted by JHarris at 9:08 PM on March 15, 2009


"Denmark is an interesting little country."

That doesn't sound especially patronizing. Most small countries (Canada, for example) are used to be talked to in patronizing tones, so it's no big deal.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:50 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, great post. Thanks for this.
posted by mkultra at 5:26 AM on March 16, 2009


But have they closed their ports?

No, sorry- this is fascinating, thank you for it.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 6:44 AM on March 16, 2009


The deal is off. Scroll down for a particularly telling editorial cartoon.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:27 PM on March 22, 2009


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