From Washington to Panama: Buying Destruction
A few miles inland from the Caribbean north coast of Panama lies the farm of Arnulfo Corte, set amid rolling hills which were once covered with trees. He is taking part in the ‘development’ of his nation, producing beef for export in order to help Panama pay its huge national debt. The BBC television producer Brian Leith followed that sum all the way from the bank’s main office on New York Avenue to Arnulfo’s farm far off the main roads in Panama. One World Bank scheme which united several environmental groups in protest was a plan to develop north-eastern Brazil’s vast Polonoroeste region, three-quarters of the size of France and covered in largely untouched forest. The Inter-American Development Bank, a smaller version of the World Bank, is one of the so-called regional development banks specialising in a given area of the globe.