Democracy Now! August 1, 2002

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Democracy Now! August 1, 2002
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"The barons of bankruptcy: survivors who laughed all the way to the bank." An exhaustive inquiry by the Financial Times exposes a privileged group of top business people who made extraordinary personal fortunes even as their companies were heading for disaster. Where do Enron executives spend their millions? a look at one of the most controversial land tracts in the nation an Enron exec bought it, Mexican-Americans say it's their birthright Secret detentions and deportations: this time it's the Haitian population. Dozens of Haitians who survived a harrowing sailboat journey from Haiti are summarily deported. Actor and activist Danny Glover is speaking up about it. All that and more coming up. 9:01-9:06 Headlines: HUNDREDS OF WORKERS MARCH ON WASHINGTON, CHARGING BUSH WITH EXCLUSIONARY RELIEF POLICIES AFTER 9/11 Hundreds of New York City low-wage workers marched on Washington yesterday. Chanting "Health care, not toxic air" in Cantonese, Spanish and English, the workers say the Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied low-income residents of lower Manhattan emergency aid for health care, rent and unemployment in the wake of September 11. Guest: Michael Lalan, Beyond Ground Zero Network 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 THE BARONS OF BANKRUPTCY: SURVIVORS WHO LAUGHED ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK They are the barons of bankruptcy - a privileged group of top business people who made extraordinary personal fortunes even as their companies were heading for disaster. They made their money at the top of the market, selling shares in companies whose values rocketed in 1999 and 2000. Today their companies, many in the telecommunications sector, have crashed, destroying hundreds of billions of dollars of investor wealth and almost 100,000 jobs. Yet the executives and directors of these bankrupt companies have walked away with gross earnings of $ 3.3 billion, a stunning pay-off for corporate failure. This is how a report in yesterday's Financial Times begins. Its part of an exhaustive inquiry by the Financial Times into executive compensation at the largest US bankruptcies, covering the 25 largest US public companies to go bankrupt since January 2001. Among the barons of bankruptcy are some familiar names. Ken Lay, former chairman and CEO of Enron, grossed $247 million. Jeff Skilling, former Enron president, grossed $89 million. Even these figures are dwarfed by the $ 512 million grossed by Gary Winnick of Global Crossing. We are joined by Yen Chung, the Financial Times reporter who did the inquiry. Guest: Yen Chung, reporter for the Financial Times Contact: 9:21-9:40 WHERE DO ENRON EXECS SPEND THEIR MILLIONS? A LOOK AT ONE OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL LAND TRACTS IN THE NATION AN ENRON EXEC BOUGHT IT, MEXICAN-AMERICANS SAY IT'S THEIR BIRTHRIGHT Top executives and directors of the biggest business collapses amassed billions of dollars in salary and share sales while the stock market was still booming. According to the Financial Times, in just three years they grossed about $3.3bn before their companies went bust. The bankruptcies wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars of shareholder value and nearly 100,000 jobs. Here at Democracy Now!, we have looked at the scandals behind the bankruptcies, and the workers who have lost their jobs and retirement savings. But we haven't yet looked at where some of the executives' billions are spent. Today we're going to talk about a case involving former Enron executive Lou Pai, who has cashed out more than $270 million in stock since 1999. That is farm more than former CEO Ken Lay made away with. Lou Pai is at the center of one of the most controversial land claims in the country. He used $23 million from Enron stock to buy a 77,000 acre ranch that members of the mostly Hispanic community of San Luis say is their birthright. The story of this community's dispossession is a long one, dating back to the Mexican-American war, and involving the National Forest Service, the Rockefellers, Forbes, and now Enron exec Lou Pai. Most recently, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a historic ruling that residents of San Luis are entitled to graze livestock and cut timber on Pai's ranch. We're joined right now by Adam Saytanides, a freelance journalist who has covered this story for six years. Adam Saytanides, tell us the story of this land. Guest: Adam Saytanides, freelance journalist based in Chicago who has been covering the Taylor Ranch since 1996. Guest: Ray Otero, lifetime landgrant activist who is an integral part of the Chicano movement. He is the activist who went to San Luis in the late 70s and organized the community to file the lawsuit. Ray was also employed by Enron and lost his job and his savings in the Enron scandal. Guest: Shirley Otero. Shirley is from San Luis, her family is a plantiff in the lawsuit. 9:41-9:58 SECRET DETENTIONS AND DEPORTATIONS: THIS TIME IT'S THE HAITIAN POPULATION-- DOZENS OF HAITIANS WHO SURVIVED A HARROWING SAILBOAT JOURNEY FROM HAITI ARE SUMMARILY DEPORTED On Democracy Now we've talked a lot about secret detentions and deportations as part of the wave of repression against Arabs and South Asians since September 11th. But Haitians are also a target. On Monday, more than two dozen Haitians were summarily deported from the US. They had been held in maximum-security prisons for more than six months and denied access to medical care, interpretation services, lawyers and legal materials. Most of the deportees were survivors of a highly publicized sailboat journey to South Florida. On December 3rd, nearly two hundred asylum seekers aboard a crammed, 31-foot wooden boat ran aground off Miami's shores. Their arrival triggered a tightening in immigration policy toward Haitian migrants. Before December, Haitians who were able to show a credible fear of persecution in their homeland lived freely while they waited for their case to be reviewed. But since December, Haitian asylum seekers are kept in prolonged detention while an immigration judge decides their status. Immigration advocates, members of Miami's Haitian community, and an array of local politicians have charged that the policy is racist and have filed a class-action lawsuit. This week they have been holding regular protests outside the INS offices in Miami. On Saturday, actor and activist Danny Glover met with some of the detained Haitian immigrants at a Miami jail and spoke at a Miami forum for worker rights. Guest: Danny Glover, actor and activist. He has been touring with the Economic Human Rights Bus Tour with the Institute for Policy Studies. Recently they visited some of the maximum-security prisons in Miami where the Haitian asylum seekers were held. Glover is currently working on a film about the Haitian revolution. Links: Guest: Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. She has filed appeals on behalf of about 100 of the Haitian asylum seekers. Contact: Guest: Ray LaForest, co-coordinator of the Haiti Support Network, union organizer, and Pacifica national board member IN STUDIO 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
August 1, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
August 1, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. August 1, 2002
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