Western Union makes Billions in skimming working poors money transfers.

Got a mail.

Publishing it in its whole.
Also published at Scaber Nestor.

Dear friends.

This holiday season, Josh, a Kenyan student in the Netherlands, scraped together a year's worth of savings and sent it home to support 10 struggling family members. Shockingly, the giant money transfer company Western Union skimmed off 20% of the cash meant for Josh's family in fees.

Josh’s story is painfully retold every day, the world over, on a staggering scale -- an estimated $44.3 billion worldwide was lost in transfer fees last year! The World Bank recommends that transaction costs not exceed 5% of the total, but Western Union has never faced serious pressure to lower its crippling charges. If we unite in a global outcry now, we can expose its predatory practices when its carefully crafted, family-friendly image is most vulnerable: the giving season.

Josh's generosity -- and that of millions of workers around the world -- shouldn't go to waste! Let's call on Western Union to lower its fees to 5% for the poorest countries, and when the petition reaches 250,000 we’ll deliver it to the company’s image-sensitive board of directors. Sign now and then forward this to friends and family:


Sacrifices like Josh’s dwarf foreign governmental aid every year and provide a vital lifeline to the world’s poorest economies. Slashing the obscene profits of companies like Western Union would dramatically increase assistance flowing into developing countries. Instead, families around the world received far less than they deserved so that Western Union's CEO could take home $8.1 million in 2009.

The World Bank recommends that transfer companies limit fees to 5% of the amount being transferred, but some banks and companies have astronomical hidden charges. Perversely, the neediest countries coming out of war or disaster suffer the greatest losses, because of transfer companies' monopolistic privileges and exclusive deals with local banks.

The yearly savings of men and women laboring in hospitals, construction sites and restaurants end up padding Western Union's profits. The company funds charity projects to improve its corporate image – but these do nothing to hide the massive inequity that their business model perpetrates. Let's raise our voices loudly to support true generosity during the holiday season – and help bring immediate benefits to workers and the relatives they sustain. Together we can make sure that needy families – rather than CEOs – benefit from holiday giving:


When citizens around the world stand together to protest injustice, we can force back unchecked greed and inequality – as we've done together before. Buoyed by the warmth and empathy of the holiday season, let's make sure that generous gifts arrive where they're most needed.

With hope and gratitude,

Luis, Stephanie, Graziela, David, Paula, Ben, and the rest of the Avaaz team


Western Union CEO's pay more than triples in 2009, Associated Press:

Past Time for Remittance Justice, ACORN International:

World Bank Remittance Pricing resource:

Support the Avaaz community! We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here.

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I Am Spartacus - We Are Wikileaks - C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000569

I Am Spartacus - We Are wikileaks.

Do it yourselves, pick out a random wikileaks document and publish it.

This is my contribution.

Others in the "I Am Spartacus"-campaign.

Scaber Nestor, Olof[Beta], Torbjörn Jerlerup, Lennart Regebro, sugbloggen.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000569



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/11/2015

REF: STATE 25063

Classified By: Political Counselor Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick,
reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs'
chief official for Andean countries informed poloff February
9 that a majority of officials at the MFA are as perplexed as
the U.S. is at President Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero's
policy of building closer relations with Venezuela's Hugo
Chavez. Juan Carlos Sanchez (please protect) explained
Zapatero's Venezuela policy is being run from Moncloa and the
MFA is left to try to influence the policy as much as
possible. Most MFA officials, according to Sanchez, see no
benefits and only downsides for Spain in closer relations
with Venezuela. They understand Zapatero's moves do not work
to promote democracy or stability in the region and will only
serve to further strain relations with the U.S., Colombia and
other countries in the region. End summary.

¶2. (C) Poloff met February 9 with Sanchez, the MFA's Deputy
Director General for the Andean Community (DAS-equivalent) to
discuss Spain's policy toward Venezuela and Colombia.
(Sanchez replaced Ernesto de Zulueta as the Andean DDG in
December 2004). Poloff began the meeting telling Sanchez
that in general the U.S. was extremely perplexed at Spain's
developing relationship with Venezuela and Hugo Chavez, and
believed the Spanish government was on the wrong side of the
equation in terms of promoting democracy in the region and
avoiding conflicts between Venezuela and Colombia.

¶3. (C) In a surprisingly frank reply, Sanchez (please
protect) said he and "the great majority" of his colleagues
in the Foreign Ministry were "equally perplexed" at
Zapatero's moves to build closer relations with Chavez. He
specifically noted (again, please protect) that more senior
officials involved with Latin American affairs at the MFA
share this view. Sanchez, who has served in Caracas,
explained that neither he nor many others in the MFA saw any
benefit accruing to Spain from Zapatero's policy, rather
quite the opposite: Zapatero's cozying up to Chavez will
only needlessly anger the United States and Colombia. "We
don't understand the policy or the reason for it," remarked

¶4. (C) On Zapatero's canceling of a planned stop in Caracas
during his recent visit to South America, Sanchez said the
MFA strongly urged Zapatero not to make the stop, believing
it would be a serious mistake, but in the end it was
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's direct intervention with
Zapatero (somewhat heated, according to Sanchez) that
ultimately led Zapatero to cancel the stop. Sanchez said he
and his MFA colleagues were at a loss to explain why Zapatero
then "secretly" sent Minister of Defense Bono to Caracas. If
the purpose of the visit was to lobby Chavez to purchase
military ships from Spain's ailing Izar shipyards, the
prevailing view at the MFA is that placating, probably only
temporarily, Izar's agitated ship workers was not worth
damaging Spain's relations with the U.S., Colombia and

¶5. (C) Moreover, Sanchez emphasized, selling any kind of
armaments to Venezuela at this time "makes no sense at all,"
particularly in light of the Zapatero government's decision
in 2004 to cancel the sale of "a few second or third hand
tanks" to Colombia, purportedly because Madrid was concerned
the sale could upset the military balance between Venezuela
and Colombia. "If Bono had justified canceling the sale
based on the idea that tanks are not well suited to fighting
an insurgency, that would be one thing," said Sanchez, "but
having canceled the sale supposedly to avoid tipping the
military balance in the region, we at the MFA understand how
incongruous discussions with Venezuela about purchasing
armaments from Spain now look."

¶6. (C) Sanchez said that Venezuela policy is being run out
of Moncloa (the presidency) and that the MFA is left trying
to influence the policy as much as possible. "The MFA wants
relations with the U.S. repaired, not further damaged by a
policy of building closer relations to Hugo Chavez, which
produces no tangible benefits for Spain," said Sanchez. The
MFA understands the U.S. also strongly disagrees with Spain's
Cuba policy, but the MFA feels it can articulate a reasonable
basis for the Zapatero government's position on Cuba. "There
is no reasonable basis for our Venezuela policy," said
Sanchez. The MFA understands Spain should be on the right
side of democracy and regional security, and that Venezuela
is going in the wrong direction. The MFA is doing its best
to persuade Moncloa of this.

¶7. (C) Poloff said the U.S. strongly urges Zapatero not to
visit Caracas in March as we understand he is tentatively
planning to do. Sanchez replied that the MFA understands the
U.S. position and is seeking to postpone the visit. At a
minimum, the MFA wants to see Zapatero visit Bogota on the
same trip if Zapatero does go to Caracas in March.

¶8. (C) Poloff's conversation with Sanchez took place before
we received reftel concerning Venezuelan attempts to purchase
certain armaments. We will follow up with both the MFA and
Moncloa on the arms question, and more generally on further
developments in the Zapatero government's evolving policy
toward Venezuela.


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