Author Topic: French Guyana protests - discussion and impact on launches  (Read 11933 times)

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Overnight sit-in at Europe spaceport office ends; demonstrators reject Fr govt response; still want CNES to plead their case to govt.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/849623549686009856

Offline Star One

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I've read elsewhere that partly discontent is due to locals feeling that the French treat them as second class citizens?

Offline Alastor

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I've read elsewhere that partly discontent is due to locals feeling that the French treat them as second class citizens?
It's a bit more complex than that (oversea french territories have a complicated status), but the general idea seems about right. In particular, crime rates have reached frightening levels and locals don't feel their safety is assured. But demands include also concerns about health, education and more. All pretty backed up by the statistics.
Of course these figures are not new, but there was supposed to be a plan to invest in the government infrastructures here to enable these discrepancies to fade away, and the locals feel that the issue is being neglected by governments.
With the presidential elections coming shortly, they both want actions from a government that has not upheld its promises during the last term, and probably also strong signs from the candidates that they actually care about Guyana.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 03:08 PM by Alastor »

Offline Star One

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I've read elsewhere that partly discontent is due to locals feeling that the French treat them as second class citizens?
It's a bit more complex than that (oversea french territories have a complicated status), but the general idea seems about right. In particular, crime rates have reached frightening levels and locals don't feel their safety is assured. But demands include also concerns about health, education and more. All pretty backed up by the statistics.
Of course these figures are not new, but there was supposed to be a plan to invest in the government infrastructures here to enable these discrepancies to fade away, and the locals feel that the issue is being neglected by governments.
With the presidential elections coming shortly, they both want actions from a government that has not upheld its promises during the last term, and probably also strong signs from the candidates that they actually care about Guyana.

Thank you for that clear explanation. Does the spaceport result in much money going into the local economy from it?

Offline Star One

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The issue is that the spaceport needs high-skilled employees of which very little come from French Guyana itself.

Well perhaps they should be investing to put in place the facilities so that locals down the line can fill these roles as well.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 03:47 PM by Star One »

Offline Archibald

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Indirect jobs - probably a lot (teachers, nannies, the like).
High-skill jobs - probably not much. Most come from the Metropole and Europe.

Offline Star One

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Indirect jobs - probably a lot (teachers, nannies, the like).
High-skill jobs - probably not much. Most come from the Metropole and Europe.

Has their been consideration of schemes to provide facilities to educate and train locals into the more skilled rolls?

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Europe's spaceport: Roadblocks still up, Ariane/Euro Soyuz (& much of Fr Guiana economy) still down. No off-ramp from crisis imminent.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/849928161018163200

Offline Archibald

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Indirect jobs - probably a lot (teachers, nannies, the like).
High-skill jobs - probably not much. Most come from the Metropole and Europe.

Has their been consideration of schemes to provide facilities to educate and train locals into the more skilled rolls?

I really don't know, but the way the French schooling system is structured, if a French Guyana student wanted to graduate in aerospace, he certainly might have to go to the Metropole (Toulouse and Paris) or to Europe / ESA.

Offline Alastor

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As said by Archibald, for graduate education, I don't think it would be really feasible to provide an offer of highly skilled education without relying on the infrastructure of the metropole. But even in the metropole, people often leave their city to go to a school several hundred kilometers away for that kind of jobs. So the best you can do is provide help for the traveling costs, etc that are obviously much higher.

For undergraduate education, it seems however that the infrastructure is lacking (not enough schools/high schools), and another problem often met by oversea territories is that the teachers are often much less willing to go there. So that something that needs work.

Anyway, training more high skilled people from guyana is one thing (and a good thing), but I'm not sure it would change much to the economy. If you take the case of the spaceport, the users compagny like Arianespace are metropole-based, and when there is alaunch, they fly their teams there. Of course, there is some local workforce, but the impact on local economy doesn't come from the fact that you educate more high skilled workers there, it's more related to the local demand of high skilled workers. If there is no demand, they will just have to leave the place to find a job.

Offline Chasm

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The last days brought a few articles in the press. From those articles, an unchecked.

French Guyana is part of France, part of the EU and NATO. It not part of the Schengen zone. Being an EU border makes local imports more difficult and expensive as it would be otherwise.
EU citizens can move to and work in French Guyana without restrictions. The reverse is of course also true. Doing this in reality is much harder because of things like:

Graduate school?
40% of the pupils don't graduate school. At all.

15% of the population has access to potable water.
The official unemployment number is ~22%, and has been that high for decades. (France ~10%)
For those under 25 years the official unemployment number is 46.5%. (France ~24%)
Half the GDP of France, 45% higher food prices.


Arianespace is the biggest part of the economy. Tourism is next and growing. Forestry, tropical hardwoods, is also big. There is some agriculture at the coast for local consumption and crab fishing mostly for export. Gold mining closes the list.
Illegal gold mining is a major and long lasting cross border issue. Crime and serve pollution of the environment.


250k people in French Guyana. It is not the poorest oversea department but has the highest murder rate in France, averaging to once a week.
26k live in Kourou. Neighborhoods with Arianespace employees are easy to find at night, they are the ones with streetlights.


The main demands are: Higher wages, more workplaces, money for social infrastructure [schools, clinics], more support for the farmers, better protection of small local businesses.
Additional demands include: more police, deporting illegal immigrants.


One of the overarching complaints is that the government did not act on its past promises.
This is not the first conflict, just the most visible and longest. The upcoming presidential election adds visibility, the fear that the protests spread into other poor departments adds urgency for the politicians.
The clinic and medical situation is one of the old promises, the demand is for something more local than a ticket on the next plane to France for even slightly complicated issues.



One observation: When the guys with the balaclavas who are enforcing the strike are the ones demanding more police there is something odd here.

Again, sourced via this weeks news and magazine articles and not fact checked. (Turns out that is hard if you don't speak French.)

Offline Jester

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for the reporting, its slightly one sided and with incorrect facts, maybe open a discussion thread somewhere, and use this for actual updates.

Offline Archibald

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The last days brought a few articles in the press. From those articles, an unchecked.

French Guyana is part of France, part of the EU and NATO. It not part of the Schengen zone. Being an EU border makes local imports more difficult and expensive as it would be otherwise.
EU citizens can move to and work in French Guyana without restrictions. The reverse is of course also true. Doing this in reality is much harder because of things like:

Graduate school?
40% of the pupils don't graduate school. At all.

15% of the population has access to potable water.
The official unemployment number is ~22%, and has been that high for decades. (France ~10%)
For those under 25 years the official unemployment number is 46.5%. (France ~24%)
Half the GDP of France, 45% higher food prices.


Arianespace is the biggest part of the economy. Tourism is next and growing. Forestry, tropical hardwoods, is also big. There is some agriculture at the coast for local consumption and crab fishing mostly for export. Gold mining closes the list.
Illegal gold mining is a major and long lasting cross border issue. Crime and serve pollution of the environment.


250k people in French Guyana. It is not the poorest oversea department but has the highest murder rate in France, averaging to once a week.
26k live in Kourou. Neighborhoods with Arianespace employees are easy to find at night, they are the ones with streetlights.


The main demands are: Higher wages, more workplaces, money for social infrastructure [schools, clinics], more support for the farmers, better protection of small local businesses.
Additional demands include: more police, deporting illegal immigrants.


One of the overarching complaints is that the government did not act on its past promises.
This is not the first conflict, just the most visible and longest. The upcoming presidential election adds visibility, the fear that the protests spread into other poor departments adds urgency for the politicians.
The clinic and medical situation is one of the old promises, the demand is for something more local than a ticket on the next plane to France for even slightly complicated issues.



One observation: When the guys with the balaclavas who are enforcing the strike are the ones demanding more police there is something odd here.

Again, sourced via this weeks news and magazine articles and not fact checked. (Turns out that is hard if you don't speak French.)

A pretty honest assessment of the situation IMHO. These numbers are rather depressing.

Offline Archibald

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Illegal gold mining is a major and long lasting cross border issue.

There is an important mercury pollution because of illegal gold mining.

Offline Star One

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Re: French Guyana protests - discussion and impact on launches
« Reply #34 on: 04/07/2017 07:17 AM »
for the reporting, its slightly one sided and with incorrect facts, maybe open a discussion thread somewhere, and use this for actual updates.

There isn't one.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2017 07:44 AM by jacqmans »

Online jacqmans

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Re: French Guyana protests - discussion and impact on launches
« Reply #35 on: 04/07/2017 08:04 AM »
Guiana Space Centre Director meets with protesters as demonstrations continue

KOUROU, French Guiana — Protests continued at the Guiana Space Centre with the unveiling of a sculpture of a fist, highlighting protesters’ concerns. SpaceFlight Insider spoke with workers attending this rally who marched toward the Centre to meet its director, Didier Faivre.

Read more at http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/esa/guiana-space-centre-director-meets-protesters-demonstrations-continue/#QmmD39lwulmgWci8.99

Offline Star One

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Re: French Guyana protests - discussion and impact on launches
« Reply #36 on: 04/07/2017 08:28 AM »
How long would this have to go on to impact on the JWST launch, or will whatever other payloads are in front of it have to be juggled round to insure it still launches on time?

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: French Guyana protests - discussion and impact on launches
« Reply #37 on: 04/07/2017 12:10 PM »
Here's an interesting article with the background on the disturbances and role of the spaceport:

https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/french-guiana-rockets-and-republic

It says at least a partial deal has been done, which is why protestors left the spaceport yesterday. I've not seen any reports though that airport etc has re-opened.

Offline Archibald

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Re: French Guyana protests - discussion and impact on launches
« Reply #38 on: 04/07/2017 02:48 PM »
How long would this have to go on to impact on the JWST launch, or will whatever other payloads are in front of it have to be juggled round to insure it still launches on time?

I was going to say "JWST is still years away from launch" then reminded 2018 is next year (!).

Then again, JWST isn't a space probe, it has no launch window.

Offline robertross

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Re: French Guyana protests - discussion and impact on launches
« Reply #39 on: 04/07/2017 02:57 PM »
How long would this have to go on to impact on the JWST launch, or will whatever other payloads are in front of it have to be juggled round to insure it still launches on time?

I was going to say "JWST is still years away from launch" then reminded 2018 is next year (!).

Then again, JWST isn't a space probe, it has no launch window.

Maybe not, but the program costs will continue to mount while it waits in line for the preceding launches to occur.
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