Ibero-American News Digest
LaRouche Warns Brazil: Wake Up! Act vs. 'Moonie' Invasion
Alarmed government officials and diplomats from a number of South American nations have demanded of Lyndon LaRouche over the last week: Will the Brazilian government and national institutions not act to stop Dick Cheney's drive to start a war in the heart of South America? Brazil is the only country in the region powerful enough to do anything about it, the distraught officials reported; if they don't act, we are in no position to resist.
Lyndon LaRouche responded to the South American pleas, with the following public comment:
"I am concerned about the lack of courage shown in certain quarters in Brazil, especially in the wake of the conveniently timed corruption scandals against President Lula. Brazil has to wake up to reality. It has to understand the importance of the defense of its sovereignty, and that of its neighbors, against the Moonie- and British-run invasion, or the whole continentincluding Brazilis going to go down the tubes."
Argentina Insists General Welfare Must Determine Economic Policies
The U.S. and Argentina went head to head over the need for a general welfare policy, at the latest meeting of the Summit of the Americas preparatory group, held in Buenos Aires Sept. 8-9.
As the summit pre-meeting opened, international agencies reported that 130 million Ibero-Americans are unemployed (including those in the "informal economy"), and 220 million live below the poverty line.
Argentine Vice Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana opened the meeting with a speech denouncing the economic policies adopted since the 1990s for creating growth rates less than half of what they had been in the region from 1950-1980, weakening labor markets, increasing "informality," and leaving growing numbers of people without access to health care, education, or social protection, nor often a place to eat or sleep. This failure to meet basic social needs is what is causing Ibero-America's crisis of governability, and outright loss of human life, he charged. Reiterating that the international financial architecture must be discussed, Taiana insisted: "We must advance towards national and international economic systems based on the principles of equity and inclusion," and that requires re-evaluating the impact of regional trade accords and negotiations with the international financial bodies.
Bush's ambassador to the Organization of the American States (OAS), Project Democracy hachetman John Maisto, heading the U.S. team in Buenos Aires, in his speech and a special press briefing held at the embassy, replied with arrogant sophistry: Let us not discuss the past, but only look forward, and economic growth is the responsibility of every nation alone, not the result of international conditions. This, he said, is "what some call sovereignty." His message is that the summit must focus on measures that nations can take, and forget issues such as "debt, deficits, and global forces beyond their control." And, he threatened, every Summit of the Americas declaration issued since 1994 has had a paragraph endorsing a Western Hemisphere Free Trade Accordand this one will not be any different.
Regional Defense Matters, Also, at Summit of Americas
The Nov. 3-5 Summit of the Americas will also discuss regional security and defense matters, according to Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa. Speaking at the conclusion of the Rio Group meeting Aug. 26, at which both he and his Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim were asked about U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's Aug. 16 trip to Paraguay, Bielsa remarked that the issue of regional defense is "sensitive," given such matters as the U.S. demand that its soldiers be granted immunity when they participate in military exercises in foreign countries. Argentina, Bielsa said, hasn't granted this immunity.
In the same press conference, Brazil's Amorim pointedly stressed that it would be very "useful" for South American nations to "strengthen" their cooperation on regional defense and security. To the degree they do this, he said, "it will be easier to create the mechanisms to avoid any extra-regional presence"an obvious reference to U.S. troops currently operating in Paraguay.
Central America Hit by Energy 'Tsunami'
The nations of Central America declared themselves in a state of "maximum alert" over the energy crisis provoked by the rising price of petroleum, at the conclusion of a regional meeting held in Nicaragua Sept. 4-5. Said Salvadoran President Antonio Saca: "The consequences of the world oil crisis we are faced with are pretty much like that of an earthquake or a tsunami." The Economics Ministers of the Central American countries plan to soon travel to Venezuela and Colombia to ask for help, specifically, a revision of the San Jose Pact, to provide them with more favorable oil prices to enable them to weather this "energy tsunami." The San Jose Pact, sponsored by Mexico and Venezuela, allows for supply of crude oil on credit, but does not offer preferential pricing. The Central Americans are hoping to receive the help they need, if they act together as a bloc.
LYM Educates Ibero-American Presidents
LaRouche Youth Movement organizers last week personally challenged the Presidents of Chile, Argentina, and Colombia to listen to Lyndon LaRouche, and take action to defend their nations. Chile's President Ricardo Lagos received LaRouche literature, and instructions to read it, on Sept. 2, during a visit to Bogota.
The day before, LYM organizers in Neuquen, Argentina spoke briefly with President Nestor Kirchner for the third time in four months, when he and members of his cabinet visited the province of Rio Negro. Argentina must help create a New World Economic Order by supporting LaRouche's New Bretton Woods, including at the upcoming Summit of the Americas meeting, he was told. You have our support in this fight, the two LYM organizers told him, as they gave him EIR's expose on Cheney's South American war plans.
Then, on Sept. 6, Colombian LYM member Sidarta Melo debated economics with President Alvaro Uribe, in front of an audience of more than 500 Colombian and international scientists, government and military officials, and university students and professors attending a commemoration of World Physics Year in Bogota. When President Uribe opened the floor to questions, Sidarta took the microphone: "Mr. President, I would like to know concretely, what are the great projects in state-of-the-art science and technology that your government is carrying out, in view of the fact that in a field like telecommunications, some already want to sell off the state companies where something of science could be developed?" (This last was in reference to Uribe's statements that various state telecom companies are going to be privatized.) "Here it says that investment in science programs is 0.3% of the national budget, and might be raised to 1%. Why not use the 30% now allocated for payment of debt service, or the international reserves that are being used to pre-pay the debt, something which seems stupid to me?"
Uribe looked at Sidarta for a moment, before answering: "Young man, when you reach my age and have the gray hairs that I have, you will learn that there are two paths one can take: one is to make populist, radical decisions and close the doors internationally. This is what should not be done in economics. The other option is to do things as one should, step by step, and recovering the confidence of the private sector and of the foreign sector, and to do that, we need to fulfill the obligations that the nation has acquired; that is what we are doing. Foreign capital has increased and is now coming in based on more confidence in the country. Regarding state bonds, they're being bought up like hot cakes; international reserves have grown and are being used appropriately. It's not a question of stealing money, but with this prepayment, the nation is saving much money on the debt of the future. With regard to telecommunications, rates have come down.... Further, the state cannot intervene in the economy, because what could happen is what is happening to a neighboring country [Venezuela? Ecuador? -ed.], which, in the future, is going to reheat its economy."
Sidarta responded: "That is not true, because if the nation were to issue credit for great infrastructure projects, this will generate is jobs and development, like Franklin D. Roosevelt did in the United States. This can be done without indebting the country."
Uribe: "That would generate inflation, something which the Central Bank fears a great deal."
Sidarta: "These theories are false. Inflation occurs when money is printed without any relation to the physical production of a country, but when the emission is focussed on industry, this doesn't generate inflation. Anyway, if the goal were to combat the inflated costs generated by non-productive activities, the government would control the stock exchange, which is dedicated to selling paper, like bonds and derivatives, without producing anything."
Uribe: "Young man, in what university did you study economics?"
Sidarta: "None! I have studied the ideas of Mr. Lyndon LaRouche."
Uribe: "What then is your view of the economy?"
Sidarta: "The physical economy."
And then, with a touch of sarcasm, Uribe said, "Young man, I am an open-minded person. So if you convince me of your view of economics and science, we will talk with the Central Bank. Write something and send it to me."
Sidarta: "I accept the challenge."