Ibero-American News Digest
Movement Launched To End 'Financiers' Tyranny' Over Brazil
Should Brazil's PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) "run the risk of challenging the financial system and big media" to order to secure real economic development for Brazil and its people? Thus far, 85-90% of party members answering a questionnaire with that, and 12 other similar questions, have answered "Yes!", PMDB leaders reported to EIR this week.
Organizing began on Aug. 11, to get the 2.5 million-member PMDB party to adopt a program which would return the country to nation-state economics, and end "the tyranny of short-term issues" imposed by financier capital, as the party's campaign platform for the 2006 Presidential elections, no matter who the candidate is. The explosive response generated by that proposal has surprised even the organizers who set it in motion.
Huge meetings of PMDB leaders and members are now being held, in each state, to debate the proposed program, titled "To Change Brazil," which was drafted by a team led by Carlos Lessa, the former head of the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES). Lessa is feared by the financiers because he understands, as he explained in an April 18, 2005 interview with EIR, that to develop Brazil and other countries, "the financial dragon" must be taken on.
The first meeting to discuss the program, held in Parana on Sept. 12, drew 800 people, including numerous national leaders and state governors. At the next meeting, in Sao Paulo, 2,000 people came to hear Lessa and others discuss how Brazil could secure its future. Parana Governor Roberto Requiao told the Sao Paulo meeting that Brazil is not a market of consumers; it is a nation. Markets operate on an instantaneous basis, and have no home or interest other than creating wealth for the speculators. A nation has a past, and is building the future. Nations have citizens, not consumers, he said.
Those attending the meetings received copies of "To Change Brazil." The document warns that the continued existence of Brazil as a sovereign nation is endangered, unless the "market rules" system imposed by international financial capital is overturned. Neoliberal arguments for unending reforms, no matter how many crises result have brought us to this situation, it charges. "This circular reasoning has led to a collapse of thinking. Over time, societies become incapable of defining their own development agenda. They no longer recognize their problems or their potential. They abandon the idea of having a mission. They become used to living in chronic crisis. They accept the tyranny of short-term issues."
Forty percent of the budget goes to debt service; Brazil pays in one month for debt service what it spends in an entire year on health; in 15 days, the annual budget for education; in 10 days, the annual expenditure on social assistance programs.
The first step is to take the $35 billion a year extracted through the primary budget surplus for bankers' speculation, and put those tax revenues instead into education, health, housing, agrarian reform, infrastructure, etc. That requires capital controls, without which finance capital has a veto on any decision society makes. The Central Bank cannot continue as a "state within a state," but must be put under the actual control of the Treasury Ministry. Brazil must also modernize its productive base through the spread of modern technology, and that requires large-scale investment into infrastructure, based on strategic planning carried out by the state.
Brazil must increase the average productivity of labor at the greatest rate possible, and education is the key to this. Brazil cannot continue to live with 15% illiteracy, and 25% un- and under-employment. The country must return to having a Mission.
Argentina Elections: The 'Mother of All Races'
Argentina's Foreign Minister and Congressional candidate Rafael Bielsa called his campaign in the Federal District of Buenos Aires, "The Mother of All Races," in which President Nestor Kirchner's model of economic development is pitted against the free-market model of the 1990s. Bielsa is running on Kirchner's Victory Front ticket in the Oct. 23 mid-term elections, against neo-con businessman Mauricio Macri (greatly admired by the American Enterprise Institute), and the ARI (Argentines for a Republic of Equals)'s Elisa Carrio, who is anti-Kirchner also. At least one poll shows the three to be in a dead heat.
As Bielsa told Clarin on Sept. 28: "I am committed to deepening the change taking place in the country," whereas Macri, together with former President Eduardo Duhalde, represent an "antagonistic model, ... a way of thinking in which you always say yes to powerful interests, and go backwards, a model related more to laboratory experiments. I think the country is moving in a different direction." A vote for anti-corruption candidate Elisa Carrio would be a vote for uncertainty, Bielsa said. "The real moral contract is the one the government establishes with the people every day, when it fights for their interests."
Kirchner: Argentina Needs Skilled Workers
To have shut down schools for the training of skilled workers was an "act of barbarism," said Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, in a campaign speech in the city of Corrientes Sept. 26. Referring to the destruction of the country's skilled labor force carried out under the Presidency of IMF darling Carlos Menem (1989-1999), Kirchner pointed out that today, Argentina has a shortage of skilled labor. In 1990, the Technical Education Law was overturned, shutting down the technical and trade schools which had been a tradition in Argentina for more than a century. Fifteen percent more Argentines would be working today, were it not for the fact that they lack the necessary skills, Kirchner said.
To remedy this situation, the Argentine President announced that, as of 20 days ago, Congress has revived the Technical Education Law. "It was truly an act of barbarism," he underscored, that young Argentines were deprived of the opportunity to learn a trade and obtain the skills required for decent productive jobs.
Kirchner also pointed out that Argentina is not just the country "of the capital"Buenos Airesas British financial interests tried to run things. "There is also the country of the interior" (the provinces that the free-marketeers looted to the point that the country was threatened with territorial disintegration). Now, Kirchner said, "those two countries must become onethe country of all Argentines." The men and women of the interior "are not just a number ... or the country's backyard." If Argentina is to continue progressing, he said, the IMF will have to recognize "that it can't play with Argentina. It will have to negotiate properly and recognize the efforts we've made."
Paraguayan Government Expropriates Some Moon Holdings
The Paraguayan government expropriated some of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's vast land holdings last week, as President Duarte Frutos is clearly feeling the heat from the LaRouche movement's international "Moon Over Parana" expose. Two months ago, Duarte announced his government would expropriate 52,000 hectares belonging to the Moon sect, located in the Alto Paraguay region of the country where the Unification Church owns 600,000 hectares. But suddenly, on Sept. 27, with great fanfare, and in the company of his cabinet and an entourage of reporters, Duarte travelled to Puerto Casado where Moon's Victoria, S.A. company operates, and announced to the town's people that the expropriation was now law. Duarte promised that the company would be compensated for the land, once it pays its taxes, but warned against "powerful groups who come to enrich themselves in Paraguay, and who also exploit Paraguayan labor and don't pay their taxes." These powerful groups have paid only "crumbs" to poor Paraguayan farmers, he said.
The President is being pressured from all sidesby his Congressional opposition, the Moonies, and the U.S. After extolling leaders of the Senate for defending that institution's "dignity" by finally ensuring "justice" for the peasants oppressed by the Moonies, Duarte quickly pointed out that this expropriation was "not an attack on private property," but rather on unproductive land and latifundists. Already positioning himself to run for reelection, Duarte turned the whole event into a political rally, standing on a chair and chastising the Cabinet ministers present for not doing enough to meet the needs of the poorest citizens, such as those in Alto Paraguay.
Yet More Pinochet Illegal Monies Uncovered
Chile's State Defense Council has discovered previously unknown bank accounts of former dictator Augusto Pinochet, held in the Miami branch of BankAtlantic. On Sept. 28, Judge Sergio Munoz, who is investigating Pinochet's vast illegal financial empire abroad, embargoed Pinochet's funds in BankAtlantic, and requested that the Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida transfer them to Santiago.
The extent of Pinochet's sordid financial and related activities seems to be unlimited. The on-line Chilean daily El Mostrador points to the "complex machinery" which Pinochet, his family members, and close military collaborators set up to hidelaunderthe illegal commissions received for purchase and sale of weapons. The discovery in Miami is also related to Judge Munoz's investigation of funds which Pinochet had stashed away in Switzerland, thought to be commissions received for the purchase of Mowag armored vehicles and Mirage jets. Munoz also indicted five Army officers, two of them active-duty, as accomplices in Pinochet's illegal schemes.