Ibero-American News Digest
Forum Rallies Continental Forces To Save Social Security
The April 20 Internet forum, "Toward the Revival of Ibero-America's Social Security System," hosted on www.larouchepub.com/spanish, brought together activists from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and the U.S. to discuss how to defend the general welfare, in the context of the imminent international financial crash. The forum, organized at the initiative of the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM), attracted participants from institutions that are actively organizing to restore social security systems that were totally or partially privatized during the 1980s and 1990s in Ibero-America. The most dramatic case is, of course, that of Chile, as EIR has documented.
Participants in the discussion included Cynthia Rush, EIR Ibero-America analyst; Diego Bogomolny of Argentina's LYM chapter; Chilean activist Maria Luz Navarrette of the National Association of Tax Employees and the Institute for Social Security Normalization (INP); Isabel Marquez, also of the INP; Leonardo Fabre, Secretary General of Argentina's National Social Security Employees' Union (APOPS); Mr. Agustin Castillo Lopez, an aide to Mexican Federal Deputy Augustin Rodriguez, who is also the Secretary General of the STUNAM (trade union of employees of the National Autonomous UniversityUNAM); LYM leader Emiliano Andino joined by guests at the Mexican Congress; and several Argentine representatives of different state agencies involved with social security and social services.
Rush opened the forum with a strategic overview, starting with Lyndon LaRouche's analysis of the impending financial crash, documenting George Bush's insanity, the Iran war threat, and the history of financier Felix Rohatyn's backing for the fascist Pinochet coup, and current deployment in the U.S. Democratic Party against LaRouche's programmatic leadership. The 1981 privatization of Chile's social security system was presented, not as a national issue, but as the reflection of an international model imposed by the same synarchist financiers who today give orders to the George W. Bush Administration.
Participants from Chile followed. Maria Luz Navarette movingly described her organization's battle against the privatized system under conditions of dictatorship, noting that people had suffered torture and death in the attempt to stop the smashing of the state system by the "Chicago Boys." Isabel Marquez discussed the "historic moment" Chileans face today, with President Michelle Bachelet's proposal to reform the privatized system, and explained that the organizations she works with are in the process of creating a large national movement to demand something more than cosmetic changes. "We must act," she said. "If we don't do this now, it will never get done."
Peronist union leader Leonardo Fabre shaped his presentation in response to several of the points that Rush had made, noting particularly his agreement on the definition of the common international Synarchist enemy to be defeated.
From Mexico, Castillo Lopez of the STUNAM outlined the efforts to smash the country's social security system, and how the union and its allies are responding to that.
The interaction among the activists of these countries remoralized many of those participating. LYM leader Bogomolny summarized the forum's significance: "The LaRouche Youth Movement continues to catalyze the Presidents' Clubthe strategic alliance between Chile and Argentinaand we are inspiring the international community in this fight."
Brazilian President Awards Nation's First Astronaut
President Lula da Silva awarded Brazil's first astronaut, Lt. Col. Marcos Pontes, the National Order of Merit on April 20, at a ceremony in Brasilia attended by Cabinet ministers, top officials of the military and space program, and young people. Pontes just arrived back in Brazil, after readjusting to gravity in Russia, following his eight-day stay on the International Space Station. In his address at the ceremony, the President boldly answered those small-minded critics sniping from the sidelines that it was a waste to spend $10 million to send one man into space to carry out what they belittle as insignificant scientific experiments.
"Brazil is moving very rapidly to exercise, fully, its sovereignty in all areas which the world demands," Lula stated. Your trip to space has a very important historic significance for Brazil. If some day you read a criticism, don't worry about it. Instead, take the criticism as a stimulus so that otherswho knows, here in the midst of these children, we might have our astronauts of 30 years from now, then flying from Brazil itself with technology we have entirely prepared ourselves.
"There are people who think that we should not spend money on this. There are people who think that we shouldn't spend money on our [nuclear] submarine, as there are people who think we shouldn't deal with the uranium issue [the latter referring to Brazil's enrichment program]. We are going to deal with everything Brazil has to deal with, so that its people can be ever prouder of being Brazilian, and so that our people can be ever more sovereign before the world."
If these children, and all Brazilians, felt the same pride I felt when I saw you floating in that spaceship, the President told Pontes, "what we have spent for you to go into space is little, compared to what this means for Brazil, for the Brazilian people, for the children, for science, and for everything which we do from here on out This trip of yours has been merely a step in our country's quest to conquer space and scientific and technological knowledge."
Referencing his experiments on germination of seeds in space, Pontes answered: "We planted seeds there, but we did not plant seeds only in space. We planted seeds, principally, here."
Chile's Finance Minister Attacks Private Pension Funds
Financial predator interests were rattled by Finance Minister Andres Velasco's April 6 speech at the ProHUMANA Foundation, in which he asserted that owners of private pension fundsthe AFPshave reaped greater profits over the past ten years than owners in any other sector of the financial system. His solution is to make the funds "more competitive" and to "perfect" the private system. But he repeated that the reform President Bachelet envisions is not just a "band-aid," but a "global reform" to ensure that all citizens receive a decent pension. He said that high commissions charged by the AFPs make the system way too expensive for all but the wealthiest, leaving a large percentage of the labor force unprotected.
Chile's major financial daily Diario Financiero chastised Velasco on April 17 for daring to publicly attack the AFP system, charging that he was disregarding Bachelet's wishes. But it's clearly the bankers who are upset. Although Velasco is a product of Columbia and Yale and most recently taught economics at Harvard, he doesn't quite fit the mold of past Chilean Finance Ministers. He announced he wants to be more "citizen oriented," and immediately after his March 13 swearing-in, chose the CUT labor federation as the site of his first official visit as Finance Ministeran unprecedented act in Chile. While Velasco professed loyalty to "the market" in his April 6 speech, his statement that Chile's future growth "obviously depends a great deal on what happens in the world economy" couldn't have reassured the local financial community. His reference to the need for some regulatory mechanisms to ensure there is equal opportunity for all, and announcement that the country's only state bank would be playing a more prominent role in offering credit, no doubt added to banker nervousness.
Monetarist: Amnesty for Illegals Will Hurt Mexican Economy
A bizarre spin on the immigration debate was put forward by an economist of Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM), Miguel Cervantes Jimenez, who warned reporters on April 13 that remittances sent home by Mexicans working in the U.S. could collapse by as much as 40%, if U.S. immigration reform legislation is passed. His argument against amnesty, is that "mass legalization" of immigrants living in the U.S. would encourage them to bring their families north, rather than send wages south. So Mexico's economic well-being, according to this lunatic argument, is based on keeping Mexican families split apart.
Nearly $20 billion was sent home by Mexicans living in the U.S. in 2005, constituting the second largest source of foreign exchange for Mexico, after oil earnings. According to a 2006 World Bank study, global remittances in 2004 were double the amount of total international aid granted for development, and, according to the report, could "improve the solvency of a country in seeking foreign lending and...could expand access to capital and lower loan costs."
Second Edition of LYM's Prometeo Released
The Ibero-American branch of the LaRouche Youth Movement has put out its second, full-color Internet edition of Prometeo, with an editorial statement, entitled, "Understanding Ourselves as Humanity," which declares:
"The intent of this second edition of Prometeo is to continue the study of the historic process that we youth must understand and change. Since it has fallen to us to be living during the worst crisis of modern history, reflected today in the collapse of the international financial system, the challenge is to see the future that we can generate, in the same way that a space program or nuclear program is planned: working today for future generations. And so we hope that you will navigate these pages of our weekly, and that in the end, you will find the paradoxes to resolve, in order to improve humanity."
Prometeo is available on the LYM Spanish-language websitehttp://www.wlym.com/spanish.