Ibero-American News Digest
Bogota LYM Candidate Picks Solon of Athens as Running Mate
In early February, the Colombian LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) issued a polemical and optimistic statement announcing that Pedro Rubio, candidate for the Bogota City Council, "will have Solon of Athens (640 BC-560 BC) as his running mate." This is particularly appropriate, the LYM explained, "since the central platform of the Rubio-Solon slate is that Bogota must become the 'Athens of South America,' as the great 19th Century German historian and scientist Alexander von Humboldt used to refer to Bogota."
Entitled, "Bogota, the South American Athens of the 21st Century," the LYM statement is being circulated throughout the capital as a leaflet, prominently highlighting at the top the quote by Solon of Athens, "never will our city be destroyed by Zeus' decree."
Why the inclusion of Solon? Because, as the LYM explains, "Solon, a philosopher and statesman of ancient Greece, ruled in 594 BC, at a time when Greece was facing self-destruction. Solon warned in a poetic letter to the citizenry ("The Constitutional Order of Athens") of the dangers that threatened the Greek Republic, if it continued to allow the rule of a political class which was pushing the idea of empire and slavery to replace the Republic. Solon denounced the oligarchic model, of irrational authorities like the gods of Olympus, who only ruled in the interests of the elites, while keeping the citizens impoverished, enslaved, and abandoned through draconian measures such as unpayable debts, the death penalty, and underdevelopment."
Today, the LYM states, Colombia "finds itself in the same situation that threatened Greece and the existence of the Republic." And, as young adults, "we will not accept this destruction of our future. The LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) issues a call to citizens, and to the youth in particular, to mobilize for the rebirth and rebuilding of the Republic, from Bogota, the South American Athens of the 21st Century. We need sovereign states founded on the principle of the general welfare, with the development of a universal classical culture, the promotion of manufacturing, Classical public education, scientific research, and industrial development. On an international level, we must put an end to the unjust free trade policies of the International Monetary Fund, replacing them with a new international financial system, such as that proposed by the renowned economist and former U.S. Presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche."
After describing the "World Landbridge" program proposed by LaRouche, and the role that Colombia can play within that, the LYM adds that, "in Bogota itself, a metro [rail] must be built as an imperative, to turn the city into a 21st Century metropolis." This will be the driver for a "shock-wave of industrialization and infrastructure growth, necessary for turning Colombia into an industrial and agricultural power," the LYM states. It calls for creating "an economic model of national banking which, with large volumes of low-interest and long-term credit, can finance these projects that will generate 6-7 million jobs in the coming years, just as U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did to help the U.S. economy recover from the economic crisis of the 1930s, and as LaRouche proposes today to help the world economy recover from the current systemic global collapse."
Creation of Mexican Space Agency on Senate Agenda
Mexican scientists are optimistic that the creation of a national space agency will finally be approved when the Senate's Science and Technology Committee meets Feb. 20 to debate enabling legislation already passed in the Lower House in April 2006.
In the 1950s, Mexico had a National Outer Space Commission, which put several rockets into orbit and participated in many other impressive scientific endeavors before it was dismantled in 1977. Although leading scientists and engineers continued to fight for aerospace education programs, and developed a capability for building small satellites at institutions such as the UNAM (National Autonomous University) and National Polytechnic Institute, even these were eventually shut down. "It was very grave," said one engineer. "A country without science and technology is lost."
Now, these same dedicated scientists and academics, including Mexico's first astronaut Rodolfo Neri Vela (who flew on the shuttle Atlantis in 1985), are hopeful that Mexico will finally have the opportunity to use a new Mexican Space Agency to collaborate on technological research and development projects with other nations, and to inspire a new generation of young people. "This is urgent," Dr. Neri Vela told Televisa. "It's a responsibility we have that will stimulate our youth." Space exploration has brought immense benefits to the Earth, he said.
Bankers: Ecuador Default Could Spark Derivatives Crisis
After just one month in office, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa announced Feb. 11 that his government would not be making an expected $135 million payment on the country's 2030 global bonds due Feb. 15. Instead, he said that the government needed to focus on political reform and the Administration's fight with Congress over establishing a Constituent Assembly. "We have said that we will restructure the foreign debt, and we will do so, but we need to be careful about fighting on too many fronts."
Although the government did finally make the payment on time, the mere hint of a postponement set off a panic on Wall Street and in the City of London, where financial predators feared that Ecuador were headed for an Argentine-style default. London's Financial Times began its Feb. 12 coverage of the postponement by warning "things could be about to get much worse." The article then quoted a Standard & Poors analyst saying, "It's hard to imagine a scenario in which they won't default."
Most revealing in this situation was the Financial Times' observation Feb. 13 that an Ecuadorean debt default is less feared for its impact on financial creditors, than it is on "the arcane world of credit derivatives, which has mushroomed in the past five years and would mean a whole new level of crisis in the event of a sovereign debt default." The derivatives crisis unleashed by an Ecuadorean default would "send shockwaves around the world," the FT warned.
Uruguay Lawyer: Kissinger Complicit in Operation Condor
Uruguayan lawyer Gustavo Salle has called on the nation's Supreme Court to issue an international arrest warrant and request for the extradition to Montevideo of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In statements made Feb. 14, Salle charged that Kissinger is the "intellectual author" of the fascist Operation Condor apparatus that kidnapped, tortured, killed, and "disappeared" tens of thousands of people in several countries of Ibero-America's Southern Cone during the 1970s and 1980s. Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose 1973 coup against President Salvador Allende was orchestrated with Kissinger's help, set up Operation Condor in 1974, allegedly to fight "communist subversion."
Representing the family of Bernardo Arnone, who disappeared in Buenos Aires in October of 1976, Salle stated that there is more than enough evidence, in the form of declassified U.S. government documents, that "implicate Kissinger in the [military] coups in South America, and his subsequent participation in the assassinations" of Chilean General Carlos Prats (1974), former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier (1976), and the possible poisoning of former Chilean President Eduardo Frei.
Salle also noted that between 1969 and 1976, Kissinger presided over the "40 Committee," a semi-clandestine grouping based in Washington that was complicit in destabilizing or overthrowing several Ibero-American governments through military coups in the 1970s.
FDR's Name Crops Up in Brazilian Economic Debate
Speaking from the floor of the Brazilian Senate Feb. 15, Sen. Gilvam Borges of the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) likened the "Accelerated Growth Program" (PAC) announced by President Lula da Silva on Jan. 22 to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. After outlining FDR's "new and courageous" policies that created jobs, public works projects, social security, and State economic planning, Borges said "this is just what President Lula wants to do now with the Accelerated Growth Program ... it's not a timid project."
From an initial reading, the PAC doesn't come close to a New Deal. It contains some interesting proposals and ambitious infrastructure development and social plans, but in typically Brazilian fashion, sneaks in strong doses of monetarism to maintain a "balanced" approach. Nonetheless, as a Jan. 22 Reuters wire reported, "in the discussions about the PAC, according to sources, the industrial policy of President Getulio Vargas ... and the New Deal of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in the 1930s, were frequently mentioned." Getulio Vargas was FDR's close wartime ally who aggressively promoted Brazil's industrialization as well.