Ibero-American News Digest
OAS Chief Rejects Bush/Cheney 'Get Venezuela' Drive
July 17 (EIRNS)A strategy of isolating the Venezuelan regime is "absurd," juridically "unviable," and politically "inappropriate," Organization of American States (OAS) secretary general José Miguél Insulza declared, in an interview with the Argentine daily Clarín, published July 15. Democracy is in force in Venezuela, he stated, adding, "there is no reason that in 2007 it should be a kind of sin to meet with the Cubans."
So much for the Bush-Cheney Administration's drive to force Venezuela's neighbors to line up behind its campaign for regime change in Venezuela (and then in Cuba). No government has been willing to take up that campaign, and now Insulza, an experienced Chilean diplomat, whom no one in their right mind could accuse of being part of some alleged Venezuelan-Cuban "axis," has made clear that there will be no regional mechanisms for pressure, sanctions, etc., either.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had gone to the OAS General Assembly in June, demanding regional action against the Chávez regime for violating democracy after it refused to renew the license of Venezuela's largest private television station, RCTV. Rice treated an internal Venezuelan matter as if it were the number one crisis faced by the nations of the Western Hemisphere, and insisted that conditions had been met to activate provisions of the Inter-American Democratic Charter mandating regional intervention.
The OAS refused. The Inter-American Democratic Charter "cannot be used as an instrument to monitor democracy in the hemisphere," Insulza stated from Brazil on July 12. The countries of the region have imposed limits to "drastically reduce the possibility of direct intervention into the affairs of others."
Paulson Joins Banco Santander To Wreck Bank of the South
July 20 (EIRNS)U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has joined forces with the oligarchic Banco Santander to ensure that the Bank of the Souththe new regional financing entity soon to be founded by several South American governmentsnever opens its doors. Conceived as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and designed specifically to provide low-cost credit for infrastructure development, the Bank of the South was to have been founded originally in late June. But through its machinations inside Brazil, and playing on the profile of President Lula da Silva, the British monarchy-controlled Banco Santander succeeded in postponing the founding to a now-unspecified date.
Then, on July 12, Paulson showed up in Montevideo, Uruguay to present what Sen. Eduardo Loreira attacked as "a shadow of the Bank of the South," intended to wreck the support for the project from among member nations of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur). Working with Uruguay's pro-IMF Finance Minister Danilo Astori, who opposes the Bank project, Paulson brought in like-minded finance ministers of Chile, Peru, and Mexicothe latter being former top IMF official Agustín Carstensto peddle the supposed benefits of sticking with the bankrupt IMF and World Bank. Ministers of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia were notably excluded.
Paulson conferred on Uruguay, whose President Tabaré Vásquez had recently announced he would join the Bank of the South, the dubious status of "strategic partner" of the United States, while offering some paltry sums of money, supposedly to demonstrate the Bush Administration's support for "infrastructure development"privately funded of course. But not everyone bought the Paulson package. His visit unleashed a factional brawl inside the Vásquez government, as saner forces, including pro-continental-integration Foreign Minister Reinaldo Gargano, realized he was up to no good.
Cristina Kirchner Announces for President of Argentina
July 20 (EIRNS)Causing heartburn in London and New York, Argentine First Lady and Sen. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner officially launched her campaign for the Oct. 28 Presidential elections, with a vow to continue the "industrialist" economic model her husband has defined. The announcement was made July 19, before a 2,000-person audience in La Plata, including her husband, President Néstor Kirchner, his cabinet, national governors, and mayors.
Speaking as the candidate of the Victory Front, Fernández stated that the lives of Argentines "are made or broken" by the economy, and counterposed the current model of social inclusion, strong growth of reserves, and "industrialist profile" to the neoliberal model of the 1990s, "in which millions were forced out of the productive system."
It is possible, Fernández said, to have an economy based on robust agricultural production as well as reindustrialization, and this is the model that will be deepened. Argentina has a "rich history" to draw on, such that the business class, the labor movement, and the state can cooperate in setting medium and long-term development goals. But, she warned, the country needs "intelligent businessmen," because there are some "who only know how to count and defend bubble economies that are unsustainable over time."
The Argentine First Lady also underscored that during the last four years, President Kirchner has succeeded in "reconstituting the decision-making power of the democratic state," and the authority of the President, as opposed to previous Presidents who "couldn't or didn't want to represent the interests of the whole, ... and due either to defection or corruption, voted the way the International Monetary Fund asked them to." As the next Argentine President, she said, "we shall continue in the same direction, avoiding those violent shifts of past decades that left us on the brink of social extinction."
Argentine Minister Resigns, as Vulture Funds Intensify Pressure on Kirchner
July 16 (EIRNS)Argentine Finance Minister Felisa Miceli announced her resignation on July 16, following several weeks of accusations and growing pressures stemming from the early June discovery in her office of a large sum of money. In a confusing episode, security personnel conducting a routine anti-terrorism sweep in Miceli's office on June 5, found 100,000 pesos and $31,670 in her private bathroom, the origin of which remains unclear.
Miceli's replacement is current Industry and Commerce Secretary Miguél Peirano, who maintains close ties to the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA), and is expected to continue President Kirchner's emphasis on rebuilding the country's industrial sector and expanding the internal market.
Although there are still many unanswered questions, what is at issue in the Miceli case is not "corruption," as the political opposition claims. Rather, foreign vulture funds and London-centered financiers are intensifying their pressures on the Kirchner government; they have also targeted Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. Both leaders have staunchly defended their nations' economic and political sovereignty. Given the fragility of the world economy, the financial scavengers fear any leader who dares to say "no" to globalization.
Right on cue, the day after Miceli's resignation, the American Task Force Argentina (ATFA), a front for predatory vulture funds and speculators, posted a video message on its www.atfa.org website, again attacking Correa for intending to "aggressively renegotiate what he calls his country's illegitimate international debt," and threatening him with dire consequences should he dare to follow the "Argentine precedent." This video message from ATFA co-chairman Robert Shapiro, a former U.S. Commerce Department Under-Secretary, followed a full-page ad, that ATFA had placed in the July 11 edition of Capitol Hill's Roll Call, threatening Ecuador for emulating "Argentine-style economics."
Aggressively countering this offensive, on the same day, the Argentine chapter of the LaRouche Youth Movement saturated the Congress with its leaflet denouncing ATFA's assault on Argentina and Ecuador. The LYM leaflet prominently features Lyndon LaRouche's statement that the vulture funds' attempts to crush Argentina during its 2003 financial crisis, reflected "the face of fascism, ... the mentality of the same kind of fascists who sacrificed the human race, including those who died eventually at Auschwitz."