Ibero-American News Digest
LaRouche Proposal Raised at Bank of South Briefing
WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (EIRNS)Venezuelan Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabezas and Bolivia's Ambassador to the United States Gustavo Guzmán, briefed a public meeting yesterday, organized by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), on the subject of South America's soon-to-be created Bank of the South. The two speakers outlined the plans for the government-run institution to finance regional development projects. In the question period, EIR's David Ramonet raised the underlying issue driving the bank's creation, which no one had dared mention: the collapse of the global financial system.
The Bank of the South is being created in the nick of time, Ramonet said, because the entire system is coming down. The entire speculative house of cards, the derivatives bubble, is coming down, taking the dollar down with it. As of now, the bank would have to function in a system controlled by globalization. Therefore, he asked the panelists to comment on Lyndon LaRouche's proposal to change the whole monetary system, to one based on fixed exchange rates, and long-term fair trade agreements. In the U.S., Ramonet added, LaRouche is proposing that the government intervene in the financial system to stop foreclosures, in order to stop the slide into even deeper depression.
There was a buzz from some quarters at the name of LaRouche, including from the CEPR's Mark Weisbrot, who was moderating the discussion. Weisbrot, who likes to promote himself as well-connected in South American nationalist circles, could only answer, "Well, there is a crisis with the subprime mortgages that provoked a credit crunch, but the central banks are taking care of that. I think that's the short answer."
Cabezas, however, thanked Ramonet for his "very important comments," adding, "I cannot respond for other nations, but I can say that we in Venezuela are taking measures, fiscal, and of financial and monetary policy, to protect ourselves from a crisis situation in the United States." He detailed the exchange and capital controls Venezuela has implemented.
Correa: Securing the Future Means Putting Justice First
Oct. 23 (EIRNS)Addressing the international conference "For a World Without Violence, Religions and Cultures in Dialogue," yesterday in Naples, Italy, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa argued that there will be no end to violence in Ibero-America, until there is a radical change in the existing structures of "cruel globalization." As long as inequality continues to reign in Ibero-America, as long as the economic models inherited from neoliberalism seek to privatize even water, it is not possible to foresee a future without violence, he said. "We cannot imagine social peace upon graves." Progressive, sovereign governments prepared to change these policies have come to power in much of South America, but to secure a future, he emphasized, we need such changes in the rest of the world. For a more just, equitable, and human world, an economic system which puts justice first is required.
Over 400 world religious and political leaders attended the three-day conference, "For a World Without Violence," organized by the Sant Egidio community, as the latest in the Assisi "pilgrimages" for peace which it began over 20 years ago with the support of Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI opened this year's conference, held from Oct. 21-23, with a mass, and met with visiting dignitaries. The conference announced that it would have only one message: that "only through dialogue and open exchange of ideas with the other is it possible to construct that authentic civilization, based on living together, which is so necessary for every contemporary society."
Bush's 'Merida Initiative' Violates Mexico's Sovereignty
Oct. 23 (EIRNS)Statesman Lyndon LaRouche has repeatedly stated that the only way to lift Mexico out of the devastation caused by two decades of free-market policies, and 14 years of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is through the construction of cross-border infrastructural projects that will benefit both Mexico and the United States. Water, energy, transportation, and other development projects are the only sane way to address such pressing problems as unemployment, poverty, violence, and illegal immigration into the U.S.
Instead, the lunatic Cheney-Bush Administration has come up with a U.S.-Mexico "anti-drug" plan, dubbed the "Merida Initiative," announced by Bush on Oct. 23 as a request for "emergency financing for critical national security needs." Tacked onto the $46 billion supplemental budget request for war funding (and therefore requiring Congressional approval), the plan offers $1.4 billion over two years, to supply Mexican police and military with technology, equipment, and training to aid them in combatting drug cartels and cross-border violence, as well as "corruption" within their own ranks.
But in a context in which Mexico faces an imminent social crisis, brought about by the IMF's economic policies and NAFTA's destruction of the country's agriculture and food supply, this plan will only succeed in plunging Mexico into deeper crisis, while trampling on its sovereignty and national interests. President Felipe Calderón has loudly proclaimed that "combatting the cartels" and ridding Mexico of their violence, is his government's top priority; but his plan to intensify the free-market policies that have been in place for 20 years, will accelerate Mexico's political and economic disintegration.
Mexican legislators and other analysts are aggressively questioning this secretive plan, charging that it is really just a Mexican version of Plan Colombia, the multi-billion-dollar security plan which has placed large numbers of U.S. military personnel and private contractors into that Andean nation as part of a "counter-narcotics" strategy that has been totally unsuccessful. As particularly ominous, they point to statements by Pentagon and White House officials, as well as some private intelligence analysts, who are trumpeting the idea that drug-related violence in Mexico has now become a key regional security problem that requires multi-national intervention.
No Terrorist Threat from South America; Watch England Instead!
Oct. 20 (EIRNS)Admiral Jim Stavridis, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, writes in the Fall edition of Americas Quarterly journal, that "we consider Latin America and the Caribbean as being highly likely bases for future terrorist threats to the U.S. and others," citing the presence of members, facilitators, and sympathizers of Islamic terrorist organizations in the Western Hemisphere, Reuters reported on Oct. 18.
Mauro Sposito, head of border controls for Brazil's Federal Police, recommended the United States keep tighter watch on Britain, instead. "If I were a terrorist, I'd launch an attack from England. Latinos face 10 times the controls that Europeans do at U.S. borders," Sposito told Reuters.
Admiral Stavridis cited Hezbollah's presence in the Americas, particularly in the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, insisting that while it appears that most of Hezbollah's activity is fundraising, "there are indications of an operational presence and the potential for attacks."
The claim of an Islamic terrorist threat from South America is regularly trotted out by officials of the Bush-Cheney government, but Pedro Abramovay, Legislative Affairs Secretary of Brazil's Justice Ministry, told Reuters that the United States has yet to provide Brazil any concrete evidence of suspected terrorist cells.
Anglo-Dutch Hysteria Over Argentine Presidential Elections
Oct. 26 (EIRNS)On the eve of Argentina's Oct. 28 Presidential elections, in which First Lady and Sen. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is expected to win, there is a loud sound of teeth gnashing emanating from quarters inhabited by Anglo-Dutch financiers or their towel boys.
Over the course of the past week, Dick Cheney's "Temple of Doom"the American Enterprise Institutethe Wall Street Journal, London Economist, and Bloomberg news service, among others, have all bellowed the same message: President Néstor Kirchner and his wife are "ruthless" and ambitious; Argentina's economic recovery was just a matter of "luck;" they have lied about the real inflation rate, "manipulating" the figures; they refuse to follow the IMF's orders to cool off an allegedly "overheated" economy, by applying austerity measures, thus creating "investor distrust."
On Oct. 26, Bloomberg news service expressed panic over "widespread suspicion" that Kirchner had manipulated inflation data, and the likelihood that Sen. Fernández de Kirchner would be his successor, had transformed "the Argentine bond market into a financial bloodbath."
None of these financial predators dares say that the real financial bloodbath is the one they have created globally, and since Néstor Kirchner hasn't been nice about following their rules, they intend to hit Argentina, and its next President, with every bit of financial warfare they can muster. On Oct. 25, the Wall Street Journal came closest to admitting what really worries the bankers: Argentina "has often been a standard-bearer for economic trends in Latin America," it said, lamenting that "the fate of Ms. Kirchner and Argentina could affect policy choices around the region."