Ibero-American News Digest
Brits Behind Argentina's Agricultural Producers' Strike
March 29 (EIRNS)The British Empire didn't get its "lovely little war" two weeks ago, when its agents tried to manipulate events in South America's northern tier. So, these financier interests tried to achieve their goal of wrecking the Bank of the South and continental integration, by blowing up Argentina, through the vehicle of an "agricultural producers'" strike, whose purpose was to destabilizeeven overthrowthe government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
The strike, begun on March 12, included real agricultural producers, who were demanding that the government retract higher taxes on exports of soybeans and sunflower seeds imposed on March 11. But the primary force behind this action was the Rural Society, that most British of Argentine organizations, representing the landed oligarchy, which thinks Argentina's greatest mistake was aspiring to become an industrialized nation instead of remaining as Great Britain's "plantation." The Rural Society has a pedigree made in London, having been founded in 1866 by the great-grandfather of José Martínez de Hoz, the British-trained finance minister of the 1976-83 military dictatorship, which dismantled Argentina's economy in the name of free trade.
On March 28, after 16 days of a lockout of the nation's agricultural markets, which led to food shortages around the country, leaders of the four major producer organizations announced that they would halt their strike action, and accept the offer to dialogue which the President had made in a March 27 speech. But their truce lasted less than 24 hours, after the government refused to meet their demand of reducing the export taxes for 90 days.
Two of the most vocal supporters of the anti-Kirchner mobilization included the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, a slavish admirer of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and the promoter of Hannah Arendt, opposition figure and failed Presidential candidate Lilita Carrió.
As Fernández de Kirchner pointed out in her March 27 speech, the strike really never had anything to do with the producers' demands related to export taxes. Rather, this was a political strike, whose protests were not "spontaneous," as the organizers claimed, but carefully orchestrated. What's really at issue here, she said, is the economic model her government has applied, and the policy of income distribution by which she intends to create a "more just" society.
The lockout's political intent was evident in its leaders' rhetoric. Fernández has a popularity rating of 65-70%, but strike leaders lied that their protest was a "popular uprising" against the President, just like that of December 2001 which ousted then-President Fernando de la Rúa. In organizing at protest demonstrations, the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) discovered that many of the participant didn't really understand what the issues were.
Argentina: Fascist Confab Promotes Nation-Wrecking Agenda
March 30 (EIRNS)At the same time that British financier interests were using the agricultural producers' strike to destabilize President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner last week, some of most prominent international spokesmen for the City of London's agenda of free trade and destruction of the sovereign nation-state, gathered in the Argentine city of Rosario to promote that agenda.
Spain's former President, Franco-ite José María Aznar, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, the neoliberal former Presidents of El Salvador, Uruguay, and Ecuador, Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, and a host of other devotees of globalization, were among the attendees at the March 26-28 seminar on "Latin America's Challenges," convened to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Rosario's Freedom Foundation.
Aznar's FAES Foundation, along with the Cargill grain cartel and Arceror Mittal steel conglomerate, helped finance this gathering. One of Aznar's close allies, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, didn't show up, But on March 29, he hosted Aznar, Fox, and others, and conferred on Aznar the honorary status of the city's "Gold Medal Guest of Honor," while attacking President Fernández for causing the producers' strike.
Self-declared Cheneyac Aznar was the star of this Rosario show, closing the conference on March 28 with a rousing call to participants to ensure that "we are well-armed to do battle with the enemies of freedom." To Aznar, the enemy is "populism," meaning anyone who opposes the free-marketeers' agenda. While all of the speakers blustered against Venezuela's Hugo Chávezan easy targetAznar indicated how concerned he is about Ibero-American integration and the creation of the Bank of the South by the informal Ibero-American Presidents' Club.
He warned: "We have to protect the community of Ibero-American nations.... Latin American nations are important suppliers of raw materials, so we have a great opportunity." But, governments "have to carry out [economic] reforms so as to open markets, including the signing of Free Trade Agreements." To do this, he added, Ibero-America's right wing must be united. "Given the crossroads at which Latin America finds itself, between the most crazed revolutionary populism and liberal democracy, it's necessary to united with those who share our same values, to face the enemies of freedom."
None of the speakers dared officially discuss the Argentine situation, but they had plenty to say on the sidelines about Fernández de Kirchner's policy of increasing taxes on soybean exportsthe ostensible cause of the producers' strike. Capturing the tenor of the gathering, Rigoberto Stewart, head of a Costa Rican NGO, was heard saying, "The stupidity of these taxes will have terrible consequences. Had any President of Costa Rica done something like this, he would have already been killed!"
Nuclear Energy Seen as an Option in Ibero-America
March 29 (EIRNS)For the second time in a year, the University of Santiago in Chile has invited top Russian physicists and nuclear energy experts to discuss the advantages of nuclear energy. As it did in May 2007, the University sponsored a seminar on March 26, entitled "Nuclear Energy: Russia in the 21st Century." Speakers included Alexander Glukhov, vice president of Russia's state-run Atomstroyexport, which builds nuclear plants, as well as nuclear physicists Nicolay Goltsov and Valery Senoyedov. Russia's Nuclear Energy Agency, Rosatom, is sponsoring their visits.
A second seminar occurred the same day at the Adolfo Ibañez University, entitled "Nuclear Energy: An Option for Chile?" Experts from Chile, Russia, Brazil, France, and the U.S., among others, attended the conference, and listened to former President Ricardo Lagos express his view that Chile must keep the option of nuclear energy "open." "It must be discussed," he said, "because every human being is capable of advancing technologically in his development."
The backdrop to these seminars is the dire energy crisis in Chile, caused by a severe drought. Legislators and private sector leaders have become increasingly vocal in demanding that the government seriously consider the nuclear option.
In early March, a delegation traveled to Russia at the invitation of Rosatom, and its affiliated companies Rosenergoatom and Atomstroyexport. The trip, which included visits to several of Russia's leading scientific institutions, and to the site where Russia's cosmonauts reside, took place as per the agreements of the Second Meeting of the Inter-Governmental Russia-Chile Cooperation Commission, which took place in Santiago in May 2007.
In Uruguay, despite the fact that nuclear energy is prohibited by law, President Tabaré Vásquez officially opened the debate on the subject during a Feb. 25 meeting with incoming and outgoing members of his cabinet. There he asked his cabinet to examine the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, which later prompted his new Industry Minister, Daniel Martínez, to announce that he'll use his position "to promote a debate on nuclear energy and its possible use in Uruguay." Then on March 18, alternate Sen. Walter Capanella announced that he would be proposing to Martínez that Uruguay purchase a Canadian nuclear reactor.