Ibero-American News Digest
Haitian Capital Besieged by Cholera Again
Oct. 8 (EIRNS)An Oct. 7 report from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) stresses that cholera is far from under control in Haiti, and is now stalking the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince "with a vengeance." The death toll now stands at 6,400 people. Aside from the capital, the departments of Artibonite, Nord, and Quest are also seeing a cholera resurgence.
In the four MSF cholera treatment centers (CTC) in Port-au-Prince, the number of weekly cholera admissions has risen from 300 to more than 850, in the space of a month. This situation will most likely worsen in coming weeks, MSF head-of-mission Gaetan Drossart warns.
The sanitation situation in the capital is horrendous, with conditions ripe for the spread of cholera as well as many other infectious diseases. The drinking of contaminated water remains the chief cause of the illness, something which could be easily resolved with the building of sanitation infrastructure. Yet this is not being done.
The MSF on-site project coordinator of the Martissant CTC in the capital describes sanitary conditions as "atrocious." MSF concludes "in Haiti, almost a year after the cholera outbreak began, resources for adequately preventing the disease remain rudimentary and at the mercy of the uncertainties of life in the country."
Argentine and German Scientific Collaboration Takes a Step Forward
Oct. 7 (EIRNS)On Oct. 6, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner inaugurated the new building of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Buenos Aires, for which LaRouche movement members Rosina Castillo and Joaquín Losada were on hand, and attended the press conference by Science Minister Lino Barañao.
The new ministry will be known as a Scientific-Technological Pole; that is, a national center for the research and development of science and technology. In an on-the-ground report from the event, Castillo and Losada emphasized that "one thing that is very important is that we, Argentina, achieved this in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute of Germany.
On the same day and at the same time, officials of that institute inaugurated its first Biotechnology Center to operate on the South American continent," located inside Argentina's Science and Technology Ministry.
Science and Technology Minister Lino Barañao emphasized that Oct. 6 is going to be remembered as "a historic day for science in Argentina." The ministry building will house all of the national research institutes and laboratories, which will collaborate to advance science and technology.
"This is the first time we as a nation have had such a building," the LaRouche members pointed out. "Although then-President Néstor Kirchner established the ministry in 2007, we didn't have the physical space that met the necessary requirements for the Ministry's operations. We had taken a giant step in creating it, but we didn´t have the equipment necessary for it to become fully operational."
"The President of the Max Planck Institute and the Minister-President of Lower Saxony both spoke in German to all the Peronist workers! This evoked the period [1940s and 1950sed.] in which President Juan Domingo Perón took the best of German science and put it to work for his country." In her speech, the Argentine President underscored that science and knowledge play a central role in her government's national development project.
Brazil, Argentina Plan Satellite Launches
Oct. 10 (EIRNS)Brazil and Argentina, the two South American nations possessing significant scientific and aerospace infrastructure, are each expecting to be able to independently launch their own satellites by 2013-14.
On Sept. 29, Brazil's Aeronautic and Space Institute (IAE) successfully tested the separation of the four motors in the first stage of its Satellite Launch Vehicle (VLS), the Brazilian Air Force reported Oct. 3. Brazil began testing the fourth VLS-1 prototype in 2008 and hopes to perform a complete flight test in 2012. A successful test would allow Brazil to place its first nationally-produced 115 kg. satellite in orbit, at a height of 750 kilometers.
It has taken several years for Brazil's satellite program to recover from the devastating 2003 explosion of its VLS launcher at the Alcantara Launch Center (CLA), which killed 21 people and caused vast damage.
Argentina is working on a similar timetable for its first satellite launch. Scientists and engineers at the Aeronautics Department of the University of La Plata's Engineering School, who are working with the National Space Activities Commission (CONAE), hope to be able to test the first prototype of the Tronador II rocket by mid-2012, with sometime in 2013 set as the date for an actual satellite launch from the Puerto Belgrano military base in the city of Bahí Blanca.
Aside from the La Plata group, the Center for Optics Research (CIOP) and the Argentine Radioastronomy Institute are also working on the rocket's structural and mechanical design.
The Tronador II will be able to launch a 250 kg. satellite into orbit at a height of 600 kilometers. The orbit will be a north-south one, so that the satellite can fly over Argentina twice a day.
Chilean President Steps Up Repression of Protesters
Oct. 10 (EIRNS)Following the Oct. 5 breakdown of talks between the government of Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and leaders of a national student movement, Piñera has apparently determined that repression is the only way to deal with students who have been protesting for five months, demanding a free, good-quality public education.
On Oct. 6, riot police attacked students who were gathered peacefully in downtown Santiago, where they were planning to begin a march. At the end of the day, at least 250 people had been arrested nationwide. Acts of violence by masked provocateurs exacerbated the situation.
The talks broke down after the government claimed it could not meet student demands. Only the "most vulnerable" citizens should be afforded a free education, argued Education Minister Felipe Bulnes. Fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet privatized much of the country's education system in the 1980s, placing a huge financial burden on the families of students attending college.
Even before talks broke down, on Oct. 4, Piñera sent a bill to Congress that would reform the penal code and mete out harsh sentences for certain kinds of protest. Those who occupy educational, religious, or office buildingsstudents have engaged in such occupations during months of protestcould receive prison sentences of up to three years, for example.
Responding to the government's actions, on Oct. 8, the CUT trade union federation, the Chilean Student Federation (CONFECH) and the National Teachers' Association, announced a two-day general strike for Oct. 18-19. In addition, CONFECH leaders will also travel this week to several European nations, where protests of the "Indignados" movement are widespread, to meet with government and university officials, as well as address the UN Human Rights Commission.