UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002828
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: US-LATIN AMERICAN TIES; AMIA-RIO TERCERO BLAST; ARGENTINA'S
DEBT WITH THE PARIS CLUB; 12/27/06; BUENOS AIRES
Â¶1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's most important international stories include US Senator
Joseph Biden's statement that, once the US Congress is controlled by
the Democratic Party, it will pay "much more attention" to Latin
American issues; an interview with Brazilian sociologist Helio
Jaguaribe, who speaks about US-Latin American ties and Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez; Argentine Defense Minister Nilda Garre's
"outrageous Christmas Day remark that the (Rio Tercero) explosion
was the 'most hideous' event of its decade, worse even than the
terrorist bomb destruction of the AMIA Jewish community center;" and
Argentina's proposal to restructure its defaulted debt with the
so-called Paris Club.
Leading "Clarin" (12/27) publishes an opinion piece in which US
Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne points out that the U.S. people
believe that international education "enriches our nation" and
welcome students wishing to study in the U.S. Also highlighted is
that the U.S. granted 590,000 student visas in 2006.
Â¶2. OPINION PIECES
- "The US will pay more attention to the region"
Business-financial, center-right "InfoBae" (12/27) reports "Joseph
Biden, who will preside over the US Senate Foreign Relations
Committee as of January, asserted yesterday that the US Congress,
the two Houses of which will be controlled by the Democratic Party,
will pay 'much more attention' to Latin American issues than
Republicans have done in the past.
"According to Biden, such issues include the US anti-drug policy on
Andean countries; the role of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela;
multiple bilateral issues in Mexico; and other specific regional
"Regarding US President George W. Bush's policy during the last six
years, Biden said: 'Latin America has been basically ignored.' 'We
cannot speak the same language without a clear policy.'
"Biden believes that 'the topics of interest (between the US and
Latin America) are not only related to the anti-drug struggle but
also to immigration, oil, democracy, ...'"
- "'Brazil and Argentina should not isolate President Chavez'"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" front-pages an interview with Brazilian
sociologist Helio Jaguaribe (12/27) "According to Brazilian lawyer
and sociologist Helio Jaguaribe, 'Argentina and Brazil should not
isolate President Hugo Chavez but try and come to terms with him.'
"He added: 'What South America, and particularly Argentina and
Brazil should do is tell him:'Look, Mr. Chavez, you may either
become the 'caudillo' (leader) of a small part of Latin America and
create a tiny leadership or join us (that is, Kirchner and Lula) to
create a big Latin American leadership.' Chavez would not say no.'
"Far from criticizing him, Jaguaribe said that Chavez, who recently
was reelected, does not run a dictatorship but a 'plebiscite-driven
authoritarianism.' In a realistic rather than optimistic way,
Jaguaribe said that Kirchner's administration strategy based on
confrontation with Uruguay over paper mills is senseless.
"... Asked whether the US has lost importance in the region,
Jaguaribe said: 'The conditions are simply not set for the US to
have unilateral hegemony. Under the current complex world scenario,
hegemony should be grounded on common interest projects. There is no
room for a country to impose its sovereign will on the others
without having to pay too high a cost for the attempt'.
"Regarding the FTAA, Jaguaribe said: 'It is very negative. The US
has been in an unfavorable moment when it comes to international
ties, but I think it would be common sense to make a distinction
between the great people of the U.S. and Bush's regretable
leadership. Bush, as the president on duty, is very negative and
incompetent. It is important to see beyond Bush.'"
- "Defense to prosecute"
An editorial in liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires Herald"
reads (12/27): "While this newspaper backs Defense Minister Nilda
Garr's efforts to keep the investigation of the 1995 Rio Tercero
munitions plant blast alive, we are not always convinced by her
methods - least of all when they take the form of her outrageous
Christmas Day remark that the explosion was the 'most monstrous'
event of its decade, worse even than the terrorist bomb destruction
of the AMIA Jewish community center in the previous year. We can
only hope that Garr is being deliberately provocative in a frantic
bid to bring attention to this military scandal rather than actually
believing her own logic that presumption of a more active state role
in the Rio Tercero blast makes it more reprehensible than the AMIA
atrocity despite a far lower death toll... - if Garr really
believes that Rio Tercero was worse than AMIA, then she is as much
politically misguided as ethically flawed...
"... Garr clearly believes that the Ro Tercero blast was
engineered to destroy the evidence of gunrunning to Croatia and
Ecuador between 1991 and 1995 but the two episodes may be less
interlinked than widely assumed - there are reasons to believe that
the arms sales to Croatia were a surrogate activity to save the
George Bush Senior administration a new Irangate (not that stopping
Slobodan Milosevic in the Balkans was an entirely evil cause) while
the smuggling to Ecuador was an opportunistic follow-up by a rogue
group of officers."
- "The (Argentine) debt with the Paris Club"
An editorial in daily-of-record "La Nacion" reads (2/27) "The
Argentine Government has submitted a proposal to restructure its
defaulted debt with the so-called Paris Club; thereby attempting to
normalize its financial commitments with the official entities of
several of the government members of this forum. If Argentina's
proposal succeeds and an agreement is reached, it would be a further
step towards normalization of its financial ties to the rest of the
"... The normalization of (Argentina's) ties with the Paris Club is
necessary. It is not merely a political or diplomatic issue but
there are also practical issues involved. As long as the situation
is not normalized, multinational lending agencies will not agree to
grant loans or safeguards to finance the sale of capital goods to
Argentina. This could significantly slow the attraction of large
investment to the infrastructure and industry sectors..."
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