From Volume 4, Issue Number 43 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 25, 2005

Ibero-American News Digest

Brazilian Leader: IMF Austerity Is Cause of Hoof-and-Mouth Outbreak

As governments across Ibero-America scramble to prepare their meager resources to face the eventual arrival of avian flu, Roberto Requiao, Governor of Parana, pointed to the underlying problem which is permitting diseases to spread—the political decision to accept the IMF rule that debt payment comes before all else. PMDB leader Requiao and his close ally, Carlos Lessa, former president of Brazil's National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), are building a movement to overturn IMF policy in Brazil—a movement Requiao compares to Charles de Gaulle's resistance against the Nazi occupation of France (see EIR InDepth, No. 40; Ibero-America Digest, No. 42).

The governments of Brazil and Paraguay are engaged in an hysterical war of words over which nation is responsible for the current outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease, first reported earlier in October in the state Mato Grosso do Sul, which borders both Paraguay and Requiao's state, Parana. Speaking from Parana's capital Curitiba on Oct. 19, Requiao cut through this hysteria to state the reality: "The neoliberal view of not being concerned with anything that doesn't have to do with interest payments on the Brazilian debt is what has brought us to this disaster."

Requiao attacked Wall Street's Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, by name, as responsible for the fact that Parana has received no funds in the last three years to combat hoof-and-mouth disease. He sarcastically rejected the pitiful amount of government money sent only recently to Parana to fight the disease, saying it should be sent instead to Mato Grosso do Sul, to add to the "also ridiculous" amounts they have received from the Federal government. Brazilian media reports that as of July, only 0.47% of the amount budgeted for all of 2005 to combat hoof-and-mouth disease, had been allocated. Denouncing Agriculture Minister Roberto Rodrigues, Requiao stated that given the Finance Ministry's refusal to provide funds, "any minister who had a real backbone would have already resigned, to prevent the brutal damage from which Brazil is now suffering."

In fact, the Brazilian government saved a few reals by cutting its budget, only to lose perhaps as much as $1 billion in beef exports. Following the reported outbreak, 41 countries, including the European Union, have partly or totally suspended purchase of Brazilian beef, and close to 6,000 animals have had to be destroyed.

Epidemics Threaten Central America Disaster Areas

Aid organizations are warning that, following the floods and mudslides in various parts of the country, survivors of Hurricane Stan in Guatemala are now threatened with the outbreaks of numerous diseases as a result of inadequate sanitation and housing, and insufficient food and medical supplies. Many thousands are still housed in churches and other temporary shelters. Said Doctors Without Borders coordinator Alfonso Verdu, "The greatest problem at this moment is the risk of epidemics." Thousands are being vaccinated for tetanus, but many more are not being reached, while dysentery, hepatitis, chickenpox, and other diseases are sweeping through these immune-compromised refugees.

The media are reporting that much of the aid that has gathered by government and international organizations is not getting to all the afflicted communities, because so many wrecked highways and bridges remain impassable.

The children are most vulnerable, and there is fear that many orphaned by the disaster will become targets of sexual and child-trafficking predators. UNICEF is urging that psychiatric counselling be made available to many of these traumatized children.

The United Nations, meanwhile, is warning that more floods and mudslides could occur in El Salvador, and that emergency aid flows must not be shut down. Two weeks ago, some 80,000 persons displaced from their homes were in government shelters, but nearly half have returned to their homes despite the danger of new flooding.

Neo-Cons' Long Knives Are Out for Kirchner

In the countdown to Argentina's Oct. 23 mid-term elections, voices of Synarchism are attacking the alleged "dictatorial ambitions" of President Nestor Kirchner, demanding that the Argentine President be "restrained." On Oct. 16, Joaquin Morales Sola and Mariano Grondona of the right-wing daily La Nacion expressed the financier oligarchy's hysteria over Kirchner's refusal to permit them total freedom to loot as they demand. A well-known agent of Henry Kissinger and associated financial and military interests, Grondona went so far as to imply that the only way to control Kirchner's "unbridled ambition" and "anti-republican" tendencies is to kill him—recalling that these same tendencies in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar were only stopped by "Brutus's dagger."

There is much at stake in the Oct. 23 elections. The interests for whom Morales Sola and Grondona speak know that if Kirchner's Victory Front obtains a significant margin of victory in some major cities, including Buenos Aires, that will give the President the muscle to shape the remaining two years of his Presidency. Both these hacks accuse Kirchner of being an agent of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, supposedly fostering the latter's nuclear ambitions, and emulating his "form of government." But Grondona got to the real point when he complained that Kirchner won't accept any "restrictions on his will, whether they come from privatized [foreign] utilities, foreign governments, multilateral [lending] agencies ... or adversaries." Should Kirchner win an overwhelming victory on Oct. 23, Grondona warned, "this could give free rein to his hegemonic impulses."

The only way to achieve political "balance"—forget defense of national interests—Grondona wrote, is for "republican institutions" to impose "restrictions" on Kirchner, before it is too late.

LaRouche Youth Movement Educates Buenos Aires Workers

Three hundred members of the Union of Municipal Workers of Buenos Aires came out on Oct. 19 for a three-hour discussion with Argentine members of the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) on Lyndon LaRouche's strategy to end the global depression. The meeting had been organized by the union staff, who reported that this was one of their largest turnouts, despite the fact that it was held in the middle of the workday, and the workers had to sign in, in order not to be docked for the time lost. With no time limit given them, the LYM was able to develop a clear picture of what the United States really is, despite its various "deviations" in the course of its history, and how the American System legacy is alive today in LaRouche; the greatest of all great projects, the world land-bridge; and the measures indicated by LaRouche for developing infrastructure through the creation of credit under a protectionist system of continent-wide cooperation. Their presentation was enhanced by the use of animations on the U.S. economy, and many maps of necessary projects for the world.

The response of the unionists was enthusiastic: the literature table was overrun by the unionists, who left absolutely no literature behind, grabbing even the samples of English publications. They thanked the youth for dedicating their lives to this mission, and invited them to give classes on LaRouche's basic physical economics textbook, "So You Wish To Learn All About Economics?" Representatives of at least three other unions present (teachers, doctors, and another Federal workers union) proposed the LYM set up similar presentations with their unions.

Wall Street's Mexican Boy Wins Support of Supranational Court

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ruled last week that the Mexican government must allow Wall Street agent Jorge Castaneda to appear on the ballot as a Presidential candidate in the July 2006 elections. Synarchist Castaneda, the former Foreign Minister in the Vicente Fox government, who is committed to dismantling the Mexican nation-state, had declared in 2004 that he would run as an independent "citizen candidate" not affiliated with any political party—a violation of Mexican law. Castaneda has little support inside Mexico, but powerful financial interests have stood behind his campaign from the beginning. In September, he was invited to Washington, D.C. to give a hush-hush private briefing to financial heavyweights at a dinner organized by George Shultz's JP Morgan.

After the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) turned down Castaneda's appeal—a ruling upheld by the Supreme Court just a few weeks ago—Castaneda went running to the IACHR to complain that his human rights were being violated. The IACHR agreed on Oct. 17, and ruled that the Fox government must take "precautionary measures" that would allow Castaneda's name to appear on the ballot. Mexico is one of the governments that recognizes the IACHR's authority to rule on domestic matters—but there is no guarantee that it will accept this supranational entity's ruling, to which it must respond officially by Oct. 27. Castaneda is warning that Mexico will be completely discredited if it ignores the "prestigious" IACHR. PAN Presidential pre-candidate Felipe Calderon has meanwhile invited Castaneda to join his own campaign.

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