From Volume 4, Issue Number 47 of EIR Online, Published Nov. 22, 2005

Ibero-American News Digest

Southern Command Chief Campaigns vs. Sovereignty; Targets Bolivia

Reliable sources recently informed EIR that Gen. Bantz Craddock, head of the U.S. Southern Command, managed to rile virtually every Ibero-American military representative present for his off-the-record discussion of his view of the situation in the Americas, delivered at the end of October at a Washington, D.C. defense institution.

Bolivia was targetted directly. When Craddock spoke of the danger which social conflict and "weak democracies" represent for regional security, he put up a map of Bolivia, and asserted that securing stability in Bolivia is complicated, and may take years. He labelled Bolivia a "high-risk" country, as he put up a picture of Evo Morales, the George Soros asset coca-producer who is currently seen as the likely winner of the Dec. 18 Presidential elections. He then stated that when countries face problems of this magnitude, the classical concept of sovereignty no longer holds the same validity as before. No longer are such problems strictly national problems, but rather the concept of "cooperative sovereignty" applies.

The message was taken by those present to be: The U.S. and/or other nations in the region will have to intervene to secure stability in Bolivia, because the Bolivians can't.

Craddock was also pressed twice about reports that the U.S. is setting up a military base in Paraguay. He huffed and puffed about how the U.S. deployment was not aimed against "the people," but against terrorists—but he did not deny the reports of the base, a fact duly noted by the military representatives present. Then, without naming Argentina directly, he discussed its situation in such a way as to make unmistakeably clear he was accusing the Kirchner government of corruption. (Otherwise, how could poverty be increasing, despite economic gains?)

Craddock then insisted "cooperative sovereignty" become the central issue at the Nov. 15-16 Andean Region security conference hosted by Ecuador, but organized by the U.S. Southern Command. The meeting was attended by the military chiefs of the Andean countries (minus Venezuela), Craddock and his team, and Brazilian officers (as observers). Craddock single-mindedly pushed the line that terrorism, drugs, and new threats can only be confronted by "cooperative sovereignty," in which "the forces of each nation unite to improve and perfect processes and systems of multilateral focus."

It is not yet clear whether the term "cooperative sovereignty" made it into the final document of the conference, as the U.S. demanded. Some support for the concept was expressed by head of Ecuador's joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Manuel Zapater, who told the press that a new security focus had come out of the meeting, "toward a common policy of regional security," which implied the strengthening of international security agreements to strengthen the multilateral maintenance of peace."

If Brazil's Palocci Goes, Will His Economic Policy Go Too?

Antonio Palocci, who along with the Central Bank chief has been the anchor of IMF policy within the Lula da Silva government, is widely reported to be quitting his post soon: "[I]t's a matter of days, or weeks. It's inevitable," Valor daily reported from its government sources on Nov. 14. The straw which apparently broke Palocci's back was the Nov. 9 interview of the President's Chief of Cabinet Dilma Rousseff to O Estado de Sao Paulo in which she went after Palocci's high-interest rate and record primary budget surplus (i.e., 6% of GNP being channelled to debt payments) as damaging to the economy, and then ridiculed Palocci's proposals for guaranteeing murderous fiscal austerity for years to come. Dilma's blast came at the same time that opposition parties turned their fire on Palocci in the ongoing corruption scandal. And yet, while President Lula reportedly told Palocci to stay at his post, he neither defended Palocci publicly, nor distanced himself from Dilma's remarks.

Not long ago, the financiers were smugly sure that were Palocci to leave, his replacement would be another hard-line monetarist. But on Nov. 12, Folha de Sao Paulo leaked that President Lula had told close collaborators that if the opposition thinks that he is going to name someone they want to replace Palocci, "they are going to be sorry"; they are going to get a shock.

Fresh from the post-Cheney-era Summit of the Americas, and under intense pressure to make economic policy at least "flexible" enough to increase domestic spending in time to have a chance at re-election in October 2006, Lula was then hit by the announcement from the government statistical agency that industrial production fell 2% in September from the previous month, up only 0.2% from the same month in 2004.

Duarte: Don't Discriminate in Civilian Use of Nuke Power

"It is unacceptable to extend discrimination in the civilian use of nuclear energy," said the former Brazilian ambassador Sergio Duarte last week, speaking at a panel on non-proliferation at a meeting of the American Nuclear Society. Duarte, the former Brazilian ambassador to a number of nations who headed the review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the UN last spring, outlined the "high level of mistrust" of the nuclear weapons states (principally the U.S.) by the non-nuclear weapons states, principally the developing nations. The Cheney-Bush Administration has proposed that any state that does not already have uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing technology not be allowed to develop it. Virtually no developing country will accept this.

"Several industrialized countries" can make nuclear weapons, he stated, and "some countries even plan the improvement of weapons" (the U.S.), "while others are prevented from getting nuclear technology. When developing countries have technology, alarm bells start to ring." Some countries, he said, have "selective goals," referring to the American insistence that the most immediate nuclear threat is from Iran and North Korea. Asked during the panel discussion for his thoughts on referring issues of non-compliance with the NPT to the UN Security Council, Duarte said it has to be a "fool-proof case," and the nation has to be in "flagrant, obvious, and proven non-compliance, to the satisfaction of the Board of Governors of the IAEA." This is not true of Iran, he indicated.

In an interview with EIR after the panel, Duarte compared the situation with Iran's stand in refusing to shut down its uranium enrichment facility, to that which Brazil faced in the mid-1960s. At that time, he said, when oil was $2 a barrel, Brazil imported all of its petroleum. Some people said it was wasteful and unnecessary to make the investment in drilling for oil in Brazil, when it was so cheap to import. Today, he explained, Brazil is self-sufficient in petroleum, and oil is $60 a barrel. Adequate energy is a national energy and security question, he said.

UN Warns Guatemala Is a 'Starvation Timebomb'

The UN's World Food Program is warning that, in the aftermath of the floods and mudslides in Guatemala, triggered by Hurricane Stan in mid-October, that the country is facing the imminent starvation of as many as 285,000 people, as winter approaches under conditions of widespread loss of food crops. Last month, the WFP issued an urgent appeal for a mere $14.1 million, which would feed that number of people for the next six months, but only $4.5 million has been raised so far from three countries.

The WFP points out that even before the hurricane hit, Guatemala faced chronic child malnutrition of 50%, with 80% in some areas. Said a WFP spokesman, "What we want is to avoid what happened in Niger," referring to the famine in West Africa which triggered an international aid effort only after photos of starving victims began to appear on television. "The situation in Guatemala is a timebomb waiting to go off.... The fuse is lit."

Fujimori's Return Upsets Political Chessboard in Peru

Prior to former President Alberto Fujimori's move to return to Peru from Japan, and to seek reelection in Peru, there were about 25 Presidential candidates. People figured that if incumbent President Alejandro Toledo could be elected, anybody could. Now the landscape is Fujimori vs. everybody else. There are daily demonstrations in the streets, pro and con. The sense in the population is that once again "Fuji" has put himself in jeopardy, to try to do something for the country, and that he's totally unpredictable. It appears that everyone was really surprised—even his closest collaborators didn't know.

Fujimori remains in detention in neighboring Chile, while the Peruvian government scrambles to prepare a serious extradition request against him which can hold up in Chilean courts. But Peruvian Nazi-Communist provocateur Ollanta Humala is already concerned that, with Fujimori back in the picture, his operation to present himself as the only alternative to the abject failure of the political class in the country, goes down the tubes. Humala, who is polling 9-11% support these days—Fujimori is running at 18%—gave an interview saying that he, Humala, would take on Fuji in a second-round Presidential election, and win. It's me vs. Fuji, he said.

Fujimori, of course, is best known for his success as President in breaking the power of the narcoterrorist Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) killers.

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