Ibero-American News Digest
LaRouche: South America Must Unite Together, Or Die Together
In several discussions on Ibero-America in recent weeks, U.S. statesman Lyndon LaRouche has emphasized that "people have to understand that either they will learn to live together, or they're going to die togetherbecause that's the nature of the game that the British are playing," as the world financial system comes down. We face, globally a very big war, in which civilization itself could be destroyed, and people are pretending that this isn't happening, he said. They are playing by the rules, but we have to create new rules to survive.
The enemy is a banking elite. They're the bankers and the International Monetary Fund system. We have to change that system, he emphasized. We have to establish a new world system, not a world system like the current empire, but a world system based on the nation-state. Why the nation-state? Because without the nation-states, you can't develop the population. Why develop the population? Because, unless you develop the population, you won't be able to actually solve the problem that we're facing today.
South America has to be clear that the enemy is ignorance. The enemy is the IMF, but the enemy is ignorance and that's what you have to deal with. So, you must form in the region an alliance for your own cultural and political self-defense. Governments have their disagreements, but they must resolve them between themselves. For centuries, the British have operated by provoking wars. The starting point today, is for South America to avoid that British trap of war.
President Nestor Kirchner is playing a critical role in this effort, LaRouche noted. Argentines, after all, know what the British Empire is, because they have fought them, and Argentina has historically had a very high cultural and technological standard, and does still today, even after two to three generations of attempted destruction of that. And that's very significant in terms of the role that Argentina plays in the continent.
Ecuador-Colombia Border Tensions Threaten South American Peace
The hot pursuit of Colombian FARC narcoterrorists across Colombia's southern border into Ecuador in late January nearly triggered a break in relations between the two Andean countries, and talk in some circles that war could result, should such incidents continue.
The crisis erupted on Jan. 28, when Blackhawks and warplanes of the Colombian Air Force chased FARC terrorists across the river dividing Colombia and Ecuador, and bombarded the guerrillas as they fled into the Ecuadoran jungle. Ecuador's Palacios government issued a furious protest at the incursion into Ecuadoran territory, and demanded an apology. The Defense Minister denounced the cross-border incursion by Colombia as "premeditated," and announced the activation of Ecuador's air defenses at the border against "Colombian regulars and irregulars."
The Colombian government first stalled on accepting any responsibility, and then issued lukewarm "apologies" which, while admitting to the cross-border incursion, nonetheless seemed to justify it by lamenting the FARC's use of Ecuadoran territory as a refuge and launching-site for attacks back across the border into Colombia. On Feb. 9, Ecuador recalled its ambassador to Quito "for consultations," with Foreign Minister Francisco Carrion saying on Feb. 12 that "a break in diplomatic relations with Colombia was not being contemplated, at this time." A flurry of phone calls between the two heads of state, and a meeting between the countries' Foreign Ministers, eased tensions somewhat, and Ecuador's ambassador returned to Bogota Feb. 15.
Condi Rice Insists Venezuela Be Made a Target
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Feb. 16 that Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez was "one of the biggest problems" for the United States in the Western Hemisphere, because he "is attempting to influence Venezuela's neighbors away from democratic processes." Calling the Chavez government's close ties to Cuba "particularly dangerous," Rice demanded European and other Ibero-American governments join in supporting the Bush Administration's "defense of the Venezuelan people"i.e. regime change.
Chavez denounced Rice's "aggressive" policy of "imperialist abuse," reporting that the Secretary had already called the Foreign Ministers of Spain, Brazil, and Austria to try and "form a bloc against Venezuela." He questioned if the Bush Administration had a unified policy on this, as his ambassador to Washington and Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon had met just two days before Rice's comments, in what Chavez termed a "conciliatory" gesture, which he had viewed optimistically. But then, he said, "the hawks were unleashed."
Funny thing. Rice's call for a "united front" against Venezuela closely paralleled the formulation used on Feb. 15 by Spain's fascist former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who told a Madrid press conference: "All of these movementsthose of Castro, of Chavez, of Moralesrepresent a serious danger for the region, and I think it is necessary to carry out a coordinated effort to avoid the spread of populism in Latin America."
Crisis Between Uruguay and Argentina
Environmental and other groups in the Argentine province of Entre Rios continue to block two bi-national bridges into Uruguay, charging that the construction of two paper pulp plants across the border poses a huge pollution risk. Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez is threatening to sue the Argentine government for damages caused to his country's tourist industry, and Nestor Kirchner says he will take the case to the international court at The Hague, because Uruguay violated signed protocols when it decided to build the plants.
Monsanto-Argentina Battle Escalates
After ordering the seizure of another shipment of Argentine soy flour in the Spanish port of Cartagena on Feb. 13, the Monsanto Corporation in Buenos Aires warned that it intended to stop every single shipment of this product from Argentina to Europe, until the Kirchner government agrees to pay royalties on the genetically modified Roundup Ready seeds used by most soy producers.
The day before, Argentina's Finance Ministry issued a document, "The Economic Impact of the Multinational's Coercive Actions," denouncing the "coercive actions" of Monsanto as a threat to the nation. The seizure of Argentine soy flour shipments to Europe, and the company's attempts to force Argentina to pay royalties on the use of Roundup Ready seedswhich are not patented in Argentinawill seriously affect export revenue, particularly given the fact that the European Union buys 50% of Argentine soy flour, the Ministry pointed out.
Monsanto is demanding a royalty payment of $15 on every ton of soy shipped, which Argentina warns will negatively impact the price paid to producers, as well as employment in the agricultural sector. The vegetable oil industry, now expanding rapidly, will also be hurt.
Argentina is increasingly being driven into monoculture, and production of more traditional agricultural products for which the country is famous, has been displaced by soya shift encouraged by the agro-cartels and groups such as Prince Philip's World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The Ministry document notes that between the 1996-97 and the 2004-05 growing seasons, the area under soy cultivation has increased by 98%.
Brazilian Governor: Monsanto Promotes Return to Serfdom
In a June 9, 2005 interview with Brazilian reporters, Parana state governor Roberto Requiao explained why he has gone so far as to ban the use of genetically modified seeds (GMO) and cultivation in his state. We are not against scientific research, which should be carried out, he said, but Monsanto's game is to "charge patents on Brazilian agriculture," and this "reduces Brazil, as monopolized as it is ... to the situation of the Middle Ages, of vassals and feudal lords, where the vassals pay to plant on their own land.... Transgenic seed was not created to increase productivity"; it was created to sell Monsanto's products.
This is the game of the cartel trading companies which "monopolize production," Requiao pointed out." This is a fight for food sovereignty and against the monopolization of agriculture, the enslavement of Brazilian agriculture...." Brazil has become "an agricultural company for Monsanto. Brazil, an agricultural company for the five international trading companies... This is what has to be turned around."
Kirchner Announces New Measures To Defend General Welfare
Argentine President Nestor Kirchner outlined measures Feb. 13 which will offer job training and educational opportunities to the unemployed, many of whom are now receiving a monthly 150-peso stipend through the government's "Heads of Household" plan but are not actively looking for work.
The unemployed and the poor must be incorporated into the country's economic and social structure, Kirchner said. "I am pleased with our economic growth," and with the reduction of poverty and indigence. "But I am unhappy that we still have indigence ... and 34% poverty.... We still must solve serious problems in income distribution." The task, he said, is to make Argentina once again the country with the fairest income distribution in the region.
To bring more workers into the labor force, Kirchner said that a new Employment and Job Training program will offer a monthly 225-peso stipend, on the condition that beneficiaries attend training programs and actively seek employment, unlike the controversial Heads of Household program. Unemployment insurance will also be made available, and a new "Families" plan will offer a monthly 225-peso stipend (up from 175) to single mothers caring for children, even if they have other sources of income. In the coming week, an "Education for All" initiative will also be announced, aimed at helping tens of thousands of secondary school students graduate. The implementation of the Technical Education Law, combined with a 6% increase of the education budget over the next four years, will help the country reach that goal, the President said.