From Volume 5, Issue Number 18 of EIR Online, Published May 2, 2006

World Economic News

Brazil Finance Minister Dismisses IMF Credibility

"I don't know if it's the place of the Fund to carry out closer monitoring" of nations' exchange rate policies, Brazil's new Finance Minister Guido Mantega told the press upon arriving in Washington April 21 for the IMF annual meeting. "It is worth remembering that in the past, the Fund ... supported what happened in Argentina, whose negative results we all know. That's why I don't know if the Fund should be an advisor on exchange policies."

Smiling, he added that Brazil is now in the "comfortable" position of speaking as one of the IMF's creditors, after having paid off its IMF debt in 2005.

IMF director Rodrigo Rato drew Mantega's fire with his public "suggestion" on April 20 that Brazil up its primary budget surplus yet further, to drive down its debts.

Expert: Chile and Argentina Should Join To Build Nuke Plants

Chile and Argentina should build nuclear plants together, Argentine energy expert Dicardo De Dicco declared April 25. The scientific researcher at Argentina's Salvador University, pointed out that had Argentine President Carlos Menem and his Chilean counterpart Eduardo Frei, made nuclear energy the basis for integration between the two countries in the 1990s, instead of natural gas, Chile's energy needs would have easily been met, and the current energy shortages avoided. Given that there are sizable uranium reserves in the Andean Mountain range, a good portion of which are found in Chile, there is no reason for that country not to build low-potency plants, and use Argentina as its supplier. The latter country has years of expertise in the field. Nuclear is cheaper and more efficient than any other energy source, he underscores.

De Dicco points out that Argentina has two functioning nuclear plants and is going to finish a third, Atucha II. The Kirchner government, he reported, has announced that it intends to build several more. Since Argentina's current energy infrastructure is woefully inadequate, De Dicco emphasizes, it is imperative for the state to take back control of energy resources such as oil—he suggests expropriating Repsol-YPF—and use the revenue from that to finance the building of several nuclear plants. There is no reason why Argentina can't build half a dozen nuclear plants, in the context of a program to reindustrialize the country, he explained.

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