From Volume 5, Issue Number 23 of EIR Online, Published June 6, 2006

Ibero-American News Digest

Lopez Obrador Announces Debt Strategy like Kirchner

On the campaign trail in Jalisco June 1, Mexican Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador dropped a bombshell, announcing that he intends to renegotiate Mexico's debt as President Nestor Kirchner did for Argentina.

"It has been shown that things go better for countries or governments which don't adjust or adhere precisely to everything which these international financial bodies dictate. The 'Washington Consensus' [of IMF policies—ed.] has been shown to not be the best for developing countries, such as ourselves. Argentina, for example, achieved a very good debt negotiation, despite pressures against it. The country [Argentina] was on the floor. It was bankrupt, and President Kirchner knew how to carry out a very good debt negotiation, and this freed up funds for national development," Lopez Obrador told media.

This declaration, one month before Mexico's July 2 Presidential elections, from the candidate of the PRD party, who is running neck-and-neck in the polls with the PAN's Felipe Calderon, in the context of the LaRouche Youth Movement's explosive organizing in the nation's capital (see InDepth: "LaRouche Youth Bring Ideas to Mexican Presidential Campaign," by Gretchen Small), sent Wall Street and London into a such a tizzy that as of 36 hours later, no English-language wire report on Lopez Obrador's bombshell could be found.

"We are going to fulfill our obligations, but not in an orthodox manner. The technocrats who have been managing the country's economy have gone beyond what was asked of them. They let people walk all over them. They are like fundamentalists," Lopez Obrador charged.

Lopez Obrador made two other points not to the liking of the financier "fundamentalists": (1) that he will "respectfully" ask the central bank to stop favoring speculative groups, as has been the case so far; and (2) he reiterated his intention to set up a Truth Commission to investigate FOBAPROA—the scandalous $120 billion bank bailout fund—so as to restructure the FOBAPROA debt, upon which the government currently pays enormous interest.

Kirchner: We Faced Down Those Who Looted Our Country

"We were hounded by those who said the banks had to be paid before the people. We stood firm, and we were able to force those who had looted the country to back down," Argentine President Nestor Kirchner told a gigantic Independence Day rally in Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo on May 25. When I took office, it was a second-by-second fight; now it is minute by minute, but "we are going to deepen the process of change in the country," Kirchner promised the crowd of 350,000 people, who came from around the country, and from different parties, to celebrate Independence Day.

I received a country in flames, when I took office three years ago, Kirchner reminded people. "We had 60% poverty, 26% unemployment, almost 30% indigence. It seemed like Argentina was collapsing, but with the force of the honest and decent people of this country, with people who never resigned themselves to the collapse of this country, we began reconstruction." We were hounded by debts, by privileged sectors who did not want to yield an inch, by those who said the banks had to be paid before the people, by those who wanted to do what certain economic groups wanted to do ... and who said that Argentina was not viable unless it satisfied the interests of those groups.

"We stood firm, and with your support, we could begin building a different Argentina. We won a historic write-down of $100 billion in private debts. For the first time in history, we Argentines could win the battle and force those who looted the country to back down, and we saved $70 billion."

To great applause, Kirchner added: "From this Plaza de Mayo, I today formally say 'ciao' to the International Monetary Fund. Argentina paid its debt. It doesn't depend any longer on the IMF."

Synarchist Networks in Argentine Military Threaten Kirchner

On the eve of Argentina's Independence Day May 25, a death threat against President Nestor Kirchner was made from the podium of a rally held in Buenos Aires, ostensibly to honor police and military killed by terrorists in the 1970s. The rally, which included civilians and retired military officers, and a handful of young, active-duty officers in their uniforms—a violation of military regulations—marks a significant escalation by fascist military elements deployed by Synarchist financiers against Kirchner and his government. As the anti-Kirchner financier mouthpiece La Nacion acknowledged, the rally was "a clear demonstration of force against the government of Nestor Kirchner."

The lead speaker was retired Gen. Miguel Giuliano, who spoke in defense of the 1976 "Chicago Boys" coup and those now jailed for their role in the dirty war which followed. The crowd became so whipped up, that establishment reporters were harassed as "leftists," "communists," with a TV journalist of America TV beaten by 30 hooligans.

In this context, one of the speakers threatened to throw a bomb at Kirchner, were she to have a chance.

Argentine President Forecasts Changes in U.S. Policy

"I think there is going to be an interesting political change in the United States," said President Nestor Kirchner in a May 20 interview with Argentine journalists. "With a different United States, more integrated with the region, everything would be easier." Asked how he views the U.S. role in the region, Kirchner noted that the Bush Administration has all but forgotten Ibero-America. "That's reality," he said. "It proposes free-trade agreements which, in the current framework, are unacceptable. Everything would be easier with a different United States that were more integrated to the region."

In Chile: 'The Children Are Teaching Us an Important Lesson'

On May 30, launching a nationwide student strike, 600,000 students, parents and teachers, marched in Santiago, while similar demonstrations took place in other parts of the country. Led by high-school students, ages 12 to 17, the protest is challenging the Bachelet government to dismantle the Pinochet educational "reforms" which effectively did away with free public education in Chile and replaced it with a system geared to the market. A Chilean political activist told EIR: "The children are teaching us an important lesson.... They have amazed us with their ability to organize ... and their decisiveness."

The rapidly expanding student protest (now joined by public and private university student federations as well as some trade union groups) seeks to overturn the de facto privatization of public education carried out by fascist Augusto Pinochet, through decrees imposed one day before he left office in March of 1990. Pinochet handed control of public schools over to 200 municipalities which, if they happened to be poor, had no means to fund the schools. In true "Chicago Boy" style, educational "freedom" replaced the principle of "the right to an education."

This was the largest public mobilization to occur in Chile in 30 years, and it is gaining support from virtually every sector across the political spectrum inside the country, as well as from organizations outside Chile.

On June 1, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet delivered a nationally televised address on the protest, announcing that some of the students' demands would be met (eliminating the fee for university entrance exams, increasing the number of subsidized lunches, and expanding physical school infrastructure), and that the cost of student transportation would be reduced, but could not be eliminated altogether, due to lack of funds. She said a Presidential Advisory Commission would be established to discuss reforms to the educational system.

Bachelet said in her speech, and repeated on June 2, that the state must be the guarantor of the quality of both public and private education, indicating she will study the "federalization" of public schools. The government can't do everything the students want, she said on June 2, "but I, as President, have made the decision as to what we're going to do. We have listened [to the students], and we have understood that their demands are legitimate and fair ... and display a profound concern for an issue so vital to the nation as education is."

Peru's Humala Owned by Francoite Fascist

With polls showing Presidential contenders Ollanta Humala and ex-President Alan Garcia running neck-and-neck in the run-up to June 4 final round of Peru's elections, on May 30, Fernan Altuve-Febres, a Peruvian leader in the new Fascist International formed by Spain's former Franco-ite official Blas Pinar in 2001-2002, once again proclaimed his "respect" for self-proclaimed "ethnonationalist" Humala. Altuve revealed that he "has talked to him every day" since 2000, the year Ollanta and his brother Antauro failed in an attempted uprising against then-President Alberto Fujimori.

"Those who are today denouncing Humala are nothing but upstarts who don't know what nationalism is," Altuve growled, adding that he "is more nationalist than all the others combined."

So much for Humala's painting himself as a leftist nationalist and a friend of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Altuve-Febres is a real piece of work. He has repeatedly defended Torquemada admirer Joseph de Maistre, Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco, and "neoconservatism," from the pages of the Peruvian daily La Razon. In a January 2005 commentary in La Razon, Altuve-Febres wrote that it was time for the corrupt political classes in Peru to be "swept aside" by "a political tsunami, where the people take back their own destinies, whether by the electoral path or by violence."

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