From Volume 5, Issue Number 25 of EIR Online, Published June 20, 2006

Ibero-American News Digest

LaRouche Keynotes Ibero-American Webcast Forum

Organized by the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) and EIR, a June 15 webcast forum featuring Lyndon LaRouche by videoteleconference, and entitled "Oil's Role in the Transition to an Economy Based on Nuclear Energy," was held simultaneously in Mexico City and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event brought together youth, trade unionists, students, energy experts, and Congressional advisers from both nations. In his keynote address, LaRouche outlined the global financial collapse, the urgent necessity of changing U.S. government policy, and how the sovereign nations of the Americas can contribute in bringing about that change.

Between 100 and 120 people in Mexico City, and 22 in Buenos Aires attended the forums in person, and another 22 contacts gathered at the EIR office in Lima, Peru to listen to the webcast. After LaRouche's keynote, EIR's Paul Gallagher spoke on the crisis in the U.S. auto sector, followed by Argentine energy expert Ricardo De Dicco, and LYM leaders Emiliano Andino in Buenos Aires, and Jonas Velasco in Mexico City. Both LYM speeches had a heavy organizing focus, and there was a lively question-and-answer discussion throughout, including a number of questions that came in by e-mail.

Push for a 'Nuclear Mexico' Breaks into the Media

On the eve of the EIR/LYM June 15 conference in Buenos Aires and Mexico City (see above), a spate of articles on nuclear energy as a viable option for Mexico broke into the media, including an interview that the national radio network Radio Formula did with LYM leader Ingrid Torres on the day of the conference, headlined "LaRouche and His Presence in Mexico."

"Nuclear Energy, Source of 80% of World Electricity by 2020," was the headline on an article in the Mexican daily La Jornada, covering a pro-nuclear presentation given June 5, by Mexican physicist Marcos Moshinsky, at the Colegio Nacional. Moshinsky argued that nuclear is the way of the future—solar energy is great for humans, but it's a lousy energy source. And, the initial investment in a nuclear plant is high, but over the long run, it's far cheaper than coal or oil. The worried response by a spokesman for the "renewable energy" crowd, who recognized that his "colleagues" are pushing nuclear energy, gave La Jornada a reason to cover Moshinky's speech again three days later.

Simultaneously, "Nuclear Mexico," is the bold headline on the cover of the June edition of the business monthly Poder y Negocios, distributed continentally. Pictured is the president of Alstom Mexico (the subsidiary of the French nuclear company), who, the cover highlights, "says she's prepared to supply the country with atomic energy, and the nuclear debate is born again." Alstom Mexico proposes to supply Mexico's nuclear needs from the city of Queretaro, because nuclear energy is cheap and clean, and it will free Mexico from its current dependence on natural gas imported from Texas. Electricity rates in Mexico haven't risen in 30 years, the head of Alstom Mexico says, because 80% of its energy is nuclear.

Privatized Bolivian Mining Companies 'Refounded'

During a speech to the Federation of Bolivian Mine Workers June 11, President Evo Morales announced that the Bolivian Mining Corporation, COMIBOL, and the National Smelting Company (ENAF) would be "refounded"—placed under state control— as part of a drive to reassert sovereignty over the nation's natural resources. Morales added that privately held mines which have not seen any investment would revert to government control, for the benefit of "the State and the Bolivian people." Thus the Bolivian President put private companies—both domestic and international—on notice that the free ride is over.

"We have the obligation to recover mines the government has licensed where there hasn't yet been one peso invested," he underscored, starting with the takeover of a formerly state-owned tin-smelting plant currently run by the Swiss firm Glencore International. Morales promised the mine workers that this reassertion of state control, a dramatic reversal of the savage privatization process conducted in the 1990s by free-marketeer former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, would be carried out in concert with the miners' organizations. He added, "we must strengthen ourselves, to be able to identify the enemy, both foreign and domestic."

Foreign multinationals are railing against newly enacted legislation that raises state taxes on their profits. Currently, private mining corporations pay a miniscule 1% tax to the state!

Related to these developments is the announcement that Argentina's state oil firm Enarsa will join in formal association with Bolivia's state oil firm YPFB on projects for industrialization of hydrocarbons inside Bolivia. Among projects being discussed is the building of a plant for gas separation and liquification. Morales will meet with Argentine President Nestor Kirchner on June 29 in Buenos Aires to sign a long-term agreement for sale of Bolivian natural gas to Argentina, and development of these infrastructure projects. Argentine Planning Minister Julio De Vido met with Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera in La Paz on June 13 to firm up details of the agreement, which Morales sees as a top priority.

Kirchner: 'The Argentine People Come First'

In two early-June speeches, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner elaborated on his call to create a "pluralist coalition" of political forces, announced during his May 25 Independence Day speech in the Plaza de Mayo. Speaking in Chubut June 2, he emphatically stated: "We want to ally with those who want the new Argentina ... not with that old leadership that doesn't love the Patria Grande ... not those who don't love Latin America.... Let it be clear. When we speak of pluralism, we're not talking about embracing those who looted and devastated us, or the criminals who sunk the country."

"What is beautiful," he added, "is to try to build a nation for everyone; what is beautiful is that Argentines feel integrated into the nation ... and feel that Argentina belongs to us all; when Argentina grows, we all grow."

"The Argentine people come first," he stated June 6 in the province of Entre Rios. How is it possible for critics to assert that raising utility rates is not inflationary, but raising wages is? There must be higher wages, so that Argentines can recover their purchasing power. There must be infrastructure, to connect all parts of the country "that had lost their connection." There must be public services whose first priority is to meet people's needs. There must be a Public Health service, to which all Argentines can have access. The era of "permanent adjustment," identified with the International Monetary Fund, and policies dictated by "economists from those schools financed from abroad" is over, Kirchner said. It is time to rise above partisan issues, and for all to unite "behind one flag, and a united nation," to reverse the looting that Argentina suffered "for years."

Echoing Lyndon LaRouche's idea of planning for a generation ahead, Kirchner stated, "All of us [Argentines] are necessary, and we must build a cycle of virtuous growth for this nation which lasts between 15 and 20 years, so that Argentina may move forward with all of its vital forces."

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