Ibero-American News Digest
Rohatyn's Suez Booted Out of Bolivia
The French company Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux "must leave" Bolivia by July, Bolivian Water Minister Abel Mamani announced on June 28, while attending an international conference in Brussels on water management. Suez, on whose board Lazard Frères' Felix Rohatyn sat when the company was looting Argentina (see InDepth this issue, "Argentina's Kirchner Speaks Out: Only the 'Activist State' Can Defend General Welfare"), bought up the former state-run water companies in the 1990s.
Mamani was to visit France next, where he was to present the French government with the results of the Bolivian government's audit, proving that Suez never complied with its contract. Suez currently owns Aguas de Illimani, which got the water-management concession for Bolivia's capital, La Paz, and the neighboring suburban region of El Alto. The Bolivian government will make the audits public, since its negotiations with Suez to resolve matters through dialogue did not succeed.
A new public facility will take charge, to do what Suez didn't do: Secure the fresh water supply and lower the fees on the service, Mamani explained. Neither the French government nor the French people are responsible, he said, "but just a private company" that failed in its obligations with the Bolivian public.
Brazil Still a Sitting Duck for Capital Flight
Brazilian Securities Exchange data on the stock of foreign portfolio investment in Brazil, cited in a June 16 article posted by "Power and Interest News Report," exposes the fraud of Brazil's supposed "improvement" in its foreign debt dependency. The statistics show that all Brazil's Central Bank has done in reducing its foreign and dollar-denominated debt, is to swap medium- and short-term dollar liabilities for an equal amount of short-term, real-denominated liabilities owned by foreign investors, from which investors can pull out at the drop of a hat, demanding dollars for their reales as they leave.
Brazil's vulnerability jumps out, when the stock of foreign portfolio investment is compared to its foreign reserves: In 2004, Brazil's foreign-exchange reserves were $52 billion vs. a $35 billion stock of foreign portfolio investment. At the end of 2005, reserves were $54 billion vs. $65 billion in foreign portfolio investment. As of April 2006, reserves were $57 billion against some $100 billion in short-term foreign portfolio investment.
Brazil Could Triple Uranium Production
According to the Brazilian Nuclear Industry (INB), with the opening of a new uranium mine in the state of Ceara within the next few months, Brazil's uranium production could jump from its current 400 tons to 1,200 tons annually, within three years, making Brazil the fifth-largest uranium producer in the world, after Australia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Canada.
With that production increase, Brazil could not only supply the uranium needed for its two existing nuclear plants, and the third which was started and then stopped two decades ago, but the National Nuclear Energy Committee (CNEN) has reportedly proposed that Brazil could also begin exporting yellow cake, processed in its newly-initiated uranium enrichment plant.
Nervous Nellies are already arguing that such plans are too controversial to be adopted, given the international crisis over Iran's enrichment program, and domestic opposition from the environmentalists and bean-counters, as Gazeta Mercantil argued in its June 22 editorial. Any export of yellow cake would require approval by the IAEA.
The Brazilian Nuclear Programa global review of where Brazil's nuclear industry stands and where it must go from hereis now in the hands of the executive branch, which is expected to decide the industry's future.
Nuclear Plans Discussed Across the Continent
Across Ibero-America, nuclear energy is back on the agenda:
"Peru shouldn't turn its back on a subject" as important as nuclear energy, "particularly when it is being studied in the strategic policies of other nations," nuclear physicist Rolando Paucar Jauregui, director of Peru's Energy Research Institute, argued in a June 16 article in the official daily, El Peruano and a similar interview June 25 in Expreso. At the Energy Research Institute, "we are committed to placing nuclear energy at the service of fighting poverty through projects that can be carried out in the short and medium term," Paucar said. Peru was a pioneer in the nuclear field, but today its one reactor has no fuel and the government won't spend money for it. He called for upgrading the Peruvian Nuclear Energy Institute (IPEN) and providing it with adequate financial, scientific and government support. Unlike other alternative energy sources, nuclear offers the possibility of much greater technological and scientific development for the country. "Nuclear technology is the central component in the world's scientific and technological development."
In neighboring Chile, the Senate's Mining and Energy Commission has established a 90-day deadline to produce a report on the viability of nuclear energy. Chilean and foreign academics, scientists, seismologists, experts in the field, as well as environmentalists, will be invited to address the Commission in a series of hearings, after which a comprehensive report will be presented to the full Senate, the Bachelet government, and public opinion. Commission President, Sen. Jaime Orpis, told Diario Financiero that "Chile cannot close itself off from nuclear energy, given the shortages of energy resources, and [supply] problems with neighboring countries." There is particular interest in the use of state-of-the-art "micro-reactors" to meet short-term energy needs.
Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has initiated studies for the construction of a nuclear plant in the state of Sonora, which would begin production by 2015, La Jornada reported June 21. The Sonora plant would be built in parallel with the expansion of the existing Laguna Verde plant in Veracruz. The Sonora site was proposed last December by the National Nuclear Research Institute (ININ), in a study proposing two other new nuclear plants also be built in Laguna Verde. Sonora is said to have been chosen because of the energy shortage in the north of the country, and because the state is viewed as having the elements needed to operate a plant of this sort.
In this issue, EIR reports on the little-known studies done in the early 1960s, on the development potential of nuclear energy in Bolivia (see InDepth, "Nuclear Power: The Key to Bolivian Development").
Kirchner's Enemies Hail Spain's Fascist Leader, Blas Piñar
Argentine synarchist Antonio Caponnetto, key ideologue of the infamous, failed Spanish-Argentine magazine Maritornes, was one of the most prominent speakers at the 40th anniversary bash of the founding of Spain's Fuerza Nueva, led by the unrepentant Franco-ite official Blas Piñar. "Cristo Rey" Caponnetto, who figured in the 1990s' fascist penetration operation against Lyndon LaRouche's organization centered around Fernando Quijano, hailed Blas Piñar in his address to the 2,000-person celebration, and then embarked on a several-day speaking tour in Spain to pontificate on such topics as "The Lies About the Inquisition."
Pictures of the May 21 event show groups of men giving what Fuerza Nueva coyly calls "the Roman salute"right arm outstretched à la Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini. Caponnetto, who spends his time back home defending the 1970s "dirty war" and Operation Condor repression through his Cabildo magazine, was one of several foreign representatives who attended the fascist festivities. France's Le Pen was present, along with co-thinkers from Portugal, Italy, and Chile.
Not to be left out, Antonio's brother, Mario, sent a message of support, calling the anniversary "a true miracle in today's Spain. It gives me joy to know that the spirit of the Crusade hasn't died," a message posted on the website, "Generalissimo Francisco Francoat the Service of Spain."
A few days later, on June 3, Mario's wife, Maria Lilia Genta, daughter of the fascist ideologue Jordan Bruno Genta, posted a diatribe against President Nestor Kirchner on the right-wing Argentine website, Seprin. She denounced the President as a Marxist terrorist who is out to destroy the Armed Forces with his "Montanero hawks who are now Ministers and deputies." (The Montoneros were the leftist terrorist group that operated in the 1970s, and assassinated Jordan Bruno Genta in 1974). Genta threatened: "You cannot defeat us."
'Tropical Stonehenge' Uncovered
Ruins of what may be South America's oldest astronomical observatory have been located in Amapa, Brazil, in the Amazon region near the French Guyana border. AP reported June 28. This "tropical Stonehenge," as locals call it, consists of 127 granite blocks, some as high as nine feet tall, spaced at regular intervals on the top of a hill, looking like a crown 100 feet in diameter. At the winter solstice, the shadow of one of the blocks which is set at an angle, disappears. While precise dating remains to be done, archeologists and anthropologists working at the site say pottery shards near the site may be as much as 2,000 years old.
Once again, "theories" that the Amazon is a pristine jungle never occupied by more than a few people living in a miserable pre-Stone Age culture, is shown to be a lie.