From Volume 5, Issue Number 28 of EIR Online, Published July 11, 2006

Ibero-American News Digest

LaRouche Comments on House Arrest of Echeverria

On July 1, EIR News Service issued the following press release:

"I found the announcement of the house arrest of former Mexican President Luis Echeverria, who is charged with responsibility for the violence unleashed in Mexico in 1968, most curious," the renowned U.S. statesman and economist Lyndon LaRouche stated today.

"As I recall, Echeverria was a target of the PAN (National Action Party) at the time. And as I know in detail, on the basis of privileged intelligence from the 1920s through the 1960s, that the PAN was created by the fascist Synarchist interests that also put Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco in power, I was extremely amused that the current PAN government of Vicente Fox is now accusing Echeverria in relation to the 1968 events.

"1968," LaRouche continued, "was a classical Synarchist destabilization operation, in which they deployed their forces both on the right and on the left, to produce the desired result. It is the PAN and its Synarchist masters—and not Echeverria—that should be investigated for the 1968 events."

Kirchner: We Must Integrate To Produce, Develop

"I am convinced that integration is the great political enterprise of our time," said Argentine President Nestor Kirchner in his July 4 speech to the Caracas summit of Mercosur (Common Market of the South) Presidents, at which Venezuela was officially inaugurated as the bloc's fifth permanent member (along with Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil). Bolivian President Evo Morales was present also as a special guest. The Cheneyacs no doubt cringed at Kirchner's six reported speeches in Caracas, which culminated in his July 5 address before Venezuela's National Assembly on the country's Independence Day. As in all his addresses, he repeated that South America is "at an inflection point," with the potential to change history. "The winds of change are blowing across Latin America," he declared.

The previous day, as he spoke to Mercosur heads of state, Kirchner explained that integration is necessary because "the simple logic of the market which excludes people cannot carry us ... toward development and wellbeing ... the markets and free trade don't guarantee our development with inclusiveness. Integration is much more than liberalizing trade. It is setting the goal of building a great political community which promotes production."

Without infringing on any nation's independence or their own realities, Kirchner said, integration requires a "broadened concept of sovereignty" in which a group of nations can fight for things that individual nations can't do by themselves. "Today, we have the sense that we are taking big steps toward an effective South American integration; ... steps toward a Mercosur more focussed on production ... with more initiatives on the development of infrastructure projects; more efficiency in financing productive regional projects." And, he added, don't lose sight of the fact that integration is also "a battle of ideas, and as such, it also has its adversaries; among them, those who long for the days of automatic alignment" (i.e., when it was a given that nations would automatically stand with the U.S. on every issue).

Greeted at his National Assembly address with much applause and several standing ovations, Kirchner warned that those "who want to stop history," by categorizing South American governments as "populist ... or not" are making a big mistake. "Our governments are not populist or demagogic. We represent national interests" and must act with courage and conviction, which is what the present situation demands.

Argentina, Venezuela To Issue 'Bond of the South'

Argentina and Venezuela will issue a bi-national bond, tentatively called the "bond of the South," which could represent early steps toward creating a regional bank to finance projects, the Presidents of both countries announced after meeting privately July 4 and signing a "strategic alliance" between the two nations. Argentine President Nestor Kirchner explained that the details of the new bond would be worked out over the next 60-90 days, but that the idea is to generate income "to consolidate strategic processes of investment," and create a healthy capitals market offering good rates.

This proposal came from the Argentine government and was presented to the Venezuelan Finance Ministry a month ago where it was warmly received. Argentine government sources told the daily Clarin that the proposal is intended to be more than a bilateral arrangement, eventually issuing a bond backed by all Mercosur member nations, which would lower the financial cost of the bond issuance. It would create an independent source of financing, and as Kirchner stated in his July 4 speech to Mercosur heads of state, "it could be the beginning stages of creating a bank, and a financial space for the South, that would also allow us to generate our own chains of financing to provide responses to what our region and our societies are hoping for."

Argentina Extends a Hand to Bolivia

Bolivian President Evo Morales and Argentina's Nestor Kirchner signed an agreement in Buenos Aires on June 29, by which Argentina will pay $5 per million BTUs for Bolivian natural gas, up from the current $3.20 per million BTUs. Speaking at the signing, Kirchner called on all of Ibero-America to help Bolivia "rise up from the ashes" where neoliberalism had discarded it, so Bolivia can occupy its proper place among the nations of Ibero-America. Praising the contribution which Bolivia's largely poor immigrants have made to Argentina's economic growth, he insisted they must be treated with dignity, not as slave labor. He once again insisted: Latin America has been forgotten, relegated to obscurity, but "it is our job as Presidents to forcefully regain, along with our people, love of Latin America, of our land, jobs, production ... to regain our pride in being brothers and sisters of Latin America."

"This is a stellar moment, for Bolivia, for Argentina, and for South America," Roger Ortiz Mercado, Bolivia's Ambassador to Argentina, told the Argentine news service Telam the next day. Unlike in the past, today "our two peoples are more conscious of their history and their real legacy, which is the human being. This creates a fertile space for bi-national and South American integration," he said.

The key is the political leadership offered by Nestor Kirchner and Evo Morales, he added. When neo-liberalism reigned in Bolivia, as under former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, "we didn't have partners, visits or Presidential agreements, because we were subject to private interests, and profit. Today we see that both our Presidents are seeking the welfare of their people, to regain their sovereignty and dignity."

Lazard-Linked Lavagna Attacks Kirchner (Again)

Former Argentine Finance Minister Roberto Lavagana is stepping up his attacks on President Nestor Kirchner's economic policy, as part of a possible Presidential bid backed by former President Eduardo Duhalde. Duhalde, President in 2002-2003, with Lavagna as his Finance Minister, hired the synarchist Lazard Freres as financial consultant to aid in the government's debt restructuring negotiations with the vulture funds. Fired by Kirchner in November 2005, Lavagna now claims that he, not Kirchner, is the architect of Argentina's financial recovery, alleging that it "began in 2002"—when the country was in the depth of its desperate economic crisis.

In a June 27 speech before the Professional Economics Council, Lavagna responded to Kirchner's recent speeches on behalf of the general welfare, stating that while the state shouldn't be absent from economic activity, "nor should it invade private activity." Arguing that Kirchner's talk of improving income distribution by heterodox means is mere "rhetoric," he demanded respect for "regulations and contracts," a reference to foreign-owned utilities that have been stymied by Kirchner in their attempt to raise rates. Earlier this year, Lavagna opposed the government's decision to set up a new state-sector company and invest in water and sanitation infrastructure, after Kirchner ousted Felix Rohatyn's Suez Co. from Argentina for failure to build the infrastructure its contract demanded.

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