Ibero-American News Digest
Mexico: 'Six Days of Counting, for Six Years of Stability'
Under that war cry, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's Coalition for the Good of the All has escalated its drive to force a vote-by-vote recount of the entire July 2 Presidential election, according to media reports July 27. The campaign website has posted a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the case that a full recount is absolutely legaldespite the PAN's feverish insistence that it's notand that there's plenty of time to carry it out. After all, there are only 130,477 "electoral packets" (one packet per polling station) which must be opened, and granting 20 minutes on average to count them, it would only take six days of counting, to ensure six years of stability.
At a July 24 press conference, Lopez Obrador's team summarized the evidence of fraud which they filed before the electoral court, making the point, however, that they are addressing just the fraud which occurred in the counting of the ballots, per se, and not the violations of campaign laws which occurred before the vote took place.
Various kinds of what they called "arithmetic errors" have been documented in 72,197 of the 130,477 polling places. For example, in 56,507 polling places, the tally of total vote (valid and invalid ballots) plus unused ballots does not equal the number of ballots delivered to the polling station. This results in 740,451 votes for which there are no ballots to back them up, and another 363,925 votes missing from the tally sheets, for a total of 1.1 million votes affected. Other "arithmetric errors" include polling places where the sum of the votes cast, valid and invalid, does not equal the number of ballots listed as deposited in that station; etc.
Adding up all the various "arithmetic errors" found on the tally sheets, a total of 1.6 million votes, or 3.88% of the total vote, are called into questionin an election "won" by only 0.58% of the vote.
A second cut on the fraud was found, where the totals listed on the tally sheets do not match the totals reported for the relevant district. The campaign identified such discrepancies in 828 polling stations. They have as yet only been able to examine a sampling of the actual tally sheets from these polling stations, but in that sampling found more than 25,000 votes which were either added to the PAN's vote or subtracted from Lopez Obrador's vote, when recorded at the district level.
Then, there is the issue of those polling stations where voter participation ran as high as 77%, way over the national average of 58.55%, at the same time that the PAN vote was 24 times higher than the national average.
It is such glaring, extensive discrepancies and "errors" throughout the vote, that makes urgent a recount of the entire vote, the campaign argues.
Brazil, Argentina Discuss 'De-Dollarizing' Trade
On July 24, Argentine Finance Minister Felisa Miceli and her Brazilian counterpart Guido Mantega met in Buenos Aires to discuss creating mechanisms to "de-dollarize" bilateral trade, dumping the dollar and using only local currencieseither the peso or the real. The attractiveness of "de-dollarization," Mantega said in a press conference after meeting, is that it will reduce costs and alleviate pressure on their exchange rates.
There is some indication that Venezuela is interested in participating in this arrangement as well. Studies on the technical aspects of de-dollarized bilateral trade are expected to be completed by Aug. 8, when the Presidents of the Mercosur (Common Market of the South) central banks will be meeting.
The Brazilian Finance Minister also defended the proposal to create a regional development bank, as discussed at the recent July 20-21 Mercosur summit, underscoring that "existing institutions are inadequate for the region's level of growth ... what is lacking is a more agile financing mechanism."
Mantega reported that Brazil and Argentina will be formulating joint initiatives to be presented at the IMF's next annual meeting in Shanghai. Among these is a proposal to create a special IMF contingency credit line to be used in the event of a financial emergency, but without requiring a letter of intent, nor conditionalities. Mantega suggested that the Fund could spend its time more productively by more closely monitoring countries like the U.S. which has a huge deficit and other financial problems, rather than pressuring nations like Argentina and Brazil which have paid off their debts to the Fund and enjoy large surpluses.
Chile No Longer a Doormat for Foreign Interests
In the aftermath of the Mercosur summit, Synarchists attempting to yank Chile out of the developing Ibero-American integration were told "no." On July 25, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called Chile's Defense Minister Vivianne Blanlot to request that the Bachelet government back Guatemala, the U.S. choice to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, instead of Venezuela. At the recent Mercosur summit in Cordoba on July 20-21, the final communiqué issued by participants endorsed Venezuela's candidacy for the post. Rumsfeld also communicated the U.S. desire that Chile not ratify the International Criminal Court without a clause exempting U.S. troops or personnel from any prosecution in the event they are charged with crimes.
President Michele Bachelet responded immediately one day later, stating unequivocally that Chile accepts pressures "from no country." It has had, and will continue to have, a totally independent foreign policy, she said. Defense Minister Blanlot simultaneously sent an official reply to Rumsfeld, informing him that Chile would ratify the International Criminal Court, with no exemptions for any nation.
Since threats aren't working, former Brazilian President and globalization spokesman Fernando Henrique Cardoso showed up in Chile this week to try to soften it up by other means. Cardoso's message was: Why do you want to associate with that riffraff in the rest of South America? Chile is a serious, respected nation with a "modern left," he gushed, just like Uruguay and Brazil. It's not like Argentina, whose President Kirchner suffers from excessive "personalism" (i.e., he's power-hungry). While Cardoso railed against Venezuela and Bolivia for their excessive "statism" and "nationalism," it was clear that Argentina was his primary target, obviously due to Kirchner's leadership role in the region. The Argentine President, Cardoso warned, is not a reliable ally for Chile.
Anti-Nation-State Plotters Meet Spain's Synarchists
The head of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN), Manuel Espino, has been traipsing around Spain recently, where he reportedly went on a pilgrimage to pay homage to that country's patron saint in thanks for the PAN's alleged electoral victoryand to thank fascist Jose Maria Aznar, the former Spanish Prime Minister, and the head of his Popular Party (PP), Mariano Rajoy.
Likewise, former Argentine Finance Minister Roberto Lavagna, who is positioning himself as a Presidential candidate for the 2007 elections, has been in Spain, speaking at a conference sponsored by none other than Banco Santander, the fascist bank tied to the Royal Bank of Scotland. Lavagna used the July 12 conference and a lengthy interview in the daily El Pais July 25, to attack President Nestor Kirchner for allowing excessive state intervention in the economy, and for "concentrating power."
Lavagna was particularly incensed at Kirchner's organizing in Ibero-Americathe Presidents' Club bothers himwhich he called a "shift in [Argentina's] foreign policy." Allowing Venezuela to join Mercosur was a grave mistake, he said. The Argentine President should pay more attention to improving the quality of his country's institutions, Lavagna said, and less time interfering with privatizations to increase state control over utility companies and airlines.
Calls for Nuclear Energy Grow in Chile
Sergio Bitar, president of the PPD party, which is part of the governing Concertacion coalition, told Radio Agricultura July 17 that he has asked the government, in the name of his party, to study nuclear energy as a solution to the country's energy crisis. Chile has the ability to make the necessary investments, he said, and cannot continue to be dependent on Argentina to supply the natural gas it needs, as that government must meet its own growing internal demand.
Independent sources report that 30 energy companies have sent requests to Chile's Nuclear Energy Commission expressing interest in the development of nuclear energy.
LaRouche Webcast Causes Stir in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Over 120 people listened to Lyndon LaRouche's July 20 webcast at the Universidad San Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the first showing ever at that important university. The reaction was generally one of shock at what they heard: Most people, for example, had no idea the U.S. auto industry was shutting down. Discussion of the ideas presented went on for a long while after the webcast, and continues still today.
The day of the webcast, Cochabamba daily Los Tiempos published an announcement which explained that "LaRouche is the founder in the United States and in various countries of the Americas and Europe of a movement against the financial oligarchies, who use mechanisms of international usury. On this occasion, he will speak about the role of certain bankers who, he says, are the cause of financial instability in the United States, and its repercussions worldwide.... LaRouche has identified the exceptional historic importance of the American Revolution and of the U.S. Federal Constitution. Recently, he has come out internationally in favor of the nationalization of hydrocarbons in Bolivia, and says that the privatizing force 'castrates' nations."