From Volume 6, Issue 22 of EIR Online, Published May 29, 2007

Ibero-American News Digest

LaRouche, Mexican Union Leader To Hold Second Webcast

May 26 (EIRNS)—On June 14, Democratic Party political leader Lyndon LaRouche and Agustin Rodríguez, Secretary-General of the trade union of Mexico's National Autonomous University (STUNAM) and an executive of the National Workers Union (UNT) labor federation, will hold their second public international dialogue via Internet (the first took place in November 2004). The main topic will be "Globalization Equals Fascism. We Need a New Bretton Woods Now!" The dialogue will be broadcast on and at 12 noon EDT, with simultaneous Spanish-English translation.

This second international dialogue could not be more timely, coming just as the promoters of globalization are provoking ungovernability in France, the U.S., Mexico, and other nations, the announcement issued jointly by EIR, the LaRouche Youth Movement, and the STUNAM states. "Structural reforms and the fairy tales about global warming are key elements in the globalization strategy that the Anglo-Dutch financial oligarchy has been so ruthlessly imposing, in order to destroy the sovereignty of all nations and impose regimes far worse than Adolf Hitler's."

Because those in power have rejected LaRouche's call for creating a new world monetary system premised on a return to the economic tradition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, LaRouche has become "the only valid interlocutor in the United States for dialogue and discussion of solutions both inside and outside that country," the release notes.

"Globalization in Mexico, brutally imposed from the time of Carlos Salinas de Gortari's regime, has destroyed the nation's monetary sovereignty, its local industry and agriculture; it has forced more than 10 million people to emigrate, and has impoverished 90 percent of the population. Mexico has been turned into a satrap of the speculator sharks who, in order to sustain their rate of looting of Mexico's physical assets as well as its labor force, must eliminate the last organized redoubts of nationalism, such as trade unions and other institutions. This is why they are applying 'social security and labor reform.'"

Mexican Workers Say 'No' to Social Security Privatization

May 22 (EIRNS)—Sectors of Mexico's National Workers Union (UNT) went out on strike May 21, demanding revocation of the reform passed last March, which privatized pensions of public-sector workers affiliated with the Mexican Social Security and Services Institute (ISSSTE). The 12-hour strike was led by Agustin Rodríguez, head of the trade union of Mexico's National Autonomous University (STUNAM), who is organizing a dialogue with LaRouche on June 14.

The strike succeeded in shutting most UNAM classes in the Federal District, as well as in 17 other states where the UNAM has campuses, according to El Sol de México. Strikers blocked main streets into the Federal District, and gathered at the downtown Zocalo plaza, to warn that they will not accept the ISSSTE reform. Rodríguez warned that the government rammed through the reform "without consulting us," and that if it remained in place, would represent a gross violation of "individual and constitutional rights of all workers."

The Calderón government justified the reform as a way to "cleanse" ISSSTE's finances, modernize medical services and hospitals, and guarantee better pensions. In reality, the reform is a warmed-over version of what the Pinochet dictatorship did in Chile in 1981. Calderón has created private retirement accounts, while raising the retirement age by 10 years for 2.6 million school teachers and Federal employees. The boondoggle even includes "recognition bonds," which supposedly compensate workers for contributions already made to the public system. Chilean workers also received recognition bonds, which turned out to be another part of the Pinochet swindle that robbed them of their pensions. Calderón was able to get his privatization scheme through in March by buying off key unions, by offering them "control" over their privatized pension funds.

Paraguayan President: Bank of the South 'Is a Reality!'

May 23 (EIRNS)—Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos emerged from a May 22 meeting of Finance and Foreign Ministers of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), to proclaim that the Bank of the South "is a reality ... born of a necessity long since warned about on this continent."

Joining Duarte outside the meeting in Asuncion, Argentina's Finance Minister Felisa Miceli happily announced that the political decision to create the bank—which will function independently of the International Monetary Fund—"has been made."

First agreed upon in a Feb. 21, 2007 meeting between Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, the Bank of the South has taken shape in a series of regional meetings held since then, and will culminate with the its official founding on June 26 in Caracas, Venezuela.

The bank's primary purpose will be to finance regional infrastructure projects. Argentina's Miceli explained that it will function as "a financing instrument for Latin American integration." Each member nation will contribute a portion of its reserves to make up its initial operating capital of $7 billion." Miceli said that the membership can eventually be broadened "to all those comprising the Union of South American Nations, Unasur."

Venezuelan Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabezas told the Argentine news agency Telam that the idea behind the bank is for South America to promote its own development without "adult supervision," referring to the International Monetary Fund and other lending agencies controlled by the U.S. and Europe.

"In the 1990s, the IMF told us what to do and what not to do," he said. "Now, that cycle is finished. The bank will be run by its own members."

Kirchner Defies the Oligarchy by Promoting Real Science

May 24 (EIRNS)—As he inaugurated the new Nuclear Diagnostic Center in Buenos Aires May 23, Argentine President Néstor Kirchner charged that the neo-liberal policies imposed on his country in the 1990s "not only looted our patrimony as a State, as a nation and a country, but also stripped us of our neurons," referring to the gutting of the science and technology budget at that time that forced thousands of highly trained scientists to emigrate in search of decent-paying jobs. Things were so bad, he noted, that when he visited one research center in 2002, before he became President, the youngest researchers "were 50 years old!... Our youngsters were emigrating; those neurons so vital for the rebuilding of a country in a strategic direction, were leaving ... because no one in this Argentina would give them the space they should have been given!"

Kirchner caustically pointed out that for "certain sectors of the Argentine intellectual community" and those "supposed thinkers" who claimed to be building a nation in the 1990s, investment in science "was merely an unproductive public expenditure." This was criminal, he said, recalling the remarks of Domingo Cavallo, the Harvard-trained Finance Minister of the Carlos Menem Presidency (1989-1999), who once said that scientists would do better to work as dishwashers than researchers. Cavallo, Kirchner said, although he didn't name him openly, "dishonored us, and made us feel ashamed of ourselves.

The opening of the Nuclear Diagnostic Center "is tremendously important," Kirchner added. "What we have here today, and which doesn't exist elsewhere in South America, must be multiplied." Moreover, he elaborated, here "we also see the participation of a proactive State, and the State must be present. It cannot be absent" in promoting research and development. "Let us not be afraid of the State's active participation," he added. "The State can be good, bad, less good, less bad, but if we continue to fill the State with content and quality, in the end it produces very positive results."

Kirchner warned that it is time to realize that scientists must be paid the wages they deserve. Even today, scientists' wages "continue to be far from those that encourage the hopes and motivations that all human beings must be paid when they are fully dedicated to certain tasks, not to mention this particular type of work." It's no good to say "we have spectacular human resources, but then treat them as if they were fourth-rate resources. Argentines must understand this."

Tiny Uruguay To Go Nuclear; Will Giant Brazil Stop Stalling?

May 26 (EIRNS)—Uruguay's Industry Minister Jorge Lepra and Beno Ruchansky, head of the National Electricity Transmission Agency, left for Finland May 11 with clear instructions from President Tabare Vasquez to study the possibility of building a nuclear plant in Uruguay. The two ministers were scheduled to visit the nuclear plant in the Finnish city of Rauma, whose 1,500-1,600 MW generating capacity is exactly what Uruguay would need to supply electricity to its population of 3 million.

In Chile, there is growing support for developing nuclear energy, and it was a leading item on the agenda of the May 15 meeting in Santiago of the Chilean-Russian Inter-Governmental Cooperation Commission. The same day, the University of Santiago sponsored a seminar on "Nuclear Energy in Russia," where Russian nuclear scientists emphasized Russia's ability to build small reactors able to supply electricity to cities of 300,000 people.

The glaring omission when it comes to forward motion in this area is Brazil, which already has two functioning nuclear plants, but whose President Lula won't make the command decision required to end the paralysis on moving forward. Environmental Minister and Al Gore admirer Marina Silva says Brazil can do just fine with hydro, wind, and biomass, but on May 16, the Secretary of Energy Planning and Development at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Marcio Zimmermann reported that Brazil needs between four and eight nuclear plants between now and 2030, and the country's National Energy Plan contains provisions for their construction. "I think nuclear energy will become reality," Zimmermann said. "The world has awakened" to the need for it. "It's an option that the country has to develop for the future."

President Lula's June 3-6 state visit to India, where New Delhi sources report a discussion on commercial nuclear collaboration is at the top of the agenda, may help tip the balance back to sanity.

All rights reserved © 2007 EIRNS