From Volume 6, Issue 28 of EIR Online, Published July 10, 2007

Ibero-American News Digest

LaRouche: Bank of the South Delay Linked to BAE

July 5 (EIRNS)—Today, the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC) issued the following release:

The intended late June signing of the founding document of the new Bank of the South by the Presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Venezuela, has been postponed to an unspecified date later this year. Although the announced reason for the delay is disagreements over issues such as capital contributions and voting rights of the members, and the location of the new bank's headquarters, U.S. statesman Lyndon LaRouche today pointed to the fundamental issue at stake:

"The Bank of the South is a matter of life and death for the nations of South America, as the international financial and monetary system plunges rapidly into disintegration. As I noted in a June 29 interview on Ecuadorean radio: 'It is my hope that the Bank of the South, would function as a vehicle commonly used by sovereign nation-states of South America, to maintain sovereignty, number one; but as a necessary vehicle of the type I specified back in August of 1982. It is the exchange of long-term credit among nations, for projects in common interest. You need a system of fixed-exchange-rate agreements among nations, in order to do that.'

"The founding of the Bank of the South poses a problem in South America for financial interests typified by the Spanish Santander and BBVA banks, which are extensions of the British Empire's scandal-ridden BAE company," LaRouche said.

As LaRouche and his associates have extensively documented, the British defense firm BAE Systems is at the center of "The Scandal of the Century," having generated a slush fund in the range of $100 billion through its "Al-Yamamah" deal with Saudi Prince Bandar, which has been used for black operations, destabilizations, and coups around the world. Chilean fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet, for example, was an integral part of the BAE's weapons-and-murder apparatus in South America. The BAE has functioned for decades as an instrument of the British Empire, as such.

Santander Bank is intimately associated with the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the Queen's leading personal financial institutions, and has developed widespread financial and political influence across South America. For example, high-level "former" Santander officials have managed to insinuate themselves into prominent positions, including cabinet posts, within Brazil's Lula government, and are known to be violently hostile to the idea of the Bank of the South, and President Lula's stated commitment to the new financial institution.

Kirchner, Correa Counterattack Against BAE Oil Cartel

July 5 (EIRNS)—Shell Oil Company faces millions of dollars in fines and possible jail time for its executives in Argentina, for its failure to supply sufficient fuel to the market, as required by law, Economics Minister Felisa Miceli announced on July 2. The country has been facing artificially created shortages, particularly of diesel fuel, just as the planting season begins.

Miceli's announcement followed President Néstor Kirchner's warning to the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) summit in Paraguay on June 29, that the oil companies were "wearing out" the patience of the region, with their refusal to meet its energy needs. South America is finally growing again, after years of deliberate disinvestment, and that requires increased power. We may have to act resolutely together, including investing in regional projects, to insure that "the global development necessities of the peoples of our region" prevail over the "whims" of individual interests, Kirchner told the Presidents of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay who attended the summit.

Two days later, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa warned citizens that gas shortages were being deliberately created in their country, to destabilize his government. These are familiar tactics which the oligarchy throws against patriotic governments, as was done in Chile in the 1970s, Correa told Radio Tarqui in Quito, referencing the oil companies' role in the destabilization used to bring dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power.

The targetting of Shell Oil and the reference to the Pinochet precedent are precise hits at the BAE-centered financial complex which is desperate to crush South America's adoption of Franklin Roosevelt-style policies of sovereign, economic growth. Both—Shell Oil and dictator Pinochet—now stand exposed as central players for more than two decades in the would-be global government apparatus of which BAE is a part.

Regional cooperation to defeat such tactics are in the works. Today, the Brazilian government announced it would be increasing its sales of electricity to Argentina, at a price barely above cost; and on July 4, following a meeting with Kirchner, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera reported that they had agreed that their state oil companies will jointly develop Bolivia's giant gas fields, if the oil cartel fails to make needed investments on time.

Correa: Bank of South Key to New Financial Architecture

July 2 (EIRNS)—Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa addressed "the extreme importance" of the Bank of the South, in his speech to the summit of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) in Asuncion, Paraguay. Ecuador is not a member of Mercosur, but is exploring the possibilities of joining in the near future, according to Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinoza, who attended the summit with President Correa.

True integration will be very difficult unless we can increase our independence from certain extra-regional interests, and that requires financial independence, Correa told his fellow South American Presidents. It is absurd that the nations of Ibero-America export capital to the First World, and then are told they must kneel before the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, etc., to beg for a few dollars. We must seek a new financial architecture for the region, with our own institutions, to end the destructive policies of neoliberalism, he emphasized, according to the report on the Ecuadorian Presidential website.

At home, Correa is in an all-out war with private financial interests which refuse to accept that they must submit to government regulation and the interests of the general welfare. The President insists it is the government's responsibility to set interest rates, eliminate unfair commissions, and lower the costs of financial services, and introduced a bill to that effect which is now before the Congress. On June 30, Correa told Ecuadorians to keep a close watch on Congress, because they will learn this week "who is with the bankers and who is with the country."

Argentine First Lady Will Run for President

July 3 (EIRNS)—Sen. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will run for President of Argentina in the Oct. 28 elections, instead of her husband, President Néstor Kirchner. This was announced July 1 by Minister of the Presidency Alberto Fernández, who said it would be made official at a campaign event on July 19.

Which of the two Kirchners would run has been discussed for some time, a debate fueled by President Kirchner himself some months back with a quip that it wasn't known whether the ruling Peronist Party's candidate would be the "Penguin"—his nickname—or "Mrs. Penguin" ("Pinguina"). Now it is official.

From the Argentine Senate and in her international travels, Senator Kirchner has participated in the fight led by her husband to restore Argentina's national sovereignty and economic growth, after the country imploded in 2001, stripped bare by international financial interests. In a March 21, 2007 speech to the Latin American College of Social Sciences (FLASCO) in Quito, Ecuador, stressing the need for Ibero-America to integrate and develop together, the First Lady explained that Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal policies had been the inspiration for Kirchner government's strategy of rebuilding the country around public works and infrastructure. "We had copied it from the New Deal ... when Roosevelt through the New Deal and public works ... strongly reactivated the whole economy," she explained. (See the April 7, 2007 EIR.)

U.S. statesman Lyndon LaRouche extended his "best personal wishes to her," when informed Senator Kirchner would be running.

Slaves Freed at Brazilian Plantation for Ethanol

July 5 (EIRNS)—On June 30, Brazil's anti-slavery swat team freed 1,108 sugar-cane workers held in "conditions analogous to slavery," on the plantation of one of the biggest ethanol producers in the northeastern state of Para. This was the largest number of workers to be freed from conditions of slavery in recent Brazilian history, surpassing the previous record of 1,000 workers freed in 2005, when a sugar-cane plantation was raided in the state of Mato Grosso. That plantation, too, produced ethanol.

Most of the sugar-cane workers at the Para plantation of the Pagrisa company, of Para Pastoril e Agricola, SA, had been lured in from nearby states, with the promise that they would receive wages high enough to send money back to their families. Once there, they found it was "like being in prison." They were forced to work 14-hour days and sleep piled on top of one another; many suffered diarrhea and nausea from the rancid food and contaminated drinking water provided; they went many days without being able to bathe; and at the end of the month, most either received no pay, or were informed they owed the company money, because of exorbitant deductions from their salaries for food, transportation, etc.

Exactly the modus operandi of that old Gore family mine memorialized in the famous American song, "Sixteen Tons."

Following the raid, the Brazilian state oil company, Petrobras, announced that it will suspend its ethanol purchase contract with Pagrisa, which produces some 13 million gallons of biofuel a year from that 2,200-plus-acre plantation in Para. The state legislature is discussing suspending lucrative tax breaks provided the company.

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