From Volume 6, Issue 31 of EIR Online, Published July 31, 2007

Ibero-American News Digest

Ecuador's President Warns of Threats to His Life

July 23 (EIRNS)—In the midst of an intensifying attack on his Presidency by international "vulture funds" and London-centered financial interests, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa warned on July 22 that he has received numerous death threats, and that his life was in danger. He made similar public warnings on May 28 of this year.

In an interview with Channel 1 TV, Correa stated that there are "huge security risks; huge risks, and we've already had threats from groups that have tried to purchase a rocket," for a possible assassination attempt. "I am a man who does what he has to do," he said, "regardless of the cost." But, "there are fears" of an attack on his life, "because we are affecting big interests."

"Big interests" is exactly right. As author John Perkins revealed in his 2005 book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, other Ecuadorian Presidents, such as Jaime Roldós (1979-1981), who took on the financial oligarchy in defense of national sovereignty, ended up dead. Correa is targeted not only because of his nationalist domestic policies, but also because of his leadership role, along with Argentine President Kirchner, in creating the Bank of the South, the new financial institution that will function as a pro-nation-state alternative to the bankrupt International Monetary Fund.

Although Correa didn't identify the source of the threats against him, he told Channel 1 TV that domestic banking and financial interests have reason to wish him dead. Legislation he proposed earlier this year to regulate the banking sector, had it been approved, would have curtailed bank profits by at least $200 million, he noted.

Mexican LYM Denounces Gore Policies as 'Genocidal'

July 26 (EIRNS)—The LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) of Mexico held a demonstration today to denounce the upcoming July 31 visit to Mexico of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, because his anti-scientific global warming hoax "threatens genocide against Mexico and the Third World population in general." The LYM raised this issue at a gathering in Mexico City that was addressed by Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, one of the sponsors of Gore's visit.

Patriots in Mexico recognize that Gore's anti-industrial quackery translates into genocide for Mexico, and for all of Central and South America, and they are angry over his visit. In fact, every time Gore appears in a country, his visit is a provocation to those who rightly consider themselves targets of his genocide policies.

As Lyndon LaRouche stated in his international webcast on July 25 in Washington, D.C., which was heard around the world in simultaneous translation in Spanish, German, French, and Italian, as well as English: "[It is a mistake to think] that Al Gore is human; that's a big mistake. Remember the coal mine—'16 Tons' and the company store. Al Gore owned that place, that got that song written about it. That's Al Gore. The guy's no good, and he comes from a background of a daddy who was no good either. Something that cross-bred with a possum up in the swamps of Tennessee. You know how they are."

Mexico: 'Fiscal Reform' Plan Is Nazi Labor Recycling

July 24 (EIRNS)—Mexican Treasury Secretary Agustín Carstens, who went straight from being #3 at the International Monetary Fund to running Mexico's economy, has submitted a "fiscal reform" bill to Mexico's Congress which is a blatant scheme to put through a Nazi-style restructuring. Financiers know that if they proposed the program in its own name, they could never get it approved.

The centerpiece of the fiscal reform is a new tax, the "Single Rate Business Contribution" (CETU), which would tax businesses on their income after deducting input costs and investment in plant and equipment. Salaries and benefits, however, would not be deducted (i.e., businesses would pay taxes on the salaries and benefits they pay out), but they would be allowed to deduct "fees" paid to workers. The result is that businessmen are offered a tax incentive to fire salaried workers en masse, and replace them with temporary workers, who receive no benefits.

That, in turn, would cut the government's social security and health-care "burden," because non-salaried workers lose their affiliation to the government social security and health-care system, IMSS. Temporary workers are left with the choice of either turning to a private health insurer, and assuming the costs themselves, or affiliating with IMSS as "independent workers" under a program which the new administration of IMSS, put in by the Calderón government, has announced should be abolished.

All in all, a program worthy of an IMF butcher.

Kirchner Names Banks That Are Out To Destroy Argentina

July 26 (EIRNS)—President Néstor Kirchner has named the foreign investment funds and banks that are engaged in financial warfare against Argentina, in an attempt to force a return to the neoliberal policies that devastated the nation in the 1990s.

In a hard-hitting speech July 26, Kirchner identified the German Allianz-Dresdner investment fund, as well as Citibank, Spain's Banco Santander, Britain's HSBC, and J.P. Morgan, as the entities that had, over the previous 48 hours, sold off $300 million in peso-denominated bonds indexed to inflation, to force the inflation rate up and make a killing.

It is these same financial interests, Kirchner said, that have constantly attacked the national statistical agency INDEC, claiming it is understating the inflation rate and "cooking" its books.

For months, mouthpieces for London and Wall Street financial interests have been loudly proclaiming that Argentine inflation is really much higher than INDEC's figures indicate, demanding that the government act to "cool off" the economy with harsh austerity policies. As the October Presidential elections approach, Kirchner's domestic opponents have stepped up the drumbeat, screaming about "government corruption" and "scandal" at INDEC.

The Argentine President warned that no one should be fooled by these groups' sanctimonious claims that they care about the citizenry. "No, there is something else going on here," he said. "This is concrete reality, and people have to know this, including the justice system, because this shows who they are.... We know perfectly well that doubts regarding inflation come from these investment funds."

Cuba Extends 'Olive Branch' to Next U.S. Administration

July 27 (EIRNS)—Cuba's acting Head of State, Gen. Raúl Castro, reiterated July 26 the Cuban government's willingness "to discuss on equal footing the prolonged dispute with the government of the United States," when the current "erratic" and "fundamentalist" administration is replaced. Castro made the offer, which he had extended twice before in the last year, during his address to Cuba's July 26 national celebrations.

"If the new United States authorities were to finally desist from their arrogance and decide to talk in a civilized manner, it would be a welcome change," he said. "The problems of this world, ever more complex and dangerous, can only be resolved in this way.... The new administration will have to decide whether it will maintain the absurd, illegal, and failed policy against Cuba or if it will accept the olive branch that we offered on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the landing of the Granma" (Dec. 2, 2006).

The United States has maintained an economic embargo and tight travel restrictions on this close island neighbor since the missiles crisis in 1962.

President Morales To Renationalize Bolivia's Railroads

July 17 (EIRNS)—Bolivian President Evo Morales announced July 15 that he will renationalize the National Railroad Company (ENFE), bought up by foreign interests in 1996, during the privatization orgy unleashed by IMF-toady President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. Speaking at the inauguration of the Lake Titikaka-Guaqui-Tiwanaku tourist rail line outside of La Paz, Morales denounced the fraud of Sánchez de Lozada's "capitalization" program, which he said was only a name for "the decapitalization of the Bolivian people and our state companies." That is why, he announced, "today we are beginning the nationalization of ENFE."

The financial predators that eagerly bought up shares in ENFE when it was privatized, such as Chile's Luksic Group and the U.S. Genesee & Wyoming, Inc., are now wailing about losing their "investment" in Bolivia.

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