Ibero-American News Digest
Mexican Farmers Organize for Infrastructure
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)Infrastructure projects, such as the proposed Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PLHINO), which can expand irrigated farming in Mexico's Pacific grain-producing states, are now "a matter of state and national security," given the international financial crisis, 15 farm, labor, and other organizations from the south of the Mexican state of Sonora asserted in an ad published in the state's four leading dailies on Sept. 2.
The LaRouche movement has campaigned for the PLHINO for decades, and LaRouche organizers in Sonora have taken the lead in organizing a popular movement in the region which intends to finally get federal backing for this vital project.
The full-page adheadlined "Let Us Build the Bridge to the Future: Let's Make the PHLINO of the 21st Century"zeroes in on the existential issue which Mexico faces in the systemic breakdown crisis: restoring self-sufficiency in food production, before reliance on scarce and costly imported food creates massive shortages, famine, and social upheaval.
After 15 years of economic takedown under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico today imports 30% of the grain it consumes. The fact that Mexico has become the world's leading importer of corn, rice, sorghum and powdered milk, at a time when hyperinflation is hitting food prices internationally, must be treated as a national emergency, LaRouche organizers insist.
The PLHINO would connect the 16 rivers which run from the western Sierra Madre mountain range into the fertile coasts of the states of Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Sonora, allowing 28 billion cubic meters of water in the region to be channeled efficiently, opening up new lands for cultivation of the basic grains which the nation needs so urgently.
Led by Sen. Alfonso Serrano of Sonora, and two of his counterparts from Sinaloa and Nayarit, the Mexican Senate passed a resolution last April, calling on the national government to adopt a vigorous policy of public investment in basic infrastructure, particularly water management, in order to restore Mexico's food sovereignty. The resolution cited the PLHINO as urgent. Now, the groups which put out the ad in Sonora, intend to get the job done.
AEI Plan To Dismember Bolivia Goes into High Gear
Sept. 1 (EIRNS)Dick Cheney's friends at Washington, D.C.'s American Enterprise Institute are surely salivating over recent developments in Bolivia. On Aug. 29, the mayor of the city of Santa Cruz, Percy Fernández, proposed that Bolivia be divided into two nationsprecisely what AEI analyst Mark Falcoff laid out in a June 2004 article that was widely disseminated in Bolivia.
At that time, the racist Falcoff wrote that by necessity, Bolivia's map would have to be "redrawn," such that two nations would emerge. One would be a poorer, "indigenous" coca-producing nation in the west, and the other an oil-rich "European" one in the east. Echoing him, Fernández called for the six provinces of eastern Bolivia to join together to form a new "Nation of the East," leaving the three remaining provinces of La Paz, Oruro, and Potosí to form the "Nation of the West."
Although the Santa Cruz civic committee to which Fernández is linked has been calling for "autonomy" for the region for the past three years, this is the first time these forces have so explicitly detailed a plan to split the nation. This is no accident. International banking and political factions close to Cheney and his British sponsors have escalated their deployment in recent weeks to plunge Bolivia into chaos and violence, seeing it as a weak link among the several Ibero-American nations that are forging alternative policies to the bankrupt International Monetary Fund's system.
The Cheney-Bush Administration is up to its eyeballs in destabilizing Bolivia. Bolivian military sources have told EIR that U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg is a frequent visitor to Santa Cruz, and has met more than once with the civic committee, a group of oligarchical businessmen who are the driving force behind the separatist offensive. On Aug. 26, President Evo Morales charged that the United States was channeling some of its financial assistance to the country into a "counterrevolutionary movement," implicitly accusing Ambassador Goldberg of "conspiring" against the government. In a separate speech, Vice President García Linera accused the U.S. Embassy of providing funding for seminars that think-tanks of opposition groups hold, in order to bolster "ideological resistance" to the government.
Brazilian Nationalist Lessa Calls for Exchange Controls
Sept. 5 (EIRNS)Carlos Lessa, the former head of Brazil's National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), argued in an Aug. 29 column in Valor Economico that while President Lula da Silva and Finance Minister Guido Mantega may be saying that the financial crisis is just a domestic U.S. matter, in order to prevent "domestic panic," they would be better off "thinking about restoring exchange controls,"
The increase in capital flight and Brazil's risk rating in August show that "the international financial system does not consider Brazil an island of tranquility in an ocean of world crisis," the feisty nationalist pointed out. The Central Bank's policy of attracting foreign capital by keeping interest rates high, proved its vulnerability with the first emanations of a foreign crisis.
What Brazil needs is to grow, Lessa argued. Inequality in the country is terrible. Brazilians are leaving because of unemployment; an estimated 4 million youth are now looking for work outside the country. New forms of indebting Brazilian families, including retirees and the most poor, are what have kept the domestic market afloat.
Indebting families is not a strategy for sustainable economic growth; that requires creating new jobs, raising the average salary, and doing what the Central Bank discourages: securing public and private investment in expanding the country's productive capabilities, Lessa wrote. And he reiterated: "Brazil should restore exchange controls."