Ibero-American News Digest
Chilean Leader Calls for Nuclear Desalination
Oct. 8 (EIRNS)In the midst of a heated debate over nuclear energy, the president of Chile's Party for Democracy (PPD), Sergio Bitar, raised the crucial issue of nuclear energy's role in the desalination of seawater, which no one else has addressed publicly. "Strategically speaking," he said on Oct. 1, "there is no other way to desalinate seawater, and thus resolve the problems of agriculture and mining," both of which rely on ample supplies of fresh water for their operations. What Bitar didn't say, but which is well known, is that water shortages in northern Chile have led to disputes between Chile and neighboring Bolivia over water resources, which British interests have used for border conflict. Northern Chile is one of the regions that has been discussed as a possible site for a nuclear reactor.
An outspoken advocate of nuclear energy, Bitar has been invited by Électricité de France and the French Nuclear Agency to tour that nation's nuclear plants, while members of the Senate Mining and Energy Committee are touring Russia at the invitation of the Russian energy firm Intermash. Reportedly, the U.S. also wants to get in on the act. Its new ambassador to Chile, Paul Simons, a former Energy Undersecretary, according to Milenio, has been instructed by the State Department to "tactfully explore" the possibility of reaching an agreement with Chile for cooperation in the nuclear energy field.
Colombia Joins Bank of South Project; Integration Advances
Oct. 12 (EIRNS)Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez today inaugurated a 225 kilometer pipeline that joins both countries, and will deliver 150 million cubic feet of gas from Colombia to Venezuela during the next five years. After that, the pipeline is to be used in the reverse direction, transporting 200 million cf from Venezuela to Colombia. This is the first stage of a larger Trans-Caribbean Pipeline that is to extend into Panama and Ecuador.
During the event, President Uribe announced that Colombia is joining the Bank of the South, explaining that this was not meant as a rejection of the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank, "but an expression of solidarity, of loyalty with the brotherhood of Latin America which we are not going to fail." Eight of the 12 South American countries have now joined the Bank of the South project, with only Peru, Chile, Guyana, and Surinam remaining outside.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, invited by the two Presidents to join them in inaugurating the pipeline, remarked that this integration shows that "there's more that joins us than separates us," and the next step will be the inauguration of the Bank of the South. Within this process, Correa said in his speech, "we are seeking to forget an old view that sought to create great markets, not great nations; that sought great consumers, but not great citizens."
Morales Blames Industrialization for 'Global Warming'
Oct. 8 (EIRNS)Bolivian President Evo Morales promoted the worst colonialism of his nation's historic British enemies as somehow "indigenous," when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26. Morales attacked "the exaggerated and unlimited industrialization of some countries" as the cause of "global warming," and argued that the world must adopt an economic model based on a mystical concept of "sacred Mother Earth"the Pachamama, as she is called by the indigenous, he saidas the source of wealth. He even went so far as to assert that "the Earth gives us life."
Morales' promotion of an alleged "indigenist" economy is precisely the genocidal World Wildlife Fund's Prince Philip's strategy for reducing the human population to 1 billion or less.
Lula Government Begins Selling Off National Infrastructure
Oct. 8 (EIRNS)The auctioning off of Brazil's North-South railroad last week was only the beginning of a wave of privatization of federal infrastructure, according to a front-page story in O Globo daily today, which the government has not denied. Sixty-six infrastructure projects, ranging from highways, railroads, and ports, to electricity transmission lines, irrigation, sanitation, and urban planning agencies, are to be auctioned off to private interests by the end of 2008, for a hoped-for R$48 billion (around $26.5 billion).
The next on the chopping block, if remaining legal obstacles can be resolved, are seven stretches of toll roads, which the government hopes to sell this week to avidly waiting private interests, including foreign groups.
Lula's political base will not be as happy, as financiers are gaining ground in the Lula government. Even as O Globo's report hit the streets, Lula's Workers Party (PT) and its labor allies in the CUT trade union confederation, were leading a demonstration against the opposition governor of the state of São Paulo, precisely because that state plans to privatize 18 state firms currently providing public services.
Cristina Kirchner: Fight Inflation with Production
Oct. 9 (EIRNS)Addressing the Argentine Business Association (AEA) today, Presidential candidate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner responded sharply to the London and Wall Street financial interests pressuring the government to "cool off" the economy with austerity measures, supposedly to halt inflation.
Inflation is fought by expanding investment and production, Senator Kirchner stated, not with neoliberal or monetarist policies. "I hear some bankers complaining about inflation," she noted, "but they only lend money for consumption. And I hear some economists complain about inflation, but they say we should raise public utility rates." She challenged her audience to find one example in Argentina's history "where these supposed stabilization policies didn't cause a recession. The key is investment."
Pinochetista 'Economic Miracle' a 'Thing of the Past'
Oct. 8 (EIRNS)The global crisis and the collapse of the dollar have hit Chile so hard, that exporters are panicking as the country's reputation as a free-market "safe haven" in Ibero-America becomes a "thing of the past," according to Diario Financiero of Oct. 2.
The so-called "economic miracle" created under the 1973-1990 regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet, by the fascist economists trained by George Shultz's University of Chicago, was supposed to be invulnerable to crisis. But it seems to be suffering the same fate as the late dictator's family. Pinochet's widow and five children were indicted and jailed on Oct. 5 for misuse of public funds, along with 17 collaborators.
The dollar collapse has hurt Chile's exchange rate, making its exports far less competitive than neighboring countries. Since Chile's economy relies on exports, its domestic industry and market having been destroyed by Shultz's "Chicago Boys," a drop in export revenue knocks the props out from the economy. Agricultural producers also fear that the lower exchange rate will frighten away investors, such that its exports will become even less competitive. And a significant labor shortage has raised the cost of labor, complicating an already difficult situation. It is estimated that there will be a 50% decline in available labor for the upcoming agricultural season.
Pinochet Family Faces More Indictments
Oct. 10 (EIRNS)Having indicted the widow and children of the late dictator Augusto Pinochet on Oct. 4 for embezzlement of public funds, Chilean Judge Carlos Cerda is now preparing another round of indictments of some of the family members, which the British monarchy's weapons cartel, BAE Systems, might find very troublesome.
The new charges are related to the illegal commissions paid to Pinochet by BAE, to the tune of $2 million between 1997 and 2004, and by a number of other European weapons manufacturers, which were channelled through the royal family-linked Coutts Bank, and through several shell companies set up in the British Virgin Islands and similar offshore financial havens. Those funds also made their way into accounts held by Pinochet, whom Lyndon LaRouche recently dubbed "the lickspittle of the British Empire," and his offspring, often under phony names, in Riggs Bank and several other foreign banks.
Judge Cerda has reportedly compiled new information, provided by authorities in the U.S., Switzerland, and Gibraltar, showing the involvement particularly of Pinochet's youngest son, Marco Antonio Pinochet, as well as several retired Army officers, in creating the intricate web of illegal offshore financial entities through which the illegal commissions were laundered.
Pinochet family lawyers are frantically seeking a way to get Cerda, an internationally respected human rights lawyer, thrown off the case before he can do them more damage.
Under these conditions of global crisis, LaRouche warned that the British might well try to use their assets in Chile, historically used as a beachhead for operations against the continent, to set off new operations to destabilize South America.