From Volume 6, Issue 43 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 23, 2007

Ibero-American News Digest

Ibero-American Nations Agree To Found Bank of South

Oct. 15 (EIRNS)—Eight of South America's 12 nations have now agreed to found the Bank of the South, whose mission will be to serve as "a development bank with a South American character, with a central role in the framework of a new regional financial architecture."

As of today, only Chile, Peru, Guyana, and Surinam have yet to join. A high-level South American source intimately involved in the project reported today that the project to found the bank is advancing very well, and noted that with President Alvaro Uribe's formal Oct. 12 request for Colombia to join, it is unlikely that Chile will continue holding out.

The project, which international financier interests have sought to sabotage every which way since it was first proposed formally by Argentine President Néstor Kirchner and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez last February, took an important step forward on Oct. 8, when the economics and finance ministers of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela, meeting in Rio de Janeiro, agreed on the text of a founding document for the bank, which the Presidents are scheduled to sign on Nov. 3, in Caracas.

Many of the central issues of the substantive nature and functioning of the bank are still being fought out.

Santander Chief Attempts To Stop Bank of the South

Oct. 15 (EIRNS)—Emilio Botín, head of the Royal Bank of Scotland's Spanish partner, Santander Bank, is scheduled to visit Brazil this week, during which he is expected to announce details of the $27 billion in new investments which he recently promised President Lula da Silva his bank would be making in Brazil over the next few years, Gazeta do Povo reported Oct. 11.

The Franco-ite Botín is being deployed personally by London to Brazil to try to sink the project to found a Bank of the South as a regional financial institution controlled by the sovereign governments of South America, and independent of private financier interests. Santander Bank, Spain's largest, and the number one foreign bank operating throughout Ibero-America, has insinuated its agents into key positions within the Lula government, and deployed them repeatedly to sabotage the South American project, which the Lula government is part of.

For example, Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Minister Miguel Jorge, a former vice president of Santander's Brazilian branch, stated on Oct. 9, that Brazil's giant National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) will not put up any money for the Bank of the South. The BNDES, a state bank which has served in the past as a key vehicle for Brazil's participation in regional integration projects, is formally part of the Development Ministry, which Jorge now heads.

Seventeen of Santander's promised $27 billion will go for the purchase of Brazil's Banco Real, which Santander intends to gobble up as part of its buyout of the Dutch ABN-Amro giant. Santander, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Fortis Bank hope to purchase ABN Amro next month for a cool $93 billion—if they can come up with the cash. If that purchase goes through, Santander will become the third-largest bank in Brazil.

Argentine First Lady Shows U.S. Congress How To Fight

Oct. 18 (EIRNS)—Cowardly U.S. Congressmen could learn a thing or two from Argentina's Victory Front Presidential candidate and First Lady, Sen. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, on attacking those British-inspired interests that devastated Argentina's economy in the 1990s, and are now determined to annihilate the United States as well.

President Néstor Kirchner, who took office in 2003, earned the respect of the Argentine people by bucking the IMF's murderous austerity demands during his four years in office. Taking off from that, a video clip on Sen. Fernández's (Mrs. Kirchner's) website, ( entitled "What is the IMF?" interviews several small schoolchildren who are asked what they think the IMF is.

"It's a satellite that crashed into the moon," one child explained. "It's a country where everything is backward," said another. A third noted, "it's a place where there are many animals—'quack-quack,' it's a duck." One child held up a drawing to explain, "this is the IMF walking its dog."

Following this comical introduction, the narrator adds, "Thanks to us, your children and grandchildren don't have any idea of what the IMF is." He concludes that what Argentina needs now, is not banks to lend it money, but serious investors who will put their money into productive enterprises in the country.

Argentine political forces and media that defend the British model are tearing their hair out at Sen. Fernández's feisty polemics, seen in this video clip, and on the campaign trail, in which she repeatedly attacks the speculation-based free-market model as the enemy of the sovereign nation-state.

The Internet daily Urgente24, which reflects the thinking of the fascist Mont Pelerin Society, complained on Oct. 18 about President Kirchner's "intolerance" toward the IMF, while taking potshots at Sen. Fernández's appearance the previous day in the working class district of La Matanza. There, she and the President inaugurated a factory-school, where young workers can learn a trade while earning a salary.

Such institutions proliferated in Argentina in the 1950s under the Presidency of Juan Domingo Perón, but large numbers were shut down under the IMF policies that dominated both the 1976-83 military dictatorship and the 1989-99 Presidency of IMF poster-child, Carlos Menem. Upset at the enthusiastic greeting Sen. Fernández received from the working-class crowd, and the singing by some of the "Peronist hymn," Urgente24 could only whine that La Matanza "looks more and more like Venezuela," under President Hugo Chávez.

Judge Who Indicted Pinochet Family Under Attack

Oct. 17 (EIRNS)—Chile's Supreme Court has initiated a "disciplinary investigation" of Carlos Cerda, the federal judge who indicted the widow and children of the late fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet on Oct. 4, on charges of embezzling public funds. The Supreme Court's action is allegedly due to remarks that Cerda made in the United States shortly after he issued the indictment, in which he criticized aspects of Chile's judicial system.

Human rights activists and other political leaders point out, however, that the Pinochets' defense lawyers and family members are desperate to have the internationally respected Cerda thrown off the case, knowing his reputation for being both principled and tough. Cerda was one of a handful of lawyers who took on human rights cases while the dictator Pinochet was still in power.

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