Ibero-American News Digest
Sonora Forum Hears LaRouche Strategy for Water Projects
CIUDAD OBREGON, Sonora, Nov. 12 (EIRNS)Over 500 people overflowed this city's principal auditorium on Nov. 9, for the regional forum entitled "Let Us Build the Bridge to the Future, the PLHINO of the Twenty-First Century: Water, Energy and Food for Mexico." The conference was organized by the 15-organization Pro-PLHINO Committee, founded at the initiative of Lyndon LaRouche's associates in the region, to assemble the political juggernaut required to finally get construction going on the long-planned, tri-state water management project known as the North West Hydraulic Plan, or PLHINO.
The discussion was shaped by the intense national debate and shock over the destruction just wreaked by heavy rains in the South, precisely because long-planned necessary water projects were not built.
Mexican engineer Manuel Frías Alcaracaz presented detailed maps of the PLHINO, showing a 400-plus kilometer-long set of dams, tunnels, and canals, bringing the waters of 16 rivers from the state of Nayarit to the dry but fertile lands of neighboring Sinoloa and Sonora, opening up 700,000 new hectares of land for farming, while generating electricity and jobs in all three states. Pro-PLHINO coordinator and LaRouche associate Alberto Vizcarra Osuna detailed how such state-directed infrastructure projects as the PLHINO are a matter of national interest, for Mexico to secure its food sovereignty.
The centerpiece of the five-hour forum, was a presentation by EIR's Dennis Small, on LaRouche's global strategy to save civilization from financial collapse and a new dark age, by mobilizing global cooperation behind great infrastructure projects. Not only must Mexico build the PLHINO, Small argued, but the United States and Mexico must establish exemplary cooperation, along with Canada, in building the gigantic North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) project, to transport waters currently flowing into the Arctic Ocean from Canada and Alaska, down through the western United States, and into northern Mexico, including into Sonora's Yaqui River.
The audience responded enthusiastically, remarking: "The PLHINO is good, but why stop there? NAWAPA, the Bering Strait Tunnel project: now those are big!"
Participation in the conference was representative of the political army forming for a return to great state-directed infrastructure: two Senators and several Congressmen from the states of Sonora and Sinoloa, state legislators and officials, mayors, peasant leaders, students, farmers, and labor representatives.
The conference was closed by Sonora's Sen. Alfonso Elías Serrano and Gov. Eduardo Bours, both of whom endorsed the PHLINO, and the idea of "thinking big," as necessary to secure Mexico's future.
Mexico Flood Proves: Government Just Doesn't Give a Dam
Nov. 12 (EIRNS)The four dams on Mexico's Grijalva Riverthe largest in the country, which runs from Guatemala through the Mexican states of Chiapas and Tabascowere able to handle almost the entirety of the enormous amount of rainfall that sent flood waters down the Grijalva River at the end of October; but the Usumacinta River (the second-largest in the country, in the same area) and its tributaries have no dams at all, and couldn't contain the inundation which hit the flood plain in Tabasco, along the Gulf Coast of Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
This is the summary finding that emerged from a report filed by the Society of Civil Engineers of Mexico (CICM) on Nov. 6. According to the CICM study:
1. About one meter fell on the states of Tabasco and Chiapas in just three days at the end of October. This enormous amount of precipitation was far greater than the previous big flood of 1999, when half that amount fell during the entire month of October.
2. Where the Grijalva and the Usumacinta unite in the coastal flood plain, just downstream from the city of Villahermosa, a "hydraulic plug" developed which caused a backup of enormous amounts of water.
3. Storms in the Gulf of Mexico contributed as well, by raising the sea level by a full meter above normal, between the effects of tides and winds.
4. The Grijalva basin represents 27% of the surface area subjected to the heavy rainfall. Of the four major dams on the Grijalva and its tributaries, the three farthest upstream (La Angostura, Chicoasen, and Malpaso), were able to control 100% of the water volume reaching them without having to release any of it farther downstream. The fourth dam, Penitas, was able to contain about one-third of the 3,000 cubic meters per second of water reaching it, but was forced to release some 2,000 cubic meters per second downstream. But the CICM calculated that this volume of water contributed only 3% of the total floodwaters that hit Tabasco.
5. The Usumacinta and its tributaries and other rivers in the region, constitute 73% of the surface area hit by the rains. And they have no dams on them whatsoever. Thus, the devastating flood.
The CICM concludes their report with the understated recommendation that Mexico must "promote a greater investment in infrastructure projects in the entire national territory, and especially in the South-Southeast region, to prevent disasters and contribute to sustained and balanced long-term economic development."
Infrastructure Sparks Optimism in Depressed Colombia
Nov. 15 (EIRNS)Colombian politicians are suddenly tripping over themselves to prove who's more for building a subway/metro line in the nation's capital, in the wake of the victory of the subway champion, Samuel Moreno, in the Oct. 28 Bogotá mayoral elections. In a nation targetted as a guinea pig for Dick Cheney's "Revolution in Military Affairs" permanent war doctrine, this is a revolution, the LaRouche Association of Colombia happily reports.
They should know: The LaRouche Youth Movement campaign had a lot to do with creating it.
A Bogotá city council committee representing several ideologically antagonistic parties is being put together to travel to Caracas, to seek financing from the Chávez government, it was announced this week. With one of his coalition parties publicly pleading with him to stop attacking the metro and get behind it, President Alvaro Uribe has gone from dismissing the project out of hand; to grudging talk of how financing might be scratched up after 2010; to saying currently that of course the national government will help put the financing together for it!
With this turn, comes a stronger impetus for South American integration, and major infrastructure investment through the Bank of the South being launched next month. The Colombian daily La Republica headlined its Nov. 13 article on the various metro discussions: "Bank of the South: Option for the Metro."
Argentine Industrialists Call for National Development Bank
Nov. 16 (EIRNS)Speaking before the annual convention of the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA) on Nov. 14, President Néstor Kirchner's Chief of Staff, Alberto Fernández, who will occupy the same post for incoming President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, announced that the new President is committed to creating a national development bank, to ensure long-term financing for industry at reasonable interest rates.
The new bank will "serve those businessmen who are interested in production ... the men of industry," Fernandez said, to the enthusiastic applause of 800 business leaders in the room.
Leaders of the UIA had issued a call for the creation of just such a national development bank, "to have a financial instrument for productive investment." The models, even if they don't mention them, are the First and Second Banks of the United States, based on Alexander Hamilton's plans, and the issuance of industrial and agricultural credit by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.
At various points in its past history, particularly during the latter part of the 19th Century, the UIA has embraced the protectionist policies associated with the American System of political economy, to promote industrial development. While the UIA hasn't maintained this outlook consistently, now under the pro-industry model adopted by President Néstor Kirchner over the past five years, today's UIA states that "we are betting on an industrialist model" and demanding the means to finance it.
The UIA's vice president, Osvaldo Rial, points to Brazil's giant National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) as a model for the kind of entity Argentina needs, but on a smaller scale. BNDES was founded during the second Presidency of nationalist President Getulio Vargas in the early 1950s, for the explicit purpose of financing Brazil's industrialization. Its vice president, Armando Mariante, was one of the speakers at the UIA's annual conference Nov. 15-16, whose title was "From Industrial Recovery to a Development Project."