Ibero-American News Digest
Colombia-Venezuela Conflict Worsens
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)The Brazilian government of President Lula da Silva is attempting to cool down the diplomatic dispute between the Colombian and Venezuelan governments, which erupted after Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez announced Nov. 24 that he was ending President Hugo Chávez's role in mediating a hostage-release deal with Colombia's narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Since then, the situation has deteriorated to the point of a rupture in diplomatic relations. The dispute is having regional repercussions and providing fodder for synarchist factions, particularly those associated with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, which seek to spread political and social chaos throughout Ibero-America. Venezuela and Bolivia, the latter country now convulsed by a separatist offensive and violent protest, are the two nations they have particularly targetted.
In a Nov. 29 interview with Brazilian media, Lula emphasized that Ibero-America can only guarantee economic growth and development, if there is regional "peace and tranquility." He underscored that South America will continue with its plans to create the new regional financial entity, the Bank of the South, to be founded on Dec. 9 in Buenos Aires, and to strengthen the Union of South American Nations (Unsasur).
Other initiatives have come from Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and from Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. What is missing from the discussion, however, is the realization that without Lyndon LaRouche's New Bretton Woods proposal to replace the disintegrating global monetary system, no local solution can offer the permanent "peace and tranquility" of which Lula spoke. If the Bank of the South is viewed only as a defensive measure against globalization, instead of as the regional component of a "new international financial architecture," as LaRouche proposes, it will ultimately fail.
Bolivia Threatened with Balkanization
Nov. 29 (EIRNS)Violence and social conflict have gripped Bolivia for more than a week, as pro-government and opposition forces clashed over the writing of a new constitution and the approval of social legislation which oil-rich Bolivian states claim unfairly taxes them.
What makes the situation extremely dangerous is that the base of the movement led by President Evo Morales is predominantly Jacobin, and its rampaging activities provide fuel for the separatist agenda promoted by Bolivia's six oil-rich eastern states, led by the Civic Committee of Santa Cruz. These forces have embraced the scenarios publicized by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which foresees Bolivia broken into two distinct nationsone made up of a poor indigenous population, and the other of the more prosperous, six eastern states.
Over the weekend of Nov. 24-25 in the city of Sucre, violence erupted after pro-government forces met in the Constituent Assembly and approved a constitution without the opposition present. The opposition then held demonstrations, which were met by a Jacobin mob that hanged and decapitated dogs, and vowed to unleash a nationwide rampage in defense of Morales's program.
Before the violence ended, four people had been killed, one of them, a policeman, reportedly lynched. The police finally abandoned the city altogether, leaving security in the hands of paramilitary citizen patrols.
On Nov. 27-28, the six eastern states, whose economic activities account for almost 80% of Bolivia's GDP, staged a successful 24-hour general strike against Morales, and announced plans to escalate over the coming days with hunger strikes, road blockades, protest demonstrations, and an international campaign to denounce Morales's "break with democracy."
IAEA To Establish Regional Facility in Argentina
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)During his Nov. 28-29 visit to Argentina, Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), announced that the prestigious Balseiro Center of Bariloche would be designated as a regional IAEA educational facility for training nuclear scientists and engineers.
Prominent Argentine physicist José Antonio Balseiro founded the Center in 1955 and designed its impressive curriculum. Its summer school attracted scientists from all over Ibero-America for several years, and today, it is widely respected as one of the continent's premier institutions for scientific education. It functions as part of the Bariloche Atomic Center and the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA), and is connected as well to the highly-regarded University of Cuyo.
ElBaradei traveled to Argentina from Chile, where he received an award from the Bachelet government, and told his guests there that "without nuclear energy there can be no development." In Buenos Aires, he met with President Néstor Kirchner and toured the country's several nuclear facilities and educational institutions.
According to the daily Clarín, he also briefed the Argentine President on the contents of the report he had just delivered to the IAEA's board on Iran's nuclear program, in which he argued that there is little evidence to support the claim that Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapons capability. In interviews with the Argentine media, he also warned, that should force be used against Iran, this would drive that country to develop nuclear weapons more quickly. Diplomacy, not military might, is the only reasonable way to approach Iran, he said.
CNN Airs 'Erroneous' Death Threat Against Chávez
Nov. 28 (EIRNS)For ten seconds on its Nov. 27 Spanish-language news program "Direct from the U.S.," the CNN television network broadcast a picture of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, with the caption "Who Killed Him?" In the picture, part of a montage in which Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez also appeared, Chávez had his eyes closed.
After ten seconds, CNN removed the image and announced that it had been a "mistake." But as Chávez subsequently remarked on a national news program, coming just days before the Dec. 2 referendum on his proposed constitutional reforms, in a very volatile domestic environment, the CNN episode can only be construed as part of a broader plan to destabilize the country, possibly including an attempt on his life. "From all appearances," he said, "this is a call for my assassination in Venezuela from a channel that is our declared enemy."
This is not an empty assertion. If the political forces associated with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney wanted to unleash political and social upheaval in Ibero-America, assassinating Chav@aaez would be one way to do it. In recent weeks, Chávez has warned more than once that he is a target for assassination, which he said would be used to plunge his nation into civil war. Cuban President Fidel Castro has echoed Chávez's warnings, most recently in a Nov. 29 article published in Granma Internacional, suggesting that Cuban intelligence may have some indication of an assassination plan against Chávez as well.
CNN's "mistake" also comes at a time of greatly heightened tensions between Colombia and Venezuela (see above). President Uribe has recently agreed to join the new Bank of the South, to be founded on Dec. 9, of which Chávez was an early promoter.