From Volume 7, Issue 28 of EIR Online, Published July 8, 2008

Ibero-American News Digest

Fernández: Blame 'Financial Gamblers' for Soaring Food Prices

July 1 (EIRNS)—Speaking today at the opening of the 35th Mercosur (Common Market of the South) Summit, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner blamed speculators and "financial gamblers" for having caused the dramatic rise in food prices over the past year.

The crisis of food prices has been blamed on China and India, Fernández said, a charge "which makes me feel something between indignation and laughter." A lot of people who didn't eat so well before, are now eating better, maybe twice or three times a day instead of once, "and suddenly that's a problem?"

Face the facts, she said. The real culprit is speculation, "the casino economy, the speculative economy," which used to be limited to the financial sector, but with the crisis in those areas, has now moved into food. There's a very appropriate term in the Rio de la Plata region, which is the timba, Fernandez explained. This refers to a den of gamblers, who bet on the throw of the dice. "Well, gentlemen, the financial 'timba' has now moved into the food 'timba.'"

British Empire Threatens Social Upheaval for Argentina

June 28 (EIRNS)—Enemies of the Argentine President used the June 25 celebration in Buenos Aires of the patron saint of the Military Order of Malta—the synarchist character of the order has been documented by EIR—to threaten Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with social upheaval, should the Congress approve the sliding-scale export tax on soybeans and sunflower seeds currently being debated. The event was hosted by the current Argentine ambassador to the Order, a close confidant of former IMF poster-boy, ex-President Carlos Menem.

Four former Presidents—Menem, Fernando de la Rua, Eduardo Duhalde, and Ramon Puerta—agreed that nothing short of a vast "social uprising" would occur, should the President and her husband, former President Néstor Kirchner, continue on their current policies. One warned that today's agricultural strike "will just be an anecdote very shortly," compared to what's coming.

Duhalde, a Peronist party thug who was President during the crisis of 2002-03, is positioning himself as the alternative to the Kirchners, whom he despises. To situate his policy outlook, one need look no further than his recent ardent defense of the oligarchical Rural Society, a British asset, from the President's charge that it supported the 1976 military coup. He also threatened her government with a coup. Duhalde made the astonishing assertion—in blatant justification for the 1976 coup—that Peronism itself was far more responsible for that coup than anything the Rural Society oligarchs had done.

Argentine Soros Hack Goes Berserk over LaRouche

June 30 (EIRNS)—Lyndon LaRouche's charge that British financier interests, including George Soros, are behind the drive to destabilize Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's government, has driven longtime Soros operative Horacio Verbitsky off the deep end, once again.

In the June 29 edition of the daily Pagina 12, this "journalist" pens a slander of LaRouche which, like most of his past utterings on the subject, is lifted entirely from the writings of the professional "Get LaRouche" operative Dennis King, who is financed by that most right-wing of U.S. intelligence-connected outfits, the Smith Richardson Foundation. "Leftist" Verbitsky strings together a hodge-podge of lies, some of them so unintelligible and outlandish that any thoughtful reader would immediately ask, "What's going on here?"

What flipped Verbitsky, is LaRouche's attacks on his longtime benefactor George Soros, and the British Empire forces that pull Soros's strings. But, Verbitsky never mentions Soros's name, although the mega-speculator figures in LaRouche's statement as "part of the British operation against Argentina."

This is lawful, given Verbitsky's longtime association with the drug-legalizer and speculator, through his membership in Human Rights Watch/Americas, which Soros began backing financially in the late 1970s, and where he still sits on the Advisory Board. In 1998, HRW/Americas poured money into Verbitsky's Pagina 12, awarding him one of its Hellman/Hammett Grants. A year later, Soros named Verbitsky to the HRW/Americas Advisory Board, alongside Soros and a number of other luminaries of the U.S. political establishment, many of them closely tied to Wall Street.

Honduras Rejects, Guatemala Accepts Free Trade To Resolve Food Crisis

June 29 (EIRNS)—Honduras's Agriculture Minister Hector Hernandez declared on June 27 that under no circumstances could his country eliminate tariffs on imported grains, as a way to resolve the food crisis. To do so "would directly hurt our national producers, who receive no subsidies as is done in other nations."

He added that when President Manuel Zelaya took office in 2006, he had committed himself to making Honduras once again self-sufficient in food. To impose more free trade, as Mexico has done, is not an option, he stated. Honduras has enough supplies of basic grains to last through September, the minister said, when the next harvest for basic grains will begin.

In contrast, the Guatemalan government has eliminated tariffs on ten food items that make up the basic market basket, and just received permission from the Council of Central American Finance Ministers to eliminate tariffs on powdered milk and poultry imports.

Mexico's free market policy has so destroyed the nation's food-producing capabilities, that Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard has initiated a "backyard agriculture program." The city will provide technical support and agricultural supplies to urban residents, encouraging them to use their gardens, yards and rooftop terraces to produce food that would normally be provided by farmers.

LYM: Defending Mexico's Oil Is Not Sufficient

June 29 (EIRNS)—The LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) filed the following report today from Mexico City, providing insight into the strategic conception with which they are organizing the ferment spreading across Mexico:

"Today, there was a mass mobilization in Mexico City's central plaza known as the Zocalo, as part of the national mobe being led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) against the government's attempted privatization of the state oil company, PEMEX. Our job was to force the food crisis question into the discussion, because despite everyone's awareness that the money in their pockets is both shrinking and buying less, and that all the people planning to participate in the mobe are already politicized, there has been no discussion of how the piratization of PEMEX is merely one aspect of a broader resource grab, by British interests desperate over the collapse of the financial system.

"Given the size of the crowd, we decided we must inspire people with our songs, to permit a deeper debate than the defense of oil.

"We prepared two banners: The largest, 2 by 3 meters, said: 'Financial Crisis, Food Crisis, and Oil. Don't Be a Jerk.... Fight for a NEW SYSTEM. LaRouche Movement for a New World Economic Order'; the other: 'Defending Oil Is for Patriots, But Not Defending Food Is for Idiots.' We armed ourselves with publications, leaflets, and the words to the song 'Why have they raised the price of tortillas?', so that people could join us in chorus.

"Our squad arrived to a very full Zocalo. We found a place to prop up our largest banner, very well situated to be seen by all. At the end of AMLO's speech, we took to one of the main streets leading away from the Zocalo, into which people were pouring, and for the next three hours, we sang, and organized. Crowds of 50-60 people at a time listened attentively, and approached to donate and leave their contact information.

"It was so successful because all these people not only heard us singing something profound and happy at the same time, but because we were offering a strategic report, from which it became clear to the majority that discussion of the oil could not be the only theme."

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