From Volume 7, Issue 31 of EIR Online, Published July 29, 2008

Ibero-American News Digest

Ibero-American 'Presidents' Club' Is Back in Action

July 22 (EIRNS)—Brazilian President Lula da Silva traveled to Bolivia and Colombia last week, reviving the informal Presidents' Club's drive for integration, and against the British "opium war" assault on the nation-states of the region.

On July 18, Lula teamed up with Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez in Bolivia to announce $600 million in financing for a transcontinental highway project. The intervention by the two heads of state was a particularly important counterweight to the efforts by British Empire interests to destabilize the government of President Evo Morales, and bring about Bolivia's physical dismemberment.

The following day in Bogota, Lula met with Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe and with a large group of Colombian and Brazilian businessmen. They reached a number of agreements furthering the economic and physical integration of South America, as well as regional security. These included Brazilian financial and engineering aid in building a railroad from the center of Colombia to the Caribbean; a joint project to design and build a new transport plane suited for Colombian terrain; a joint tanker-ship construction program; and Brazilian agronomists advising Colombia on how to transform its eastern plain states into productive agricultural lands.

Three EIR representatives distributed literature to the delegations, including to Lula and two Colombian cabinet ministers, insisting on the more audacious vision required to actually save the region. The two Presidents did report that they had discussed the "dream" of establishing transcontinental waterways from the Atlantic to the Pacific, both by connecting the Amazon and Putumayo river basins of their two countries, and by linking Colombia's Meta River with Venezuela's Orinoco basin, and from there to the Amazon River.

On July 20, Lula accompanied Uribe to the Amazonian town of Leticia, where they celebrated Colombia's Independence Day and were joined by Peru's President Alan García. The three signed an anti-drug agreement, pivoted on policing their common rivers. At the end of Lula's visit, Colombia also announced that it would join the new South American Defense Council (the last country to agree to do so).

Colombians Use Beethoven To Call for Freedom

July 21 (EIRNS)—Colombia celebrated its 198th Independence Day yesterday, with marches by Colombians across the world, demanding that the narcoterrorist FARC release all of its hostages (at least 700 are still in their jungle camps), under the cry, "Free Them Now!" At least 1 million marched in Colombia, with an estimated quarter-million overflowing the central plaza in Bogota, where the National Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestra together performed the "Ode to Joy" choral movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Mexico: Specter of López Portillo Haunts Financial Predators

July 25 (EIRNS)—How the financial lackeys panicked, when one of former President José López Portillo's closest collaborators appeared in Congress to testify against the privatization of Mexico's national oil company, PEMEX, on July 1!

Carlos Tello Macías was one of only three men who, in strict secrecy, prepared López Portillo's bank nationalization on Sept. 1, 1982. The Mexican President then placed Macís Tello at the helm of the Central Bank that day, while preparing to implement Lyndon LaRouche's Operation Juárez to defend Mexico, and all of Central and South America, from the brutal financial warfare being waged against them by Wall Street and London.

Supporters of PEMEX's privatization in the PAN and PRI parties met Macís Tello at the hearings with a leaflet, attacking him with the lying smears used for 25 years to try and bury López Portillo's legacy, and the nationalist culture he embodied. PAN Senators derided Macís Tello, now a university professor, as a representative of the "voracious statism" they thought they had crushed.

Well might they worry. The faster the system disintegrates, the more López Portillo's name is appearing, pro and con, in the national debate, and the "old guard" is stepping forward. Today, La Jornada published an interview with the 82-year-old historic leader of the oil worker's union, Joaquín Hernández Galicia, "La Quina," warning President Felipe Calderón that the Mexican people were not stupid, and are saying "No, no, and no" to PEMEX's privatization. The people want a return to the ideas of Mexican Presidents Lázaro Cárdenas and López Mateos, he said. "And, like it or not, neither Luís Echeverría nor José López Portillo sold out the country."

La Quina was one of the people who had to be moved out of the way in order for NAFTA to be imposed. The gutsy oil workers' leader, who collaborated with the LaRouche movement in Mexico, was jailed at gunpoint on trumped-up charges by George H.W. Bush's buddy Carlos Salinas in January 1989, two weeks before Lyndon LaRouche was packed off for his five years in prison.

La Quina told La Jornada that he is sure that Calderón has been threatened with invasion, should he fail to sell off PEMEX. We may not have weapons, La Quina said, "but we have balls!" La Quina recounted that he had told President Miguél de la Madrid, who took office in 1982, when the Reagan Administration threatened the U.S. would invade, because it objected to his policies, that the oil workers were prepared to defend the refineries, if the President would give the order.

Inspection of the PLHINO Route Begins in Mexico

July 25 (EIRNS)—A team sent by the Pro-PLHINO of the XXI Century Committee set out on July 24 to carry out a firsthand evaluation of the topography, geology, hydrometry, and hydro-agriculture of the entire projected 900-kilometer route of the Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PLHINO). The team is traveling in a double-traction pick-up capable of traversing all but the most rugged of the terrain from the Santiago River in the state of Nayarit, north to Sonora's Yaqui River in which the PLHINO canals, dams and tunnels are to be built. Over the course of their eight-day trip, Pro-PLHINO Committee technical advisor Manuel Frías Alcaraz, accompanied by Committee members Alberto Viscarra and Jesús María Martínez (who also lead the LaRouche movement in the state of Sonora), intend to gather the material required to produce an elaborated report on the PLHINO, within a month and half.

The Sonoran daily El Imparcial today reported that the inspection trip had begun, just the latest in the near-daily press coverage in Sonora on the fight over whether this much-needed great engineering project is going to be built.

Financial Vultures Threaten Argentina with Economic Upheaval

July 21 (EIRNS)—Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan-Chase, and BNP Paribas, among other bankrupt financial vultures, are squeezing the Argentine government, threatening President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, that unless she changes her economic policies, she'll see a repeat of the 2001 financial crisis which brought down then-President Fernándo de la Rúa, and led Argentina to default on its foreign debt.

Lehman and J.P. Morgan-Chase demand that the government "correct" its economic indices, such as inflation, which they claim is much higher than the government admits. They also want subsidies eliminated, and interest rates and public utility rates increased, for starters. "There's still time for a soft landing," Morgan Stanley warns ridiculously, if the President shows "leadership" and abandons unworkable policies. The bank fails to note that they are only unworkable for Wall Street and the City of London.

In the aftermath of the July 17 Senate vote which defeated Fernández's export tax bill, the Financial Times demanded on July 21 that the President not only reshuffle her cabinet, but also begin "proper policy changes," including eliminating subsidies, and settling Argentina's $6 billion debt with the Paris Club of creditors, as well as with the "holdout" bondholders who refused to participate in the 2005 debt restructuring. Only then, the London daily smugly asserts, "will Argentina look like a more reassuring place to do business."

Food Aid Fails To Reach Starving Haiti

July 22 (EIRNS)—Only a tiny fraction of food assistance promised to Haiti three months ago has arrived, leaving people to starve, and auguring more food riots. Of promised U.S. aid, only 2% has arrived on the island.

A riot already occurred on July 17, when hungry demonstrators threw rocks at police and UN peacekeepers in the town of Les Cayes. What food has arrived is stuck in port, or in warehouses, because Haiti's precarious transportation infrastructure makes it almost impossible to get food to its interior regions. "Families that were once just vulnerable, are now in crisis," said an official at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelles. More Haitians are attempting to leave the island aboard unsafe boats, and are routinely picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard and returned to Haiti.

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