From Volume 7, Issue 35 of EIR Online, Published August 26, 2008

Ibero-American News Digest

Dominican President: To Survive, Emulate FDR!

Aug. 17 (EIRNS)—Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández began his third inaugural speech yesterday with a call for the concert of nations to join together to change the global financial and economic system, to save civilization and human life. The Dominican Republic, he said, hopes to play its part in securing these changes.

Fernández pointed to the example of Franklin Roosevelt. Buffeted by "the hurricane winds of the current world economic storm," the great majority of the world population is in a state of anxiety, facing economic conditions not seen since the days of the Great Depression of the 1930s, he said. "Nevertheless, on assuming office in January 1933 ... Franklin Delano Roosevelt observed that, to overcome the crisis, the first thing required is courage and fortitude, and therefore, the only thing that should be feared, is fear itself," Fernández stated.

We face a global crisis, coming from the great centers of power. To solve this crisis, "will require the application of a set of measures which reorients the course of humanity for years to come."

"Globalization cannot continue without regulations which govern it. The international financial system cannot continue operating in an unregulated way and without adequate supervision. Free trade is insufficient, if it is not at the same time fair trade," Fernández stated emphatically.

Fernández slammed the speculation that has driven up the price of oil, calling it "casino capitalism." Because of this, "stock markets which operate with futures contracts have become gigantic and uncontrollable betting saloons, whose activities affect the prices of the products of the real economy...."

Brazilian-Venezuelan Industrial Cooperation in the Works

Aug. 18 (EIRNS)—Brazilian industry is preparing to triple machinery sales to Venezuela, as broad cooperation on industrial development joins transcontinental rail and water projects on South America's political agenda.

The president of the Brazilian Machinery and Equipment Association (ABIMAQ) led a delegation of Brazilian businessmen which met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and cabinet ministers last week, to negotiate a partnership for Brazil to supply capital goods and agricultural equipment and machinery for the aggressive industrialization project which the Venezuelan government wants to undertake.

Immediate discussions focussed on agriculture, which Chávez is urgently trying to improve, because Venezuela imports 80% of its food. Venezuela wants Brazilian help in setting up a network of food storage facilities, tractors, and other machinery for family farmers, and machinery for 200 new factories, 61 of which are to be food-processing plants. Joint fertilizer production was also discussed, as was Brazilian participation in Venezuela's rail and subway projects. With an estimated $3 billion in investments on the table, ABIMAQ is raring to go.

Longer-term projects were also discussed. Chávez spoke of how Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil need to form a "great industrial and energy alliance." South America needs to set up "factories of factories, factories of machines," Chávez reportedly told the Brazilians.

Soros-Linked NGO Demands Regime Change in Ibero-America

Aug. 22 (EIRNS)—The Human Rights Foundation, an NGO run by film-maker Thor Halvorssen, and linked directly to mega-meddler George Soros, is charging that the Presidents of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela are not sufficiently "democratic," and in effect, calls for them to be removed.

HRF's complaint is that Bolivia's Evo Morales, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez have violated the democratic principles spelled out in Article 3 of the Organization of American States' Inter-American Charter, by shutting down news media, curbing the independence of the judiciary, and persecuting critics, among other things. The NGO rails against José Miguél Insulza, secretary-general of the OAS, for not carrying out his mandate to defend democracy, implying that he too might as well be dumped.

HRF has the unmistakable stench of George Soros and his British masters. Look at the pedigree of some of HRF's board of directors and international council members: Kenneth Anderson served for many years as general counsel to Soros's Open Society Institute, and was founder and former director of the Arms Division of Soros's Human Rights Watch. His expertise includes "war and armed conflict," with a focus on Eastern Europe. He's a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Other members include senior Cato Institute fellow Tom G. Palmer, whose specialty is promoting human rights and democracy in Eastern Europe; Michael J. Horowitz of the Hudson Institute, who has spent years promoting "religious freedom" in Sudan, and democracy in Eastern Europe; and Russian "democracy" advocates and "dissidents" Vladimir Bukovsky and Gary Kasparov.

Argentina Investigating Grain Cartels for Tax Fraud

Aug. 19 (EIRNS)—Based on charges from the National Agricultural Trade Control Office (ONCCA), a recently formed bicameral Congressional committee will begin to investigate the grain cartels that control Argentina's foreign trade—Cargill, Bunge, Louis Dreyfuss, as well as some large Argentine cartels—for defrauding the government of at least $1.7 billion in taxes over the past year.

According to ONCCA's investigation, the cartels found out when the government intended to raise export taxes, which it did several times over the past year. Before the tax was increased, the cartels would submit the required "Sworn Declaration of Foreign Sales," locking in the lower tax rate as well as the price they would pay domestic producers. However, at the time the cartels submitted the sworn declaration, they hadn't yet purchased the grains from the producers, often waiting a few months before doing so. By that time, the export tax had increased, but the cartels paid the lower rate.

Mexico's PRD Calls for Drug Legalization

Aug. 20 (EIRNS)—Against a backdrop of horrific violence unleashed by Mexico's drug cartels, in which more than 2,000 people have died this year alone in northern Mexico, the executive committee of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) issued a resolution last weekend calling on the Congress to begin the debate on drug legalization. The discussion took place at the PRD's VI national council meeting, held Aug. 16-17.

This insane proposal has provoked outrage from members of the ruling PAN party and the PRI. But no one makes the crucial point that Lyndon LaRouche has emphasized: A real national development program, that would include projects such as the Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PLHINO), among many others, cannot coexist with the drug trade; the drug trade must be eliminated, and there are proven strategies for doing so.

Although the PRD is deeply factionalized, its pro-legalization resolution was unanimously voted up by its national council. It calls for "exploring with specialists, and in accord with international experience [in this area], the appropriateness of legalizing drugs so as to dismantle the base which supports the illegal drug trade."

The Televisa news network quoted Javier González Garza, the PRD coordinator in the Chamber of Deputies, saying that "out-of-the-box thinking" is required to deal with drug cartel violence. He called for drug legalization in both the U.S. and Mexico, as an example of such radical thinking.

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