From Volume 7, Issue 50 of EIR Online, Published Dec. 9, 2008

Ibero-American News Digest

Pro-PLHINO Committee Challenges Ag Secretary

Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Mexican Agriculture Secretary Alberto Cárdenas visited the northwestern state of Sonora on Dec. 3, where he, in effect, spat in the face of the state's farmers and other productive sectors, by attacking the proposed Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PHLINO) on the grounds that it is "too costly."

The Pro-PLHINO Committee, which is mobilizing political forces across the country in favor of this great infrastructure project in the country's Northwest, responded with a statement today which begins:

"Like no other Federal government official, Agriculture Secretary Alberto Cárdenas expresses the incompetence of the government of Felipe Calderón to address the serious challenges that the international financial meltdown and the U.S. economic collapse pose for the nation. This was demonstrated when, on his recent visit to Sonora, the Secretary stated that the Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PLHINO) is a 'very costly project' and that it would be better to install a desalination plant."

After ridiculing the idea of a tradeoff between desalination and the PLHINO project, the Committee charged that Cárdenas's views are the same as those of his longtime ally and fellow ecology freak José Luis Luege Tamargo, the head of the government water agency Conagua, both of whom "are linked to international financial interests." The Pro-PLHINO Committee has previously documented Luege's association with Prince Philip's genocidal Worldwide Fund for Nature, or WWF.

These policies, the Committee charged, "under conditions of financial crisis and world shortage of food, will drive millions of Mexicans into hunger." Instead, Mexico needs "a vigorous policy of public investment and national credit oriented towards great infrastructure projects like the PLHINO."

The Committee recently issued a pamphlet titled "PLHINO or Chaos," in which it presents a physical economic bill of materials for the PLHINO, which shows that about 85% of total requirements can be met with domestic production, and which urges the adoption of capital budgeting, along the lines specified by Lyndon LaRouche.

Brazilian Nationalist Says Ban Derivatives

Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Carlos Lessa, former president of Brazil's National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), issued a call for "a moratorium on the use of derivatives, in order to protect Brazil's foreign exchange reserves," according to the Dec. 4 Monitor Mercantil Digital. Lessa was speaking at a Dec. 2-4 conference in Rio de Janeiro on "Brazil's Alternatives Facing the Crisis."

Lessa, a well-known nationalist, said that, on a global scale, there are more than a quadrillion dollars in derivatives, and that 200 major Brazilian companies are involved in them. Lessa has also called for Brazil's to reverse its current free-trade policies, and impose exchange controls and capital controls.

Spotlight on Soros in Dominican Republic

Dec. 1 (EIRNS)—LaRouche representative in the Dominican Republic Jorge Meléndez is using a series of media interviews to expose the dirty truth about Nazi-collaborator George Soros, while offering Lyndon LaRouche's economic proposals as the only alternative. On Nov. 27, Meléndez followed up earlier interviews with another one on the "Recuento" program, broadcast on the Tentación radio station. He participated on a panel discussion, which was broadcast again the next evening at prime time.

The first question asked for Meléndez's comments on the event that had occurred the previous weekend in Santo Domingo, entitled "The Global Financial Order: A Regional Perspective," organized jointly by the UN's Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Dominican President Leonel Fernández. Soros, among others, spoke at that event. Meléndez said that Soros was a megaspeculator who bears part of the blame for the current economic disaster and, even worse, is a proponent of drug legalization, financing numerous NGOs that are working zealously for narcotics legalization.

Meléndez continued that, unfortunately, the results of the Santo Domingo meeting, like the G-20 and the latest Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) meeting in Lima, Peru demonstrated the abject failure of the world's leaders to deal with the worst economic crisis of the past 100 years. He pointed out that, as LaRouche has said, the current system cannot be reformed; there must be a bankruptcy reorganization of the entire world financial system, which is in a breakdown crisis.

We must not wait until next April to hold yet another meeting, said Meléndez, since world production is already collapsing to disastrous levels.

Ibero-America's Physical Economy Collapsing

Dec. 4 (EIRNS)—The dismantling of Ibero-America's physical economy is seen in the Dec. 2 announcement in Mexico that the once-thriving AHMSA steel plant, also known as Altos Hornos, intends to reduce production by 35% for the next six months, delaying planned investments and cutting 12,000 jobs. The company cited the drop in demand as the reason for the cutback. AHMSA normally produces 4 million tons of liquid steel per year. Ford subsidiaries in Hermosillo, Sonora will close on Dec. 19 until Feb. 1, while Ford in Cuautitlan has already closed until Jan. 1.

In the Dominican Republic, the Falconbridge Dominicana mining company announced that the decline in nickel prices in the international market is forcing it to shut down all its operations and fire 900 workers. Layoffs are increasing around the country, combined with rapidly declining remittances from abroad upon which the economy depends, and the collapse of tourism.

In Argentina, drop in demand, largely from Brazil, has hit the auto industry hard, with GM, Ford, and Fiat subsidiaries announcing forced worker "holidays" and layoffs. President Cristina Fernández has announced a $4 billion stimulus package, which includes low-interest credit lines to facilitate auto purchases, as well as tax relief and other incentives for companies that promise not to lay off their employees.

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