From Volume 8, Issue 18 of EIR Online, Published May 5, 2009

Ibero-American News Digest

Colombia's Uribe Again Warns: Drug Legalization Is Murder

April 30 (EIRNS)—As news was circulating in Buenos Aires that 12 youngsters had died over the April 25-26 weekend as a result of consuming the crack cocaine-like drug paco, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe warned from Cadiz, Spain, on April 29, that "the world is promoting the wrong debate" on drug legalization. "I believe," he said, "that drugs are legalized to the degree there is permissiveness with consumption.

In Buenos Aires, paco is already de facto legalized, because anyone, poor or rich, can easily obtain it. What happens when drugs for "personal consumption" are legalized, as the Argentine government is considering? As one organizer from the Mothers Against Paco Foundation told Infocielo, "This is a drug of extermination.... We're not seeing a [drug] epidemic, but a pandemic!... We're tired of finding dead bodies."

In accepting the Cortes de Cadiz Freedom Award, Uribe asked, isn't it a contradiction that Colombia has made a huge effort to combat all aspects of the drug trade, "but at the same time, we have to tolerate the plague of consumption, because our legislation, as in the rest of the world, is permissive, and doesn't declare consumption to be illegal?" The world has to redefine the way it approaches the problem, Uribe said. Only an implacable war against the drug trade—not legalization—can stop the drug-related violence.

In Mexico, a backlash is beginning to emerge against the vote, in both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, to legalize drug consumption for personal use, which is making some PAN legislators very defensive.

Huicot Rivas Alvarez of the Nayarit State Human Rights Commission warned, "We won't allow society to become the laboratory of the politicians. Nayarit and Mexico aren't Holland!" The governor of Morelos, Marco Adame Castillo, has denounced the drug legalization drive, and slammed the federal legislators for failing to take into account the "existing scientific evidence, as well as [information] on what has happened in countries where drugs have been legalized," and led to greater addiction rates among youth.

Dengue Epidemic Sweeping South America's Southern Cone

April 22 (EIRNS)—Influenza is not the only disease spreading in Ibero-America under conditions of physical economic breakdown. The Southern Cone nations are the focal point of an expanding dengue epidemic, a virus, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has four strains, the most deadly of which is hemorrhagic dengue.

The virus is spreading in Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), while the number of cases dropped throughout the Americas by 5.5% between 2007 and 2008, the number of serious cases increased by 46%, with deaths increasing by 84% during the same period.

So far this year, 215,000 cases have been reported in the Americas, 114,355 of them in Brazil. The 56,530 cases reported so far this year in Bolivia comprise the highest figure in the last 20 years, and this is only for the first four months of this year.

In Argentina, where dengue had been completely eliminated in the 1950s and 1960s, the 12,500 cases reported in mid-April, was triple the number reported just 15 days earlier. Some officials have put the total number of cases in Argentina as high as 40,000. Cases have appeared in metropolitan Buenos Aires, the country's most populous region.

According to Argentine infectious disease specialist Jorge Gorodner, "once a person has been infected [and recovered], if he is infected again by another strain, no matter how much time has passed, there is every possibility he will contract the hemorrhagic strain.... Practically 100% of the infected are susceptible" to reinfection. Gorodner says that this is the first time he has witnessed hemorrhagic dengue in Argentina, whose medical and sanitation infrastructure was once the best in South America.

Summers, Soros Claim Chile Finance Minister as 'Their Own'

April 24 (EIRNS)—Chilean Finance Minister Andrés Velasco is the new whiz kid of the region, if you listen to President Barack Obama's economic controller and hedge fund speculator Larry Summers and drug kingpin George Soros,

Summers, who is feeding disastrous economic prescriptions to Obama, was at Harvard when Velasco taught economics there, prior to joining the administration of Michelle Bachelet in 2006. He has showered Velasco with praise for being both "smart" and "practical," and the two continue to be close friends.

Soros, who met with Velasco last week in New York, lavished praise on the Finance Minister, for having built up a $46.8 billion slush fund derived from a large copper windfall, some of which the government is now using as a "stimulus" plan. Chile is the only country in a position to adopt such a program, Soros gushed, adding that if other Ibero-American nations had followed Chile's lead, the "economic climate would be far different."

What Summers and Soros approve of, is that when copper revenue was pouring into the country, due to the commodity's high price, Velasco disregarded cries to invest the revenues productively, to create jobs or build infrastructure. Instead, he invested half of it abroad, largely in government bonds, and refused to spend anything on what he termed "expansionary" policies. His "stimulus" spending includes a $68.41 handout each to poor citizens—a pittance—and helping to put through a social security reform, which doesn't even begin to address the disastrous situation created by the privatized pension system imposed in 1981 by the Pinochet dictatorship.

Unemployment in Santiago, the capital, has meanwhile soared to 12.6%, and is expected to go higher. Former Christian Democrat and Presidential hopeful Adolfo Zaldivar put it succinctly, in describing Velasco's methodology: "He acted like an accountant."

Nuclear Energy Is on Ibero-America's Agenda

April 15 (EIRNS)—"After decades of lethargy, nuclear energy has again regained its place in the world as a sustainable alternative for electricity generation," said Norberto Copari of Argentina's National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA), during a March 19 conference in Buenos Aires.

This idea of "repositioning" nuclear energy was a key topic of the conference, attended by Argentine and Italian scientists and nuclear experts. Argentina, which has developed all phases of the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment, is in the process of completing the Atucha II nuclear plant, scheduled for completion in 2010 or 2011, and has signed an agreement with Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd., to build a fourth plant.

The state company which oversees the country's nuclear plants, Nucleoeléctrica Argentina, S.A. (NASA), has declared that all activities related to the fourth plant's construction, start-up, and commercial service are a "matter of national interest."

But the discussion isn't limited to Argentina. Those who reject the British Empire's Malthusian "green energy" insanity, propose building nuclear plants in several countries, and having them serve as "schools" to train professionals and technical experts able to run the plants, or to cooperate with other nations which seek to build new ones.

Brazil and Argentina have already formed the Argentine-Brazilian Agency for Nuclear Energy Applications (Aabasen), responsible for designing nuclear energy projects for the next ten years, including medical, industrial, and environmental applications. Aabasen will help to complete Atucha II in Argentina, as well as begin construction of Angra III in Brazil. According to APM news service, this drive toward regional integration for nuclear energy will represent a qualitative and quantitative leap in energy production, and has inspired Venezuela and Chile to consider building their own nuclear plants.

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