From Volume 36, Issue 36 of EIR Online, Published Sept. 18, 2009

Ibero-American News Digest

Brawl Over Mexico's 2010 Budget

Sept. 11 (EIRNS)—The 2010 budget proposal submitted to the Mexican Congress by Treasury Secretary Agustín Carstens on Sept. 8, entails a "painful and difficult adjustment" for the country, but, there is no choice, top officials insist: The government's "fiscal hole" must be filled.

The proposed budget may tip Mexico into general ungovernability. Its centerpiece is a 2% sales tax to be imposed on all products, including food and medicine. (For other goods, that means a 17% tax, as most everything outside of food and medicine is already subject to a 15% value-added tax.) The behaviorists ensconced in the Treasury Department cynically named this 2% tax a "contribution to the fight against poverty," because its revenues will allegedly be used to finance the government's social hand-out programs to the millions their economic policies are driving into starvation. They even argue that the tax is not regressive, because poor people will pay a lower tax, since they "consume" less!

Mexico's Congress has refused repeated attempts to apply the value added tax to food and medicine, precisely on the grounds that it hits those people whose existence is already precarious. So far, the Congress appears ready to fight again. The PRI party faction in the Chamber of Deputies, which now holds the majority, issued a statement rejecting the tax, as did party leaders of the opposition PRD.

Under current conditions, Mexico cannot generate the means to sustain its existing population. Globalization robbed it of its food self-sufficiency, and replaced its national manufacturing capabilities with assembly factories geared for export to the now non-existent U.S. market. And the millions of its own people which it exported, largely to the U.S., whose remittances to those back home had become Mexico's second-largest foreign exchange earner, after oil, no longer have jobs.

Colombian Supreme Court Endorses Drug Slavery

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—In a direct attack on President Alvaro Uribe, who has spent the last several years trying to reverse a 1994 decriminalization law, Colombia's Supreme Court ruled today that possession and consumption of drugs for personal use is legal, and that no one can be prosecuted for these actions.

The Court's ruling stemmed from the case of a man who was arrested for carrying 1.3 grams of cocaine.

Following the same perverse reasoning that Argentina's Supreme Court used in a similar case on Aug. 25, the Colombian magistrates stated that drug use is fine, if a person does so "in the exercise of his personal and intimate rights," and does not injure third parties or jeopardize the public good.

Remarkably, the Court first admitted that the "consumption of a minimum dose of marijuana or cocaine constitutes self-destructive behavior" aimed at "harming oneself," and can lead to "problems of addiction and slavery" that can cause a person to become "compulsively ill." But the Court nonetheless concludes that since this self-destructive behavior pertains "exclusively to the realm of individual freedom, it cannot be punished."

Uribe had succeeded in getting a bill through the Lower House of Congress last June that recriminalizes drug possession and consumption for personal use. It was in the process of being studied by a Senate committee, but presumably will go no further, assuming that the Supreme Court has the last word.

The PLHINO: An Idea That Won't Go Away

Sept. 11 (EIRNS)—Build the Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PHLINO) to secure Mexico's unity and posterity, now endangered by the country's status as "the leading importer of food in the world." So argued Mexican engineer Manuel Frías Alcaraz, in an article published Sept. 5 in the national Mexican daily Excelsior, under the kicker "The Opinion of an Expert." Otherwise, he warned, the country faces a future of drugs, epidemics, and other ills.

Frías is an advisor to the 21st-Century Pro-PLHINO Committee in the Mexican state of Sonora, and was interviewed on EIRNS's DVD, "PLHINO: The Future of the Americas." In his Excelsior article, he details the scope and potential of the project and concludes: "The PLHINO of the 21st Century is not a chimera nor an unreachable goal. It is a well-planned concept of inter-state progress which represents the best of Mexico's infrastructure projects in the third millennium."

Mexican President Calderón Shuffles Cabinet

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—Mexican President Felipe Calderón announced on Sept. 7 that he had accepted the resignation of Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora, and had also replaced his Agriculture Secretary, Alberto Cárdenas, as well as the head of the state-owned oil firm Pemex, Jesús Reyes Heroles.

The full ramifications of these changes, particularly the post of Attorney General, which is crucial in Mexico's war against the drug cartels, remain to be seen. The outgoing Medina Mora, who will reportedly be named immediately to an overseas diplomatic post, played a key role in improving Mexico's relationship with the U.S. in the war on drugs, building trust and cooperation that had been lacking in previous years. He is very highly regarded by anti-narcotics officials in Washington.

He also built up a strong working relationship with the Mexican military, which plays a leading role in the drug war.

Medina Mora's replacement is Arturo Chávez Chávez, former attorney general for the state of Chihuahua, who is part of the lawyers' group of the ruling PAN party's bigshot, Diego Fernández de Zevallos. Chávez, whose required approval by the Senate is by no means guaranteed, is also said to be close to current Government Secretary Fernándo Gómez Mont.

More straightforward—and ominous—is the change at Pemex. The new president, Juan José Suárez Coppel, had been the company's chief financial officer until 2006. In March 2007, he joined Mexico's largest brewer, Grupo Modelo, losing the company about $200 million in derivatives bets gone bad, and was dumped four months later. Like Finance Minister Agustín Carstens, he has a Ph.D. in (monetarist) economics from the University of Chicago.

Argentine LaRouche-Hater Brags of Fealty to Drug-Pusher Soros

Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—After Argentina's Supreme Court ruled Aug. 25 that drug possession for personal consumption is legal, George Soros lackey Horacio Verbitsky, who has repeatedly slandered Lyndon LaRouche, decided it was safe to brag about his allegiance to the Nazi-trained drug kingpin Soros and his City of London masters.

Verbitsky, an editor of the daily Página 12, is a fixture in Soros's drug-legalization stable. He is rumored to have convinced President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her husband, former President Néstor Kirchner, to go with Soros's decriminalization policy. But he prefers to operate behind the scenes, and has always been careful about what he says publicly on the drug issue.

Not any more. His Aug. 30 column, "Models," is an unabashed endorsement of Soros's legalization and "harm reduction" fraud, simultaneously attacking Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's U.S.-backed war on drugs. Fortunately, Verbitsky states, the latter's "failed" model is what Argentina's Supreme Court just rejected.

To make clear where his loyalties lie, Verbitsky reports in great detail on the March 7, 2009 edition of the City of London's The Economist magazine, which called for drug legalization. He also notes that the decriminalization proposal peddled by the Soros-sponsored and -financed Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy (LACDD) "is very similar" to the Argentine Supreme Court's Aug. 25 ruling.

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