From Volume 36, Issue 45 of EIR Online, Published Nov. 20, 2009

Ibero-American News Digest

Sonoran Debate: Monetarism Is Genocide, Build the PLHINO!

Nov. 12 (EIRNS)—Several major dailies in the state of Sonora, Mexico, covered in full the Pro-PLHINO Committee's charge that José Luis Luege Tamargo, head of Mexico's National Water Commission (Conagua), should be fired for promoting genocide, when he opposes the Northwest Hydraulic Plan (PLHINO) on the grounds that "it costs too much."

Luege Tamargo is the top hitman within the Mexican government for Prince Philip's World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which is out to impose "green" environmentalist policies which will lead to the deaths of more than two-thirds of the human race.

Addressing a national farmers conference last week, Luege Tamargo admitted that the PHLINO is feasible, but dismissed it as too expensive.

On Nov. 10, Sonora's leading daily, El Imparcial, among others, reported on its front page, that the Secretary of the Pro-PLHINO Committee, Alberto Vizcarra, denounced such "monetarist thinking" as exactly the kind that has plunged Mexico into economic depression. Luege "is the personification of this evil, whose result in practice is genocide, if we take into account that 25% of the Mexican population now suffers from food poverty, and their life expectancy depends on the country turning the current crisis around through investments in great infrastructure projects.... How much does the chaos being provoked by the lack of economic development cost? How much do the lives of more than 25 million Mexicans who are threatened by hungry cost?..."

Vizcarra declared that Luege's actions are so criminal, that the Federal Congress should demand his resignation.

Proposal for China, U.S., Ibero-American Relations

Nov. 13 (EIRNS)—China's growing economic presence in Ibero-America is not a threat to the United States or the region, but a potential asset, and collaboration between them should be expanded. This was the basic concept presented by speakers from the U.S., China and Ibero-America at a conference sponsored by the U.S. National Defense University's Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and the Brookings Institution in Washington on Nov. 6, on the "Strategic Implications of China's Evolving Relationship with Latin America," which EIR attended.

The three parties should cooperate as tres amigos (three friends) in the Americas, as U.S. retired Army Gen. Bernard Loeffke put it in his address. This is the polar opposite of the British agenda of right-left polarization spreading across the region. Specifically, the "yellow communist peril" drivel spewing out from neo-conservative sewers, over Chinese relations with Venezuela's Chávez regime, was debunked by various speakers, who emphasized that China's goals are one thing, Chávez's are another. The Venezuelan President, one speaker noted, made himself a laughingstock in Beijing universities, by promoting the hated Cultural Revolution as the model for his Bolivarian Revolution.

In opening the conference, Frank Mora, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, named three challenges which the Pentagon considers its biggest in Ibero-America, and which are also most likely to benefit from China's presence in the region: under-governed and ungoverned territories, lack of economic opportunities, and drug and arms-trafficking. China's presence is provoking interest in the infrastructure improvements needed "to connect distant corners of South America," and thus expand government presence in those regions, Mora said. He urged greater transparency on increasing Chinese military-to-military relations, but proffered that the Defense Department welcome discussions on how Chinese military sales and training could aid governments in regaining control of ungoverned territories, and combatting drug and arms trafficking.

For his part, China's Ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzhong, told the conference that China is doing business in Ibero-America not for profit, but to feed its people.

Severe Drought Drives Argentine Farmers to Suicide

Nov. 12 (EIRNS)—In just two towns in Argentina's agricultural province of Santa Fe, ten farmers, distraught over the loss of their cattle, caused by the lack of water or dried-up pasture lands, killed themselves this year. In Argentina, known historically as the bread-basket of South America, and one of the world's premier food producers, this is unprecedented.

A year-long drought has affected 90% of the country, leading to water-rationing in several provinces, as well as forest fires, the deaths of several million head of cattle, and health problems caused by consumption of contaminated water when clean water wasn't available. Previously fertile parts of some provinces have become deserts.

A "water war" has broken out between Santa Fe and its neighbor Santiago del Estero over rights to the Salado River. In the industrial city of Córdoba, where water rationing has been imposed, armed guards have to accompany water trucks to some neighborhoods, after they were attacked by citizens desperate for clean water. Sixty percent of the province's population lacks reliable access to water.

Nor is this ecological and economic crisis limited to Argentina. Ecuador is suffering from the worst drought in 40 years, and has had to impose rationing in several provinces. The Bolivian government has just declared an emergency due to the effects of drought in four of its nine provinces, where 11,000 head of cattle have died, and 20,000 hectares of crops lost.

Power Outage Shuts Down Half of Brazil

Nov. 11 (EIRNS)—Shortly after 10:00 pm. on the evening of Nov. 10, a massive electricity blackout occurred in Brazil, which left much of the country's southern half, as well as 90% of neighboring Paraguay's territory, without electricity. The blackout in Paraguay lasted 15 minutes, but in Brazil, it was at least five hours before power was restored, leading to chaos in several cities, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. A total of 800 cities were affected.

The explanation given by the Lula da Silva government was that a storm took out three transmission lines running from the giant Itaipú hydroelectric dam on the Brazil-Paraguay border, causing a loss of about 17,000 megawatts to the national electricity grid.

But according to Adriano Pires, director of the Brazilian Center for Infrastructure Studies, the real problem is that Brazil has failed to maintain its power lines, noting that a storm alone should not cause such a massive outage. President Lula da Silva tried to defend himself, saying "two things are certain: There wasn't a lack of power generation and there wasn't a lack of transmission lines to connect the system."

This limp argument only served to spark a political firestorm aimed at Dilma Rousseff, the former Energy Minister endorsed by Lula as his successor in next year's Presidential elections. Various opposition leaders charged that Rousseff was responsible for lack of investment in infrastructure during her stint as Energy Minister during Lula's first term in office, and several media sources are now describing her electoral campaign as "buried."

Serious electricity and water shortages have also hit Venezuela. There have been six nationwide blackouts in the last two years, and rationing in rural areas, and even in larger cities like Valencia and Ciudad Guayana, is a daily occurrence.

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