From Volume 37, Issue 7 of EIR Online, Updated Feb. 25, 2010

Ibero-American News Digest

Mexico: Drug Cartels Taking Over Agriculture

Feb. 20 (EIRNS)—During a Feb. 16 seminar sponsored by the Mexican Bar Association, the president of the Superior Agricultural Court (TSA), Ricardo García Villalobos, stunned his audience with the charge that the country's drug cartels now control at least 30% of the country's agricultural lands, on which they either force farmers to produce poppies and marijuana plants, or pay them rent for use of the land.

García Villalobos's remarks were backed by federal legislator Cruz López Aguilar, head of the National Peasant Confederation (CNC).

Absent a state policy of support for agriculture, which has resulted in greater rural poverty, combined with Mexico's enormous dependence on food imports, peasants and farmers are left to their own devices, said García. The drug cartels have effectively replaced the state, he explained, providing credit, protection, and even weapons. Isn't it obvious, he asked, that this is a grave national security problem? Where is the government?

The Calderón government, like all of its predecessors, has allowed the British Empire's criminal North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to dismantle Mexico's once vibrant agricultural sector. Moreover, according to the daily El Universal Feb. 17, the government's Procampo program, which is supposed to eliminate the "inequities" in the agro sector, by offering subsidies to poorer farmers, provided 500 million pesos to the Cargill Corp. cartel, between 2005 and 2009! During this same time frame, 3,000 peasants in the impoverished state of Chiapas received less than 1,000 pesos from Procampo to help in planting of corn.

Moreover, Infoveracruz reports that among the beneficiaries of the Agricultural Ministry's ASERCA farm subsidy program, are well-known narco families such as the Beltran Leyva, Guzmán Loera and the infamous "El Chapo" Guzmán. Victor Suárez, head of the National Association of Agricultural Marketing Companies, charges that, since its founding in 2000, ASERCA has served simply as a mechanism to transfer public funds to large monopolies and financial middlemen.

Britain Taunts Argentina Over Malvinas Oil Find

Feb. 18 (EIRNS)—For the past month, the British have repeatedly taunted Argentina with reports of immense oil and natural gas finds in the waters off the Malvinas Islands (called the Falklands by the British), which Britain illegally seized from Argentina in 1833 and has occupied ever since.

British oil firms are feverishly preparing to begin exploration in the North Falkland Basin, amidst euphoric reports about the "billions" of barrels of oil that might be found there. The London Economist today crowed that the islands could become "a Saudi Arabia with penguins," while boasting that the 2,400 residents of the Malvinas already enjoy a higher standard of living than Argentina.

President Cristina Fernández is "wildly unpopular," the City of London mouthpiece lied, charging that she and her husband, former President Néstor Kirchner, have wreaked economic havoc with their corruption and outdated nationalism.

On Feb. 16, Fernández de Kirchner issued a decree, mandating that ships travelling in Argentina's territorial waters, or stopping in Argentine ports en route to the Malvinas, must first obtain a government permit. This provoked shrieks from London that Argentina had imposed a "blockade" on the islands.

In remarks that Argentina's Foreign Minister charged were "whipping up the specter of war," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today that "all the preparations necessary" have been made "to make sure the Falklands Islands are properly protected." The British Ministry of Defence stated today that the U.K.'s existing "deterrence" force on the islands would not be increased, but warned that any Argentine interference with the free movement of shipping on the high seas "would be illegal and we would make a decision to use our deterrence force."

Largest Bond Dealer Will Keep Playing Brazil Carry Trade

Feb. 21 (EIRNS)—Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), the world's biggest bond fund, which is run by the giant German insurance firm Allianz, announced that it plans to continue playing the Brazil carry trade, despite the fact that the country is facing Presidential elections in October 2010. It is confident that the winner of the elections, whether President Lula's choice Dilma Rousseff or São Paulo Governor José Serra, will allow the speculative looting to continue. "We have every comfort that the policy in Brazil will remain sound," PIMCO's co-head for emerging markets, Michael Gomez, told Bloomberg on Feb. 17. "It doesn't really matter who the president is in the next election, as long as the policy is taken care of. We are fans of local debt markets in Brazil.... Brazilian bonds are a great value."

PIMCO had joined London-run Banco Santander and Rothschild agent Mario Garnero in betting heavily on candidate Lula da Silva and Brazil during the 2002 Presidential election—and won big. See "London's Brazil Carry Trade: Smoke, Mirrors—and Genocide," in this week's InDepth, for how this game worked.

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