From Volume 37, Issue 40 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 15, 2010

Ibero-American News Digest

California's Prop 19 Would Create 'Contradiction' in U.S. Drug Policy

Oct. 11 (EIRNS)—The possibility that California's Proposition 19 may be voted up by referendum in the Nov. 2 elections, thus legalizing marijuana sales and distribution in that state, is provoking negative reactions from the two Presidents whose countries would be most adversely affected by it—Colombia and Mexico.

In Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos pointed to the "tremendous contradiction and paradox" that approval of Proposition 19 would imply. "Can you imagine what I am going to say to peasants in Colombia who grow marijuana if the referendum in California is approved?" he asked a Time magazine interviewer recently. "It'd be very difficult for you, the U.S., to continue saying that the war on drugs is marvellous, 'but for my richest state, it's legal to produce and consume.' If you can explain that to me, I will bow."

In several interviews over the past week, Mexican President Felipe Calderón made the same point, warning that passage of Prop 19 would put his country in a "huge bind." How could the government penalize impoverished Mexican peasants who sow marijuana to supply the "insatiable" U.S. market, he asked a Los Angeles Times interviewer. This is a "terrible inconsistency" in U.S. anti-drug policy, he said, adding that it is "absurd" to say that marijuana has medical benefits.

All well and good. But Calderón last year buckled to blackmail and signed off on Mexican marijuana decriminalization legislation, after the pro-drug Obama White House refused to back up an ongoing serious fight against drugs. Then a few months back, Calderón said he would be willing to consider legalization in Mexico, were it adopted in the U.S. and other nations. In contrast, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe never caved in to London's drug lobby, a "crime" for which the British Empire will never forgive him. So far, current President Santos has followed the same policy.

It is useful that Robert C. Bonner, former head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), sharply attacked drug legalization, while speaking Oct. 5 at a drug policy forum in Mexico City, sponsored by London's pro-legalization Economist magazine. Marijuana legalization will do nothing to stop cartel violence, he said, because these criminals will simply step up their trafficking in other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.

Britain's '19th-Century Colonialism' Targets Argentina

Oct. 11 (EIRNS)—"This is pure 19th-Century colonialism, an anachronistic use of force which violates international law," said Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Oct. 10, responding to British plans to hold military maneuvers on the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, including firing missiles aimed at the Argentine mainland.

Scheduled to take place before Oct. 22, the maneuvers constitute an "unacceptable provocation, likely to generate an arms race in the region," a government statement charged. "This is totally contrary to Argentina's policy of seeking a peaceful solution to the controversy," it added.

"Controversy" refers to Argentina's assertion of sovereignty over the islands, which it possessed until 1833, when Great Britain illegally seized them; Britain has held them ever since. President Fernández ordered her foreign minister to summon British Ambassador Shan Morgan, to lodge an official protest, and to demand the cancellation of the war games. The Argentine President will also protest the United Kingdom's violation of United Nations resolutions, before the UN, the Organization of American States, and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

The British didn't even bother to inform the Argentine government that the maneuvers were scheduled, instead, advising the Argentine Naval Hydrographic Service, which in turn advised the government. In a series of Twitter statements on Oct. 11, Fernández asserted that the British are seeking the "militarization of the South Atlantic ... this is serious, very serious. Royal Navy, pirates forever?"

London's 'Bolivarian' Operation Dealt Setback in Venezuelan Elections

Sept. 29, (EIRNS)—Although Venezuela's ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) won 97 out of 165 National Assembly seats in the Sept. 26 elections, it lost the two-thirds absolute majority it has enjoyed for the last three years, which President Hugo Chávez has relied on to ram through policy decisions.

Against the backdrop of a disintegrating economy, characterized by severe energy, water, and food shortages, and soaring inflation, Chávez was forced to accept the fact that the opposition, while hampered by a chaotic districting system, still garnered 49.5% of the vote, winning 97 seats with 5.3 million votes—just 100,000 less than the PSUV's 5.4 million.

While both sides claimed victory, these results are a notable setback for the British Empire's "Bolivarian" project, of which Chávez is the most visible tool. He has mobilized pro-terrorist, pro-drug-legalization forces continentally—he protects Colombia's narcoterrorist FARC, the world's largest cocaine cartel—on behalf of London's "new Opium War" against the Americas, designed to crush nation-states and sow chaos.

Chávez's opposition, meanwhile, clings to the illusion that it can return to power and continue imposing the same neoliberal globalization policies that have failed worldwide.

Commenting on the implications of the electoral outcome for Chávez, on Sept. 27, former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, now Secretary General of UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), suggested that this would be a good time for the Venezuelan President to "reflect." Kirchner noted with some irony that the election was important, because in Venezuela, "there was no electricity or water; economic growth had sharply declined, and there is a really significant inflationary process." Even so, he added, the government still got 94 or 95 Congressmen. Had similar conditions existed in Argentina during an election, he said, "we'd have gotten 4% and be out on the streets running."

Nonetheless, Kirchner added, any election "leads one to reflect on what has to be done, what should be done better, and what issues are still pending." Chávez, he stated, has shown a "willingness to correct himself."

Venezuela's $10 Billion Sovereign Fund Offer Rejected by India

Sept. 27 (EIRNS)—India's government has rejected Venezuela's offer to set up a $10 billion dedicated binational sovereign fund to pick up energy assets in Ibero-America. Instead, India will team up with Chinese and Russian firms to develop energy assets in Venezuela, and elsewhere in the region.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Indian External Affairs Ministry official told the Financial Chronicle that, "given the political risks in Venezuela, it would be advisable to take a consortium financing and energy assets development with Chinese and Russian firms to spread political risks."

The Indian Finance Ministry agrees with this strategy, the official added.

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