Ibero-American News Digest
Argentina Still Believes in Creating a Future
July 15 (EIRNS)Today, the huge "Tecnopolis" exposition in Buenos Aires opened to the public, presenting the history of Argentine science under the title, "The Argentina To Come, Today."
A display on "Argentina in Space" has large models of rockets and satellites built as part of the National Space Plan. Another exhibit has a nuclear simulator which will allow visitors to see how the atom is separated to produce energy. It is built to resemble the interior of a nuclear plant, and people can walk through it to learn how nuclear energy is produced.
The exposition is divided into five sections: air, land, water, fire, and imagination, each with interactive educational exhibits, artistic presentations, concerts, etc. It is open to the public free of charge, and will eventually become a permanent museum.
Unlike Obama's United States or Merkel's Germany, Argentina under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner insists on its right to develop. On the afternoon of July 11, the Defense Ministry successfully launched the Gradicom II, a prototype two-stage rocket expected to reach an altitude of 100 kilometers, a distance of 120 kilometers, and spend 120 seconds in outer space. Designed and produced entirely by Argentine scientists and engineers, the solid fuel-based Gradicom II has both military and civilian applications, among them, the ability to launch the country's own satellites.
The base in Chamical, La Rioja province, from which the rocket was launched, was inaugurated as an Army base in 1946 by then-President Juan Domingo Perón, under whose two governments Argentina developed notable scientific and technological capabilities, including nuclear energy. During the 1976-83 dictatorship, it was the site of a death camp.
Argentina's rocketry program was first put back in action in December 2009, when the Defense Institute of Scientific and Technical Research (Citedef), an agency of the Defense Ministry, launched the short-range Gradicom PCX. Citedef plans to launch a more powerful Gradicom III rocket by year's end or early in 2012.
The annual Armed Forces Camaraderie Dinner July 11, attended by President Fernández, featured a video showing of the rocket launch, and in her toast to the gathered military leaders, Fernández said that the launch, "carried out by Argentine scientists, military men, specialists and engineers ... is an example of what we wish to develop." Argentina is a peaceful nation, she said, "but also one deeply committed to scientific and technological development, in which our Armed Forces must actively participate."
Development of these capabilities, she said, will strengthen Argentine independence, freeing it from relying on other nations for its defense systems or technology transfer. By following this path, she added, "let us once again be the example of scientific-military development that we once were." The President promised that "we shall allocate all of the resources necessary for everything related to science and technology."
Chilean Students Don't Give Up
July 14 (EIRNS)100,000 Chileans marched in Santiago today, in the third huge mobilization in a month to demand free public education, and reject recent "reforms" proposed by that hangover from the Pinochet era of dictatorship, President Sebastián Piñera. Marches occurred in several other cities as well.
Led by youth, the mobilization is fed also by the CUT trade union federation, copper miners, and striking portworkers. Copper miners struck on July 11 against the state-owned Codelco company, completely shutting down all mining operations in the country for 24 hours, on the 40th anniversary of Salvador Allende's nationalization of copper and creation of Codelco. Miners are protesting the announced "restructuring" of the firm, as a foot in the door for privatization.