From Volume 38, Issue 34 of EIR Online, Published September 2, 2011

Ibero-American News Digest

Monterrey Casino Massacre Was No Turf Fight

Aug. 26 (EIRNS)—The deliberate bestiality of the attack by a commando of 6-10 masked armed men, believed to be members of the Zetas drug gang, on the Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico, on Aug. 25, at a time when the premises were full mainly of women playing bingo, signals that more than "turf war" is involved in this latest atrocity in what was once Mexico's leading industrial city. The commandos spread gasoline throughout the interior, and then set the casino on fire, killing 52 people.

Most media accounts are explaining the slaughter as a fight over turf among competing drug gangs. But more thoughtful analysts have pointed to the parallel with the June 2009 highly suspicious "accident" in which a daycare center burned down in Hermosillo, Sonora, killing 29 children. That was then parlayed by the media and the local allies of the Nazi Prince Philip's World Wildlife Fund (WWF) into a massive campaign in which the anti-drug PRI candidate for Governor was defeated in a total upset—turning that critical state over to London's Dope, Inc. apparatus and their environmentalist allies.

Will this latest atrocity be used to effectively cancel Mexico's 2012 Presidential elections, or otherwise finalize the total Dope, Inc. seizure of the country? Already former Mexican President Vicente Fox has used the Monterrey massacre to call for negotiating a truce with the drug cartels, and for Mexico's authorities "at the highest level" to consider legalizing drugs—as demanded by President Obama's financial angel, George Soros.

Argentina: It's the Rating Agencies, Stupid!

Aug. 29 (EIRNS)—Speaking today at the annual conference of the Economic Association for Argentine Development (AEDA), Amado Boudou, Argentina's Finance Minister and candidate for Vice President, slammed foreign rating agencies for contributing to the global financial crisis, because their ratings caused countries to make "bad decisions."

Referencing the insane austerity policies imposed by both the U.S. and many European governments after the rating agencies' downgrading of their debts, Boudou charged that "it's clear that [the agencies] were not good institutions in terms of decision-making, and became a very big problem in the recent crisis." In fact, he asserted, recently it's been the ratings agencies making economic policy instead of sovereign governments.

Acting on behalf of Wall Street and the City of London, Moody's, Standard & Whores, and Fitch have become notorious in Argentina in recent years for their clearly politically motivated negative ratings, even when the country was enjoying impressive growth rates and had paid down its foreign debt.

Last week, Moody's downgraded Argentine bank shares from "stable" to "negative," alleging that the "interventionist" policies that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner might make over the next 12 to 18 months, threatened the solvency of the local banking system.

Responding to Moody's downgrade, Central Bank President Mercedes Marcó del Pont charged on Aug. 25 that this was based on ideology rather than any objective criteria. "Perhaps what worries them is that they keep thinking about the free and unregulated market, when Argentina and other Latin American governments have revived the [role of] the State," Marcó del Pont said. "I'm still surprised by the irresponsibility and lack of professionalism of these rating agencies whose coresponsibility in the genesis of the global financial crisis is under scrutiny."

General Strike Rattles Chile's Elites

Aug. 27 (EIRNS)—On Aug. 24-25, broad sectors of Chile's population joined the CUT trade union federation and the national student movement in a two-day nationwide general strike which, while not 100% effective, completely unnerved right-wing President, billionaire Sebastian Piñera, now referred to by many as "an early lame duck." This is the largest such strike since the era of the 1973-1990 Pinochet dictatorship.

The second day of the strike saw at least half a million people march in Santiago, and tens of thousands more in most major cities.

Public sector workers, miners, transportation workers, health care workers, parents, and teachers, came out to back the three-month-long student protests demanding a free public educational system, which the CUT also supports. But the broader target, identified by both students and workers, is the murderous "Chicago Boy" free-market economic model imposed so brutally by the Pinochet dictatorship, and left intact to the present day, by both the opposition Concertación coalition, which ruled from 1990 to 2009, as well as the current right-wing government.

The months of student protests, garnering support from broader sectors of the population, have badly destabilized Piñera, who has reshuffled his cabinet twice and seen his approval rating plummet to a dismal 26%.

Amid charges of police brutality toward the protesters, and the death of a 16-year-old at the hands of the police during last week's strike, the Chilean President has broken down and offered to meet with student and other civic leaders face to face on an as-yet unspecified date. But protest leaders caution that while they see the invitation as positive, they have no intention of holding a dialogue with the President, and will accept nothing less than his full acceptance of their demands.

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