`The LaRouche Show'
Ibero-America Guests Warn:
Don't Let Bush Pinochetize Your
Social Security System!
March 14, 2005 (EIRNS)On March 12, the weekly Internet broadcast of The LaRouche Show was dedicated to an extraordinary series of interviews with six social security specialists and trade union leaders from four countries of Ibero-America, who reported on the disastrous results of social security privatization in their respective countries, and urged the United States to not make the same mistake, and to reject the Bush Administration's plan to privatize Social Security along the fascist model of Pinochet's Chile.
The program was hosted by EIR's Marcia Merry Baker and guest moderator Cynthia Rush, and included an interview as well with LaRouche Youth Movement member David Nance. The entire 90-minute program, including live video feeds from Ibero-America, was broadcast in both English and Spanish, with simultaneous translation provided by EIR.
The audio and video of the full show, in English and Spanish, is available on www.larouchepub.com under The LaRouche Show section.
Mrs. Rush began the interviews, by reminding the audience "what this privatization process has been in Ibero-America.... Let's just be clear: We're talking here, about the theft and confiscation of tens of billions of dollars in pension funds from the old pay-as-you-go systems, which existed in Ibero-America, into these private pension funds.... The beneficiaries are the financial predators that we've identified: the banks, the insurance companies, the speculators who have appropriated these funds. What supposedly was going to go into social development, job creation, benefits of other kinds, went purely into speculation and financial trickery. And the interests that we are familiar with, who have historically been involved in looting the productive resources of Ibero-America, are the same interests that control the pension funds today, and control the foreign banks. You have the Spanish bank Banco Santander, you have the Spanish bank BBVA, and Citibank. These are the top three owners of pension funds in Ibero-America today."
Chilean Fraud Exposed
The first questions went to Isabel Marquez Lizana of Chile, Project Chief of the Individual Accounts Division of Chile's Pension Normalization Institute (INP). Mrs. Marquez reports that, "In 1981, a reform was carried out in Chilewithout opposition, because Chile lived under a dictatorship. There was no possibility whatsoever for debate or opposition to this.... There was a lot of pressure. There was a lot of fearpeople were scared of losing their jobs. They were afraid of not only losing their jobs, but their lives! So, it was rather difficult to oppose these kinds of policies."
Mrs. Marquez went on to report that "a very small percentage of the [Chilean] labor force is actually covered" under the current privatized system. "Of those 6.5 million who are today affiliated with the privatized system, half of them are not going to qualify even to have the minimum pension specified by law."
Mrs. Rush then asked Marquez what she would say to Jose Pinera, the architect of the privatized Chilean system, and a leading promoter of the Bush plan for the same, if she had him in front of her.
"I would really like to have Jose Pinera in front of me! Because I would ask him, if he would just do a basic accounting of what he promised when the system was privatized, with blood and bullets. Can he tell us what has happened?"
"My message to the U.S. population," Marquez continued, "is: Do not be fooled by this! You have a tremendous advantage: You have the possibility of opposing these policies, which is something we could not do here in Chile. So therefore, it would be a real mistake, a real unfortunate thing, if you did not take advantage of your opportunity to oppose Social Security privatization.... Don't let them take this away from you. This is not something that is meant to provide profits for anyone! It's wrong to think of it that way. It's a cost and a necessary cost for a state which protects its population, such as once existed in Latin America, and also in the United States, and in other countries of the world. That would be my message: Please do not be fooled, because there will be great masses of people left in poverty, and that would be unfortunate."
The Rest of the Continent
From Mexico, Prof. Marco Antonio Rubio Abonce, General Secretary of the Union of Academic Personnel of the Autonomous University of Queretaro, reported that Mexico's "informal economy" is huge, and includes "perhaps 50 million people who don't have access to anything in terms of social security." His colleague, Prof. Jose Alfredo Zepeda, the former dean of that university, added that, beginning in the 1980s, Mexico implemented "structural reforms. This involves the energy sector; this involves the labor area; this also sometimes tries to privatize everything that's at hand. And unfortunately, in the case of Ernesto Zedillo, who was President of Mexico, ... he was working for different purposes, those that the International Monetary Fund were trying to impose on Mexico, the World Bank as well, and Zedillo is now an excellent employee of those institutions."
From Peru, Alejandro Apaza Retamozo, President of the Service Cooperative of Education Workers of Peru, reported that "the privatized pension system which was born here in Peru in 1992 (about ten years after the Chilean system) in fact, based on the frequent visits to Peru of Mr. Pinera here.... We're facing a very big offensive, because this is the best business in the world for financial interests to steal the funds45 years of wages of workers...."
From Argentina, Dr. Julio Gonzalez, former Technical Secretary of the Presidency of the Nation (1973-1976) reviewed the looting of his country, of which social security privatization was a part. The 1976-1983 military dictatorship carried out "devastation, demographic and economic devastation, that began there, which continued for ten years under the government of President Carlos Menem, who was promoted as an acolyte and continuer of the military tyranny of the 1976-83 period....
Dr. Gonzalez added: "In 1993, Menem privatized the social security system of Argentina.... It's very important that the entire continent be made aware of the fact of the destination of these resources: It was not money that went to productive investments. It was not to provide tangible, physical output.... I have the law in front of me here, Law 24241, which says in its Article #74, that the objective of these changes is to purchase public bonds issued by the government, public bonds which will be issued by the provinces, and also negotiable bonds by companies and other bonds and debt instruments. In the future, with the privatized pension system, out of every ten people, only three will be able to retire with some level of pension. So this is a massive genocide of the population, who will die as a result of lack of medicine and a lack of food. This is the real Argentina, that, despite the efforts of President Kirchner to avoid it, has nothing to do with the Argentina that the media internationally cover."
The final remarks were left to Javier Armando Jimenez, Director of Research and Education of the Union of Education Workers of the State of Queretaro, Mexico:
"I want to send a message to our brother-nations, so that together we jointly establish this battle, this battle of our entire population to say "No!" to privatization of social security.... Here in Mexico, we intend to circulate a pamphlet based on this battle which was sent to us from the United States in their battle against the privatization of Social Security in the United States and worldwide, and we want to publish 50,000 copies of this pamphlet that the LaRouche movement initiated, so that people in the cities and in the streets know about this. And in this regard, I want to wish you all the best, and that we jointly be able to lead this battle with the entire population at our side, to have a total victory, against these evil, Satanic forces that want to destroy our nations."