Cablegate: Media Reaction; Us Immigration Reform; Us Foreign Relations
DE RUEHBU #1200/01 1712019
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 202019Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8455
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001200
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; US IMMIGRATION REFORM; US FOREIGN RELATIONS
COMMITTEE'S DISCUSSION ON US-LATIN AMERICAN TIES; 06/20/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Key international topics today include the US immigration reform;
and the US House Foreign Relations Committee discussion about the
status of the US-South American relationship.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Immigration on the arena"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" (06/20) carries an op-ed piece by
Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr., a member of the Advisory Council to the
London Institute for Economic Affairs, who writes "Nationalistic
xenophobia is always a serious obstacle to understanding the
problems affecting people who move to another country. First and
foremost, they do not seem to be aware of the fact that borders and
territorial venues are explained by the huge risk posed by the
concentration of power that one universal government could imply...
"... Now, I am writing a book on the US, basically to demonstrate
how it has recently gone against the fundamental principles that
made that nation the most civilized and progressive on earth. One of
the chapters is related to the war against immigration. The wall
that was recently built on the US border with Mexico is shameful and
has nothing to do with safety. The terrorist criminals who launched
the September 11 attacks entered the US with tourist and student
"It has been said that immigrants spark the phenomena of
over-population. Nevertheless, in 1983, Thomas Sowell demonstrated
in a book that, by then, the State of Texas could well harbor the
entire population of the world. The then 4.4 billion inhabitants of
the world could receive 6,800 square feet of Texan territory per
each four-member family, which was enough to sustain an average
family in the US.
"... It is sad to re-read Emma Lazarus' poem ('Give me your tired,
your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free'), which
were engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty because, in spite
of multiple and justified complaints, those domineering in
Washington, self-considered indispensable and illuminated, have
reversed those ideas."
- "The loss of US influence in Latin America"
Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
writes (06/20) "The Venezuelan concern in Washington is not new, but
what captured the attention yesterday was the fact that members of
the House Foreign Relations Committee (both Republicans and
Democrats) focused on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's ties to his
Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the way Iran is
reportedly using Venezuela as a platform to approach other countries
of the region. Some spoke about the 'Islamic threat,' others about
'the Iranian danger,' as though Latin America could be a fertile
land for the expansion of Islamism and the Middle East theocratic
"During yesterday's hearing on Capitol Hill, which was held to
analyze the 'US-South American broken relationship,' the way the
head of that powerful committee, Democratic deputy Tom Lantos
criticized Argentine President Nestor Kirchner due to 'his close and
regular contacts' with Chavez was also striking. In Lantos' view,
there are strongly democratic countries like Brazil and Chile that
should fill the gap left by the US and 'recover the regional leading
role' that is now being played by the Venezuelan president.
"Three experts in the Southern Cone were called as witnesses of the
hearing. Consulted about the Iranian danger, Michael Shifter, VP of
the Inter-American Dialogue, said that the US had to be very careful
not to exaggerate its reaction because it could 'turn a prophecy
into a reality.' In Shifter's view, Latin America is not a fertile
land for the expansion of Iran. Peter Smith, professor at the
University of California, agreed with him.
"For his part, Jaime Daremblum, head of the Center for Latin
American Studies, Hudson Institute, said 'The concern over Iran is
exaggerated. I do not see it as a problem looming on the horizon.'
"... By the end of the meeting, Shifter and Smith agreed that the
Venezuelan rearmament particularly poses a threat to its neighbors
and not to the US."
- "In the US view, the (Argentine) President is still a riddle"
Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," comments (06/20) "Four years after
having taken office, President Nestor Kirchner is still a riddle for
the US, which does not know where to place him when evaluating the
governments of the region. As a matter of fact, the US defines him
as a 'sui generis' leader.
"The 'Kirchner riddle' was tackled yesterday at a House Foreign
Affairs Committee hearing, which discussed 'South America and the US
- how to repair a broken relationship.' During the hearing, the
legislators and academics placed Kirchner far from his most praised
counterparts from Brazil, Uruguay or Chile, and closer to the most
criticized ones, like the leaders of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia or
Ecuador, although not completely with either.
"Tom Lantos, the head of the Committee, said... 'The Kirchner
administration has led a significant economic recovery..., but
Kirchner seems to listen to Chavez's advice with alarming
"Additionally, he contrasted Kirchner with other governments of the
region that are 'strongly democratic,' which 'should fill the gap
and claim the regional leading role played by Chavez.' Lantos
praised Brazil and Uruguay and underscored that 'Peru and Uruguay
imply a considerable promise.'
"On the other extreme, Chavez epitomizes a concern that is shared by
both Republicans and Democrats.
"... However, Michael Shifter, VP, Inter American Dialogue, noted a
difference. Caracas' allies in Latin America are Fidel Castro, Evo
Morales, Rafael -Correa and Daniel Ortega. 'Chavez has limited
followers in countries like Brazil and Argentina. Most of the
countries are uncomfortable with his confrontational political
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
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