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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Rice-Bush On U.S.-Latam Relations; Buenos

VZCZCXYZ0010
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1319/01 1911608
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101608Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8607
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001319

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; RICE-BUSH ON U.S.-LATAM RELATIONS; BUENOS
AIRES 07/10/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Key stories carry Secretary Rice's declarations on U.S. relations
with the hemisphere, in the framework of the White House Conference
of the Americas, in which she highlights the ties with Brazil and
Chile as 'extraordinarily good' while those with Argentina are
'different but equally good.'

2. KEY STORIES AND OPINION PIECES

- "U.S. Admits Better Relations with Chile and Brazil than Those
with Argentina"

Leonardo Mindez, leading "Clarin" Washington-based stringer, says
(07/10/07) "Venezuelan President Chavez is the 'Nemesis' and his
criticism 'doesn't worry us.' Mexico, Chile and Brazil are friends
with whom we have 'extraordinarily good ties.' Argentina is one step
below: 'relations are different, but equally good.' This is roughly
the present status of U.S.-Latam relations, according to the
description made yesterday by Secretary Rice.

"At a press conference, Rice remembered her country was 'the one
that most supported Argentina during hard times,' suggesting, with
concealed grudge, certain ungratefulness from the Kirchner
administration.

"Rice's words confirmed what several officials have been silently
admitting of late, and other former officials and analysts openly
explain: the clear division between those governments in the
hemisphere which the White House considers reliable; those which
belong to an alarming axis (Chavez, Evo, Correa and Ortega), and
Argentina, in a delicate balance between both groups. With Chile,
the U.S. maintains preferential trade agreements and, in the case of
Brazil, the White House has always considered it the subcontinent's
leading country.

"Everyone knows that between George Bush and Nestor Kirchner there
never was -- and seems there won't ever be -- a good relationship.
But even so, what people here value is cooperation between the two
countries on sensitive issues to Washington, such as the fight
against terrorism and progress in the AMIA case. In Rice's words,
the U.S. and Argentina 'haven't always greed (on issues)' but now
maintain 'a good relationship.'

"It was an unusual day, on which Rice and Bush himself referred to
Latin America. They didn't show any new cards, but the way things
were staged clearly indicates Washington's concern for the
ideological U-turn which took place in the region in recent years.

".... While Rice assured the U.S. 'has a positive agenda' for Latin
America 'that has little to do with their concern over Chavez'
criticism', Bush also referred to that 'positive agenda' at the
opening of the White House Conference on the curious topic
'Advancing Social Justice in the Americas'... The entire event, in
fact, seemed to conceal with new words the only regional policy the
Bush administration has been consistently developing from the start:
the promotion of free trade agreements (but without changing farm
subsidies.)

"....The most honest declarations (came from) U/S Karen Hughes...
She said that when Bush offered her the position, he had asked her
for Latam to be one of 'her priorities'. And this is what
yesterday's pompous event was all about: sheer public diplomacy."

- "U.S. Criticizes the GoA"

Hugo Alconada Mon, daily-of-record "La Nacion" Washington-based
correspondent, writes (07/10) "In her declarations to La Nacion,
Rice said 'I hope that while Argentina looks to the future, it will
protect free market principles that produce growth in the rest of
the region.' Without mentioning the GOA, but in what appears to be
an unequivocal reference, she also urges the country to avoid 'short
term solutions for long term problems,' because, sooner or later,
these problems 'always return to torture.'

"Rice pointed out that Argentina 'must pay attention to the real
means for moving forward', such as 'free markets, free trade, open
economies and the creation of jobs based on the economy's real
performance,' which is far away from State intervention. 'If there
was something we learned at a global level, it is that growth from
the private and not the public sector is the true engine of economic
development,' she assured yesterday (in the context of the White
House Conference on the Americas, inaugurated by President Bush.)

"Rice said the U.S. has 'excellent' relations with Mexico, Brazil,
Uruguay and Chile; bad or null relations with Venezuela or Cuba, and
certain 'differences' with Argentina, a country she praised for its

debt swap and the political stability achieved after the downfall at
the end of 2001 and beginning of 2002. But she also expressed her
complaint. The country, she says, seems to have forgotten how much
the U.S. helped it during that crisis.

"Kind and cautious, however, Rice avoided mentioning Kirchner....

"Her message for the Argentine people is that 'you have a friend in
the U.S., like we have proven over and over again....

"And on Venezuela, she underscored the U.S. has 'a positive agenda
for Latin America, which has little to do with Chavez' criticism.
It's a positive agenda... that has to do with democratic stability,
health and education."

- "Words and Facts"

Pablo Biffi, leading "Clarin" international columnist, opines
(07/10) "In politics, words are only words. What counts, at the time
of understanding relations and reactions, are facts; and, to a
certain extent, these explain the lack of positive support the U.S.
and its government have in the region. What have undermined the U.S.
image in Latin America are its attempts to impose FTAA or trade
agreements that aren't too favorable for local producers (such as
the FTA's in Colombia and Peru). Additionally, it's also a foreign
policy that's too aggressive, which exceeds the region, and which
has led the U.S. to the quagmire of Iraq, the Middle East and
Afghanistan."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

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