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Cablegate: Argentina: Chaco Senator Capitanich Discusses

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1672/01 2361839
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241839Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9018
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6478
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6332
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1436
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG MONTEVIDEO 6684
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0706
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001672

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: CHACO SENATOR CAPITANICH DISCUSSES
NATIONAL AND PROVINCIAL THEMES


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On August 9, Ambassador Wayne received
Senator Jorge Capitanich, a pro-Kirchner candidate for
governor in the poor northern province of Chaco. Capitanich
described the main themes of his gubernatorial campaign and
the lack of critical infrastructure in his province. He
explained his support for the civil aviation reform bill that
is still awaiting passage. Capitanich lamented the decreased
political role of the National Congress, and said that he
believes Senator and First Lady Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner will win the presidency in October. END SUMMARY.

-----------------------
Capitanich for Governor
-----------------------

2. (SBU) On August 9, Ambassador Wayne received Senator and
candidate for governor Jorge Capitanich from Chaco province.
Capitanich described the main themes of his gubernatorial
campaign and the lack of critical infrastructure in his
province. Capitanich, 42, is running with President
Kirchner's FPV coalition. He said that the province of Chaco
is suffering from a significant lack of development. He said
that 22% of the province's population falls below the poverty
line, 100,000 residents are malnourished, 50% do not have
access to potable water, and 60% lack running water and
sewers. Capitanich said that these problems were the result
of a lack of infrastructure and mismanagement, since the
province receives federal resources that should be sufficient
to address these issues. He said that he has three main
campaign themes: creation of jobs, access to potable water,
and improving education. Capitanich said he has a plan to
create 20,000 new formal jobs in Chaco by investing in public
works to build public housing and water and sewer systems.
He said he would use incentives and subsidies to encourage
employers and employees working in the informal economy to
legitimize off-the-books employment. Capitanich also said he
would propose an education exchange if elected governor. He
said that his plan was to exchange federal debt for education
investment in the province.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Civil Aviation Reform: Contraband Flights in North
--------------------------------------------- -----

3. (U) Ambassador Wayne asked Capitanich about the status
of the airports fee structure bill and thanked him for being
a strong supporter of these reforms, which, among other
things, would lower the fees airlines (including American
carriers) would pay in Argentina. Speaking about the
aviation system in general, Capitanich said that he believes
Argentina is in serious need of modernization. He mentioned
that new radars had just been approved, but that better
investment in airports and the creation of a civil aviation
agency was also needed. He said that Argentina needs strong
control of air traffic. He mentioned that this is a big
concern in his home province of Chaco, where flights carrying
contraband including drugs and arms pose a serious threat.
He said that he would work to improve control of air traffic
in Chaco if elected governor.

-------------
Weak Congress
-------------

4. (C) Capitanich said that institutionally, the National
Congress in Argentina plays no real political role. He said
that perhaps after the elections in October Congress might
return to more normal activity. He said that under President
Nestor Kirchner, the Congress has been marginalized and
ignored. Capitanich said that he thinks Congress needs to
get its power back and assert itself in the political
activity in Argentina.

----------------------
Cristina for President
----------------------

5. (C) Capitanich said that he believes Senator and First
Lady Cristina Kirchner will win the October presidential
elections easily. He said that he believes she will have an
important agenda, including reinserting Argentina into the
international community and working to attract more foreign
investment in Argentina, especially in the energy sector.

-------------------------
Invitation to visit Chaco
-------------------------

6. (C) Capitanich invited Ambassador Wayne to visit Chaco
province. He said that, if elected governor, he would like
to increase ties between the province and the United States.
He specifically mentioned trying to increase student and
teacher exchanges, commercial ties, sporting ties and
cultural exchanges, and biofuels. Capitanich said he has
been following USG efforts to work with Brazil on biofuels
and he would like to try to join those efforts. He said that
he has a different view of the U.S. than most Argentines
right now (apparently referring to the high reported
anti-American sentiment), believing the United States should
be Argentina's main partner in development. He said that he
knows this view does not always win votes, but he believes a
strategic alliance with the United States would be good for
Argentina's future. Capitanich also mentioned an interest in
attracting more information technology investment to Chaco.

---
Bio
---

7. (U) Jorge Milton Capitanich is a Peronist Senator
representing the province of Chaco. He is articulate and has
proven a willingness to proactively intervene to find
solutions on key issues as Senator. He was elected in 2001
and sits in the pro-President Kirchner Victory Front Block in
the Senate. Capitanich served as Minister of Economy for a
few hours during Ramon Puerta's two-day provisional
Administration after the fall of President De la Rua in
December 2001. In 2003, he ran for governor of Chaco, but
was defeated by Roy Nikisch of the Radical Civic Union,
despite strong campaign support from President Kirchner.
Among other public positions, he served as Under Secretary of
Social Projects (1998) and Under Secretary of Technical and
Administrative Coordination of the Secretariat of Social
Development (1995). Capitanich descends from the first
Montenegrins who settled in Chaco and created the Colonia La
Montenegrina, the biggest Montenegrin colony in South
America. He was an academic before entering politics. He
graduated as a Public Accountant in 1988 and holds Master's
degrees in Public Policies and Administration, Economy and
Political Sciences, and Administration Sciences. He was born
in Chaco in 1964.
WAYNE

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