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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Chilean President Michelle Bachelet; Us

VZCZCXYZ0039
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1727/01 2421823
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301823Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9098
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001727

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; CHILEAN PRESIDENT MICHELLE BACHELET; US
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE'S COMMENTS ON ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL;


SIPDIS
08/30/07

1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Leading international stories today include the implications of the
protests staged over the Chilean Government's economic and social
policies; and comments from US Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns
on Argentina and Brazil.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "Figures"

Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading "Clarn," writes
(08/30) "If you take Chile and divide it into five sections and then
take into account the total population of the country, you will see
that one entire section belongs to three percent of the wealthiest
sector.

"... If you take the total income, you will see that more than half,
61 percent of the total, is being distributed among 20 percent of
the wealthiest sector, and 20 percent of the other extreme, the
poor, only receives 3.3 percent. It has been common knowledge since
the times of Bismarck and his welfare state that if the market is
not balanced by the government's intervention, the whole structure
first trembles and then explodes. Chile is only one example."

- "Facing the most painful claim"

Federico Quilodrn, daily-of-record "La Nacisn's" Santiago de
Chile-based correspondent, comments (08/30) "Yesterday's
demonstration against the Chilean government's economic policy is
the greatest challenge and the most painful blow to Socialist
President Michelle Bachelet since she took office. Lastly, it is a
claim from her own allies for more equitable income distribution,
one of Bachelet's most important 'mottos'...

"The complaint about the model, which is considered 'neo-liberal'
and is opposed by the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT) trade
union, was also supported by three out of the four political parties
making up the government coalition and included the mobilization of
official legislators. The left wing of the alliance supported the
discontent over the system, and only centrist Democracia Cristiana
distanced itself from the protest demonstration.

"The president seemed not to be affected by the blow and only
reiterated her willingness to hold negotiations...

"Bachelet is convinced that her dedication to social justice is
unquestionable.

"Her Economy Minister, Andrs Velasco, an economist with a US
degree, is the one who implemented Chilean economic policies, and
trade unions and political leaders are opposed to him.

"Bachelet again supported him in spite of the fact that, in his
efforts to manage public finances, Velasco was one of those who was
determined to implement the controversial Transantiago
transportation plan, with all its shortfalls and the damage it
inflicted on the president's popularity.

"... One indicator of the prevailing inequality in the country, in
spite of the economic bonanza, has been the Catholic Church's
criticism."

- "The US advises Argentina to further open its economy to the
world"

Alejandro Bianchi, columnist of business-financial "El Cronista" on
special assignment in Decatur, Illinois, writes (08/30) "The USG
again made clear that on trade issues Brazil continues leading
Argentina. During a press round table held yesterday, Mike Johanns,
US secretary of Agriculture, said that Argentina and Brazil 'should
admit that opening their markets will be positive for their
economies' and that those opposing free trade deals 'are taking the
wrong direction.'

"Johanns made these statements in the framework of the Farm Progress
Show...

"When 'El Cronista' asked him what will happen to those countries
refusing to sign a free trade deal with the US, Johanns identified
who is the most important partner for the US.

"The USG official said 'Brazil is a world competitor, it carried out
negotiations with us at the WTO and is close to us in many of our
local issues; it needs the international market for its agricultural
market.' 'Argentina and Brazil should work to access the world


market and also admit that opening their markets will be positive
for their economies.'

"... So far, Argentina has always taken refuge in Mercosur. While
Brazil agrees on this point with Argentina and is also aware of its
world potential, it has flirted lately with reaching an FTA with the
US, as Uruguay did. During US President George Bush's last visit to
Brazil, their joint statement to promote the world development of
bio-fuels was an example.

"... We should also recall that Chile is the only country in the
Southern Cone that has reached a free trade deal with the US, which
is in force."

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

WAYNE

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