Cablegate: Media Reaction; Implications of Chavez Defeat; Iran;
DE RUEHBU #2298/01 3400742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 060742Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9847
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002298
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
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; IMPLICATIONS OF CHAVEZ DEFEAT; IRAN;
US-ARGENTINE TIES; 12/05/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's major international stories cover implications of Venezuelan
Hugo Chavez's defeat in last Sunday's elections; US President Bush
insisting that Iran remains a threat despite an intelligence
assessment that it had halted a nuclear program; and the USG sending
Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao to the Argentine Presidential
Leading "Clarin" headlines "Bush sends a second-ranking member of
his administration" and highlights that "this shows that Argentina
does not appear among the current USG's top priorities - (Secretary
of Labor Elaine) Chao is not included in the group of the most
influential members of the Bush administration."
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Chavez's defeat will have a strong regional impact"
Dolores Tereso, on special assignment in Caracas for daily-of-record
"La Nacion," comments (12/05) "President Hugo Chavez's historic
defeat last Sunday will not pass unnoticed in Latin America.
"In addition to setting a limit on his ambitions of absolute power
in Venezuela, the president's electoral defeat represents a tough
retreat for his ambitions of regional leadership and the export of
his socialist revolution. And it could strengthen the so-called
moderate left wing in the hemisphere, which is led by Chilean
Michelle Bachelet and Uruguayan Tabare Vazquez.
"Chavez's allied governments in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua took
note of the Venezuelans' rejection of a revolutionary ambition that
is similar to those they are promoting in their own countries...
"... The electoral defeat also implies the rejection of one of the
most controversial proposals of Chavez's foreign policy - support
for 'alternative movements' (opposition groups in countries that are
allies of Washington), a policy that will not have judicial basis."
- "Consequences of Chavez's defeat"
Ricardo Kirschbaum, leading "Clarin's" general editor, writes
(12/05) "US analysts in Washington are partly explaining the 'No' in
Venezuela based on the policy implemented by Tom Shannon, the US
Department of State official in charge of Latin American issues.
They say that a less aggressive posture, as opposed to the one Bush
previously had, based on the advice of 'hawks' like Roger Noriega,
facilitated some disagreement in Chavism that contributed to the
Venezuelan leader's defeat.
"However, Chavez was not defeated by US strategy but by the sum of
his own mistakes in his attempt to polarize the election to the
extreme... Of course, the defeat of the Venezuelan leader brought
some relief to the region. Being objectively weaker, Chavez's
political action will be, by necessity, more moderate.
"There is another possible interpretation. Reelection processes are
being rejected in the region... In Bolivia, one day before Chavez's
defeat, VP Garcia Linera had announced that re-election objective
would be subject to a separate referendum. The attempt to open
communication channels with moderate sectors of the opposition is a
road that Morales is aware of although he is not sure to choose
- "Bush insists on Iran - 'Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous,
and Iran will be dangerous'"
Ana Baron, leading "Clarin's" Washington-based correspondent, writes
(12/05) "All options remain on the table, including military action.
In spite of the fact that the US intelligence community revealed
that the Iranian government abandoned its nuclear program in 2003,
George W. Bush said yesterday he would not change his policy on
"... However, the fact that Iran neither owns nor is manufacturing
nuclear weapons is a huge retreat for the military option proposed
by Washington hawks and it is a blow to the decision to toughen
sanctions against Tehran, as proposed by Bush. On the contrary, it
favors the posture of all those who have signaled the need that the
White House sits to hold direct negotiations with the Iranian
- "Bush sends US Secretary of Labor to Argentina's presidential
Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes (12/05) "For one woman, another
woman... The White House announced that Secretary of Labor Elaine
Chao will lead the US delegation attending Cristina Kirchner's
presidential inauguration next Monday.
"The Bush administration avoided any details on the 'presidential
delegation,' and it just informed that US Ambassador Earl Anthony
Wayne will also attend the ceremony...
"Tom Shannon, the USG's direct liaison to Latin America, will attend
Bordon's farewell although he will stay in this capital city during
Cristina Kirchner's presidential inauguration just like the members
of Bush's Cabinet having most direct ties to the hemisphere...
"Argentine diplomatic sources interpreted Chao's election as a
'gesture' of good will since it will be a woman attending to the
presidential inauguration of another woman in the context of a
bilateral relationship that went through some ups and downs during
the latest four-and-a-half years."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at: