Cablegate: Media Reaction; Hugo Chavez; Evo Morales; China; 12/06/07
DE RUEHBU #2307 3411028
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071028Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9859
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002307
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; HUGO CHAVEZ; EVO MORALES; CHINA; 12/06/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's most important international stories are related to
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's election defeat; Bolivian leader
Evo Morales' calling a referendum on his own presidency; and China's
economic progress and respect for freedom.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "A Democratic Coup d'Etat"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" carries an op-ed piece by contributor
Natalio Botana, who opines (12/06) "The outcome of last Sunday's
constitutional reform referendum has had a bluntness that just a few
"... What happened in Misiones repeated itself in Venezuela last
"A democratic coup d'etat took place in Venezuela, which was
positive for democracy and very different from the perverse attempt
of a military coup occurred just a few years ago...
"This is a warning that by no means implies the dusk of the Chavist
experience or the immediate reconstruction of a pluralist democracy
for all Venezuelans. However, it is a point of departure that we
Argentines should carefully observe. In the past, egemonies lasted
because election majorities wanted them. Now it seems that the
pieces of the structure got rusty. Therefore, hegemony is
short-sighted. However, the contradiction between the leaders who
dream of this kind of domination and the segments of society that
are not wiling to support it is a source of polarization and
retreats. Learning this lesson is not an easy task."
- "Evo will call for a referendum on his presidency"
Pablo Stefanoni, on special assignment in La Paz for leading
"Clarin," comments (12/06) "Used to using surprise as a weapon
against his adversaries, Evo Morales surprised Bolivians yesterday
with a risky move - in an address to the country, he announced he
would submit a draft bill to Congress to call a referendum to decide
whether he and nine regional governors should remain in their posts.
Six of the country's nine regions are controlled by his opponents
"The coup of effect has been even greater with Hugo Chavez's
election defeat still in the air...
"... In this way, the Bolivian President seeks a way out of the
deepening political crisis in the country. There is some kind of
calculation in the move - while the indigenous president feels sure
he will pass the referendum, many governors could be rejected in
- "The Chinese Connection"
James Neilson, contributor to liberal, English-language "Buenos
Aires Herald," writes (12/06) "... China's rise has made democracy
less attractive not only by showing that a dictatorship can grow
year after year by more than 10 percent but also by enriching
"... The appealing theory that only democracy could ensure economic
growth has taken some hard knocks recently, most of which have come
from China, whose extraordinary performance has convinced many that
dictatorship is compatible with development...
"Though that may be true in the short term, it would be premature to
assume that countries and develop beyond a certain stage unless
their inhabitants enjoy the freedoms that have been taken for
granted in Western countries for many years...
"... China's economic progress owes little to her raw materials or
farm products and a great deal to hard work and a traditional
respect for education. That is something people in other parts of
the world who imagine that somehow or other high commodity prices
should be attributed to their own merits are prone to overlook. As
for the Chinese themselves they may soon find that their traditional
virtues will need to be supplemented with a greater respect for
personal freedom if they want their economy to have any chance of
catching up with those of the developed West, let alone of
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