Cablegate: Media Reaction; Colombian Hostage Release Operation; The
DE RUEHBU #0004/01 0021515
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021515Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9988
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000004
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; COLOMBIAN HOSTAGE RELEASE OPERATION; THE
NEW ARGENTINE ADMINISTRATION AND THE US-ARGENTINE DISPUTE; 01/02/08
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's international opinion pieces cover implications of the
failed Colombian hostage release operation; and expectations over
the new Argentine administration's handling of long-term strategies
as well as its "dispute" with the US.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Caution was missing"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" front-pages an opinion piece by
prestigious political columnist Joaquin Morales Sola, who writes
(01/02) "Hugo Chavez interfered with histrionics in the strategy of
Latin America's most experienced and dexterous guerrilla movement.
This explains the outcome of his mediation. Nestor Kirchner followed
the steps of his old Venezuelan ally without measuring the political
and institutional risks both he and his country could run. Every
humanitarian effort to solve the problems of people without any
rights whatsoever is necessary and urgent, although it calls for an
indispensable amount of caution. Without such moderation, one runs
the risk of not solving pre-existent human rights problems and...
could get trapped in the Colombian guerrillas cruel shrewdness.
"What did Argentina's lack of caution consist of? First and
foremost, Argentina did not bear in mind who made up the committee
of guarantors of an alleged hostage release, which never occurred.
An Argentine former president and current FM Jorge Taiana were part
of a committee that was composed only by ambassadors to Colombia,
except for Brazil...
"... Kirchner should have permanently double checked the information
Chavez provided him with that from Colombian President Uribe because
the latter has long experience in dealing with the FARC. Just when
Cristina Kirchner called Uribe..., he may have warned her that even
though he supported the operation, he was skeptical about the FARC's
"Kirchner is fine to care about human rights, but he might as well
start out with the case of Hilda Molina, th grandmother the Castro
regime bars from traveling to Argentina to see her family."
- "Traces of a never ending story"
Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading "Clarin"," writes
(01/02) "It is not easy to understand what is really at stake behind
the scenes of the (for the time being) failed operation.
"... Neither Washington nor Bogota wanted the FARC hostage rescue
operation to have a happy ending, because it could have allowed
Chavez to have a political way out after his election defeat and
improve his international image while creating an independent
diplomatic choice in a region that is missing from the White House's
"President Uribe stormed onto the scene Monday after talking to
President Bush over the phone. This might be just a coincidence, but
no details about that conversation were made available."
- "The year ahead"
Liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires Herald" editorializes
(01/02) "There seems every reason to expect a Happy New Year for
Argentina and its brand-new president Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner. A presidential inauguration date of December 10 means that
the start of her first full year should find her in the middle of
her political honeymoon... And yet after only three weeks of
presidency the honeymoon is already a distant memory - she has had
to deal with the gauntlet flung down by CGT trade unions boss Hugo
Moyano and the self-inflicted wounds of disputes with the US and
"... In the short term she should be concerned over the dispute with
the US on international and domestic grounds alike. Antagonizing the
world's superpower is never a good idea but the continuing
repercussions of Guido Antonini Wilson's suitcase also provide a
worrying domestic political signal that the mid-2007 rash of
scandals was not simply an election year phenomenon...
"Yet corruption seems more a priority for the media than public
opinion at large. In a slightly longer term... she should be worried
by Moyano's threats because they cannot be considered empty while
inflation remains an unresolved (and indeed unrecognized)
"If the tale of 2007 was constant slippage four outgoing President
Nestor Kirchner culminating in a successful transfer of power, a
totally dominant new president needs to avoid any reverse sequence.
The best way of ensuring that is to treat 2008 as exactly what it is
- a year in which the election lies in the past instead of looming
towards the end of the year, as in 2007 - embarking on long-term
strategies to prepare Argentina for the many changes of the 21st
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