Cablegate: Media Reaction; Iraq and the Us Financial Crisis; the Iraq
DE RUEHBU #0373/01 0851836
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251836Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0566
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000373
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; IRAQ AND THE US FINANCIAL CRISIS; THE IRAQ
WAR; CUBA; THE FARC AND DRUG TRAFFICKING; 03/25/08
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Weekend papers carry opinion pieces and editorials linked to the
relationship between the Iraq war and the current US financial
crisis; press freedom in Cuba; and the FARC, negotiations for
hostage release and drug trafficking.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Iraq and the financial crisis - the same thread"
Leading "Clarin" carries an op-ed piece by international analyst
Oscar Raul Cardoso, who opines (03/22) "In the universe of politics,
parallel lines do not exist as they do in geometry. They are an
exception, not the rule. If one pays close attention, one will find
out that those lines will always (sooner or later) converge on one
point. There is not one domestic or international issue that can be
separated from many others. This is what happens in the US regarding
the war in Iraq... and the US financial economic crisis. Both issues
are united by a complex network of public funds and for being part
of George W. Bush's eight-year-long heritage.
"... The president believes the time has come to reestablish the
idea of a possible victory in Iraq and reveal a circumstantial slump
in violence as a result of a right decision from his administration
to raise the number of US troops just one year ago, and General
David Petraeus' successful management of the war.
"... Every forecast hints that a recession in the US is already
inevitable... Some economists say it is possible that, to some
extent, the current situation could be worse than that of the '29
crisis because the real entry to the Big Depression was not that
year but during the '30/'31 period, which was marked by the downfall
of financial institutions. It will not be long before society will
connect the parallels of its economy and the 'craze' of the Iraq
war. However, even so, a solution is unlikely to be found. The
situation created by the invasion is such that it seems almost
impossible that a US president (no matter what his/her political
affiliation is) could easily get rid of the Persian Gulf's
- "Five years and counting"
An editorial in liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires Herald"
reads (03/21) "... An easy war of just three week has been followed
by a hard peace. Five years of the superpower's presence in Iraq is
almost as long as the time the US was involved in both world wars
combined (66 months) and while the death toll has been lighter (just
under 4,000), it is traumatic enough for today's world.
"The financial cost has been much more colossal: several hundred
billion dollars or even trillions according to some estimates. So
staggering indeed that the frequent cynicism as to its being a war
for oil becomes increasingly difficult to sustain - even with oil at
over 100 dollars a barrel, the cost-benefit analysis fails to stand
"Yet for all the cost, US President George W. Bush's bullish speech
to mark the five years on Wednesday was not bereft of either
political or objective logic. Iraq today is a better place than
either in 2003 under Saddam or in 2007 at the peak of the violence.
Because of the improved war management under General David
Petraeus..., the continuing anti-war majority in the US now
co-exists with an optimistic majority and the presumptive Republican
presidential candidate John McCain could move several points ahead
of his Democratic rivals in the polls while saying that he was ready
to stay '100 years' in Iraq if necessary.
"But McCain's own blunder in describing Shiite Iran as a
training-ground for the fundamentalist Sunni terrorists of Al Qaeda
shows how little the US understands Iraq where trust and cohesion
are still lacking between its Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities,
thus barring any final optimism. And it also underlines how the Iraq
involvement to remove Saddam has become a porch to conflict with
"Five years and still no exit strategy."
- "Cuba's long gloomy spring"
An editorial in daily-of-record "La Nacion" reads (03/21) "With the
war on Iraq as a backdrop, the Cuban regime imprisoned 75 political
dissidents in March 2003. 55 of them are still in prison and one of
them died. 29 of them were independent journalists.
"Five years after that raid, Raul Castro should release the 20
journalists still in prison...
"Cuba is one of the countries having largest censorship in the
world. The Cuban Communist Party controls the reporters' work
through the Department for Revolutionary Orientation...
"Cuba is second to China with respect to the greatest number of
"... We all hope that, given the gradual opening Raul Castro is
suggesting, independent journalists and political dissidents
imprisoned in March 2003 will recover their freedom immediately and
under no conditions whatsoever. It is not tolerable that a regime
like Cuba's boasted at the UN about having signed deals related to
the respect for human rights and then did not abide by them.
"The international community should join efforts and pressure
further, if necessary, so that something as essential as the
guarantee and respect for freedom of expression is one of the first
steps to be taken by the revisited regime in its road towards a
- "Drugs, the FARC's real threat"
Business-financial "Ambito Financiero" (03/25) "If someone believed
that the 'soap opera' among the FARC, Venezuela, Ecuador and
Colombia had met its final point in the virtuous OAS resolutions and
the recent foreign ministerial summit, he was wrong.
"The saga continues, and as it often happens, what started as a
tragedy continues like a farce...
"Hugo Chavez, the big loser until last week, received involuntary
help from the US Department of State, which did not have a better
idea than using what happened to insist again on its oft-rejected
theory of flexible borders, with a right to chase insurgents, no
matter if they enter the territory of other States...
"Nicolas Sarkozy is analyzing a plan based on negotiating with the
FARC (doing away with a devalued Chavez) through French Guyana, and
has proposed the release of 36 hostages to be chosen by France in
return for the release of nothing less than 500 FARC members, today
in Colombian prisons... plus two high-ranking guerrilla leaders
currently under indictment in the US... All of Europe would stop
labeling FARC a 'terrorist organization.'
"Of course, the central issue (after the hostage issue) is still
ignored by many foreign ministries, including that of Argentina -
drug consumption and money laundering are alarmingly increasing in
our countries and the huge amount of drugs poisoning our youth is
manufactured by the FARC and the drug traffickers protected by them.
However, and even if you cannot believe it, Argentina continues to
avoid condemning the FARC."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
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