Cablegate: Media Reaction; War in Iraq; Cuba; Latin America; China;
DE RUEHBU #0395/01 0911533
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311533Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0601
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000395
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; WAR IN IRAQ; CUBA; LATIN AMERICA; CHINA;
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
The main international topics during last weekend were the role
played by the US in the war in Iraq; the Cuban Government
authorizing the sale of cell phones; Latin American handling of the
crisis between Ecuador and Colombia; and China's contribution to
world economic growth.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Evaluation of an 'asymmetrical war'"
Leading "Clarin" (03/31) editorializes "The war in Iraq shows its
main players trapped in a spiral of violence without a way out...
"... The USG justified its presence in Iraq with two arguments - the
struggle against international terrorism and the establishment of a
democratic peace in the Persian Gulf region. The outcome of the
military campaign (which carries the specter of the Vietnam War) is
at odds with both motivations.
"As the US reinforced its intervention in Iraq, the climate of civil
war has deepened... The main military power in the world has not
been able to establish order and terrorist attacks have increased.
"The assessment of war has impacted on the US society during this
election campaign, and even though one should not expect drastic
changes, like a withdrawal that could also unveil the US failure in
Iraq, one can hope that consensus will increase on the serious
mistake of having started the war and the need to respond in a
different way to its consequences."
- "New Havana's talking"
Liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires Herald" editorializes
(03/31) "No technological innovation of recent times is more visible
than the cell phone and less than six weeks after veteran leader
Fidel Castro's departure from power, they have become the latest
revolution in Cuba following a decree on Friday permitting their
"Until now mobile phones have been the privilege of Cuba's elite,
foreigners and certain Cubans with foreign employees since their
advent on the island in 1991...
"With the average Cuban earning less than a dollar a day, there does
not seem any scope for any rapid expansion but hundreds of thousands
receive remittances from abroad and these could massively acquire
the prized status symbol.
"... Who will pick up the business? We have already seen Mexican
tycoon Carlos Slim overtake Bill Gates in some estimates of the
world's richest man... Slim's fortune is based on his firm grip on
the cell phone market throughout the region - will Cuba be added to
that empire (the last Latin American country to leave the Spanish
empire also becoming the last to enter Slim's)?
"But that, of course, presupposes a commercial revolution on a
Communist island which runs on ration cards with free housing,
education and health. The tiny cell phone might well end up
spearheading that revolution..."
- "The regional puzzle"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" carries an opinion piece by Natalio
Botana, who writes (03/30) "... What seems to prevail in Latin
America... is behavioral lack of proportion...
"In Europe, it is quite clear that terrorist organizations, such as
ETA, are outside of the EU. In Latin America, instead, this clarity
is clouded and has unleashed two simultaneous storms - one took the
war outside of Colombia to its jungle borders with Ecuador. The
other one failed to implement the necessary guarantees to put
terrorist insurgents at bay.
"... Therefore, bewilderment is both political and social. What
should one do vis-`-vis this scenario? There are several roads to
take. The first is an overall confrontation leading to war beyond
borders. In this regard, guerrillas who take refuge in another
country to launch new attacks are as illegal as the armed actions
from a Government in another sovereign territory, thereby violating
the non-intervention principle.
"The other roads are equally complex. At this point, it is obvious
that Inter-American and regional institutions are not mere formal
barriers that no one honors. This is the positive piece of
information provided by the OAS mission on the border between
Ecuador and Colombia...
"The other possible road is taming Chavez by bringing Venezuela into
Mercosur. Is this possible when the Venezuelan government rejects
freedom of communication now that the SIP will hold its meeting in
- "China, not the US, is the engine of the world"
Jorge Castro, political analyst, writes an opinion piece for
centrist "Perfil" newspaper (03/30) "The US economy accounts for 32%
of world GDP while that of China accounts for 5.5%. However, the
Chinese economy's contribution to world economic growth is
significantly greater than that of the US (23% vis-`-vis 19% in
"The main reason for this difference is that China's burst into
international commodities trade has changed the nature of the world
commodity market. Today China is the largest consumer of 4 of 5
major commodities, and, according to the International Energy
Agency, regarding oil (in which it currently second to the US),
China will be the largest consumer by 2010.
"This means that all countries exporting commodities... are
connected to the world economy and globalization mainly through the
People's Republic, not the US."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
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