Cablegate: Chile Media Report - November 26
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TAGS: KMDR KPAO PGOV OPRC PREL PGOV EFIN CI
SUBJECT: CHILE MEDIA REPORT - NOVEMBER 26
1. Peruvian President Alan Garcia phoned President Bachelet to
apologize for the remarks made by his Commander-in-Chief, noting the
General is being retired. Congress approved the 2009 budget that
includes a 5.7% increase in public expenses compared to 2008. A
Russian fleet docked in Venezuela.
2. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an NGO affiliated
with Robert Kennedy Jr., sent 18,000 letters to the GOC urging it to
reject the construction of the HidroAysen Project, which consists of
five massive planned dams in Chile's far south. The letters say the
project will "damage the Chilean Patagonia, which is one of the less
altered areas in the world, and therefore one of the most important
on the planet." The letters were received in Chile by Environmental
Minister Ana Lya Uriarte. Kennedy is NRDC's lead prosecutor and met
with Bachelet in March of this year to state the reasons for the
organization's opposition to the project (La Segunda, conservative,
afternoon, circ. 33,000, 11/26).
3. Geotermia del Pacifico, a branch of American GeoGlobal Energy,
will participate in the government's bid for projects to obtain
energy from geysers fund in the First Region. The U.S. company has
already been studying the places to drill (Estrategia, business and
financial daily, circ. 30,000, 11/26).
4. The low dollar exchange rate is the reason why Chilean fruit
exports to the United States dropped 13.7% in the 2007-2008 season.
The exports went mainly to Europe (La Tercera, conservative,
independent, circ. 101,000, 11/26).
5. Conservative think tank Libertad y Desarrollo invited Timothy
Geithner a month ago to be the main speaker at its 19th anniversary
ceremony in March 2009. This was before Geithner's new appointment.
LyD is now looking for a new speaker (El Mercurio, conservative,
influential newspaper-of-record, circ. 129,000, 11/26).
Editorial: "New U.S. Rescue Plan"
6. "The U.S economy received a new loan so that it can leave behind
the biggest crisis it has experienced since the Great Depression,
which has the rest of the world buried in an extended recession....
Is the announcement positive or negative? The answer is not
obvious, because the Fed's decision once again shows that the
concern of the authorities with the crisis has another side to it
that is tied to the depth of the crisis and its repercussions....
What is the limit to the bailout of financial institutions? The
answer is not at all evident and nothing seems to show that the
crisis has yet touched bottom" (Diario Financiero, business and
financial daily, circ. 30,000, 11/26).
7. Argentina, Finland, Russian and the UK are competing in the
government's first bid to draft a nuclear energy framework to study
the development of this type of energy in Chile (La Tercera, 11/26).
8. Peruvian Commander-in-Chile General Edwin Donayre said during a
toast in a reception earlier this year: "Be assured that we will
not let anyone from our southern neighbor (Chile) cross (into Peru).
Our position is that any Chilean who crosses will leave in a box,
and if there are not enough boxes, in plastic bags." His remarks
were posted on YouTube. Chile's Foreign Ministry considered the
remarks "tactless" and instructed its Ambassador in Peru to express
the government's "dismay and surprise." In the afternoon Peruvian
President Alan Garcia phoned Bachelet to provide an explanation and
inform her that the General would be retired. The General is also
facing accusations of corruption in his country (La Tercera, 11/26).
9. Congress yesterday approved the 2009 budget, which considers a
5.7% growth in public expenses and a 7.8% increase in social
expenses. The budget includes a permanent subsidy for Transantiago
and reinstated resources for public works in connection to the
transportation system, education and housing.
10. A four-vessel Russian fleet headed by the nuclear ship Peter
the Great docked yesterday in the Venezuelan port of La Guaria to
start joint exercises in the Caribbean on Monday. The United States
was not indifferent to the fleet's arrival and said it would closely
observe the exercises, but denied that it saw them as a provocation
or a challenge to its influence in the region. Latin America has
become one of Russia's priorities and President Medvedev's visit to
the region is just one element in Moscow's strategy to increase
economic ties and influence in an area that has been traditionally
considered of U.S influence. But experts believe Russia will have
to work hard to gain influence in those areas where countries such
as China and India have gained in the last decade. The figures
speak for themselves.
11. Last year, trade between Russia and Latin America amounted to
US$11 billion, while trade with China amounted to US$102 billion
during the same period. Estimates are that Russia's efforts to
improve commercial exchange with Latin American could work and
increase by 50%. But in the political arena, things are more
complex because of the implications. Experts are questioning
Russia's decision to expand ties with countries that are considered
"unstable" allies, such as Venezuela under Hugo Chavez (El Mercurio,