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Cablegate: Chile Media Report: November 29-December 1

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TAGS: KMDR KPAO PGOV ECON PREL PGOV SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: CHILE MEDIA REPORT: NOVEMBER 29-DECEMBER 1

Lead Stories
------------
1. Chile's front pages focused on the tense relations between Chile
and Peru over the inflammatory remarks of Peru's Army
Commander-in-Chief, which appeared on YouTube, and how the financial
crisis is hurting growth in an array of sectors nationwide.

U.S.-Related News
-----------------
2. In her visit to Chile in March 2008, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice reiterated the U.S. government's concern with the
lack of progress in the investigation over the disappearance of
American mathematician Boris Weisfeiler, who vanished near the
German enclave Colonia Dignidad in 1985. The USG has consistently
asked for information on the case since the probe began in 2000. In
meetings with members of the Weisfeiler family, President Bachelet
expressed her commitment to do "everything possible" to resolve the
case (La Tercera, conservative, independent, Sun. circ. 222,084,
11/30).

3. Coverage of Fundacion Paz Ciudadana's annual event included a
photograph of Ambassador Simons with the entity's Executive Director
Andres Baytelman and its President Agustin Edwards (El Mercurio,
conservative, influential newspaper-of-record, Sun. circ. 260,108,
11/30).

4. U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, will
arrive in Chile this week to participate in the International Naval
Fair and Conference, Exponaval 2008, in Valparaiso (Estrategia,

business and financial daily, circ. 30,000, 12/10).

5. The book "Legacy of Ashes: The CIA Story," written by journalist
Tim Weisner, was launched in Chile. The book includes discussions
among U.S. intelligence officers and data on CIA activities in Chile
in the 60s and 70s (La Segunda, conservative, afternoon, circ.
33,000, 11/29).

Chile-Peru Impasse
------------------
6. Peruvian Commander-in-Chief General Edwin Donayre said in a
private 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.

7. Chile reacted immediately by demanding that Peru retire the
Peruvian General. Bachelet said Peruvian President Alan Garcia had
phoned her to apologize and to inform her that the general would be
retired immediately. On Friday, Foreign Minister Foxley called on
his Peruvian counterpart demanding Lima to act on the President's
promise. The following day, President Garcia was quoted in the
press saying, "Peru does not take pressure or orders from anyone
outside Peru." In the absence of any action regarding Donayre,
Chile informed Peru that the scheduled visit of its defense minister
to the international Naval fair, Exponaval, this week, would be
considered untimely. Peruvian Foreign Minister Garcia said that
Bachelet misunderstood President Garcia, and that when he referred
to Donayre's retirement he was talking about the General's official
retirement date, which is December 5. Meanwhile, General Donayre is
quoted saying that "as a soldier who loves" his country, he does not
regret his remarks (All dailies 11/30-12/1).

8. Chile's reaction to military commander Edwin Donayre's clumsy
remarks... could be considered disproportionate. But one must look
at the wider context of Peru's decision to challenge its maritime
border with Chile and to take that issue to the International Court
of The Hague.... Chile views this as an attempt to modify the
status quo that both countries have accepted and under which they
have coexisted for almost eighty years.... Donayre's remarks
probably reflect what many other military officers think about an
eventual invasion, but those at higher levels of command must have
the good sense not to offend their neighbors. The severity of
Donayre's comments are not so much in the words, but rather on their
impact in the complex and bipolar Chile-Peru relationship (La
Nacion, government-owned, editorially independent, Sun. circ.
16,200, 11/30).
9. Peruvian analyst Mirko Lauer: "Need determines if something is
justified or not and the truth is that in this case Chile has the
attitude of 'not willing to let it slip by'" (La Tercera, 12/1).

10. Peruvian President Alan Garcia ordered the return of a frigate
navigating to Chile, which would show that he has no intention of
calling General Donayre to retirement before his official retirement
date (El Mercurio, conservative, influential, newspaper-of-record,
Sun. circ. 260,108, 11/30).

11. The Peruvian government is not comfortable with the impasse
caused by Donayre's remarks and has prompted the General not to talk
about the issue (La Nacion, 11/30).

Local
-----
12. President Bachelet appointed three new regional Intendentes:
PPD Igor Garafulic to the Metropolitan Region, DC Pablo Valenzuela
to the Region of Tarapaca, and the current Ambassador to Cuba, PS
Jaime Toha, to the Bio Bio Region. The latter leaves the Chilean
Embassy in Havana with no Ambassador just a month before Bachelet is
due to travel to the island (El Mercurio, Sat. circ. 173,049,
11/29).

Education: Low English Scores
-----------------------------
13. The Catholic University tested its freshmen class to determine
their level of English. Only 30 percent of private non-bilingual
school students and 10% of public school students passed the test.
Private schools have 3-10 hours of English a week and public schools
just two (La Tercera, conservative, independent, Sun. circ. 222,084,
11/30).

Editorials/commentary
---------------------
14. Elizabeth Subercaseux: "Anyone visiting the United States
today can readily see that something is seriously amiss.... The
United States has an invisible and powerless President and his
successor has his hands tied until January 20 as its economy, the
world's most important one, walks on the edge of the abyss. The
decisions taken or not in the next days will determine whether the
planet's economic engine stops or continues to move" (La Nacion,
11/30).

15. Column by international analyst Libardo Buitrago entitled, "The
Fight against Terrorism":

"The brutal terrorist attack in Bombay... brings to mind the worst
images of a raw truth: those radical groups want to alter the normal
path of our nations. However, we have been unable to build an
overall consensus to lower the threat of this scourge.... It's as
if the terror attacks on a number of cities -- New York, London,
Madrid, Bali, Istanbul -- are just numbers.... A full war (on
terrorism) calls for the participation of the largest possible
number of nations" (Diario Financiero, business and financial daily,
circ. 30,000, 12/1).

SIMONS

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