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Cablegate: Chile Media Report -- December 12

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TAGS: KMDR KPAO PGOV ECON PREL PGOV SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: CHILE MEDIA REPORT -- DECEMBER 12

Lead Stories
------------
1. Dailies highlighted the fining of Chile's three major
pharmaceutical drugstore chains for conspiring to overcharge
consumers. Dailies also highlighted the cabinet changes and Jose
Miguel Insulza's likely presidential candidacy.

U.S.-Related News
-----------------
2. The Santiago Appeals Court unanimously upheld a 61-day
imprisonment sentence against Jose Miguel Pizarro, the Chilean
entrepreneur who recruited Chileans to work as security guards in
Iraq. Pizarro was accused of violating the Private Guards Law.
(Note: Pizarro represented Blackwater in Chile) (La Tercera,
conservative, independent, circ. 101,000, 12/11.)

3. OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza arrived in Santiago
today to define aspects of his eventual presidential candidacy. But
to do this, Insulza must resign from the international organization.
However, that resignation has some complicated considerations. In
the OAS it is said that advisors to the U.S. President-elect are
concerned that the Bush administration is trying to pressure
Insulza, through Secretary Rice, into resigning before January 20,
so that the current U.S. President can have a say on who will
replace him in the OAS. Last night Insulza said, "I owe respect to
those who elected me, beyond the dislike that this can cause for
some in the party or in the Concertacion." ( El Mercurio,
conservative, influential newspaper-of-record (circ. 129,000,
12/11).

4. In 2002, General Electric (GE) set up a technical aeronautics
assistance center in Santiago as part of the offset for Chile's
purchase of U.S.-manufactured F16s. Six years later, Carol Hartman,
of GE Aviation, says the center has been a success, adding that "the
future looks good." GE also set up an alliance with Technical
University Federico Santa Maria so that aeronautics students can
conduct internships at the center. This has been profitable for GE,
which can tap into the new talent it needs to expand, and for the
university, which has had to become academically more competitive to
adapt to the center's requirements (La Segunda, conservative,
afternoon, circ. 33,000, 12/10).

5. Peru wants Yale University to return 40,000 archeological pieces
removed from the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, in 1911 by
explorer Hiram Bingham and taken to the United States. The suit was
filed on the grounds that the pieces are part of Peru's cultural
heritage (El Mercurio, conservative, influential
newspaper-of-record, circ. 129,000, 12/11).

6. The Presidents of Russia and Argentina signed a civilian nuclear
cooperation agreement during Cristina Fernandez' trip to Moscow.
"To live in a world with no rules is bad, but even worse is to live
in a world where the rules apply only to the weakest and where the
strongest violate them repeatedly," said Russian President Medvedev
after meeting with Fernandez. Medvedev just concluded a tour to the
region that included countries that are critical of the United
States, such as Venezuela and Cuba (El Mercurio, 12/11).

7. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Malki is in Chile. In
this interview, he warns over the eventual victory of the right wing
party in Israel's election, noting that the party opposes the peace
process with Palestine. He said that Hamas has not been in the
talks with Israel, because as a political party it cannot take part
in negotiations among states. On Obama, Al Malki said, "He
represents a U.S. position that is opposite to Bush's and has
expressed great interest in negotiations (La Tercera, 12/11).

Local News
----------
8. The National Economic Prosecutor accused the three largest
pharmaceutical chains -- Ahumada, Cruz Verde, and SalcoBrand -- of
conspiring to jointly overcharge consumers for more than 222 drug
products since 2007. The three chains control 92% of the local drug
distribution market. The suit was taken before the Free Competition
Defense Tribunal (All dailies, 12/11).

9. The cabinet members who will run for Congress next year resigned
yesterday after 7pm: Labor Minister Oslvado Andrade, Under
Secretary of Interior Felipe Harboe and Under Secretary of Culture
Arturo Berrios. Bachelet accepted their resignation, but has not yet
appointed their replacements. Government spokesman Francisco Vidal
said there could be other changes between today and next week (All
dailies, 12/11)

10. The National Emergency Office, ONEMI, has maintained the red
alert in the areas surrounding the Chaiten Volcano in southern Chile
(La Tercera, 12/11).

Human Rights
------------
11. On a the anniversary of the Universal Human Rights Declaration,
President Bachelet placed the fist stone of what will be a monument
in Villa Grimaldi to remember the military regime's victims of human
right violations. Villa Grimaldi is the former detention center
where Bachelet and her mother were tortured. "Never again, the
empire of cruelty. Never again torture," said Bachelet (La Nacion,
government-owned, editorially independent, circ. 4,200, 12/11).

12. Amnesty International Chile (AI-Chile), the Diego Portales
University and several NGOs' presented proposals for the protection
of human rights. Foremost is the elimination of the Amnesty Law,
the conclusion of pending human right trials with the corresponding
reparation for the families of the victims, and the ratification of
international human rights treaties. AI-Chile Director Karl Bohmer
said it is "inconceivable" that Chile has not ratified the
International Criminal Court, created an Ombudsman, drafted a law on
genocide, or ratified the Convention Against the Disappearance of
Persons (La Nacion, 12/11).

Environment
-----------
13. Brazilian company MPX Energy Chile is planning to build a coal
thermoelectric generation plant in northern Chile. The plant will
generate 2,100 MWs and should be ready by 2012. Environmentalists
are already opposing the project, stating it is a setback on gas
emissions. Sara Larrain of Chile Sustentable said that project is
contrary to the international environmental commitments to which
Chile has subscribed (El Mercurio, 12/11).

SIMONS

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