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Cablegate: Meeting with Tucuman Provincial Governor And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUENOS AIRES 002900

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR WHA/BSC,
NSC FOR TOM SHANNON AND MIKE DEMPSEY
SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AR
SUBJECT: MEETING WITH TUCUMAN PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR AND
LEADING JOURNALISTS

1. (SBU) Summary: On September 28-29, Pasoffs and Poloff
met with Tucuman Governor Jose Jorge Alperovich and leading
journalists in the province. The meeting with the Governor
was positive and covered key issues facing the province, such
as economic reform, relations with the national government,
and economic development. The journalists Emboffs that met
with provided a wealth of information about Tucuman politics
and said they looked forward to future contacts with the
Embassy. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Governor Alperovich was candid during his
September 29 meeting with Emboffs, encouraging them to ask
any type of question. He covered issues ranging from
economic reform, relations with the GOA, and the state of the
economy in Tucuman. The Governor stated that he thought the
Fiscal Responsibility Law recently passed by the National
Congress would have no trouble passing in Tucuman, although
he felt the law would have little practical effect in the
province, as Tucuman already had a strict financial
responsibility law. (Note: The Tucuman legislature passed
the Fiscal Responsibility Law on October 1, becoming the
second province in the country to approve the new law.) He
thought co-participation reform was not necessary and said it
is not a priority for his administration. He said he did not
want to fight with Buenos Aires over an extra percentage
point or two of co-participation funds, and would rather
focus on more important issues for the province. He
described his relations with the national government as being
good and that he was satisfied with the resources he received
from the GOA. He said that financial mismanagement by
previous governors, and not a lack of funds from Buenos
Aires, were the source of past funding problems for Tucuman.
He admitted that although the province had many resources,
especially in the agricultural sector, poverty was still a
problem in Tucuman. He emphasized however, that the province
has enjoyed a much lower rate of unemployment over the past
three years compared with the rest of the country. The
Governor also highlighted his efforts to bring in outside
investment from the United States, China, and Chile, the
development of a new railroad service, and the booming
construction industry in the province. Governor Alperovich
closed the meeting by mentioning he planned to travel to
Washington, DC this December.

3. (SBU) BIO NOTE: Jose Alperovich was elected governor in
October 2003, having served as a Peronist Party (PJ) Senator
in the National Congress. He originally was a member of the
Radical Civil Union Party (UCR). A son of Jewish, Lithuanian
immigrants, Alperovich faced legal hurtles in his bid for
governor, as the Tucuman Constitution required that all
governors be Catholic. A legal ruling in the province
allowing non-Catholics to become governor cleared the way for
his election. Leading journalists described the governor's
relationship with the Kirchner government as good on
administrative matters, but much cooler on a personal level.
Alperovich is tied to the Duhalde camp within the PJ, having
a personal connection to Duhalde through his father and the
father of Duhalde's former Central Bank head, Mario Blejer.
Journalist German Valdez also reported that Kirchner was
unhappy with the governor because he was met by
protesters/piqueteros on his first trip to Tucuman as
President in July that blocked his motorcade coming from the
airport . Valdez said Kirchner was also unhappy with the
fact the province had two senators and three deputies from
the family of ex-military governor and dirty war criminal,
Antonio Bussi, as Kirchner was attempting to assert his
authority over the military on a national level.

4. (SBU) Emboffs met with leading journalists from the
province, including Maximo Garcia Hamilton and Ricardo Le
Fort from El Siglo, Carlos Abrehu and Jose Pochat from La
Gaceta, and German Valdez from MC Radio & TV. All of the
journalists were pleased to meet with US Embassy officials
and told Emboffs that they were looking forward to future
close cooperation with Pasoffs. La Gaceta is the oldest
daily newspaper in the province, with the largest readership.
El Siglo formed as an offshoot of La Gaceta 14 years ago due
to a conflict within the family that owns La Gaceta. German
Valdez is the leading radio and television journalist in
Tucuman, who has been a good contact for many years for the
Embassy.


GUTIERREZ

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