Search

 

Cablegate: U.S. Citizen's Land Threatened with Expropriation

VZCZCXYZ0015
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1567 1952016
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 142016Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5222
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001567

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/BSC, EB/OIA, EB/CBA, AND L/EB
USTR FOR MARY SULLIVAN
NSC FOR SUE CRONIN
OPIC FOR RUTH ANN NICASTRO
TREASURY FOR OSIA/INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ECON AR
SUBJECT: U.S. CITIZEN'S LAND THREATENED WITH EXPROPRIATION
IN ARGENTINA (MCBRIDE, PETER)

1. The senate in the Argentine province of Catamarca
unanimously approved a bill July 13 expropriating 53,603
hectares of privately-held land, a large part of which is
owned by U.S. citizen Peter McBride. The bill must still be
approved by the provincial lower house and signed by governor
Eduardo Segundo Virzuela del Moral before taking effect.
Virzuela de Moral has indicated on numerous occasions his
opposition to the bill, and told Ambassador Gutierrez during
a call June 21 that he was aware of the issue and would work
to prevent implementation of the law.

2. McBride first contacted Embassy Buenos Aires to warn of a
possible expropriation in August 2005. At that time,
Ambassador Gutierrez called a federal senator from Catamarca
(Senator Oscar Castillo), who promised to use his influence
as a national politician and also as stepfather to the
Catamarcan state senator sponsoring the expropriation bill to
quash the proposed legislation. That call, coupled with a
Dow Jones International news story featuring McBride,
appeared to have halted the expropriation effort. A number
of factors, however, including a schism between the governor
and the vice governor (who is supporting expropriation,
according to McBride), allowed the resurrection of the
expropriation bill in June 2006.

3. The Embassy has been unable to date to procure a copy of
the bill that just passed the Catamarca senate, but according
to McBride it was identical to the 2005 proposal, which
alleged that expropriation was necessary to protect the
interest of persons residing on the property against the
"force of foreign capital." It is unclear whether the bill
proposes compensation to affected landowners. Embassy will
keep trying for a copy, a translation of which we intend to
forward to the Department. We will also report any
developments as they occur, and continue to work on McBride's
behalf.

4. For background, the following is a compilation of
relevant events, as presented by McBride's Argentine attorney:

-- McBride purchases 116,000 hectares of land for USD 400,000
on December 12, 2003. The land had a low value due to a lack
of improvements and water scarcity.

-- The sellers of the parcels were not resident on the land,
and McBride quickly settled with the few persons resident on
the land, with the exception of two families.

-- A number of local politicians saw possibilities in
McBride's purchase. Some coveted the land, others saw in
foreign ownership of the land a possibility of gaining
political advantage.

-- As a result, McBride has had to face judicial and popular
action (non-violent to date), leading McBride to approach the
Embassy in August 2005. McBride has also been in contact
with the office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
GUTIERREZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>