Cablegate: 1994 Amia Bombing; Us-Mexican Border Wall; Argentine
DE RUEHBU #2441/01 3031852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301852Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6345
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002441
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: 1994 AMIA BOMBING; US-MEXICAN BORDER WALL; ARGENTINE
PRESIDENT KIRCHNER'S FOREIGN POLICY; ARGENTINE 'INSTITUTIONAL
QUALITY;' USG'S REACTION TO ALLEGED PROGRESS ON IRANIAN NUCLEAR
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Last weekend's key international stories include the implications of
Argentine Prosecutor Nisman's request for an international arrest
order against former Iranian government officials for the 1994 AMIA
bombing case; the probable impact of upcoming US legislative
elections on Latin America; the US-Mexican border wall; Argentine
President Kirchner's foreign policy; Professor Mark Jones' opinion
of Argentina's 'institutional quality;' and the USG's reaction to
alleged progress in Iran's nuclear program.
Conservative "La Prensa" (10/28) reports on last week's press
encounter with INL DAS Christy McCampbell.
2. OPINION PIECES
- "Satisfaction and expectation in the US"
Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
writes (10/29) "After the praise received by Prosecutor Alberto
Nisman from the US due to his request that an international arrest
order be issued against former Iranian government officials for the
1994 AMIA bombing case, what most worries Washington is whether
Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral will issue the orders and that
Interpol accept them.
"Democratic Representative Tom Lantos said that 'Argentine
prosecutors did an excellent job by providing evidence on what the
whole world has long thought - that Iranian leaders gave the orders
to their Hezbollah terrorist 'puppets' to perform the irrational
terrorist attack in Buenos Aires.' Lantos also asked authorities 'to
immediately bring the international terrorists who committed the
attack to justice.'
"... Dina van Siegel, head of the Institute for Latin America of the
US Jewish Committee, pointed out: 'This is not over yet. The
Argentine Government will have to issue the international warrants -
the sooner, the better.'"
- "An investigation that followed the steps of a failed nuclear
Daniel Santoro, political columnist of leading "Clarin," writes
(10/29) "The Menem administration's decision to suspend a nuclear
shipment to Iran 'interfered with the Iranian regime's strategy' of
'developing its nuclear program' with alleged military purposes.
According to Nisman's report, Tehran then ordered Lebanese
pro-Iranian Hezbollah to attack AMIA with its terrorists in order to
put pressure on Argentina to deliver a uranium manufacturing plant
and another plant for heavy water production.
"... In December 1991, the first pieces of those factories were to
be shipped when then DCM at the US Embassy, James Walsh, called Vice
FM Juan Carlos Olima asking to suspend the export... According to
'Clarin's' investigation, on the following day, US President George
Bush (Senior) called Menem and Menem then ordered to cancel the
"According to a 2001 SIDE (Argentine intelligence agency) report,
this was 'in the context of a so-called 'policy of agreements,'
whose main feature was the use of violence to force countries who
suffered terrorist attacks to then agree to a negotiation in line
with Iran's interests.'"
- "US legislative elections open doubts in Latin America"
Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
comments (10/30) "... Undoubtedly, some Latin American left-wing
governments have more ideological affinity with Democrats than with
Republicans, but this does not mean relations with the Argentina
will improve if Democrats win the elections. As a matter of fact, US
ties with some countries could even worsen, and Argentina could be a
good example of that.
"... Professor Mark Jones, of Rice University of Houston, said: 'If
I were the president of Colombia or Peru, I would be very worried.'
According to Jones, if it is already quite difficult to renew 'fast
track' authority, it will be almost impossible to do it if Democrats
- "A useless wall of lies"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" front-pages (10/28) an opinion piece by
writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who opines "The US Congress has just
passed legislation to build a 1,200 km wall on the US-Mexican
border, which will cost 7 billion dollars, to halt illegal
"For someone like me who is fascinated with the contamination of
reality by fiction, the news could not be more bewitching. Why?
Because this wall will never be built and if, by miracle, it is
built, it will be absolutely useless. Everyone knows this, even
legislators who passed the legislation and the US President
"Why all this theatre then? Because there are elections on November
7 in the US and legislators seeking re-election want to show this
legislation as evidence that they have started to act energetically
against that dangerous demon called illegal immigrants, who deprive
US citizens of jobs while harming social security (another weak
"... Those seven billion dollars that the wall of lies would cost
would render a much more effective service in terms of illegal
immigration if they were invested in factories or loans to create
jobs on the other side of the border...
"However, this belongs to the domain of strict reality and it is
known that human beings - even the gringos, who claim to be so
pragmatic - are often more inclined to the magic of fiction rather
than crude life."
- "Felipe's luck and Kirchner's turns"
Joaquin Morales Sola, political columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacion," writes (10/29) "... Kirchner came back from New York a
month ago, with some certainties: not only was the AMIA bombing a
criminal attack against Argentine society - its long impunity also
shaped its [Argentina's] ties with the world's Jewish community and
with the USG.
"Kirchner has always promised Washington that partial disagreement
would never cloud an essential point of agreement between Argentina
and the US: the Argentine Government would support the US in
reinforcing international security. He has just done it at the UN
Security Council, when he voted in favor of the severe warning
issued against North Korea for its nuclear tests, and he has just
confirmed it by distancing himsef from Iran.
"... While the Argentine Government is unlikely to decide to break
ties with Iran or denounce it at the UN Security Council, the truth
is that Kirchner's support for Prosecutor Nisman's report reveals a
substantial change in his foreign policy. He is stepping away from
Hugo Chavez, a vociferous ally of Iran and North Korea... Oil prices
are slumping and Chavez is starting to become isolated in South
"Ten days ago, Kirchner asked Evo Morales in Bolivia 'Why do you
need to fight with the US, if they aren't doing anything to you?'
Kirchner's last trip to New York served to verify for the Argentine
president that a US president can be unpopular, like Bush is
nowadays, but that does not change the permanent interests of US
- "Institutional quality"
Horacio Verbitsky, political columnist of left-of-center "Pagina
12," writes (10/29) "The Buenos Aires media is generous with the
space it dedicates to lament the lack of institutional quality in
Argentina, sometimes with informative objectivity. It is the case of
the article published by 'Clarin,' whose excellent Washington-based
correspondent interviewed Professor Mark Jones, who had been called
by the Bush administration to inform Ambassador Anthony Earl Wayne
about Argentina in the framework of a seminar which was also
attended by members of the CIA, the US Treasury Department, the
Department of Commerce and the Pentagon.
"Jones said that 'the budget really does not exist,' because once
the Congress approves it, there is no control of it whatsoever...
"In this way, Jones echoed criticism from the local opposition.
"However, when the story was published by 'Clarin,' the Executive
Branch had already submitted a 2006 Budget extension draft bill to
Congress. Since growth was higher than forecasted, tax collection
was 11 billion pesos higher than expected...
"The Executive Branch submitted the difference and left it up to
Congress to decide how to use it... What the opposition will hardly
do is to acknowledge the democratic move forward it represents."
- "Bush calls for more efforts to put a brake on the Iranian nuclear
Leonardo Mindez, on special assignment in Washington D.C. for
leading "Clarin," writes (10/28) "A new challenge from Iran, a new
response from the White House, and tension continues mounting. News
arrived from Tehran that Iran has doubled its uranium enrichment
capabilities. Shortly after this, George W. Bush responded that if
that were the case 'we should redouble efforts to work with the
international community and persuade Iranians that they can only
expect isolation from the world if they continue with this
"... While the US State Department notified that it was not able to
confirm Tehran reports on the progress of their nuclear program,
Bush insisted that 'have they redoubled their capabilities or not,
the idea of Iran holding nuclear armament is unacceptable for the
"Trapped in the Iraqi 'swamp,' Bush seems to be willing to reach a
diplomatic solution at the UN. Just in case, 'Newsweek' magazine has
just published an opinion survey indicating that 75 percent of
Americans are against invading Iran and 54 percent are even against
bombing Iranian nuclear facilities."
- "Demography and politics in the US"
An editorial in leading "Clarin" reads (10/28) "In the run-up to US
legislative elections, the US has just surpassed 300 million
inhabitants, and the figure has economic, cultural and political
"The US is the third largest populated country in the world, after
China and India, and it is also the developed country having the
highest rate of population growth, partly due to immigration.
Additionally, the Hispanic or Latin population is now the first
minority (14 percent)... This positive trend in immigration
contributes to the country's economic dynamism and underscores the
multi-racial features of the US society.
"Nonetheless, this trend is at odds with immigrants' difficulties
putting their situation in order and acquiring full citizens'
rights. 12 million undocumented immigrants plus the construction of
a wall on the US-Mexican border speak of this contradiction between
immigration and economy."
- "Not like the Berlin Wall"
Conservative "La Prensa" editorializes (10/30) "The US president has
just approved legislation to build a long wall on the US-Mexican
border to prevent the illegal entry of undocumented Mexican
immigrants to his country. The measure not only had broad
repercussions in the two countries involved but also in the media
almost all over the world due to its symbolic nature.
"The domestic reasons leading the USG to take such a drastic
decision are related to the upcoming elections...
"Beyond these considerations, the construction of a wall has a
negative impact on the US international image, which its numerous
detractors have compared to the Berlin Wall. However, the comparison
is inadequate because the Berlin Wall had an exactly opposite
objective to the one to be built by the US...
"What one could say about this wall is that it represents the world
superpower's inability to continue absorbing thousands of poor who
seek in the US system an opportunity to have a better life... Once
this wall is built, the American dream will be poorer because it
will only apply for those on one side of the border."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
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