Cablegate: Chavez; Cuba; Mexico; Argentina-Iran; 12/04/06


DE RUEHBU #2691/01 3391923
O 051923Z DEC 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


Today's papers report on the outcome of Venezuelan elections.
Weekend papers cover Cuban Raul Castro's proposal of a negotiation
with the US; the swearing-in of Mexican President Calderon; and the
state of Argentina's ties with Iran following Judge Canicoba
Corral's decision to request the international arrest of former
Iranian government officials for the AMIA bombing case.

Conservative "La Prensa," business-financial "Ambito Financiero",
leading "Clarin," and daily-of-record "La Nacion," as well as "El
Tribuno de Salta" and other provincial papers report that Ambassador
Wayne met with Governor Romero in Salta and that the two confirmed
their commitment to fight drugs.

Leading "Clarin" (12/03) carries an op-ed piece by Henry Kissinger,
former US Secretary of State, headlined "Diplomacy plus pressure to
deal with Northern Korea." In his story, Kissinger said that "the
possibility of sanctions cannot be discarded."


- "'The US will try to distance Kirchner from Chavez'"

Jorge Elias, on special assignment in Caracas for daily-of-record
"La Nacion," writes (12/02) "Once Sunday elections in Venezuela are
over, President Hugo Chavez will receive a report from General
Alberto Muller Rojas, head of the Joint-Chiefs-of Staff, which he
will read in detail...

"In this report, Muller Rojas will say that 'there is a lobby from
the US' to 'distance Nestor Kirchner from Chavez, given the close
ties between Venezuela and Iran,' and to trigger 'disagreement
between the government and the Peronist left (CGT, Madres de Plaza
de Mayo and picketers' movements),' both among themselves and
between them and the military.

"Muller Rojas said that 'these lobbying operations work by fueling
internal contradictions in order to avoid the surge of a multi-polar
world order.'

"... 'The US will attempt to separate Kirchner from Chavez and also
from the left wing of the Peronist party.'"

- "Venezuela - good and bad reasons favor Chavez"

Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst for leading "Clarin,"
writes (12/02) "Things are getting complicated for the US in Latin
America and Hugo Chavez's most certain victory in Venezuela's
presidential elections will not improve the scenario for

"... As long as the latest phase in capitalist development continues
to be presented as the inevitable prosperity of those who are
already prosperous, leaderships like Chavez's will have fertile soil
to grow.

"One only has to look at Ecuador and the victory of Rafael Correa or
the divided Mexico in which Felipe Calderon has just taken office to
reach the conclusion that even the victories of the right wing may
be shaky... There is a reality in the region, and those who continue
to ignore it are putting everybody else at risk."

- "Pressure mounts for Washington to negotiate with Cuba"

Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
writes (12/04) "Raul Castro's proposal to negotiate with the US was
rejected by the Bush administration and downplayed by the US media.

"However, US experts and observers who have closely followed the
evolution of the Cuban situation consider it a historic move and say
that it will reinforce the position of those who have lobbied for a
change of policy regarding the island, particularly lifting the

- "Growing up"

Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading "Clarin," comments
(12/03) "Yesterday was a day of high symbolic value for Cubans. They
celebrated a transition that will have huge historic importance for
the island.

""It is in this context that one should interpret Raul Castro's
proposal of dialogue with Washington... The USG's rejection is not
surprising but it is impressive since it follows the same logic with
which it has handled other conflicts in the world, to the results
everybody knows.

"The US-Cuban confrontation is a long-standing legacy of the Cold
War. US experts themselves have acknowledged that the island is no
longer a threat. And the embargo against Cuba has been a colossal
failure that strengthened rather than weakened the Castro regime. On
the basis of these realities, it is now time to mature."

- "The US assesses passengers' 'terrorist risk'"

Leonardo Mindez, on special assignment in Washington for leading
"Clarin," writes (12/02) "According to the Homeland Security
Department, if you traveled to the US after the September 11
attacks, you were given a score to measure the risk that you may
belong to a terrorist organzation.

"... The news about the ATS system even took human rights
organizations that defend privacy by surprise. They had thought that
the ATS was only used to identify baggage, not passengers. According
to David Sobel, a lawyer from Fundacion Frontera Electronica, 'it is
probably the most invasive system developed by the government in
terms of number of affected people.'"

- "A beginning without a honeymoon"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion" on special assignment in Mexico, D.F.,
writes (12/02) "... Pamela Starr, Mexican analyst at the largest
multinational consulting corporation on political analysis, Eurasia
Group, said that five months after winning elections and having gone
through a difficult transition, 'there will not be any honeymoon for

"During the first weeks and months of his term in office, Calderon
will have to face a series of serious challenges. The major and most
immediate challenge will be posed by the leftist opposition, but it
will not be the only one.'
But she trusts the new president's 'realistic strategy.'"

- "Contradictions"

Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading "Clarin," writes
(12/02) "Be careful. Let's not believe that this conflict is the
result of Mexicans going crazy. You could be wrong. It is happening
to them, but it is a sign of a democratic weakness that surpasses
the borders of that contradicting country...

"It is the cost of the well-spread model of the last fifteen years,
which did not take into account that modernizing a country means to
eliminate, not boost, inequality...

"The main threat to democracy in the region is still a distribution
system marked by exclusion which gains explosive features and ends
up bursting. The first thing to do is to neutralize this threat."

- "Kirchner, Iran and AMIA"

Juan Gabriel Tokatlian, professor of International Relations at
Universidad San Andres, writes in "Enfoques" supplement
(daily-of-record "La Nacion") (12/03) "Judge Roberto Canicoba
Corral's decision is a major event. Furthermore, it will perhaps be
the most important judicial decision and the one having the greatest
impact in the first six years of the 21st century regarding
Argentine diplomatic and defense issues...

"... (Argentina's) willingness to cooperate with the US on security
issues was evident - while (the Argentine government) criticized
Washington's 'global war on terrorism' and its military deployment
in Iraq, it supported Washington's security policies...

"... Washington and Tel Aviv could eventually manipulate Buenos
Aires' complaint against Tehran for their own benefit. The
interesting thing is that they have not done it so far and they are
extremely cautious on this issue.

"Argentina will have to avoid relying on any of them to handle its
difficult situation with Iran... It is important to understand that
2007 will be a crucial year - either the international community
decides to live with the fact that Iran could become a nuclear power
in the next decade, or military actions will be launched against
Tehran with unpredictable consequences for the Middle East and the

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:


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