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Cablegate: Iraq; Chavez; Ecuador; Myles Frechette in Buenos Aires;

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #2705/01 3410940
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 070940Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6702
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002705

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: IRAQ; CHAVEZ; ECUADOR; MYLES FRECHETTE IN BUENOS AIRES;
12/06/06; BUENOS AIRES


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Key international stories today include the US Pentagon's director
Robert Gates' statements regarding the war in Iraq; the aftermath of
Venezuelan President Chavez' re-election; and the outcome of
Ecuadorian elections.

Conservative "La Prensa", business-financial "InfoBae" and "Ambito
Financiero" report on yesterday's PAS press round table with
Ambassador Myles Frechette.

2. OPINION PIECES

- "The (US) Pentagon admits 'We are not winning the war in Iraq"

Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
writes (12/06) "'The US is not winning the war in Iraq.' 'What we
are doing is not satisfactory.' 'There is a certain risk of a
regional confrontation.' 'We can dramatically reduce the number of
US soldiers.' Everything Robert Gates, the new head of the US
Pentagon, said yesterday is to some extent obvious...

"Nevertheless, on the verge of entering a government that has
systematically denied the simplest truths, his statements
represented a spectacular sign that things are starting to change in
Washington, perhaps in spite of the president himself. Former
advisors to his father, like Gates, the so-called 'realistic group,'
finally managed to replace neo-conservatives and start designing new
geopolitics that will impact the whole world."

- "The intervention"

Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading "Clarin," writes
(12/06) "The statement made by the new head of the US Pentagon
reveals a reality that is widely known in spite of the White House's
insistence to deny it.

"However, there is an extraordinary element in Robert Gates'
testimony - it entails a viewpoint change on the war in Iraq, which
does not seem to have taken into account the position of US
President George W. Bush and his VP, Dick Cheney.

"Gates' statement... acted just like an advanced of a takeover of
the USG. It is not hard to imagine where Bush and his power will
stand when this powerful group known as 'the realistic ones' states
that everything was wrong and that negotiation should be sought,
even with Iran. It is a tremendous sign of weakness of both Bush and
his staff. It is the collapse of fundamentalist positions and it
announces, in the form of an emergency, a new global policy."

- "Mercosur could lose trade benefits with the US"

Conservative "La Prensa" (12/06) reports "The USG will shortly
review its GSP and Argentina could lose a tariff umbrella that in
2005 resulted in exports for 616.5 million dollars. The White House
wants to use this program for the benefit of the poorest countries
and several senators also want to use it to punish countries that
hindered the progress of the Doha Round and the FTAA.

"This is what Myles Frechette, a former member of the Foreign
Service and current international consultant on commercial issues,
said during a round table with journalists at the US Embassy."

- "'Argentina and Brazil could pay for their rejection of the
FTAA'"

Business-financial "Ambito Financiero" (12/06) reports "Myles
Frechette, a former head of the Council of the Americas and Americas
Society and currently an expert in foreign trade and a member of a
consulting company in Washington, said that 'President Kirchner's
change of attitude regarding the US does not seem long standing.
There is obvious relief in Washington, because the President set
aside his aggressive public tone against the US, but I do not see
substantial changes.

"'I believe the Doha Round is unlikely to be accepted by the US. The
Trade Promotion Authority will fall due next July 7. If no deal is
reached, we will have to wait several more years. Chances that
Washington agrees to the terms are next to zero. It depends on
Europe lowering farm subsidies, then the US would follow suit. This
is not going to happen.'

"... The FTAA does not exist as a possibility as long as farm
subsidies are not removed. However, the US will make progress on
bilateral deals and could make up a free trade area with (Colombia,
Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia), something that would help bring more
investment to the region."


- "More labor reforms to attract investment"

Business-financial, center-right "InfoBae" reports (12/06) "Invited
by the US Embassy, Myles Frechette, an international consultant on
commercial issues, gave a conference in which he spoke about
globalization and trade deals." "In his viewpoint, the FTAA has
given way to bilateral deals."

"... Frechette acknowledged that ever since the FTAA vanished as a
possibility, Washington has attempted to 'harmonize bilateral deals
with Latin America.'

"He pointed out that 'this would help to attract investment to all
the countries and possibly in one year we could have deals with
Ecuador and Chile. And we would also like to reach (trade deals)
with Argentina and Brazil.'

3. EDITORIALS

- "Renewed support for Hugo Chavez"

Leading "Clarin" editorializes (12/06) "Venezuela has just renewed
its support for President Chavez and re-elected him for another
six-year term...

"... With this overwhelming support, Chavez has the path cleared to
consolidate his policies of heavy state interventionism in the
economy...

"The political direction Venezuela has taken under Chavez is also
the result of the crisis and collapse of a political system that ran
the country during four decades and was unable to successfully
tackle the challenges and changes of the '90s.

"... Chavez's political and economic influence will continue to
spark controversy, opportunities, expectations and mistrust in the
region."

- "A change of direction in Ecuador"

An editorial in daily-of-record "La Nacion" reads (12/06) "The
victory of the nationalist left-winger Rafael Correa will mark a
strong economic and social change in the country following a long
period of political instability.

"... Although Correa won after having toned down his discourse and
taking some distance from Hugo Chavez..., he will obviously try to
quickly fulfill his campaign promises..., which included the
decision not to renew the agreement with the US for the rental of
the Manta naval base, and, in contrast with Colombia and Peru, not
to reach an FTA with the US, a situation that will fracture the free
trade Andean corridor and the prospects of sub-regional
integration.

"Correa's task during the next four years will not be easy. In
addition to his little governmental experience, he will not control
the fragmented national Congress, which is in hands of the
opposition, and will be compelled to hold permanent negotiations
and, perhaps, to moderate his stances."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

MATERA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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