Cablegate: Death of Pinochet; Digital Tv Standard Competition In
DE RUEHBU #2753/01 3490948
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 150948Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6757
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002753
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: DEATH OF PINOCHET; DIGITAL TV STANDARD COMPETITION IN
ARGENTINA; US-LATIN AMERICAN TIES; TRI-BORDER AREA; BOLIVIA;
12/14/06; BUENOS AIRES
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Key international stories today include the implications of the
death of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet; the debate over
Argentina's upcoming decision on digital TV standard; US Assistant
Secretary Shannon's statements about US ties with Latin America;
the USG's designation of individuals and entities providing
financial and logistical support for Hezbollah in the Tri-Border;
and mounting tension in Bolivia.
2. OPINION PIECES
- "A dictator leaves the scene"
James Neilson, contributor to English-language "Buenos Aires
Herald," writes (12/14) "Augusto Pinochet's demise at the ripe old
age of 91 is being celebrated with ghoulish glee by many people who
loathed him not because he was a merciless dictator but because he
was something that in their view is a great deal worse: a rightwing
dictator who espoused, after a fashion, free-market economic
policies. Unlike those who have sound personal reasons to detest him
and all his works, their feelings are determined entirely by
"By the standards prevailing in Western democracies, Pinochet was a
nasty piece of work and his regime was brutal. By Second and Third
World standards, the Chilean dictatorship he headed for 17 years was
"... Vile though the abuses perpetrated by his regime undoubtedly
were, it cannot be denied that the extreme left gave him plenty of
excuses for acting the way he did."
- "Digital TV -US digital TV standard preferred"
Leading "Clarin" reports (12/14) "The arrival of digital TV in
Argentina is nearing, after the announcement by TV cable suppliers
of a 2.5 billion dollars plus investment to digitalize their
networks and expand the broadband service they already provide. But
a feud has broken out about the digital TV standard that should be
"And according to the unanimous opinion of manufacturers of
equipment, experts in sound and some operators, the US digital TV
standard (ATSC) is the one that provides the best 'technical,
economic and inclusion' benefits among the technologies
- "The US believes that Cuba toughened its regime"
Business-financial, center-right "InfoBae" (12/14) reports "During a
conference where he made an assessment of the US ties with the
region, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere
Affairs Thomas Shannon asserted that, after Cuban leader Fidel
Castro became ill and power in Cuba was transferred to his brother
Raul, the island's regime has toughened, something that prevents
eventual reformist leaders from emerging.
"The USG (representative) added that he does not believe there could
be change in Cuba 'until Fidel is gone' and that once that happens,
the next government will have to set the path and decide between
'increased repression' and making progress on opening up to the
"Shannon pointed out that there are no 'clear signs' the latter
might happen at the moment. But he added the US follows the
situation closely. He also said that it is important to create a
common stance in the hemisphere about the future of the island and
that Washington is committed to a process of change that will
facilitate transition to democracy in Cuba.
"Regarding the US ties with the countries of the region, and bearing
in mind the nations the US has most clashed with, Shannon explained
that the US wants to improve its ties with the whole of Latin
America. 'Time has come to commit again with our distant partners in
the region and focus on the way in which we can have a relevant
"Shannon added that Washington expects to 'normalize its ties' with
Venezuela, while he acknowledged that 'there was a clear winner in
the country and that the opposition had admitted its defeat,' which
he considered good for Venezuela and the entire region."
- "Report on the Tri-Border area"
An editorial in leading "Clarin" reads (12/14) "For the first time,
the USG has released concrete information related to terrorist
suspects that are reportedly providing financial and logistical
support for Hezbollah from the Tri-Border area...
"The US Treasury Department contributed new information about a
group of residents in Ciudad del Este, and holds them liable for
financial activities related to Hezbollah. The Argentine, Brazilian
and Paraguayan governments reacted with caution to this warning, but
the truth is that little is known about illegal activities being
performed on the Tri-Border area.
"... The strong presence of an Arab community in the area and its
economic ties with the Middle East raises concern. Washington's
warning is based on these ties and on transactions that have not
been clarified so far...
"... The differing views of the US, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay
about terrorism-related activities on the Tri-Border area could be
solved through a more efficient regional surveillance, control and
- "Mounting tension in Bolivia"
Leading "Clarin" editorializes (12/14), "The official party's
behavior at the Constituent Assembly, and particularly the
intransigency attributed to its leader, Silvia Lazarte, seems to
have brought Bolivia once again to a dangerous crossroads.
"... In an unacceptable interference in Bolivia's domestic affairs,
Venezuelan Ambassador to La Paz, Julio Montes, said that if the
Morales administration asked Venezuela for troops to support him,
Venezuela would consider it.
"The Morales administration should bet on dialogue and keep the
intemperance of some of MAS militants at bay.
"Lack of respect for the rule of law seems to have brought Bolivia
back to the verge of dangerous social clashes. There is still some
more time to seek consensus."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
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