Cablegate: Media Reaction; Venezuelan Hugo Chavez Not Attending
DE RUEHBU #1221/01 1760851
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 250851Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8490
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001221
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: MEDIA REACTION; VENEZUELAN HUGO CHAVEZ NOT ATTENDING
MERCOSUR PRESIDENTIAL SUMMIT; US-SINO-LATIN AMERICAN TIES; 06/21/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Local papers lead with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's decision
not to attend the Asuncion Mercosur presidential summit; and the
implications of Chinese and Indian corporations and governments'
reinvigorated ties to Latin and Central America.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Without any formal notification whatsoever, Chavez cancels his
trip to the Asuncion Mercosur summit"
Eleonora Gosman, Sao Paulo-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
writes (06/21) "Venezuelan Hugo Chavez will not attend the Mercosur
summit in Asuncion... It is the first time he will miss a Mercosur
summit since Venezuela formally asked to enter the bloc in December
2005. The reason for Chavez not attending the summit is that he will
visit Russia to buy armaments...
"... In the view of Buenos Aires diplomats working with Mercosur,
this will fundamentally be 'a political sign of discontent vis-`-vis
Venezuela's inability to impose on Mercosur a logic that is
different from that of the bloc.' The same sources underscored that
'Chavez needs to be surrounded rather than isolated. However,
sometimes governments cannot avoid a certain degree of arrogance.'"
- "Caracas' back and forth moves"
Leading "Clarin" (06/21) carries an opinion piece by its columnist
Pablo Ceron, who writes "Hugo Chavez will purchase weapons from
Moscow on June 28 while his regional counterparts will gather in
Asuncion at a new Mercosur summit.
"... At the very least, it is striking that the controversial
Venezuelan president is missing the regional summit following a
number of disagreements with the Brazilian Congress due to the
closure of a Venezuelan opposed TV channel.
"Yesterday, Chavez conveyed a possible reason when he said that his
country is not desperate to enter Mercosur.
"His decision could be understood as a way to put pressure on
Mercosur to speed up Venezuela's entry into the bloc. Or perhaps it
is a new arm-wrestling with Brazil, with whom he competes for
influence in the region."
- "China and India make progress in Latin America"
Leading "Clarin" carries an op-ed piece by Sergio Cesarin, political
analyst (Universidad Di Tella) and researcher at CONICET (Consejo
Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas) (National
Council on Scientific and Technical Research), who opines (06/21)
"The recent establishment of diplomatic ties between Costa Rica and
China after 61 years of Taiwan-Costa Rican ties is a political and
diplomatic move with a number of impacts for the region and
"First and foremost, it reasserts the fact that Latin America is the
main field of confrontation between China and Taiwan in their
unresolved confrontation over reunification...
"Secondly, it reaffirms China's unwavering reunification goal by
combining political, economic, and military resources in order to
increase Taiwan's international isolation. China is breaking the
'bloc diplomacy' adopted by Central American countries regarding
"Third, it underscores the importance of economic players in this
subtle diplomatic chess game...
"Fourth, the end of the cycle is also due to the shortfalls typical
of a disturbed Taiwan...
"Finally, we could wonder how relevant this scenario is for the US
as long as it demonstrates the success of a Chinese political
operation in an economic field that relies on US markets through an
FTA and that is geopolitically sensitive to US security interests.
"... Chinese VP Wu Yi's trip to the US reaffirmed the importance of
the US-Sino strategic relationship. Some of its aspects can be seen
in the ties between China and Latin America...
"However, China is not alone and this is good news for us. India,
the second largest populated country in the world and the second
largest economic power in the developing world, is also deploying a
strategy focused on a rapprochement with Latin America.
"In this framework, Latin and Central America seem to be in the
focus of the global strategies implemented by Chinese and Indian
corporations and governments in their search for new markets, access
to raw materials and exports of services. Perhaps, more important
than this is the game of interests both countries are playing in
aligning or not with the US."
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