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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Middle East; Hugo Chavez; Latin America In

VZCZCXYZ0020
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1232/01 1761521
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251521Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8498
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001232

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
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; MIDDLE EAST; HUGO CHAVEZ; LATIN AMERICA IN
THE US ELECTION CAMPAIGN; 06/25/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Weekend international opinion pieces cover the US and Israel's
strategy on the Middle East; the decline of Venezuelan Hugo Chavez's
popularity in opinion surveys; and the inclusion of Latin America in
the US election campaign.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "Middle East - 'the worse, the better' strategy"

Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading "Clarin,"
writes (06/23) "How can we understand that the confrontation between
Hamas and Fatah... and the virtual separation of the Gaza Strip and
the West Bank make up a 'window of opportunity for peace' over which
President George W. Bush was so enthusiastic when he received
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in Washington? There is something about this
perspective that smells like poorly grounded opportunism.

"The armed confrontation in the Palestinian territories has been
encouraged by both Israelis and Americans since Hamas' election
victory..., although the final territorial division was not in their
plans, neither was the suspicion that Hamas' extremists could go
that far.

"... It seems now that this disaster seems to enable Jerusalem and
Washington to bet on the Palestinian 'moderates' and ignore (without
even blushing about it) that Hamas' election mandate is still valid.
They will do it for the first time starting next Monday in the
Egyptian tourist resort of Sharm el Sheik by accepting an invitation
from President Hosni Mubarak.

"... Is it advisable that 'moderates' are seen as such by
Palestinians themselves and by the rest of the Arab world? We could
say so and also that the money they are promised from the West and
Jerusalem will serve to show an example of the benefits rendered by
moderation to those who still do not believe in it.

"However, we should not alter the natural order of priorities.
Regardless of the Palestinians' economic weakness, their central
problem is not money-related, but the transformation of their
national identity into a State; and as long as no formula places a
priority on this issue, no real progress will be made, with or
without Hamas."

- "Socialism of the 21st century"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion" carries an op-ed piece by writer Mario
Vargas Llosa, who opines (06/23) "... According to an eloquent
opinion survey carried out by Caracas' Hinterlaces Institute that
was published by 'Veja' magazine, 78 per cent of Venezuelans
disapprove of Chavez's anti-US feeling; 85 percent of them condemn
the political financing of other countries; 86 per cent do not want
a Cuban-styled socialism; and also 86 per cent are against the
seizure of private property.

"Furthermore, 40 percent of Venezuelans who voted for Chavez in the
elections last December today declare that now they would vote
against him.

"Therefore, there is still hope for Venezuela, and we can assert,
without any fear of being wrong, that the 'socialism of the 21st
century'... will soon pass into history as one more invention of
those absurd dictatorships that are so plentiful in Latin America's
history.

"What made millions of Venezuelans vote for Hugo Chavez so many
times during recent years? The prevailing corruption in the
political system and the inability of governments to fight poverty
and social inequality... However, instead of voting for freedom,
they put a sword to their throats by supporting a government that
tripled the crime rate in five years, increased inflation, wasted
public resources by funding Marxist extremism all over the
hemisphere while giving life to the Cuban semi-corpse. Above all, it
is a regime that has added new and more damaging forms of corruption
to the many forms the country already had.

"Now, Commander Chavez knows that his unpopularity is growing by the
day and this is why he is rushing to close the few remaining
Venezuelan media outlets that still denounce his abuses. What
happened with RCTV is only the beginning of a process that, just
like in Cuba, will end up putting all Venezuelan mass media under
the control of the Government, save, perhaps, two or three
exceptions - allegedly independent companies (like Venevision...) -
to maintain the farce of informative pluralism. However, if one
takes into account the courageous reaction of students and people
who formerly supported the regime, this incident could also be the

beginning of the end of the Chavist revolution."

- "Latin America is almost absent from the US election campaign"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes (06/24) "Iraq, Iraq, Iraq... and
also, Iran and North Korea. These are the obvious foreign policy
priorities for those fighting to enter the White House.

"Only after this, do they tackle the (US) ties to Europe, China, the
Middle East, Africa and the rest of the world, including Latin
America. And only two, Barack Obama and John McCain, have mentioned
Argentina.

"The rejection of George W. Bush, his views, his policies and his
legacy has become basic instinct among opponents and also among
Republicans.

"If there was any doubt, the dozen Democratic and Republican
candidates with serious potential for taking office in 2008, either
as president or VP, took distance from Bush. Republicans clearly
distanced themselves from him during last May's debate. They
mentioned Ronald Reagan 19 times for his leadership, his ability and
his view. They only mentioned Bush once. McCain stands alone in
maintaining that troops should stay in Iraq.

"McCain, who is running third among Republicans, made the first and
most critical comment about Argentina during the only lecture he has
given so far to explain his view on Latin America, in which he
called Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a 'dictator.'

"The senator lashed out against 'the chaotic Tri-Border Area, which
he called 'a paradise for smugglers and radical groups,' and he
recalled that 'Iran launched terrorist attacks in Argentina.'

"Democrat senator Barack Obama made a minor gesture towards
Argentina - he promised that he would reestablish US ties to the
region in an article published by the prestigious magazine Foreign
Affairs.

"... Both political parties reject Chavez outright ... and everyone
agrees to condemn Fidel Castro."

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

WAYNE

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