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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; Argentine

VZCZCXYZ0030
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1501 2141630
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021630Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8808
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001501

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; VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ; ARGENTINE
ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AND FUTURE ARGENTINE GOVERNMENT; 08/02/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Leading international stories today include Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez's attempt to amend the country's constitution in order
to obtain indefinite re-election; and prospects for Argentina's
economic boom and Cristina Kirchner.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "The temptation of indefinite re-election"

Leading "Clarin" editorializes (08/02) "Indefinite presidential
re-election poses a serious problem for Latin American democracies,
whatever the government or whoever the leader who proposes or
imposes it...

"This is the case of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is
promoting a new constitutional amendment... with the purpose of
introducing, among other clauses, the possibility of being
re-elected in an unlimited way. Chavez was re-elected on two
occasions by a broad majority and his third term in office, which
will end in 2012, should be the last one under the current
constitution in force.

"Nonetheless, the Venezuelan leader is now promoting his indefinite
re-election, an initiative that is also promoted by Bolivian
President Evo Morales on the grounds that the people have a right to
continue electing its leader as many times as necessary, without any
limits whatsoever.

"... No one can discuss the Venezuelan President's legitimacy of
origin and his popular support. However, a new constitutional
amendment, which is also aimed at changing the political and
economic regime, implies a dangerous confrontation with the basics
of democracy."

- "The ultimate lender"

Gustavo Bazzan, leading "Clarin's" political columnist, writes
(08/02) "When the (Argentine) Government decided to resume its
financial contact with Hugo Chavez, it must have thought that
'friends prove themselves at bad moments.' (The Argentine
Government) has tried to overlook him in an attempt to attract the
debt's voluntary market.

"However, it is clear that needs prevail on wishes. Loans have been
more expensive for Argentina for weeks and public debt maturities
cannot wait. This is why Argentina's call to Venezuela in search of
petro-dollars was imperative."

- "Going for broke"

James Neilson, contributor to liberal, English-language "Buenos
Aires Herald," writes (08/02) "... Unfortunately for Kirchner, for
his probable successor, who just happens to be his wife, and for the
country, there are already signs that the boom that followed the
latest bust is all too likely to end in tears...

"... Since 2002, the world has been kind to Argentina, as it has
been to most other resource-rich but poorly governed countries...

"For understandable reasons, Kirchner is reluctant to point out how
much the country owes to the worldwide boom. Instead, he attributes
the heady growth of the last five years to his clear-sighted courage
in breaking away from the clutches of the IMF and rejecting the
advice of 'neo-liberals' who think he should have made the most of
an opportunity to ram through what they call structural reforms such
as loosening up the labor market, making people pay more for the
energy they consume, lowering protectionist barriers and making a
decent effort to attract big investors.

"Thanks to her trips to Europe and the US, Cristina Kirchner seems
to be less enthralled than her husband by the notion that the best
way to make Argentina prosperous is to rebel against the
international consensus which, alas, has more in common with
'neo-liberalism' than with the old-fashioned corporatism plus crony
capitalism that persists hereabouts. This being so, there are those
who assume that should she be elected she will attempt to make
Argentina more like Chile, say, than Venezuela or Bolivia."

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

WAYNE

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