Cablegate: Media Reaction; Venezuelan-Argentine Ties; 08/15/07
DE RUEHBU #1608/01 2281532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161532Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8937
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001608
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
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; VENEZUELAN-ARGENTINE TIES; 08/15/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's international leading stories are related to the current
status of the Argentine-Venezuelan relationship in the aftermath of
the suitcase-scandal and its impact on Cristina Kirchner's chances
to win the Argentine presidency.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Chvez and the 'Boli(varian)-oligarchy'"
Leading "Clarin's" general editor, Ricardo Kirschbaum, writes
(08/15) "Hugo Chvez is one of the central issues of the (Argentine)
election campaign, either the result of unusual characteristics the
opposition likes to exploit in the Venezuelan President, such as his
authoritarianism or attempts to exercise regional hegemony or to
certain political eccentricities...
"Chvez is not a product that the Venezuelan political parties can
disregard. Furthermore, Chvez is an outcome of Venezuela's
broken-down political system... Chavism made up for the shortfalls
and miseries of Venezuelan politics itself.
"... There is an ideological issue in the debate... and Chvez fuels
the fire to increase the controversy - he knows he is supported by
large popular segments of his country and his provocative game
largely surpasses all limits. Both his alliance with Iran and Cuba
and his open trade relationship with the US reveal that he is an
old-fashioned Napoleonic leader.
"There is a term that has been created to feature those who are
favored by Chvez's policies. It is the 'Boli(varian)-oligarchy'...
- the new wealthy sector that is fed by 'Bolivarian Socialism.' Many
of them depend on the very rich state oil company."
- "Fracas with Caracas?"
An editorial in liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires Herald"
reads (08/15) "Venezuela's Hugo Chvez is famous for constantly
demonizing the US while supplying a crucial eighth of its oil needs
- could the Nstor Kirchner administration be entering into a
similarly two-faced relationship with Venezuela, criticizing Chvez
for not offering an explanation or even apology for the
dollar-filled suitcase... which has become an electoral
embarrassment while at the same time eagerly accepting Venezuela as
a debt bond purchaser...? If the electoral embarrassment is
survived, it could become a crucial defining feature of a future
Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner presidency whether Venezuela serves a
scapegoat function or whether the estrangement is more genuine.
"Regardless of the ultimate future of ties with Venezuela or the
justice of solely blaming Chvez for the undeclared 800,000 dollars
aboard an aircraft chartered by an Argentine state agency, a hard
line with Venezuela certainly presents a chance to convert crisis
into opportunity. Mrs. Kirchner can hardly preen herself as a
champion of institutional quality... while deepening ties with a
country governed by a paratrooper where the institutional mechanisms
are so weak that there is no curiosity about almost a million
dollars being undeclared. Quite apart from being a distraction from
the government's share in the corruption, Venezuela-bashing might
well prove a profitable electoral strategy, attracting many votes
among the crucial middle class. Almost the only votes at risk would
be the pro-Chvez pickets..., but such groups have always been
important for their nuisance value rather than their votes...
"But the potential should not be merely electoral - this should be a
golden opportunity for the presidential candidate to convert into
reality her slogan - 'The change is only just beginning.' And
towards that end the withdrawal of the first judge in the case under
the pressure of the Customs head is hardly the best start."
- "The diplomacy of suitcases"
Business-financial "El Cronista" carries an opinion piece by
political analyst Julio Burdman, who writes (08/15) "... The
suitcase-diplomacy phenomenon, also known as 'dollar diplomacy,' is
typical of those countries which need to purchase international
reputation and acceptance...
"... The problem of the Venezuela of Chavez is not diplomatic
acknowledgement but reputation. It needs friends. It is a country
ruled by a hegemonic, authoritarian and militarist government, which
makes it vulnerable to international isolation. While its president
was popularly elected, the status of democracy in Venezuela could
well jeopardize its belonging to Mercosur, the OAS and every other
international forum having a democratic clause, as well as deserve
criticism from its Latin American counterparts. All this could not
only impair its foreign policy opportunities but basically its
domestic legitimacy, which is ruled by the law of oil-politics.
"This framework and the Bolivarian's ambitions of international
leadership led Chvez to project 2007 public expenditure and
investment abroad for almost 50 billion dollars."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
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