Cablegate: Media Reaction; Antonini Wilson; Evo Morales; 08/29/07
DE RUEHBU #1705/01 2411639
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291639Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9062
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001705
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; ANTONINI WILSON; EVO MORALES; 08/29/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Leading international stories today are related to the FBI finding
Antonini Wilson in Miami; the relationships among Argentina,
Venezuela and the US; and internal Bolivian politics.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "The FBI finds Wilson in Miami and now expects an arrest order"
Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarn,"
writes (08/29) "... The FBI officially notified the Argentine
Federal Police that Antonini Wilson was at his home in Key
"However, an FBI agent in Miami told 'Clarn' that Antonini is an
American citizen and that, therefore, he cannot be arrested or
prevented from leaving the country, and much less compelled to stay
at home unless there is a warrant from an American judge.'
"According to the Extradition Treaty signed between Argentina and
the US, Antonini Wilson's capture should be requested via the
diplomatic way. Sources from the Argentine Embassy to Washington,
DC, told 'Clarn' that the request for Antonini's extradition had
not arrived yet. A US diplomat told 'Clarn' referred to a lack of
confidence that the Argentine Government would act swiftly...
"'We suspect it is a money laundering case. It is just like in Menem
times with the Juarez Cartel - Mexican drug dealers purchased
everything in Argentina to launder drug-trafficking money. Now, the
same can be said regarding the Venezuelan mafia's use of
petrodollars, which obtains protection because of the bonds
"Asked whether they have evidence, the source answered: 'What we
know is that there are mechanisms. Many security agencies (CIA, DEA)
are dealing with the investigation...'
"In this scenario, Antonini would only be one element of a huge
illegal business machinery. The source said he did not believe that
the money Antonini was carrying in his suitcase was aimed at funding
Cristina's election campaign...
"The truth is that for the moment no one has real evidence of
anything... Antonini's suitcase only seems to be the tip of an
iceberg, although no one really knows what is under the water."
- "The Ball is in Bush's Court"
Luis Bruchstein, columnist of left-of-center "Pgina 12," writes
(08/29) "Regardless of what Guido Antonini Wilson 'is,' what he has
become is more important because his public emergence was the peak
of the difficult relations among Argentina, Venezuela and the US...
The trade relationship between Argentina and Venezuela has been
fruitful for the two countries and has increased a lot under the
Kirchner administration. There is also agreement on regional issues
regarding Mercosur and Latin American integration. Argentina
recognizes differences on other issues related to the domestic
political process of both countries, but the diversity of
relationships is fervently defended. However, the US and some
European powers are determined to isolate Chvez. And they generally
agree with right-wing opponents from all Mercosur countries... One
pivot of this campaign has been Chvez's alleged interference in the
domestic policies of his allies and neighbors...
"... Whatever Antonini Wilson is, he has become a piece in US
politics and his fate will be related to US interests.
"Whether it was planned or not, the ball (this means Antonini) is in
George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice's court. It does not look like a
move that could have been planned or much less wanted by the
governments of Argentina and Venezuela. Regardless of what US courts
may decide, the Venezuelan Government is unlikely to have ordered or
advised Antonini Wilson... to take refuge in the US. Rather, it
would have found a way to hide him in Venezuela or send him to Saudi
Arabia, the end of the world, Iran or Afghanistan... This
circumstance reveals that Antonini moved freely and that he did not
have so much protection from Venezuela as was taken for granted in
most of the stories written."
- "At a dead-end ally"
Pablo Gaggero, international columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacisn," writes (08/29) "In contrast to his Venezuelan friend and
ally, President Hugo Chvez, who faces no obstacles to successful
obtaining constitutional amendment, Evo Morales finds only
difficulties in completing his Constitutional project, which is a
vital instrument to imposing his governmental program.
"... Yesterday, the painfully concerned political opposition moved
towards the regions or departments, and staged a demonstration
unprecedented in the history of Bolivia.
"... Political analyst Cayetano Llobet, from La Paz,
opined 'Morales missed an extraordinary opportunity to consolidate a
state that was crumbling into pieces and instead he launched a
confrontational government with an ethno-centered, Andean,
indigenous perspective that disdains the productive sector.'
"The Constituent Assembly, which has been paralyzed for months...,
is La Paz's Achilles heel. 'It is a Venezuelan copy and serves the
same purpose - the establishment of some sort of lifetime
presidency, but it did not work here, we can say it failed.'
"... However, analysts agree that Morales' strength to mobilize has
not diminished. Jorge Lazarte, former judge of the National Election
Court said 'If elections were held today, Morales would win again,
although he should start fearing the increasingly stronger and more
creative regional opposition.'
"Economist Gonzalo Chvez defined the situation as a 'catastrophic
connection,' which prevents a new social and political pact from
putting the social and economic stability on track.
"In this confrontation, Bolivia's alliance with Venezuela and Cuba
has started to gain impetus, but is still a secondary factor. Llobet
warned 'it is at minimum irritating that the Bolivian president's
transportation and safety is in the hands of the Venezuelan military
... Bolivia's domestication (rather than subordination) to
Venezuelan military command is unacceptable.'"
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