Cablegate: Media Reaction; Antonini Wilson; Chavez Mediation Between
DE RUEHBU #1737/01 2431628
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311628Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9118
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001737
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; CHAVEZ MEDIATION BETWEEN
URIBE AND THE FARC; CHILE; 08/31/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's most important international stories are related to the
Argentine Government's expectations regarding a request to the US
for Antonini Wilson's extradition; Venezuelan President Chvez's
attempt to mediate between the Colombian Government and the FARC;
and the allegedly "vague" reasons for Chile's latest protest against
President Bachelet's economic policies.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "The (Argentine) Government does not believe the US will extradite
Mariano Obarrio, political columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacisn's," writes (08/31) "The Kirchner administration is convinced
that Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, who has just been found in
Miami, will not be extradited to Argentina whether in the short term
or at any time in the future.
"... A high-ranking official from the Argentine Government told 'La
Nacisn': '(Antonini Wilson) is a US citizen and an intermediary
between PDVSA and the US economic top brass, and, in any event, he
is being closely watched by US security agencies.'
"... This is why the Argentine Government does not expect Judge
Novatti's request for (Antonini Wilson's) extradition to be
"... According to US sources, the FBI will not make any comments on
Antonini, and the USG limited itself to inform on the formal steps
required for the request for extradition...
"Wladimir Abad, a businessman with ties to Antonini Wilson, pointed
out yesterday that Antonini Wilson has ties to Chvez and (that he)
handles business with the Venezuelan government and with PDVSA.
"This is what the (Argentine) Government believes US authorities are
interested that Antonini cooperate to investigate other businessmen
from the so-called 'Bolivarian bourgeoisie', the businessmen related
to the Bolivarian government."
- "Chavez arrives today in Bogot to mediate between the Uribe
administration and the FARC"
Pablo Biffi, on special assignment to Bogot for leading "Clarn,"
writes (08/31) "Playing a risky role of 'mediator' between the Uribe
administration and the FARC, Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez will
arrive today in Bogot in an attempt to reach a deal allowing for
the exchange of some 40 politicians and military that are being held
by insurgents in return for some 400 imprisoned guerrilla leaders.
The Bolivarian leader's initiative has set off a wave of optimism
among the hostages' relatives...
"... In any case, FARC also told 'Clarn' that they welcomed the
Venezuelan President's initiative, although they asked him to use
his influence to convince Uribe about the need for a military
withdrawal in Colombia, which the Colombian government has bluntly
"Ties between Colombia and Venezuela, which have always been
difficult, are now in good shape and both presidents have been
pragmatic enough not to jeopardize the increasing trade between
their two countries in spite of their diverging ideological
"This time, Chvez seems to be comfortable playing a leading role,
although the rigid positions of both the government and FARC will
hinder his endeavor...
"No one knows what card the Venezuelan President may have up his
sleeve, especially when the Colombian government and FARC have
already put limits on him. A success could help Chvez repair his
impaired international image, although a failure could place him in
an awkward position.
"Diplomatic and political sources in Bogot have told 'Clarn' that
Chvez could be planning to suggest both government and guerrillas
accept another location for the exchange, without military or
guerrilla intervention, which could be 'monitored' by international
observers and the Red Cross, for example. This seems an intermediate
"... In the event both government and guerrillas agree to hold
talks, another obstacle Chvez will meet will be the FARC's demand
that two guerrillas imprisoned in the US be part of the exchange. In
this case, Washington could play a key role, although it is still
unknown to what point the US is willing to release two guerrillas in
exchange for three Americans held by the FARC since 2003.
"Additionally, what the FARC is willing to do to prevent a failure
of Chvez (whom they consider a revolutionary leader) still remains
to be seen."
- "Chile -unclear reasons for demonstrations"
Daily-of-record "La Nacisn" editorializes (08/31) "After the biggest
protests in 17 years staged against the Chilean "Concertacion"
government, President Michelle Bachelet and business chambers wonder
what the real reason was for the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores
(CUT) (trade union)'s call for a protest demonstration, independent
of their nebulous disagreement with the very inappropriately named
"During a business dinner, Bachelet admitted that 'fairer salaries'
are badly needed, although she disapproved of the violent
methodology as a way to obtain them...
"... In Chile, just like in most (Latin American) countries, there
are minorities who hope that the (economic) model is derailed. In
the demonstration the day before yesterday, some politicians
identified with the left attempted to gain ground ...
"Regardless of the structural problem (unequal income distribution),
which will not be solved with circumstantial measures such as salary
increases, the Chilean economy is in good shape. During the first
half of the year, its GDP increased at a sustained six-percent
"... Hence Bachelet's justified suspicion about the real reasons for
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