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Cablegate: Media Report - Editorial On U.S.-Chile Scholarship

VZCZCXYZ0011
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #1336 2262151
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 142151Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1996

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 001336

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR R/MR, I/PP, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA, PM, INL

STATE FOR INR/R/MR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO OPRC PTER CI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT - EDITORIAL ON U.S.-CHILE SCHOLARSHIP
AGREEMENT IN LEADING DAILY


1. On August 14, conservative, influential newspaper-of-record "El
Mercurio" (circ. 129,000) ran an editorial entitled "Educational
Cooperation." Full translation follows:

2. "The university scholarships agreement signed by Minister Foxley
and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice represents a modern and
indispensable new element for bilateral cooperation. In addition,
these accords are a positive result of the good relations and the
multiple dimensions that bilateral ties can lead to between two
countries that share values of political and economic freedoms.

3. "The strengthening of national democratic institutions, the
elimination of trade barriers and the increase in Chile's individual
income go farther and make rather useless the traditional assistance
programs aimed at democratic stability and development, which are
offered by governments of industrialized nations and based on
financial aid that is normally barely relevant.

4. "Since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the United
States, we in our pages have highlighted the need to broaden the
bilateral agenda. The agenda should focus on our inadequacies and
take advantage of U.S. strengths in areas supplemental to trade,
particularly, in education.

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5. "A recent report by the Center For European Reform, 'The Future
of European Universities,' noted that among the twenty main
universities in the world, eighteen are American, and most of them
are private. From those and other universities comes the bulk of
progress in knowledge, science and technology. These institutions
attract 30 percent of the foreign university students on the planet.
Access to this wealth has incalculable value.

6. "It would be important to continue advancing even further along
this path with other nations of renowned academic excellence by
opening new networks and programs for courses. This should be done
not only abroad but at home in this country to optimize and multiply
the benefits of exchanges for Chilean schools and universities.

7. "The agreements signed with the United States and the promotion
of other similar ones poses new tasks and changes to the Foreign
Ministry's services. Similarly, for the sake of guaranteeing equal
opportunities, measures are needed to assure an open and competitive
application process for students that meet the qualifications. This
would prevent a repeat of complaints some time ago over the granting
of official (Chilean) scholarships based on political preferences,
favoritism and other considerations alien to ability and the public
interest. More important than signing international agreements is
making good use of them, which, in this case, impacts on our
reputation abroad."

8. Comment: The reference about the need for a transparent
selection process highlights a problem affecting a prestigious
Chilean Presidential scholarship program. In that program many
recipients were the children of high-level members of the ruling
party.

YAMAUCHI

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