Cablegate: Media Reaction; President Chavez and Colombia; President
DE RUEHBU #1751/01 2471943
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041943Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9133
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001751
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; PRESIDENT CHAVEZ AND COLOMBIA; PRESIDENT
GEORGE W. BUSH; 09/04/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Weekend international stories include implications of Venezuelan
President Hugo Chvez' attempts to mediate between FARC and the
Colombian Government; and the possible reasons for US President
Bush's visit to Iraq.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Chvez to the rescue?"
Paul Scheltus, liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires Herald's"
international columnist, writes (09/04) "... About a fortnight ago,
Hugo Chvez offered to mediate in Colombia, the scene of Latin
America's longest running guerrilla insurgency. That offer was
welcomed by the FARC guerrillas...
"... The aim of the negotiations is clear. The release of 45
hostages being held by FARC... will be in return for the release of
hundreds of its troops.
"Should Chvez manage to broker a deal, it would make him something
of a Latin American Kofi Annan. He would be succeeding where the
French, the Spanish, the Swiss and the Catholic Church have failed.
That's because dealing with FARC is a tricky business.
"... Hostage brokering is not the only difficult piece of
negotiating that Chvez is applying his newfound diplomatic skills
to. Fearing Venezuela may eventually be blackballed from Latin
America's most prosperous trade group, Mercosur, the former colonel
has said he wants to rejoin the Andean Pact or CAN, made of Peru,
Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. That same Chvez left the CAN in a
huff in May last year, claiming the organization was 'dead.' Soon
after that, he showed up at the front door of Mercosur. He was
initially welcomed... but since then his popularity has taken a turn
for the worse...
"... So now Hugo Chvez is forced into and about face and rejoin the
old CAN... Venezuela's look to joining the Andean Pact is positive.
Ecuador and Bolivia are ideological allies in the common cause of
reaching out to Latin America's disenfranchised. Peru, which had its
feathers ruffled by Chvez during its presidential elections, has
welcomed Venezuela... Finally, Colombia is not an obstacle,
especially now that the Bolivarian has assumed the role of peace
broker. Despite the good omens through, Chvez may still feel
cheated in the end.
"... For Colombia, getting the deal approved hinges on Uribe's
ability to convince the Democrat majority in the US Congress that he
can be trusted on human rights issues.
"The irony of the situation is that, should Chvez manage to broker
a deal between FARC and the Uribe government, in doing so he would
be greatly increasing the chances of that free trade deal - which he
despises - coming about."
- "The gesture of a president that seeks to put an end to his
Oscar Ral Cardoso, international analyst of leading "Clarn,"
opines (09/04) "Was it an audacious political gesture or a public
affairs response? This seems to be the real meaning of George W.
Bush's surprising visit to Al Asad military headquarters in Northern
"The truth is that both possibilities are not mutually exclusive.
President Bush needs to generate situations aimed at putting a brake
on the deterioration of his second major announcement on Iraq...
that sending additional troops could contribute to improving the
situation and stop the incipient civil war between the Shiite
majority and the Sunni minority.
"... Bush even made a nice 'quasi-announcement.' In the event the
situation continues to improve, he said, it will be possible to
start thinking of a future reduction in the number of soldiers
trapped in the Iraqi sands... His spokespersons attempted to
downplay the impact of his words by saying that it is still too soon
to interpret his comments as a formal announcement.
"The other problem is that the validity of General Petraeus' report
is being questioned even before its content is made public.
"... Additionally, George W. Bush's task in Iraq is becoming
increasingly complicated. Not only Democrats are pressuring the
White House but also some Republicans, who have been loyal up to
now, and now fear that the problem could impair their performance in
"Perhaps, one does not need to overanalyze the symbols of this new
Bush trip to Iraq. Perhaps it is advisable to interpret it as the
beginning of a new stage in the debate on a war that many in the US
consider they can no longer win."
- "Bush's 'soldiers'"
Santiago O'Donnell, international analyst of left-of-center "Pgina
12," opines (09/02) "... (Albert) Gonzales fell precisely due to the
(federal) prosecutors scandal and the pressure of a Democrat
controlled Congress. (Both Rove and Gonzalez worked towards the
degeneration of the US judiciary by politically moving it through
blacklists and layoffs)...
"The US election map is divided into the Democratic North and the
Republican South as never before, and Capitol Hill has not reached a
bipartisan deal in a very long time. This is Bush's legacy on the US
domestic agenda and Rove is the best symbol.
"When the world's superpower legalizes torture and creates a
subhuman category to deal with combatant enemies, it loses moral
authority and when this happens it loses leadership...
"... Rove, Gonzales, Rumsfeld and Cheney were influential and
powerful men with radical ideas and agendas that led the US to a
military defeat, an economy with a mega-deficit, a major political
crisis and international isolation. One after the other fell under
the weight of history; all of them were Bush soldiers down to the
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