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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Venezuelan Referendum; Bolivia; Argentine

VZCZCXYZ0005
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #2284/01 3380849
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 040849Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9823
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002284

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; VENEZUELAN REFERENDUM; BOLIVIA; ARGENTINE
FUTURE FOREIGN POLICY; 12/03/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Weekend international stories include the outcome of the Venezuelan
referendum; the chaos in Bolivia; and the Cristina Kirchner's
administration future foreign policy.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "A Myth"

Paula Lugones, international columnist of leading "Clarin," writes
(12/03) "In almost nine years of Hugo Chavez in power, this is the
first time the president's proposal is not a clear front-runner in
an election.

"Yesterday's outcome shows a clear declination in the votes Chavez
obtained and an encouraging message for the opposition.

"So far, anti-Chavists had taken refuge in a senseless diatribe and
they had never been able to form a consolidated and reliable front
vis-`-vis a president that opened the doors of his project to the
poor while his authoritarian air irritated well-off sectors.

"Now, the opposition sees a light - it was quite clear in Manuel
Rosales' rare conciliating message for the Venezuelan people. For
the first time, they felt that the myth of Chavez invincibility
could be demolished."

- "The US urges Venezuelans to vote and has doubts about
transparency"

Hugo Alconada Mon, daily-of-record "La Nacion's" Washington-based
correspondent, comments (12/02) "The US wants Venezuelans to vote in
a massive way. However, it is also mistrustful about the
transparency of the process and the vote count, just like about
everything related to Venezuelan Hugo Chavez or his 'regime,' which
the White House, Republicans and Democrats alike see increasingly
further from democracy.

"The US Department of State... asked Venezuelans to exercise their
'inalienable right to express their will in a democratic way in a
climate of tolerance, without intimidation or violence,' instead of
abstaining from voting.

"... The reasons for mistrust towards Chavez are several in
Washington - among others, his ties to Iran, his negotiations with
the FARC... and his influence in Bolivia, as well as his ties to
Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador, his threats to foreign investment and
his use of oil as a political weapon.

"Nonetheless, Chavez has also become a political tool for the White
House, which invokes him to promote its own agenda in an excluding
way - you are either with Bush or with Caracas. In this way, number
two at the Department of State, John Negroponte, asked
Democratic-controlled Congress to approve FTAs with Colombia, Peru
and Panama."

- "Violence in Bolivia"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion" (12/03) "Since Evo Morales took over the
Bolivian presidency, the country's social peace has gradually
deteriorated until reaching its current situation of high-tension,
which ended up in a wave of violent confrontation.

"... The truth is that Bolivia is today going through a true limit
situation, which is on the verge of the rupture of democracy, with a
highly polarized population in two postures that seem
irreconcilable...

"Following the swift approval of the misleading new Constitution...,
six of the nine departments of the country staged a 24-hour protest
demonstration and called to civil disobedience.

"... Given his arrogance, Morales seems to have lost credibility,
and this is why the opposition is asking for the participation of
the Catholic Church in negotiations. The church is one of the few
institutions that still enjoy the respect of most Bolivians...

"... The risk posed to the peace of the region seems to have
substantially increased. Argentina should at least offer its
mediation for a re-encounter."

- "Will (Argentina's) foreign policy change?"

Leading "Clarin" (12/03) carries an op-ed piece by Fabian Calle and
Federico Merke, professors of international relations (UCA, UTDT and
USAL universities), who write "Nestor Kirchner's foreign policy was

focused on four main points... - the restructuring of the country's
foreign debt and the payment of the debt to the IMF..., its ties to
Bolivia, its ideological rapprochement to Venezuela..., and its
distancing from Uruguay due to the conflict over Botnia
establishment...

"The Cristina Kirchner administration will have to be more creative
in order to rethink Argentina's international insertion. The global
scenario's main feature will be the US withdrawal from Iraq and a
less unilateral policy that will be closer to some realistic
multilateralism...

"A crucial point in this regard is that the Democratic Party, the
front-runner to access the presidency, does not seem against the
verbal escalation with the Bolivarian project. Washington's critical
assessment of the Venezuelan leader's project is well-known...

"In this regard, one of the main challenges of this new stage will
be to take advantage of constructive and useful ties to Brasilia,
Washington and Caracas in a climate of confrontation between Chavez
and the US, Spain and, to a lesser extent, to Brazil.

"... In the context of the spat between Hugo Chavez and King Juan
Carlos from Spain, Cristina Kirchner will likely downplay her
ideological ties to Caracas, although reinforcing the pragmatic and
realistic side of Argentina's ties to Venezuela. This realistic
strategy will likely repeat itself towards Mexico as a way to
balance Itamaraty's leading role..."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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