Cablegate: Media Reaction; Venezuelan Referendum; Aftermath Of
DE RUEHBU #2295/01 3391707
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 051707Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9839
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002295
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; VENEZUELAN REFERENDUM; AFTERMATH OF
ANNAPOLIS PEACE CONFERENCE; 12/04/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's leading international stories are focused on implications of
Venezuelan Hugo Chavez's defeat last Sunday; and steps to build the
'peace construct' in the Middle East based on the Annapolis final
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Chavez in his labyrinth"
Ricardo Roa, deputy general editor of leading "Clarin," writes
(12/04) "When Chavez said that voting 'Yes' was voting for him and
that voting 'No' meant voting against him, this was likely an
exaggerated statement from someone who is prone to exaggeration...
"According to this interpretation, the majority who rejected the
constitutional amendment for indefinite re-election voted against
Chavez. And if this time Venezuela had elected its president, Chavez
should have had to leave power.
"Neither of the two things is true - what has just happened is that
Venezuelans set a limit on their president's domestic ambitions and
put an end to the myth of his invincibility. It was a punishment
against his personal project rather than against his management,
which although deficient in many regards has improved the economic
and social conditions of all...
"What is apparent is that his permanent confrontational strategy and
radicalized discourse did not work this time, both domestically and
overseas - he has always confronted the US and in recent times he
has argued with Brazilian lawmakers (whom he called 'Washington
puppets,'), Zapatero and the King of Spain as well as with President
"Chavez only partially admitted his defeat - he promised to insist
on the amendment without any changes whatsoever. He either says this
not to lose power in his remaining four years of government or it is
another of his exaggerated statements, which have started to become
dangerous particularly for him."
- "Venezuela said no"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" editorializes (12/04) "In fact, Hugo
Chavez was defeated. He did not lose the presidency or an ordinary
election but the referendum for a constitutional amendment, which
was going to strengthen him even more...
"The tight outcome of the referendum, in which a little over half of
voters said no to Chavez's ambition of indefinite re-election and to
the establishment of an economy based on 'socialist principles'...
"The fact that Chavez has found an obstacle to his ambitions in his
own country is healthy both for Venezuelan and Latin American
democracy and institutions...
"Through the referendum, the Venezuelan people... conveyed a sign of
- "Washington does not hide its satisfaction vis-`-vis (Chavez's)
Hugo Alconada Mon, daily-of-record "La Nacion's" Washington-based
correspondent, writes (12/04) "With a smile she did not want and was
not able to hide, Dana Perino, the White House's spokesperson
welcomed yesterday the news of Venezuelan Hugo Chavez's defeat...
"During her usual daily press conference, a smiling Perino said 'I
think this result is a good omen for Venezuelan freedom.'
Venezuelans have expressed their opinion, have voted against the
reforms proposed by Chavez, and I believe this is a good sign for
"Perino, as well as other well-known voices in this capital city,
considered the election as a challenge to oppression in Venezuela.
Gordon Johndroe, National Security spokesperson, termed the 'No'
triumph as a sign that 'the Venezuelan people want to continue
living in freedom and democracy.'"
- "Steps to build peace and confidence"
Business-financial "El Cronista" carries an opinion piece by Agustin
Romero, international analyst, who writes (12/04) "The Annapolis
conference between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority
ended with a final declaration that marked the beginning of a
negotiating process. This month talks will kick off aimed at finally
creating an independent Palestinian State before 2009.
"The Annapolis conference had an undeclared double goal. One,
getting out of the status quo in which Palestinians and Israelis
were merged... Second, strengthening the weakened leaders that were
harassed by their own domestic troubles...
"The conference had two major achievements. On the one hand, the
attendance of 49 delegations, including the 12 Arab nations that do
not recognize Israel (such as Syria, which is formally still at war
with Israel, and Saudi Arabia, which had never agreed to negotiate
with the Jewish State. However, the most striking thing among
attendees is that for the first time in history, international
institutions like the WB, the IMF, the UN and the Arab League
attended the conference. On the other hand, the conference made
patent that, for now, the international community does not want to
hold talks with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.
"Major challenges are: getting to know whether there is real
willingness to achieve peace in the region or the parties just
sought some international 'oxygen' as well as international credit
in Annapolis; how the weakened leaders will manage to wage in
parallel with domestic and foreign enemies; whether the 2008
agreement will definitely put an end to the Arab/Palestinian
conflict or whether they should first deal with the creation of a
Palestinian State and leave the remaining controversies for the
"Perhaps, the formula to solve the sensitive and complicated issue
of the Palestinian refugees could well be (acknowledging) the
refugees' right to return... as long as Israel is the Jews' national
homeland and the Palestinian territories (the future State of West
Bank and Gaza) is the Palestinians' national homeland."
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