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Cablegate: Media Reaction - Bolivia, Venezuela and the United States

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0841 2601304
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161304Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3714

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000841

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO CI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION - BOLIVIA, VENEZUELA AND THE UNITED STATES

1. Block quotes of September 13-15 commentaries and editorials in
Santiago dailies on Bolivia, Venezuela, and the United States

2. "El Mercurio," conservative, influential newspaper-of-record
(circ. 129,000, 9/15) editorial entitled, "Crossroads in hemispheric
relations":

"In Venezuela, the perception is that Chavez' harsh remarks
are tied to the upcoming regional election in which he could face
defeat.... Chavez knows how to take advantage of the strong
international opposition to the U.S. President... and cheer up those
whose sectors who feel excluded. And in this regard Bolivia is
fertile ground, because of its internal divisions and complexity of
regional, economic, social and racial elements that seem to generate
discontent among many sectors. Morales is viewed by some as a
option for change."

3. "La Tercera," conservative, independent (Sat. circ. 195,626,
9/13) Column by Jos Rodrguez Elizondo, "Chavez and Unasur's
Debut":

"Chavez' method is to use a crisis in the neighborhood to
create as much division as possible and then intervene.... But this
time he has gone too far... by going from the personal insult of
President Bush to the collective insult, 'f... Yankees....' It's no
wonder that the independents convoked for Unasur's meeting -- Lula,
Uribe, and Alan Garca -- are not enthused... because Chavez'
blatant intervention in Bolivia and his verbal attack on the United
States have left several actors in a difficult position: The OAS
with little room in which to maneuver; President Bachelet ... who
knows that Chile is on Chavez' black list since (former president)
Ricardo Lagos' expressed support for the frustrated 2002 coup...;
and Lula, who until now has patiently and wisely dodged clashes with
Chavez.... But Brazil is running out of gas and is therefore truly
interested in finding a solution for Bolivia and less in the
Venezuelan leader's eventual electoral victories."

4. "El Mercurio," conservative, influential, newspaper-of-record
(Sat. circ. 173,049, 9/13) column by former Ambassador to the U.S.,
Hernn Felipe Errazuriz:

"Presidents Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez have always looked for ways
to stay in power and have supported each other in this.... Their own
people don't seem to matter; Only ideology does. And now they have
taken a more radical stance in their relationship with the United
States by expelling two distinguished U.S. ambassadors.... There's
still time (for Chile) to move away from these two unpredictable
presidents."

5. "La Nacion," government-owned, editorially independent (Sun.
circ. 16,200, 9/14) column by journalist Rafael Cavada:

"What has changed so much that we immediately rule out a
possible U.S. intervention in Bolivia and Venezuela?.... Venezuela
rests on a sea of oil and Bolivia sits on a giant gas tank, and
energy is today the one investment that will yield more profit in
the future.... It might seem outdated to talk about financing coup
d'tats abroad, but the word 'protectorate' is much older and that
is just what Bush installed in Iraq -- another oil-rich country--
just five years ago.


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