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Cablegate: Chile Media Report - November 15-17

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #1013/01 3231051
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181051Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3968
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 3629
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 2173
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 1136
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0530
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1841
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 5800
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 4096
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1982
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 001013

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO PGOV OPRC PREL PGOV SNAR CI
SUBJECT: CHILE MEDIA REPORT - NOVEMBER 15-17

FRONT PAGE NEWS
---------------

1. THE ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (ANEFE) DID NOT ACCEPT THE
GOVERNMENT'S SALARY ADJUSTMENT AND CALLED FOR AN INDEFINITE NATIONAL
STRIKE BEGINNING TODAY THAT WILL AFFECT HEALTH SERVICES, CUSTOMS,
PORTS, AND SCHOOLS; RICARDO LAGOS OFFICIALLY ACCEPTED THE PPD'S
NOMINATION TO RUN IN THE CONCERTACION'S PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY.

U.S. RELATED
---------------
2. INTERVIEW WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE'S COMMITTEE FOR LATIN
AMERICA, CONGRESSMAN ELIOT ENGEL, ENTITLED, "I WILL SUGGEST
PRESIDENT OBAMA TO HAVE THE GREATEST POSSIBLE COOPERATION WITH
CHILE."

INQUIRED ABOUT BILATERAL RELATIONS: "CHILE IS THE PERFECT PARTNER
FOR THE UNITED STATES, BECAUSE BOTH SHARE SIMILAR CONCERNS REGARDING
DEMOCRACY, THE ECONOMY, AND POVERTY. THE UNITED STATES IS A LEADER
IN THE FREE WORLD AND CHILE IS CERTAINLY A LEADER IN LATIN
AMERICA.... RELATIONS WITH CHILE ARE EXCELLENT, BUT COULD BE
BETTER. CHILE IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF COUNTRY WITH WHICH THE UNITED
STATES SHOULD HAVE GREATER COOPERATION. CHILE IS A NATURAL PARTNER.
IT HAS CIVIL RIGHTS AND A GREAT STANDARD OF LIVING, WHICH IS A GREAT
INCENTIVE TO WORK CLOSER TOGETHER. AND WHEN THERE IS NEW BLOOD,
THERE CAN BE NEW POLICIES. THAT IS WHY I WILL RECOMMEND PRESIDENT
OBAMA THAT WE HAVE THE GREATEST POSSIBLE COOPERATION WITH CHILE."

ENGEL ALSO COMMENTED ON CHAVEZ: "IF WE FAIL TO SHOW INTEREST IN THE
CONTINENT, OTHER GOVERNMENTS AND MOVEMENTS WILL FILL THAT VOID; I'M
TALKING ABOUT HUGO CHAVEZ' MODEL, THE IRANIANS, THE CHINESE, AND
EVEN THE RUSSIANS. IF THE UNITED STATES CONTINUES TO SHOW LACK OF
INTEREST, AS IT HAS UNTIL NOW, THESE COUNTRIES WILL GAIN POWER AND
THAT WILL NOT BE GOOD FOR THE REGION OR FOR US. THE BEST WAY FOR
THE UNITED STATES TO COUNTER THESE COUNTRIES IS BY WORKING WITH
CHILE TO SHOW, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENT PAYMENT FOR
PEACE AND PROSPERITY.... I HOPE THAT AFTER OBAMA TAKES OFFICE WE CAN
IMPROVE RELATIONS, BUT THIS HAS TO COME FROM BOTH SIDES" (EL
MERCURIO, CONSERVATIVE, INFLUENTIAL, NEWSPAPER-OF-RECORD, SUN.
CIRC. 260,108, 11/16).

3. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS DAVID JOHNSON,
WILL ARRIVE IN SANTIAGO ON FRIDAY FOR AN OAS INTER-AMERICAN
COMMISSION FOR CONTROL OF DRUG ABUSE (CICAD) SUMMIT. JOHNSON WILL
ALSO MEET WITH THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL
COUNCIL (CONACE), MARIA TERESA CHADWICK; UNDER SECRETARY OF INTERIOR
FELIPE HARBOE, CARABINEROS AND THE INVESTIGATIONS POLICE (PDI)
CHIEFS, AND REPRESENTATIVES OF CIVIL ORGANIZATIONS (EL MERCURIO,
CIRC. 129,000, 11/17).

4. NATIONAL FORESTRY CORPORATION (CONAF) REGIONAL DIRECTORS WILL
MEET IN WASHINGTON WITH U.S. NATIONAL PARK OFFICIALS WHO ARE WORKING
ON IMPROVING SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF WILD PROTECTED AREAS IN
FRAMEWORK OF THE CHILE-U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION AGREEMENT AND
IN VIEW OF THE EXCELLENT RESULTS OF THE SISTER PARK AGREEMENT
BETWEEN TORRES DEL PAINE AND YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARKS (LA PRENSA
AUSTRAL REGIONAL DAILY, 11/5).

5. STANFORD UNIVERSITY EXPERT ON EDUCATIONAL SUBVENTION PROGRAMS,
ERIC BETTINGER, VISITED CHILE INVITED BY THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY.
"CHILE'S SUBVENTION SYSTEM HAS BEEN POSITIVE, BUT HAS NOT BENEFITED
ALL," SAID BETTINGER, ADDING THAT THE MODEL WOULD WORK BETTER IF
PUBIC SCHOOLS HAD FEWER OBSTACLES TO BECOMING MORE COMPETITIVE (EL
MERCURIO, 11/17).

6. ALVARO VARGAS LLOSA ARTICLE: "OBAMA ADVISORS SAID THE
PRESIDENT-ELECT WILL SEEK 'A DIRECT DIPLOMACY' WITH CUBA, WILL LIFT
RESTRICTIONS ON TRIPS AND MONEY SENT TO THE ISLAND, BUT WILL NOT
LIFT THE COMMERCIAL EMBARGO UNLESS THERE DEMOCRATIC PROGRESS" (LA
TERCERA, CONSERVATIVE, INDEPENDENT, SAT. CIRC. 195,626, 11/15).

7. COLUMN BY INTERNATIONAL COMMENTATOR LEONIDAS IRARRAZAVAL:
"BARACK OBAMA'S ELECTION HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING.... HE BRINGS HOPE
FOR THOSE OF US WHO DON'T FEEL WE ARE A PRIORITY FOR THE UNITED
STATES.... WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT OUR PROBLEMS WILL BE LOOKED AT MORE
THOROUGHLY (DIARIO FINANCIERO, BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL DAILY, CIRC.
30,000).

8. REGULAR COLUMNIST JUAN FRANCISCO COLOANE WROTE: "ONE OF THE
PILLARS OF BARACK OBAMA'S AGENDA ... IS TO IMPROVE THE IMAGE OF THE
UNITED STATES ABROAD. IN THIS CONTEXT, THE IMMEDIATE CLOSURE OF THE
GUANTANAMO PRISON... WORKS (ONLY) AS A SYMBOL.... (BECAUSE)
GUANTANAMO IS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG OF A MASS OF PROBLEMS THAT
REQUIRE TIME AND POLITICAL REBUILDING GIVEN THEIR MAGNITUDE OF THE
TASK" (EL MOSTRADOR, ON-LINE NEWS AGENCY, 11/17).

DEA / BOLIVIA
--------------------
9. PRESIDENT EVO MORALES' DECISION TO EXPEL THE DEA WAS THE CHANCE
THAT RUSSIA WAS WAITING FOR TO STRENGTHEN ITS PRESENCE IN LATIN
AMERICA. BOLIVIA WANTS TO REPLACE THE DEA WITH ANOTHER REGIONAL
ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY UNASUR, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, FINANCED BY
MOSCOW. IN SEPTEMBER, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO LA PAZ LEONID GOLUBEV
SAID RUSSIA WAS WILLING TO COOPERATE WITH BOLIVIA IN ALL THE
COUNTER-NARCOTICS PROGRAMS "LEFT BY THE AMERICANS... BECAUSE IT IS A
BIG PROBLEM." THE PURCHASE OF FIVE RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS AND POSSIBLY
TWO MORE TO FIGHT NARCOTICS IN BOLIVIA "IS THE FIRST STEP" IN THIS
DIRECTION, SAID THE RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT (LA TERCERA, SUN. CIRC.
222,084, 11/16).

CUBA
------
10. THE RIO GROUP ANNOUNCED CUBA'S FULL ACCESSION TO THE BLOC.
CHILEAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS UNDER SECRETARY ALBERTO VAN KLAVEREN SAID
THIS WAS THE CONSENSUS AFTER SEVERAL YEARS. "THE RIO GROUP WANT TO
PRESENT ITSELF AS A REGIONAL INTERLOCUTOR AND IN THIS CONTEXT
BELIEVES IT SHOULD NOT EXCLUDE ANY COUNTRY," SAID VAN KLAVEREN (EL
MERCURIO, SAT. CIRC. 173,049, 11/15).

LOCAL POLITICS
-----------------
11. RICARDO LAGOS OFFICIALLY NOTIFIED THE PPD HIS DECISION TO RUN AS
THE PARTY'S NOMINEE IN THE CONCERTACION'S OPEN PRIMARY TO DEFINE ITS
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR THE 2009 ELECTION. THIS MEANS THAT JOS
MIGUEL INSULAZA, PS CANDIDATE, WILL HAVE TO STEP DOWN AND THAT LAGOS
WOULD RUN AGAINST EDUARDO FREI (DC) (LA TERCERA, CIRC. 101,000,
11/7).

12. THE ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (ANEFE) DID NOT ACCEPT THE
GOVERNMENT'S 6.5% SALARY INCREASE, STATING IT DOES NOT SUFFICE GIVEN
THE 9.9% INFLATION, AND CALLED AN INDEFINITE NATIONWIDE STRIKE
BEGINNING TODAY. THE STRIKE WILL AFFECT HEALTH CENTERS -- EXCEPT
EMERGENCY SERVICES - MUNICIPALITIES, CUSTOMS, PORTS, AND GARBAGE
PICK-UP IN SOME AREAS, AND MUNICIPAL SCHOOLS. THE LATTER WILL,
HOWEVER, CONTINUE TO HAND OUT DAILY LUNCHES (ALL DAILIES, 11/27).

ENVIRONMENT
----------------
13. THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE HIRED BRITISH EXPERT SIMONS ANHOLD TO
IMPROVE CHILE'S IMAGE ABROAD. ANHOLD SURPRISED A GROUP OF
ENTREPRENEURS AND PUBLIC OPINION LEADERS LAST WEEK BY STATING THAT
ANY EFFORT TO IMPROVE THE COUNTRY'S IMAGE WOULD BE USELESS IF CHILE
ALLOWS THE CONSTRUCTION OF DAMS IN THE PATAGONIA (HYDROAYSEN
PROJECT). CHILE, HE SAID, SHOULD TRY TO PROMOTE ITS IMAGE AS
PROTECTING NATURE AND NOT BY DOING WHAT BRAZIL DID WITH THE AMAZON
(LA TERCERA, SUNDAY, 11/16).

SURVEY
--------
14. BICENTENNIAL 2008 UC-ADIMARK POLL SHOWS THAT CHILEANS PERCEIVE
THEIR COUNTRY AS AN ISLAND IN TERMS OF CULTURE, RELIGION, AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, WHICH ENTAILS A STRONG LACK OF AFFINITY WITH
THE REST OF THE REGION. 41% SAID CHILE IS CULTURALLY UNIQUE, 38%
THAT IT IS UNIQUE IN ITS DEMOCRACY AND ITS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
OVER 50% BELIEVE THAT "CHILE IS A COUNTRY VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE
REST OF LATIN AMERICA," 51% SAID CHILE SHOULD NOT ACT IN BLOCS WITH
OTHER COUNTRIES. THE SURVEY IS ALSO A STRONG BLOW TO THOSE WHO
PROMOTE REGIONAL UNITY, SUCH AS HUGO CHAVEZ, BECAUSE 75% BELIEVE
THERE IS NO SHARED CULTURE OR IDENTITY IN THE CONTINENT. HOWEVER,
THE SURVEY ALSO SHOWS THAT CHILEANS FEELS CLOSER TO THOSE IN LATIN
AMERICAN IN ALL AREAS, EXCEPT THE ECONOMY, WHERE THEY FELL CLOSER TO
THE UNITED STATES. REGIONAL LEADERS ALSO DID POORLY. ON "LITTLE/NO
SYMPATHY" ALL REGIONAL LEADERS DID POORLY, BUT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF
DISAFFECTION WERE FOR HUGO CHAVEZ (68%), CRISTINA FERNANDEZ AND ALAN
GARCIA (67%), AND FIDEL CASTRO (66%) (EL MERCURIO, SUNDAY, 11/16).


SIMONS

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