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Cablegate: Chile Media Report - November 19

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TAGS: KMDR KPAO PGOV OPRC PREL PGOV SNAR CI
SUBJECT: CHILE MEDIA REPORT - NOVEMBER 19

Front Page News
---------------
1. The Association of Public Employees (Anef) and congressmen
of all parties rejected the government's graded 10% salary increase,
extending the strike for another day; State copper company Codelco
begins plan to lower opperation costs.


U.S. Related
----------------
2. At 4pm President Bachelet received an unexpected phone call from
Barack Obama, who was returning her call. Bachelet had tried to
reach Obama to congratulate him for his victory. Reportedly,
Bachelet is comfortable with Obama's more "progressive" stance, and
in her conversation yesterday underscored the similarity in the
priorities of her administration and those announced by Obama.
Bachelet foresees the strengthening of bilateral ties and in this
context expressed the hope to establish "a new Alliance" between
Washington and Latin America. Bachelet also invited Obama to visit
Chile (All dailies, 11/19).

3. Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics, David Johnson,
warned that Bolivia's decision to expel the DEA, thereby ending
programs to erradicate coca plantations, could result in an increase
in trafficking and consumption of narcotics in all of Bolivia's
neighbors, including Chile. Johnson said he has no "recipe" to help
Chile face this threat and said he hopes that civil society and the
government can work together as efficiently as posible. On the
possibility that Russia will open a counternarcotics agency in
Bolivia to replace the DEA (as reported in the press), Johnson said
this would not have any immediate effect (El Mercurio, conservative,
influential newspaper of record, circ. 129,000).

4. The Kremlin has already annunced it will open an agency in
Bolivia to fill the void left by the DEA. Reportedly, the Kremlin's
counternarcotics assistance will amount to US$4.5 billion and
includes helicopters for the control of coca plantations (La
Tercera, conservative, independent, circ. 101,000).

5. Direct foreign investment in Chile increased 187% from January
to August of this year, amounting to US$2.346 billion. The sectors
responsible for this increase are mining, electricity, gas, water,
and communications. Canada has the highest percent (50% of all
direct investement), followed by Japan (14%), and the United States
, 9% (La Segunda, conservative afternoon daily).


6. China is taking advantage of the end of the Bush era to expand
in Latin America. Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived to the region
days ago with a large delegation to visit Cuba and Costa Rica, where
he signed an array of economic agreements in important areas such as
biotechnology and energy. China's trade with the region has
increased tenfold since 2000 (El Mercurio).


Narcotics
------------
7. Attorney Yieninson Yapur was charged with laundering money from
narcotics
trafficking and is now in preventive detention. Yapur is the
defense attorney of the Mazza clan, whose members face the same
charges and have had their assets frozen (El Mercurio).

Local
-------
8. The public employees strike is having a serious impact: One
woman died in Puerto Montt for failing to receive emergency
treatment, 40,000 children are not attending preschool, 400
surgeries have been postponed and 30,000 people have not received
primary health services. In addition, there are up to five-hour
delays at border crossings, illegal seizures of offices in public
buildings, and marches in some cities (All dailies, 11/19).

Survey
--------
9. The IDB's Development in the Americas survey shows that,
although Chile has the third highest per capita income in the
region, its citizens have a high level of dissatisfaction. In fact,
the survey shows that overall, more developed countries have lower
levels of satisfaction (Diario Financiero, financial daily, circ.
30,000).

SIMONS

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