Cablegate: Chile Media Report - December 23
DE RUEHSG #1138 3581737
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R 231737Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
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RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0604
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STATE FOR R/MR, I/PP, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO PGOV ECON PREL SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: CHILE MEDIA REPORT - DECEMBER 23
1. All dailies carry reports on the results of the national PSU
college admissions tests, which show an enormous gap between private
and public schools. Dailies also continue to highlight Wal-Mart's
offer to purchase Chile's largest supermarket chain, D&S.
U.S. - Related Stories
2. The U.S. Embassy in Santiago received a suspicious white
envelope through the regular mail, apparently sent from Texas, that
immediately activated security procedures for anthrax in the
embassy. The envelope was similar to those received by other U.S.
embassies in recent months. The operation started at 1:30 pm when
the embassy informed local authorities that its "security protocol"
had detected a suspicious letter. There was a precautionary
evacuation of the embassy's post office, and the envelope was
isolated. The Carabineros [police] and the Santiago Fire
Department's special HazMat unit arrived at the embassy (La Tercera,
conservative, independent, circ. 101,000, 12/23). Prosecutor Ezio
Braghetto instructed both to transport the envelope to the Public
Safety Institute (ISP), where it was opened. The letter contained
white power and a note that was described as "a threat." The ISP
will have results of tests on the white powder ready tomorrow.
Washington said it would not require additional tests of the
substance other than those carried out by the ISP (El Mercurio,
conservative, influential newspaper-of-record, circ. 129,000,
3. Exports of Chilean smoked salmon to the United States increased
18% in October of this year, as compared to the same period in 2007
(Diario Financiero, business and financial, circ. 30,000, 12/23).
4. Tourism to Chile from the United States declined 15% from
September to November 2008, as compared to the same period in 2007,
according to the National Tourism Office.
5. Opinion column by Eugenio Tironi entitled "It Depends:" "There
are many theories about the meaning of Obama's victory: That it
marks the end of the Civil War and of the Reagan Era... That it
shows how tired the American people are of their inefficient
government.... All that is true, yet the most significant effect of
Obama's election... is that it has restored meaning to political
leadership, as expressed in his famous phrase 'Yes, We Can'....
This slogan is rooted in the strong U.S. traditional notion that it
is always possible to construct something new if there is
determination, vision, hard work and unity.... 'Yes, We Can' was
also a source of inspiration for millions of young people... in
that it represented an alternative to the politics of cynicism,
which were based on estimates and fears of new things....
Unfortunately, none of that which we are seeing in Obama is present
in Chilean politics or leaders (El Mercurio, 12/23).
6. Editorial: "Wal-Mart's intent to buy Chile's largest
supermarket chain "shows that Chile has a series of attributes that
make it attractive for investment... and that Chilean
entrepreneurs... are imbued with the same spirit" (Diario
7. In a letter to the editor, conservative politician Sergio O.
Jarpa questions why the Government of Chile recently awarded a medal
to U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, who 30 years ago was responsible for
the so-called "Kennedy Amendment." Jarpa recalls that this
legislation banned the sale of weapons to Chile, severely
undermining its defensive capacities during the confrontation with
Argentina over the Beagle Channel that brought both countries to the
brink of war. "Perhaps the [Chilean] Foreign Ministry should
explain this contradiction," concluded Jarpa (El Mercurio, 12/23).
8. Cuba granted its formal agreement for Gabriel Gaspar as Chile's
Ambassador to Havana. In government circles, it is said that Gaspar
will continue to work on Bachelet's desires to further strengthen
Chile's ties with Cuba (La Nacion, government-owned, editorially
independent, circ. 12/23).