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Cablegate: Sept. 9 Santiago Media Report

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SUBJECT: Sept. 9 Santiago Media Report

Lead

------

1. Colombia displaced Chile as the best country in
which to do business in Latin America, according to the Doing
Business 2010 World Bank ranking. Colombia moved up 12 positions
and Chile down 9 (Conservative, independent, La Tercera, 9/9).

U.S.-Related News

------------------------

2. President Bachelet will attend the UNASUR-Africa summit
convoked by Hugo Chavez in Margarita Island, Venezuela, on
September 26 and 27. She must return to Santiago on the 27th to
inaugurate the Americas Competitiveness Forum. U.S. Secretary of
Commerce Gary Locke has confirmed he will attend the forum (El
Mercurio, 9/9).

3. The controversy surrounding President Obama's speech at a
school reflects the polarization that exists in the United States
today. Since Obama announced he would speak at a school,
conservative radical groups are accusing him of wanting to
politically use the schoolchildren. But the most revealing
anecdote of Obama's speech was his warning to the children to
"beware" with what they posted on Facebook, because "In the era of
YouTube, anything you post can be used against you in the future,"
said the President (La Tercera, 9/9).

Copper Law

-----------------

4. President Bachelet submitted to Congress the draft bill
that eliminates the "Copper Law," which obligates state copper
company Codelco to turn over 10 percent of its revenues to finance
the Armed Forces. The draft bill also changes the confidential
classification of the defense budget and a new financing process,
whereby the Defense Ministry must submit a 12-year plan for
Congress to approve annually with the budget. The 12-year proposal
can be amended every four years by the President (Conservative,
influential newspaper-of-record, El Mercurio, 9/9).

5. For the government, the elimination of the Copper Law is
highly symbolic, because it means ending a mechanism inherited from
the military dictatorship (Government-owned La Nacion, 9/9).

6. Defense Minister Francisco Vidal noted that Codelco was the
only company levied with such a specific tax (La Nacion)

7. Army and Navy Commanders-in-Chief Oscar Izurieta and
Edmundo Gonzalez, respectively, expressed satisfaction with the
proposal for the Defense Ministry to present a 12-year strategic
plan to finance the Armed Forces, which can be reviewed every four
years. "Issues related to defense expenses and investment cannot be
short-term," said Gonzalez. Izurieta concurred (La Nacion, 9/9).

Poll

-----

8. The Adimark-GFK survey gave President Bachelet a 73 percent
rate of approval and a 19 percent of disapproval, attributed
primarily to her personal charisma and management of the financial
crisis. The government, on the other hand, has only a 57 percent of
approval and 34 percent rate of disapproval (Conservative,
afternoon, La Segunda, 9/8).

Human Rights

------------------

9. Army Commander-in-Chief Oscar Izurieta informed the
Chamber of Deputies' defense committee that the 13 retired army
officers working as contractors for the army today and previously
indicted with human rights violations, would be removed from the
institution immediately. The 13 were members of the intelligence
organizations during the military government. Defense Minister
Francisco Vidal explained the government's policy. Active army
personnel would be removed from the institution if they were
sentenced, but not if only indicted. On the other hand, retired
personnel working on contract for the army would be immediately
removed if indicted (La Tercera, 9/9).

Commemorating the 1973 coup

--------------------------------------

10. The government authorized several events and marches
requested by human rights groups to commemorate the September 11,
1973 coup and President Allende. One will take place by Allende's
statute in front of La Moneda on the 11th, and another at the
National Stadium to remember those who were detained at the sports
facility. There will be a march in downtown Santiago "For the
Fallen" and another "For Human Rights" on the 13th, to the General
Cemetery in Recoleta (El Mercurio, 9/9).
SIMONS

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