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Cablegate: Santiago Oct. 23 Media Report

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SUBJECT: Santiago Oct. 23 Media Report

Lead Story

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

1. Public school teachers began an indefinite strike
today. In this context, the government instructed schools to
remain open and deliver lunches, the Ministry of Education said it
would deduct from teacher's paychecks those days they are on
strike, and mayors said they would request legal protection so that
they can hire replacements (Conservative, independent El Mercurio,
10/23).

U.S.-Related News

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

2. The negotiations in Congress to confirm Arturo
Valenzuela as Assistant Secretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs
have been tough. Republican Senator Jim DeMint is blocking
Valenzuela's nomination based on the White House's policy in
Honduras. Chilean diplomatic sources said that DeMint wants a
"graceful" solution for Micheletti as a requirement to confirm
Valenzuela and added that Obama's visit to Chile depends on what
happens in this case (Conservative, newsweekly Que Pasa, 10/23).

3. "Conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera seems set to win
Chile's presidential election in December, therefore ending two
decades of center-left rule" The Washington Post reported
yesterday. Both Pinera and Marco Enriquez Ominami call themselves
candidates "of change," although their proposals do not differ
significantly from those launched by the Bachelet administration,
said The Post (Leading popular daily, Las Ultimas Noticias, 10/23).


4. Editorial: "Obama's Most Important Decision."

"In 2006, the situation in Iraq seemed also inextricable, but it
changed with military reinforcement and the conversion of former
enemies into allies. A similar formula seems possible in
Afghanistan" (La Segunda, 10/22).

U.S.-Colombia

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

5. Colombian magazine "Cambio" said the text of the military
agreement that Bogota is negotiating with Washington for the use of
military bases will give the United States "access and use of three
air force and two naval bases, the army's Instruction and Training
Center in Tolemaida, and other units that might be necessary for
joint operations." The agreement, said the magazine, limits the
number of U.S. soldiers that can use the bases to 800, although an
increase of decrease in military personnel and advisors will depend
on needs. Reportedly, Colombia's Congress could eventually review
and postpone the agreement. Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said
yesterday that U.S. soldiers would have immunity, but not
contractors (Government-owned, La Nacion, 10/23).

Local

--------

6. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez will arrive in
Santiago on October 30 to sign with President Bachelet an overall
integration agreement between the two countries, said Foreign
Minister Mariano Fernandez (Conservative, independent La Tercera,

10/23).

"Salitre" Exercise

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

7. "Having observed the (Salitre) exercise... it is clear that
there is not one element in it that should even remotely concern
Peru.... But Lima should reflect on the fact that it is excluding
itself from an exercise in which the three most important air force
institutions in the region are taking part ... as well as many
other countries... that sent observers, such as Venezuela, Bolivia,
Ecuador, and Paraguay.... If Peru is concerned with regional
integration, mutual trust, and with the noteworthy initiative of
lowering military expenses, then it should not be excluding itself
from these exercises" (Raul Sohr column, La Nacion, 10/23).
SIMONS

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