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Cablegate: Santiago Oct. 2 Media Report

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SUBJECT: Santiago Oct. 2 Media Report

Lead Story

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

1. The Antofagasta Regional Environmental
Commission (Corema) ordered gas company "Geotermica del Norte" to
cease exploration activities near El Tatio geyser field in northern
Chile. On September 8 operations resulted in a leak that sent
water shooting 197 feet into the air, causing environmental damage.
El Tatio is one of Chile's most important tourist attractions.
Geotermica del Norte's negligence could result in the permanent
loss of its authorization to explore geothermal energy in the area
(La Tercera, 10/2).

U.S.-Related News

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

2. Interview with U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons on the Obama
administration and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "The
President understands the issue, is familiar with it, and has
publicly addressed it, unlike other administrations that waited
until the third or last year to start moving forward on it," said
Simons. The Ambassador said the United States is "willing to take
an active role," noting that President Obama appointed George
Mitchell as his Special Envoy to the Middle East just a few days
after taking office. Simons also highlighted the President's
speech in Cairo on June 4 as an example of his commitment to move
forward on Israeli and Palestinian talks and engage with the Muslim
world. "We have moved forward significantly," said Simons (Al Damir
Magazine, September edition).

"Salitre" Military Exercise

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

3. Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Belaunde attempted
to lower the tension with Chile caused by Peruvian Defense Minister
Rafael Rey's request for Santiago to cancel the "Salitre" exercise.
"I don't believe there is a diplomatic impasse. What we have is an
operation that is usually conducted by countries through their
militaries," Garcia-Belaunde said. Peruvian Minister Rey, however,
insisted yesterday on criticizing the exercise on the grounds that
it is "offensive" to Peru (Conservative, influential El Mercurio,
10/2).

Honduras

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

4. OAS representative to Honduras John Biehl met with
Manuel Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy. Biehl said he saw in the
ousted president "favorably disposed" to negotiate, adding that he
is seeing the same disposition in other groups. "There is a
willingness to talk seriously to resolve the problem," said Biehl,
who is scheduled to meet with Micheletti today (Conservative,
afternoon La Segunda, 10/2).

5. Excerpts of an interview with Roberto Micheletti: "What
we have done is ask Brazil to respect the law. An embassy cannot
be used for domestic politics and least of all to instigate
violence....I am willing to find a solution, but cannot allow a man
who broke the law and was legally removed from office... to elude
his responsibility...I am willing to resign before the end of the
term if the constitutional conditions are met...The international
community does not understand what is happening in Honduras. It
does not understand that we have our laws. Institutions are
working perfectly, and in accordance with the constitution there is


an electoral process, which is the way to normalize the political
situation" (Alvaro Vargas Llosa interview in conservative,
independent La Tercera, 10/2).

Local

-------

6. The IMF World Economic Outlook report foresees that
Chile will experience 4% economic growth in 2010 and an increase in
its per capita income, measured as purchasing parity, to US$14,299,
the highest in Latin America (La Tercera, 10/2).

7. Presidential candidate Marco Enriquez-Ominami outlined
his political program to an audience of entrepreneurs at the Centro
de Estudios Publics (CEP), a think-tank. His proposals, which were
widely applauded, focus on tax reforms that would collect an
additional US$2 billion a year, modernization of the government,
and labor flexibility policies. He proposed modernizing the
government by electing regional "Intendentes," rather than
appointing them, introducing indigenous people's representatives,
and setting Congressional term limits. He also talked about energy
and digital television. The overall impression among entrepreneurs
of Enriquez-Ominami's program was positive. "Very open minded,"
said Horst Paulmann, head of the Cencosud holding. "An attractive
candidate," said Francisco Perez Mackenna of the Luksic group
(Financial daily Diario Financiero, and La Tercera, 10/2).
SIMONS

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