Cablegate: Santiago Oct. 8 Media Report
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R 081721Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0134
INFO RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
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SUBJECT: Santiago Oct. 8 Media Report
1. The Distortions Committee, formed by Central Bank and
finance, agriculture, foreign affairs, and economy ministry
officials decreed a 15% temporary special duty on powdered milk and
gouda cheese imports from Uruguay and Argentina (Conservative,
independent La Tercera, 10/8).
2. Yesterday, at 2pm, Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose
Garcia-Belaunde told the press in Lima that Chile had changed the
"script" or scenario of the "Salitre" exercise. "We welcome this
(the change) to avoid suspicions and sensitivities," said
Sources in Lima said that in a meeting of the intelligence chiefs
of the Armed Forces of two countries yesterday in Santiago, the
Chileans had informed their Peruvian counterparts of the change.
The information was then relayed to Lima's ambassador in Santiago,
Carlos Pareja, who phoned Garcia-Belaunde. The foreign minister
informed President Garcia, who in turn said, "This is a good
gesture. We must acknowledge it." The same sources said that in a
meeting yesterday in Santiago, Ambassador Pareja told his Chilean
counterpart that Peru "valued Chile's decision to change" the
hypothetical scenario of the exercise.
In Lima, Garcia-Belaunde explained that the exercise would no
longer pertain to a South American country in the north invading
another in the south, but rather to "two countries on an island in
conflict over more domestic issues."
A statement issued yesterday late evening by the Chilean Air Force
says it had made "strategic adjustments" to the exercise so that
"it would not offend anyone." The statement, however, says that
the exercise had never considered the hypothesis of a clash with a
neighbor country and concludes that the "essence of exercise
remains unchanged." The Chilean Foreign Ministry has not commented
(Conservative, influential El Mercurio, 10/8).
3. During a meeting of ministers in Lima, Peruvian Foreign
Minister Jose Antonio Garcia-Belaunde received a phone call from
his ambassador in Santiago, Carlos Pareja, to let him know that the
Chilean Air Force had changed the "script" of the "Salitre"
exercise. The announcement in Peru surprised the GOC. The exercise
featured a fictitious country threatening peace and disavowing
international treaties, which upset Peru. Chile, on the other hand,
stressed that the goal is to train military forces for United
Nations peace missions and invited Peruvian observers. Sources in
Lima said that the change was announced during the 19th Chile-Peru
Air Force Intelligence Conference in Santiago. (Conservative,
independent La Tercera, 10/8).
4. Yesterday, Peruvian Foreign Minister Garcia-Belaunde said
from Lima that "although the exercise is still called 'Salitre,'
its scenario and script are totally different," because it no
longer refers to a neighbor country, but rather to two countries on
an island." Yesterday in Santiago, Peruvian Ambassador Carlos
Pareja reiterated in his meeting with Chilean Foreign Minister
Fernandez that Peru would not send observers to the exercise. He
also said that the Chilean Air Force had informed him of the change
in scenario. Neither the Chilean Defense nor Foreign Affairs
Ministry has confirmed this (Government-owned, La Nacion, 10/8).
5. The Obama family has been daring in the work they have
chosen to decorate the White House and has chosen a collection of
45 contemporary and modern paintings with works by Mark Rothko,
Josef Albert, among other foreign and several Afro-American artists
(El Mercurio, 10/8).
6. D.C.'s council members did not confirm Chilean Ximena
Hartsock as parks and recreation director because she is a woman
and Latino. Hartsock explained that case is strongly tied to the
political battle between the current mayor and council member
Marion Berry. Hartsock arrived to the United States in 1997, and
earned a doctorate in administration and political science from
George Washington University to start her career in government. "I
had never been discriminated for being Latino.... I've always been
evaluated based on my qualifications," she said (La Tercera, 10/8).
7. Ximena Hartsock said she was not confirmed because of
the racism that exists among Afro-Americans who don't accept a
Latino in office (El Mercurio, 10/8).
8. "What happened to me reflects the racism that there is
in Washington and the enormous gap among social classes," said
Hartsock. "I was told that I could not be in office because I am
Latino .... They speak as if I were from the upper class, which I
am not.... Plus there is the political rivalry. . . . The left
follows Marion Barry, who was caught with drugs and prostitutes.
Poor and colored people are with him and many of them prefer to
continue living off the state than to work," said Hartsock. She
said she is not concerned, because her qualifications are well
known, adding that she received a proposal to work for President
Obama (Conservative, afternoon La Segunda, 10/7).
9. Micheletti and Zelaya delegates began their talks
yesterday with OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and a
group of foreign ministers from several Latin American countries
(La Tercera, 10/8).
10. The latest Adimark poll gives President Bachelet a 76%
rate of approval. This is three points higher than in August and a
record for any president in Chile. Her rate of disapproval also
fell three points and now stands at 16%. The rate of approval for
the government increased 7 points and is now is 64% (La Segunda,