Cablegate: Media Reaction: Week of November 24-30; 11/30/09; Buenos
DE RUEHBU #1300/01 3342039
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 302038Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0111
INFO RHMCSUU/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001300
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TAGS: OPRC KPAO KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: WEEK OF NOVEMBER 24-30; 11/30/09; BUENOS
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: WEEK OF NOVEMBER 24-30; 11/30/09; BUENOS
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
The most important international stories were related to: the
outcome of the Honduran presidential election; expectations for the
Copenhagen Climate Change Summit; and implications of Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Brazil and Bolivia.
- "A triumph for the most conservative Republicans"
Ana Baron, leading circulation "Clarin's" Washington-based
correspondent, writes (11/30), "When President Barack Obama
announced that he would acknowledge the outcome of the Honduran
elections, he jeopardized all the expectations generated in the
region when he took office. The prevailing optimism at the Summit
of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago in April has fainted
away. There is big skepticism. There is talk of a new
'pre-emptive-blow' US doctrine. Why? What happened?
"In the harsh confrontation created by the Honduran coup d'etat
between the official party and the opposition in Washington, the
most conservative sector of the Republican opposition won. They
energetically and consistently work from the very beginning in
favor of the coup.
"The highest point of the confrontation was when Republican Senator
Jim de Mint blocked the confirmation of the nomination of two
candidates of Obama to become Assistant Secretary for Western
Hemispheric Affairs and US Ambassador to Brazil (Arturo Valenzuela
and Tom Shannon respectively). De Mint only lifted the blockade of
said nominations after the State Department committed to officially
acknowledge the Honduran elections.
"In fact, many observers, whether Americans or Latin-Americans,
perceive what happened in Honduras as a return to the past in which
the US acted according to its own interests. Even if Zelaya is
restored after the elections, the damage has already been made. The
OAS is divided and multilateralism in the region is dying.
Obviously enough, the newly elected Assistant Secretary for Western
Hemispheric Affairs Arturo Valenzuela will attempt to revive hope,
but his task will not be easy."
- "Pull ahead that someone will push you"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" carries an opinion piece by
international editor Jorge Elias, who writes (11/29), "... Brazil
got involved in the Middle East conflict, which is of most interest
to the US. Obama does not appreciate the gesture or does not
perceive the cost. Lula supposes his US counterpart will act in
reciprocity... He makes patent the points of disagreement: he feels
'slightly disappointed' with Obama. Brazil's abstention at the IAEA
(International Agency on Atomic Energy) Board of Governors'
condemnation of Iran is another sign of the malaise, just like
Lula's decision (which is shared with several countries) not to
acknowledge the outcome of Honduran elections. The US wants to
begin from scratch with a new president. Another sign of the
malaise is the mere enumeration of Brazil's points of disagreement
with the USG on sensitive areas such as sending military to
Colombia, climate change and the Doha Round trade liberalization.
"Actually, both Lula and Obama respect dialogue and, just like
Bush, they act in a pre-emptive way: Lula does it with Iran not to
repeat the mistaken blockade against Cuba. Obama does it with
Honduras not to repeat the mistaken wink to autocrats who end up
being intolerable. No matter how hard one pulls ahead, one will
always have to use the rear mirror to look behind."
3. UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE - COPENHAGEN
- "Obama will attend the Climate Change conference with a plan to
Ana Baron, from leading "Clarin," writes (11/26), "On the eve of
Thanksgiving Day, President Barack Obama pledged a provisional
target of reducing greenhouse gases about 17 percent (of 2005
levels) by 2020 to 83% before 2050.
"Truly enough, Obama does not know whether he will be able to meet
his goal and this is why he will attend the Copenhagen Climate
Change Summit and not its closing, which is when a final communique
will be negotiated. However, the sole gesture of facilitating the
establishment of a climate change international treaty is already a
180-degree turn regarding Bush's policy.
"Obama's goal of reducing GHG emissions by 17% by 2020 is far less
ambitious than that of the EU (20-25%) or Japan (25%).
Nevertheless, Obama's maneuvering margin is not too big. Until now,
the US Congress has never managed to pass a law setting forth
concrete climate change goals."
4. AHMADINEJAD TO BRAZIL, BOLIVIA AND VENEZUELA
- "Israel does not hide its disapproval"
Sergio Dattilo, on special assignment in Jerusalem for
business-financial "Ambito Financiero," writes (11/24), "Alex Ben
Tzvi, Israel's FM Director for Latin America, voices the Israeli
concern over the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to
Brazil and his meeting with Brazilian President Lula da Silva: 'We
are not trying to choose anybody's friends but whoever decides to
receive Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Latin America should recall who this
character is and what his regime did in the region. We are
concerned over Iran's increasing presence in Latin America,
particularly what it could do.'
"Ben Tzvi adds that 'Ahmadinejad's visit is a symptom of a process
that has developed for years in the hemisphere. And when we are
asked what is bad about it, we recall them it is the Argentine
Judiciary itself which held Iran liable for the 1992 and 1994
"Actually, not only did it raise concern in the Israeli Foreign
Minister but all Israeli mass media have echoed the Iranian
President's trip to Brazil."
- "Evo and Ahmadinejad confirm strategic partnership"
Pablo Stefanoni, on special assignment for leading "Clarin" in La
Paz, writes (11/25), "After having obtained Brazil's support for
peaceful nuclear development, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
made a stop in Bolivia on his trip to Caracas. Evo Morales's
gestures of support and affection for the controversial leader were
"... Yesterday, in the framework of strengthening bi-national
partnership between Iran and Bolivia, (Ahmadinejad) got interested
in Bolivia's gigantic reserves of lithium, which are used to
manufacture rechargeable batteries for computers, cell phones and
cameras. Iran will cooperate with the Scientific Committee for the
industrialization of lithium, which is located in the Uyunu salt
deposit. The Uyunu salt deposit concentrates 50% of world reserves
and it has already captured the attention of companies from France,
Japan and South Korea (the largest purchaser of Bolivian mining
exports). Iran's National Oil Company announced it would open its
offices in Santa Cruz."
- "Mideast comes to LatAm"
James Neilson, international columnist of liberal, English-language
"Buenos Aires Herald," writes (11/27), "Thanks to Venezuela's
belligerent president Hugo Chavez, Iran's holy warriors are in a
position to establish a bridgehead in the Western Hemisphere that
in the by no means improbable event of a big war in the Middle East
would be sure to attract the attention of the US. That presumably
is one reason why the US military is so interested in having access
to bases in next-door Colombia, and why Chavez sporadically speaks
of going to war. There is also the suspicion that the Brazilian
governments chumminess towards Iran could lead to the proliferation
of jihadi cells in Latin America's biggest country.
"Argentina's leaders, still traumatized by the humiliating economic
collapse of 2001 and 2002, have done their best to curry favor with
Chavez and have resigned themselves to playing second fiddle to
Brazil. But apart from her traditional sparring partner Great
Britain, Iran is the only country Argentina is seriously at odds
"If the Middle Eastern cauldron reaches boiling point, as it well
could in the near future, Latin American countries will have to
decide what they should best do. Like Venezuela's Chavez, Brazil's
current leaders apparently imagine that it is in their interest to
cuddle to Iran and treat her as a misunderstood victim of North
American prejudice. Having been at the receiving end of the Islamic
Republic's aggressive world agenda, Argentina cannot be expected to
share their attitude so, hard as the Kirchners may try to stay
close to Chavez and Lula, she may soon feel obliged to break with
them and go her own way."
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