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Cablegate: Santiago Nov. 2 Media Report

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SUBJECT: Santiago Nov. 2 Media Report

Lead Story

1. Undersecretary of the Interior Patricio Rosende
denounced the use of children as shields in illegal land
occupations and demonstrations by Mapuche indigenous communities.
Video material confirming his remarks was shown to the Senate's
Constitutional Committee last week (Conservative, influential El
Mercurio 11/1).

U.S.-Related News

2. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted a small group of
Chilean women entrepreneurs attending the "Pathways to Prosperity
in the Americas" Conference (Conservative, independent La Tercera
11/1).

3. Article on U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons' remarks on
"Environmental Policies of President Obama" to regional
authorities, students, and professors at Universidad Arturo Prat in
Iquique (www.unap.cl , 11/2).

4. According to the American Chilean Chamber of Commerce,
Chile's commercial exchange with Florida in 2008 totaled US$5.358
billion; Texas US$4.372; California US$2.825; and Georgia US$213
million (La Tercera, 11/1).

5. Senate President Jovino Novoa has just returned from
Washington, D.C., where he met with Obama administration officials
and congressmen to learn about the checks and balances used in the
U.S. Congress. Based on his trip, Novoa prepared a draft proposal
that includes, among other things, the Senate's participation in
the nomination of three government officials who are appointed by
the President: the directors of the Electoral Service, Civil
Registration and Identification Service, and the National Economic
Prosecutor (El Mercurio, 11/2).

Honduras

6. U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens announced that in
support of the agreement reached by both parties, the United States
would re-open its Non-Immigrant Visa service starting November 2.
The United States did not, however, say when and if it would
reestablish financial aid (La Tercera, 11/1).

7. The agreement in Honduras was the result of direct and strong
U.S. pressure. The United States sent some of its highest ranking
Department of State officials to Tegucigalpa to "diplomatically"
remind the parties in conflict that the United States would not
endorse the November election without a solution to the crisis and
that it is the main destination for Honduran exports. Negotiations
began to move smoothly after that. The road ahead is not easy, but
Honduras has taken the most important first step (Government-owned
La Nacion, 11/1-7).

8. Spanish daily "El Pais" said that Assistant Secretary Shannon
had met in Tegucigalpa with Porfirio Lobo, who has a good chance to
become Honduras' next president, to explain the agreement.
Reportedly, Shannon said that Zelaya needed a guarantee that
Congress would vote in favor of his reinstatement and asked Lobo to
commit his party's votes in Congress (El Mercurio, 11/2).

9. Just two days after signing the agreement, Manuel Zelaya and
the government led by Roberto Micheletti began disagreeing on the
agreement's terms and deadlines for Zelaya's reinstatement (El
Mercurio, 11/2).

10. The breakthrough in Honduras was possible thanks to the U.S.
delegation led by Thomas Shannon, Craig Kelly, and Dan Restrepo.
U.S. sources said that Micheletti had yielded when the U.S.
officials affirmed that the accord would limit Zelaya's power and
that the Supreme Court and Congress would decide if he is
reinstated. Reportedly, Micheletti wanted assurance that he is not
the target of international scorn and that whomever takes office in
January is internationally recognized (La Tercera, 10/31).

11. It was Washington, and not the OAS or President Arias, who
succeeded in persuading the two parties to sign an agreement. Why?
Because the OAS... and Arias had embraced Zelaya's position from
the beginning of the crisis. This earned them the distrust of a
wide sector of Honduras society and contributed to further dissent
.... The United States... took a distance from events from the
start... and gave the two parties in conflict room to save face....
OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza therefore missed the
chance for his organization to win back its prestige and validity
(????lvaro Vargas Llosa column, La Tercera, 11/1).

12. Editorial concludes: "The way in which the agreement was
reached in Honduras clearly shows that U.S. diplomacy and muscle
still have great influence in the region" (La Tercera, 10/31).

13. Manuel Zelaya threatened that he would not recognize the
United Reconciled Government if Congress does not reinstate him in
office by Thursday (La Nacion, 11/2).

14. Editorial: "Micheletti and Zelaya accepted signing an
agreement under U.S. direct pressure.... For months no one, not the
OAS, presidents, foreign ministers nor delegations from other
countries in the region succeeded in this endeavor .... The crisis
in Honduras shows that neither the region nor the United States are
willing to accept a constitutional rupture that implies a
presidential ousting. But it also shows that there is no mechanism
to deal with a democratically elected head of state who exceeds his
attributions... The resolution of the crisis in Honduras will
probably unblock Arturo Valenzuela's nomination in the U.S.
Senate.... His confirmation would be a positive sign from the
United States for the region" (El Mercurio, 11/2).
SIMONS

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