Cablegate: Santiago Nov. 10 Media Report
DE RUEHSG #1076/01 3142025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 102023Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0247
INFO RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0146
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0142
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0084
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 001076
STATE FOR R/MR, I/PP, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA
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TAGS: ECON KMDR KPAO PGOV PREL SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: Santiago Nov. 10 Media Report
Lead Story: Presidential Debate
1. Television station Channel 13 aired its presidential
debate last night. Unlike previous ones, this debate allowed the
candidates to challenge each other and to respond. This brought to
the forefront the most sensitive issues in this campaign.
2. Sebastian Pinera asked Eduardo Frei how was it that
during his presidency (1994-2000) he had pardoned the "biggest
narcotics ring lord ever arrested in the country." Pinera also
questioned Marco Enriquez-Ominami for supporting Hugo Chavez and
the Cuban regime.
3. Leftist coalition candidate Jorge Arrate made it a
point to clearly state his ideological differences with his
opponents, and when inquired about foreign policy, defended Fidel
Castro and his communist regime. He said he admired Castro for
"resisting 51 years of U.S. harassment and blockade." Arrate also
criticized Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for allowing the United
States to use its military bases.
4. Eduardo Frei was also criticized for attempts during
his presidency to bring General Pinochet back from his arrest in
London and about his relationship with former Presidents Alberto
Fujimori (Peru) and Carlos Menem (Argentina). Frei questioned
Pinera over the sanction applied by stock market regulatory
authorities in Chile for not refraining as a board member from
buying commercial airline LanChile shares immediately after the
board discussed the company's good financial standing.
5. Independent Marco Enriquez-Ominami faced questions
about his support for Venezuelan Hugo Chavez and for past remarks
with regard to the Chilean nationality and Pope John Paul II.
6. Political analysts said that although there is no
research to show that presidential debates affect how people vote
in Chile, last night's debate could be different because of the
expected tight outcome for this election (Conservative, independent
La Tercera, 11/9).
7. Pointed accusations and aggressiveness marked last
night's presidential debate. Pinera brought to the forefront
Eduardo Frei's decision to pardon an important narcotics dealer
during his presidency and Frei questioned Pinera's participation in
politics to profit personally (El Mercurio, 11/10).
8. Hugo Chavez and the former president of the Spanish
government Jose Maria Aznar were mentioned in last night's debate.
Pinera said that the "worst governments in the region were Chavez
in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba," adding that Enriquez-Ominami
seems to "have a preference for both of them." Ominami responded,
"But you have Aznar as an advisor and he is a man who brought the
cruelest war to Spain --Iraq--and lied to his people about the
(terrorist) attack in Madrid's metro" (El Mercurio, 11/10 ).
9. The chairman of the Chile's stock regulatory entity
SVS, Guillermo Larrain, informed the committee in the Chamber of
Deputies investigating the sale of LanChile shares in 2006, that
the Banco de Chile's stock office responsible for the sale has a
recording of the conversation in which Sebastian Pinera personally
gave the instruction to buy shares. The tape would contradict
Pinera's argument that an automated computer system made the
transactino. The SVS fined Pinera for not abstaining from buying
the shares (Government-owned, La Nacion, 11/10).
10. According to the Santiago Chamber of Commerce, Chile had
a total US$ 2.2 billion direct investment abroad in the third
quarter of 2009. This is 320% more compared to the same period in
2008 (La Naci????n, 11/10).