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Cablegate: Santiago Dec. 3-4 Media Report

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TAGS: ECON KMDR KPAO PGOV PREL SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: Santiago Dec. 3-4 Media Report

Chile-U.S.

1. A Gallup poll conducted in 17 Latin American countries
shows that in Chile 72% of those polled have a positive image of
President Obama and 59% approve of the U.S. government. This is 30%
higher than the same poll in 2008 when George W. Bush was in
office. The positive perception of the USG improved in 14 of the 16
countries polled in Latin America from 2008 to 2009. For example,
in Argentina it increased from 10% to 42% and in Uruguay from 13%
to 53%. At the regional level, 61% have a good impression of
President Obama and 51% of the USG government. Nicaragua, Ecuador,
and Bolivia are the only countries in the region that have a
negative perception of both the U.S. president and of his
administration (Conservative, independent La Tercera 12/3).

2. In a letter to the editor, the president of the Council of
Scientific Associations of Chile, Jorge Babul, says that a recent
editorial on the problems regarding the bidding and selection
process that the government's scholarship program "Becas Chile" is
facing fails to note that the program was put together "without the
input of local universities, some of which have over 40 years of
experience in graduate programs and agreements with educational
institutions abroad" (La Tercera, 12/4).

Honduras

3. The electoral process in Honduras left winners and losers.
Winners: Roberto Micheletti, who deceived everyone both
domestically and abroad into believing that he would yield; Arturo
Valenzuela, who would not have been confirmed if the United States
had not recognized the election; and Senator Jim DeMint, who prior
to the crisis was unknown outside U.S. congressional circles. Among
the losers are OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, who took
sides without assessing the complexity created by Zelaya's illegal
expulsion and the situation he had put himself in prior to his
expulsion; President Lula da Silva, who did not take into
consideration the implications for his country and the region of
supporting Zelaya, therefore failing in his performance as a
regional leader (La Tercera, 12/4).

4. Column: "Questions arise about the U.S. position... in
Honduras, because it seems the outcome of a political pact between
the Obama administration and the Republican Party.... This means
that the new U.S. administration is giving priority to domestic
considerations rather than to its fundamental and declared foreign
policy principle of defending democratic regimes. This ambiguity is
a wink of approval for those who want to oust elected heads of
states... and puts U.S. credibility at stake. No one expects the
United States to restore democracy in Honduras by sending
expeditionary forces or troops. But the U.S. receives 70 percent
of Honduras' exports and can, therefore, push many levers to demand
the restoration of democracy" (Government-owned, La Nacion, 12/4).

5. Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America Affairs
Arturo Valenzuela expressed the USG's "disappointment" with the
congressional decision in Honduras not to reinstate Zelaya.
Valenzuela, however, said that the decision had been "open and
transparent" and in compliance with the Tegucigalpa-San Jose
agreement. Along the same lines, president-elect Porfirio Lobo
called on the provisional government to create a Truth Commission
and another to verify the compliance of the agreement to pave the
way for the renewal of relations with other countries (El Mercurio,
12/4).

6. In spite of the U.S. "disappointment" with regard to

Honduras' congressional decision to keep Zelaya away from office,
Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela reiterated that "the next
step should be to create a national unity government and Truth
Commission to allow Honduras to return to the Inter-American
community of nations" (Government-owned, editorially independent La
Nacion, 12/4).

7. Column: "Brazil, the United States, and the OAS deserve
Gold Medals for their poor handling of the election in Honduras ...
The medal for political hypocrisy goes to Brazilian President Lula
da Silva, who correctly stated that recognizing the election ...
legitimizes an electoral process convoked by a non-democratic
government. The problem with this argument is that most
democracies in Latin America emerged from electoral processes
convoked by governments who were involved in coup d'????tats.... But
the epitome of Brazil's political hypocrisy is that just a few days
ago Lula ... offered international recognition to Iranian strong
man Mahmud Ahmadinejad ... who won an extremely questionable
election... and whose government recently sentenced eight
dissidents to death .... Plus, how can Lula demand international
sanctions against Honduras and call at the same time to lift
sanctions on Cuba? ...The medal for indecision goes to the United
States. The Obama administration first joined Brazil and other
Latin American countries in condemning the coup.... Then the
Department of State said it would recognize the election because it
would help regain full democracy... and more recently ... said
Honduras has to establish a national unity government before it can
lift sanctions. .... The gold medal for partiality goes to the OAS,
which rather than condemning the coup and Zelaya for disavowing the
resolution of his country's Supreme Court ... only campaigned in
favor of Zelaya (Andres Oppenheimer, El Mercurio, 12/4).

Afghanistan

8. Over 20 countries with military presence in Afghanistan have
already announced that they would be willing to send more troops to
that country, said NATO spokesperson James Appathurai, adding that
this was a "clear" signal of support for President Obama's new
strategy (La Nacion, 12/4).

IPR

9. The Investigations Police IPR Crime Brigade reports that there
are criminal organizations using methods employed by counter
narcotics organizations to distribute illegal toys, clothings, and
other products to the region. Containers arriving to the Valparaiso
and San Antonio ports in the Fifth Region are for distribution in
the Metropolitan Region, but those arriving to Iquique are for
distribution to other South American countries. The PDI says that
of those arrested for distribution of illegal products, 80% are
either Chinese, Korean, or Taiwanese who have acquired resident
visas. Since most are only fined and not imprisoned, they go back
to the same activity in a short period of time (El Mercurio, 12/3).
SIMONS

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