Cablegate: Embassy Santiago Jan. 29 Media Report
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SUBJECT: Embassy Santiago Jan. 29 Media Report
Jan. 29 Media Report
1. Unemployment decreased 0.5 percent compared to the previous
quarter and now stands at 8.6 percent. The participation of women
in the labor market was 41.3 percent which is 5.6 percent higher
than a decade ago, although still the lowest in the region
(Conservative, independent, La Tercera, 1/29).
Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela (based on teleconference)
2. Assistant Secretary Valenzuela was asked what was needed
for Honduras to re-enter the Organization of American States (OAS):
"Fulfill the San Jose agreements, that is, create a national
unified government and a truth commission. . . . President Lobo
has assumed this. . . . Honduras is heading in the right direction
and is retaking the democratic process. . . . This is not an issue
that concerns the United States only; all countries are concerned,
because there cannot be a precedent of a coup or of a country's
isolation. There is good dialogue with the Rio Group and a
resolution will be reached." Asked about Zelaya: "I was with Manuel
Zelaya on Tuesday and he said, 'My term ends here' (La Tercera,
3. Arturo Valenzuela said Manuel Zelaya's exit for Honduras had
been an "important step." He said the United States is "very
satisfied because "from here on we can work with other countries so
that Honduras can return to the OAS" (Radio Cooperativa on line,
4. Editorial: "Contributions to U.S. Policy": "In a ruling that
surprised experts and was questioned by President Obama, the U.S.
Supreme Court struck down the law that prohibits corporations from
paying for advertisements to either support or oppose a candidate.
. . . The argument is that this falls in the spirit of the First
Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech. . . . It is
interesting that the Supreme Court deems that citizen organizations
have the same rights as individuals" (Conservative, influential El
5. Commentary by Fernando Purcel, Catholic University and
University of California history professor: "Obama is in a
difficult situation, because his administration has been forced to
focus on the economic crisis and not so much on implementing the
proposals with which he won voters' confidence. Obama has many
pending task ahead. . . . To accomplish them, he should start by
focusing his charisma and inspiring leadership . . . toward
political circles, something he has not yet fully achieved. He
also needs to attain a degree of political leadership that
transcends ideals and principles" (La Tercera, 1/29).
6. Press release on the meetings being held in Santiago by
Department of State, USAID, and Chile's International Cooperation
Agency officials to discuss trilateral cooperation efforts to
assist the region (Financial daily Diario Financiero, 1/29).
State of the Union Address
7. President Obama used the appeal of his charisma and a solid
address. . . . But his proposals did not reflect any fundamental
change to re-enchant the people who are disappointed with the
management of the economy and the bailout of the banking sector.
The president's remarks did not show that he understood, as
Financial Times columnist Clive Cook said, "That the country is
sending him a message and that he is listening closely to it"
(Diario Financiero, 1/29).
8. The president announced plans for the middle-class;
insisted on the need to reform the financial system and the health
reform; called for bipartisan efforts to move forward on change,
and even took part of the blame because his major proposal is
still unfulfilled. . . . He also scolded Republicans for
obstructing (change) and Democrats for not being strong enough to
pass reforms, and even the Supreme Court for allowing corporation
to finance election campaigns. But he still stuck to the middle
ground in his address and took no risks...and it was that cautious
approach which undermined the strength of his address (El Mercurio,
9. Forbes magazine ranked Chilean President-elect Sebastian
Pi????era as the 15th most influential person in the world, based on
his financial standing, business interest, and the fact that he is
now president (El Mercurio, 1/29).
10. Rescue workers have recovered 170,000 bodies in
Port-au-Prince, said President Preval yesterday. He also said that
France had offered to start rebuilding the government palace
(Conservative, afternoon La Segunda, 1/28).
11. Editorial: "It is not very encouraging that the person who
instigated the coup in Honduras has become the big winner from the
crisis in that country. . . . But that is exactly what has
happened with Roberto Micheletti. . . . Among the losers (of the
crisis) are Hugo Chavez . . . but also the OAS, headed by Jose
Miguel Insulza, who took a rigid stance against Micheletti...
preventing the organization from becoming an effective element in
the solution of the crisis. . . . The outcome was not positive for
Brazil either. President Lula, who was set on Zelaya's return, was
unable to impose his role as a regional power once the United
States - in a change of stance - decided it would no longer support
the ousted president and recognized the validity of Lobo's
election. . . . The U.S. pragmatism . . . made others losers too:
Those who after the Trinidad Summit (of the Americas) had great
hopes that Obama would start a new era, where Latin American- U.S.
joint interests would weigh more than U.S. foreign policy strategic
interests (Conservative, afternoon La Segunda, 1/28).
12. Note: The director of Venezuela's National Telecommunications
Committee (CONATEL) questioned a few days ago the absence of a wide
airing of Telesur in Chile, claiming this amounted to censorship).
In answer to his comments, local cable operators said that the
reason why Telesur is not widely broadcast in Chile "is simply
because there is no interest locally in the signal" (La Segunda,