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Cablegate: Media Report January 8

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TAGS: ECON KMDR KPAO PGOV PREL SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: Media Report January 8

Leading Story

1. The annual inflation rate in Chile dropped to -1.4%
in 2009, the lowest in 74 years.

Chile-U.S.-Latin America

2. Under absolute confidentiality, Foreign Minister
Mariano Fernandez traveled to Venezuela last night on a mission
with a specific goal: to promote OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel
Insulza's reelection. His subsequent destination will be
Nicaragua. Minister Fernandez' tour coincides with Venezuela and
Nicaragua's -in addition to the United States'- dismissal to move
ahead the elections scheduled for May. Minister Fernandez will
return to Chile during the weekend, in time for the upcoming visit
to Chile of Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere
Arturo Valenzuela. This is his first trip to the country since
coming into office on November 10. His presence will also give
Minister Fernandez an opportunity to seek U.S. endorsement for
Insulza. Since last June, Insulza's relationship with the American
government hasn't been at its best. (Conservative, independent La
Tercera 1/8)

U.S.-Chile

3. President Bachelet inaugurated Thursday a modern
inspection site of fruits and vegetables destined for the U.S.
market. The state-of-the-art facilities in the area of Teno, in
central Chile, will increase the capability of the Chilean
Agricultural and Animal Service (SAG) to conduct pre-departure
inspections of produce exported to the United States. The
front-page headline of the story is accompanied by a large photo of
the President at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, flanked by U.S. Under
Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulation Programs
Edward Avalos, U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons, and other officials.
(Regional daily La Prensa, 1/8)

4. President Bachelet, high-level U.S. representatives,
and local exporter representatives inaugurated a modern inspection
plant in Teno. (Regional daily El Centro, 1/8)

5. U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons visited the Binational
Center in Curico (Region Seven) where he participated in a dialogue
with students and teachers. Ambassador Simons noted the great
progress achieved by Chile during the past years, and commented
that President Bachelet's role has been key to strengthening the
excellent bilateral relations that both countries enjoy. (La Prensa
1/8)

Frei Case

6. In a divided ruling, the Santiago Court of Appeals'
Eight Room released on bail the two physicians prosecuted for
murder in the death of former President Eduardo Frei Montalva. The
court revoked a ruling which had denied granting them such
privilege for considering them "a threat to society safety."
(Conservative, newspaper-of-record, El Mercurio 1/8)

7. Interview with forensic expert and toxicologist
Carmen Cerda, co-author of the key report that revealed alleged
presence of mustard gas and thallium in Frei's sample tissues.
Asked about the tests conducted by the FBI, Dr. Cerda noted that
Judge Alejandro Madrid asked the FBI to run DNA tests: "That was

the first controversial test requested to the FBI, who
uncompromisingly answered 'No drugs' and added no further
comments," Dr. Cerda said. When asked about how much importance
she would give to such study, she commented: "None. In other
judicial cases, Chile's Investigative Police tried to send forensic
material to the FBI asking for their assistance in clarifying
certain doubts, but they would invariably answer: 'It cannot be
determined.' Therefore, I came to the conclusion that they chose
not to become involved with any results when these were not
initiated by them or they did not take samples themselves." To the
question, "Word says that the FBI could not find chemical
substances due to the aged tissue samples received," Dr. Cerda
answered: "Chile's request to the FBI was one: To determine the
DNA. As a matter of fact, it only muddled up the case rather than
simplifying it."

Local

8. Adimark polling company revealed that President
Bachelet had 81% approval in December, over 77% obtained the
previous month, raising her popularity to record levels in Chile's
history. (Government-owned, editorially independent La Nacion 1/8)

Terror

9. Editorial: "Terror Threat on Aviation: The Role of
Intelligence is Key" "The announcement about stricter security
measures for commercial flights and airports does not attack the
core of the problem: the failure of the intelligence services whose
mission is to prevent the attacks... Undoubtedly, international
terrorism justifies intensifying precautions and vigilance...
Nevertheless, it also seems clear that the latest announcements
spring from fear and from the governments' need to show a proactive
attitude, rather than from a deep and impassionate reflection about
the best way to confront such danger... The most emblematic
terrorist attacks in history -on the Twin Towers-were possible as a
result of the massive failure of the agencies responsible for
detecting and monitoring anything related to such threats... The
lesson learned is that the silent, slow-paced, invisible to the
public opinion, but effective and coordinated work of intelligence
is what offers the best chance to deactivate terror conspiracies
before they fulfill their goals. This is where major efforts should
be focused on rather than on just toughening controls on airlines
and airports." (La Tercera, 1/8)

10. Opinion piece by international pundit Raul Sohr,
entitled "Terrorism and Air Safety Dilemmas" "Fourteen countries
were punished for the U.S. intelligence services' failure...
Scanners are slow and it will be difficult to have all passengers
go through them. What will authorities do then? They will select
those individuals more liable of carrying explosives. A word to the
wise is sufficient: there will be a stricter application of
ethnical selection... Al Qaeda and its associates operate under the
logic of terrorist methods... Besides, they manage to gain the
support of many Muslim passengers who may have never empathized
with fundamentalists... Above all, the battle against Al Qaeda is
political. That is how President Barack Obama understands it. And a
sign of this is his order to close the prison in Guantanamo. From a
political standpoint, there is a delicate balance between
guaranteeing security and not alienating the people who are
intended for protection. (La Nacion, 1/8)
SIMONS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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