Cablegate: Santiago Feb. 3 Media Report
DE RUEHSG #0128/01 0341839
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031838Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0656
INFO RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000128
STATE FOR R/MR, I/PP, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON KMDR KPAO PGOV PREL SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: Santiago Feb. 3 Media Report
1. A small boat was hit by winds of up to 40 knots and 20-foot
waves in the Chacao Canal in southern Chile and sunk, leaving eight
missing. The boat left port without due authorization. No bodies
have been recovered (All dailies, 2/3).
2. President-elect Pi????era commented on his conversation with
President Obama: "I spoke to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and
President Barack Obama. Both congratulated me on my victory and on
Chile's exemplary election.... They also expressed hope of
strengthening ties with Chile on democracy and human rights.... My
intention is to have a mutually respectful, but also fertile
relationship with the United States... and to strengthen and
improve our free trade agreement." Pi????era said he confirmed his
attendance to the summit in Washington on energy safety (sic),
where he hopes to meet with President Obama (Financial dailies
Diario Financierio and Estrategia, 2/3).
3. Pi????era said had spoken with President Obama about their
shares values: freedom, an open, competitive economy, and respect
for human rights and the environment. Pi????era said he had also
the U.S. president for a private meeting interview and had invited
him to visit Chile (Conservative, afternoon La Segunda 2/2).
Continued coverage of A/S Arturo Valenzuela teleconference (1/28)
4. Assistant Secretary Valenzuela recognized the efforts
undertaken by the new government of Honduras to regain
international recognition by stating that the steps taken by
Tegucigalpa to reenter the OAS "are going in the right direction."
Valenzuela said that "the lesson here is that democracy is still
fragile in Latin America" (Conservative, influential
newspaper-of-record El Mercurio, 2/3).
5. Editorial on President Obama's 2011 fiscal budget:"On
Monday President Obama revealed budget proposal for 2011... His
remarks show a noteworthy change; After a year after of focusing on
stimulating an economic recovery, the emphasis is now clearly on
savings .... This is reasonable... but the inevitable question is
whether the government will be able to achieve this.... Obama also
proposed a tax increase on higher-income citizens and
businesses.... These measures, however, could undermine the
capability of the United States to regain its (economic) drive.
Now comes the discussion in Congress ... and the question is what
alternatives does Obama have if there is no agreement with the
Republicans? The U.S. economic recovery is a concern ... because
it inevitably affects economies worldwide" (El Mercurio, 2/3).
6. Obama's 2011 budget decreases aid for Latin America,
especially for Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative in Mexico
The largest recipients of social programs will be Mexico and
Honduras, which will get 16 million additional dollars each, and
Haiti that will get over 260 million dollars to recover from the
earthquake (La Segunda, 2/2).
7. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) reports that Chile has
a 67% rate of software piracy, which is the highest rate of all
OECD members that on the average have 35%. The United States has
only a 20% software piracy rate, the lowest of all OECD members
(Business financial daily Estrategia, 2/3).
8. President Bachelet enacted the law that modernizes the
Defense Ministry by creating the office of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff. The new JCS will be a three-star general, while all
Commanders-in-Chief are four stars. He will be responsible for
Chile's strategic military and peace operation, and director in
times of war. The law also eliminates the undersecretaries of war,
navy, and air force and creates an undersecretary for defense and
another for the armed forces. It also establishes the creation of
a Commanders-in-Chief "Junta" to advise the Minister of Defense.
The new law is emblematic for the Concertacion democratic
governments: "This is a special day for those of us who lived
through the collapse of our democracy and who realized that it was
necessary to make deep changes to prevent that from happening
again," said Bachelet (Conservative afternoon daily La Segunda,
9. "The area of denfense is one of public policy in which the
armed forces play an irreplaceable role. But the design (of this
policy), its evaluation, and control are inevitably the
responsibility of the political authorities," said Bachelet with
regard to the new law. The new office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
will fall under the command of the President through the Ministry
of Defense. He will be appointed by the President from a list of
eighteen generals from all the military branches (Government-owned
La Nacion, 2/3).
10. Editorial: "Is President Fernandez staggering... It's
unlikely, because Argentina has a considerable ability to go on
with its daily life in political conditions that other countries
would find chaotic. It is possible that Fernandez will conclude
her term falling over and over again" (La Segunda, 2/2).