Cablegate: Santiago Feb. 6-8 Media Report
DE RUEHSG #0188/01 0391828
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081826Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0849
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 000188
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. 6-8 Media Report
1. President-elect Sebastian Pi????era will announce his cabinet
tomorrow at 6 p.m. (All dailies, 2/8).
2. Asked about Chile's relation with the United States,
Foreign Affairs Minister Mariano Fernandez said: "Relations between
Chile and the United States have been excellent for some years now.
An example of this is the Chile-California program... which gives
bilateral ties a qualitative difference from the purely economic,
commercial, and political approach to relations.... Before
becoming president, Barack Obama already felt admiration for
Bachelet... because of her life experiences and her ability to
govern from such a special perspective.... There is ... an
extraordinary chemistry between the U.S. President and Bachelet....
I hope that the (new) government of Chile maintains the same level
of cooperation and understanding. But I note that there is a very
personal relationship between Presidents Obama and Bachelet that
goes beyond the good political and diplomatic relation that Chile
has with the United States" (Government-owned, La Nacion, 2/8).
3. It is possible that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will
attend the presidential swearing-in ceremony in Valparaiso on March
11. Presidents Cristina Fernandez (Argentina), Fernando Lugo
(Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Lula da Silva (Brazil)
have confirmed their attendance (La Tercera, 2/7).
4. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that "black
liquor" does not qualify as a clean energy fuel and cannot,
therefore, apply for subsidies from 2010 to 2012. "It was what we
were hoping for," said Jose Campino, of Chile's s Wood Corporation,
CORMA (Conservative, influential El Mercurio 2/6).
5. The International Institute for Strategic Studies "2010
Military Balance" report concludes with regard to Latin America:
Military expenses are on the rise in spite of the economic crisis,
border and energy issues are neutralizing diplomatic efforts, and
cooperation efforts such as the recently created South American
Defense Council have been unable to establish an institutional
framework to provide a context for goodwill in the area of defense.
In 2006, the region spent 1.25% of its GDP in military expenses; in
2009 it was up to 1.35%. Colombia has the highest defense expense
rate (2.4 %), while Brazil increased its expenses by 25% for 2009
compared to the previous year and spends 1.7% of its GDP.
Colombia's determination to be militarily prepared is related to an
eventual border conflict with Venezuela, and not just its fight
against narcotics guerrillas. The agreement for U.S. military
presence in Colombian military bases is perceived as part of a
design that goes beyond Colombia's internal struggles. The United
States is still fundamental for Colombia's preventive surveillance
capabilities. In sum, the report confirms that military
institutions in the region are increasingly isolated and
cooperation has not moved forward as it has in the diplomatic
arena. The arms race is unstoppable for now, as the United States
chooses not to get involved in internal affairs or in stopping the
military expansion. Its participation is restricted to Plan
Colombia, Plan Merida, and SOUTHCOM activities related to narcotics
trafficking (Alvaro Vargas Llosa article, conservative, independent
La Tercera, 2//7).
6. Interview with Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia
Belaunde: "When President Pi????era tells us that the topic of the
(Peru's) maritime demand will be settled in The Hague and that we
can unfreeze relations to move forward on other issues, our answer
is that we are anxious do to this and that he can count on our most
sincere support" (La Tercera, 2/7).
7. 20 Chilean Carabineros policemen were deployed to Haiti at the
request of United Nations to guard the 46 banks in Port-au-Prince
and that are starting to operate (La Tercera, 2/7).
8. Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez answers a question on the
reelection of OAS secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza:"We have
the necessary votes... Several have been made public, such as
Mercosur, Dominican Republic, and Colombia; Then there are those
who have given us their support and are confirming it in writing...
but asked that their vote not be revealed until the day of the
election" (La Nacion, 2/8).
9. OAS Secretary General Insulza is already in campaign for his
reelection: "The least I expect is an evaluation of what has been
done. ... It must be clearly said that we have acted with
determination and in depth in cases of crisis," said Insulza (El
10. Breakdown of a part of Pi????era's program:
-- Social protection: A special bonus for March, creation of a
Social Ministry, extension of postnatal period to six months;
-- Employment: Fast reaction mechanisms to promote investment;
subsidy to hire manual labor; creation of agencies to improve labor
environment for the most vulnerable sector of society;
-- Security: Bill that creates an electronic surveillance device
for individuals accused of a crime; increase the number of
policemen on the streets; pass the bill already in Congress that
creates the Ministry of Interior and Citizen Security.
-- Education: Pass the bill already in Congress to create an
entity that oversees education, create a mechanism for the
appointment of headmasters to public schools (El Mercurio, 2/8).
11. In 2005, President-elect Pi????era bought full ownership of
television station Chilevision. He has now decided to transfer all
his shares to a non-profit foundation that will administrate his
shares for as long as he is in office. The means that profits
generated by the station and that are not reinvested in the station
will go to charity. It also means that Pi????era will retain station
ownership. Pi????era will name the foundation's board. The
foundation's by-laws say that Pi????era can appoint or remove the
president of the foundation at any given time and assume himself
that office (La Tercera, 2/7).
12. Fulvio Rossi, president of the Socialist Party: "It's a scam
and a way to keep ownership (of the station). Pi????era should have
included the station in his blind trust." Jose Joaquin Brunner,
former TV station board member: "This will not solve the future
president's conflict of interests" (La Tercera, 2/8).
13. President Bachelet appointed General Cristian Le Dantec Joint
Chief of Staff, in accordance to the recent law that reorganizes
the Ministry of Defense (La Tercera, 2/6).