|06BUENOSAIRES1188||2006-05-24 19:47:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Buenos Aires|
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UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001188
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's most important international stories include
the USG planning a European anti-missile 'shield;' US
President Bush expressing public concern about 'eroded
democracies' in Venezuela and Bolivia; the USG's
skepticism of the Argentine projected conciliation
policy; the USG planning to use war technology against
illegal immigrants; Mercosur signing a deal with
Israel; Venezuela closer to enter Mercosur; and Cuban
dictator Castro's public exposure of his fortune.
2. OPINION PIECES AND KEY STORIES
- "The US is planning a European 'shield'"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" reports (05/23) "Amid
increasing fears of an eventual attack from Iran, the
USG proposed its Eastern European allies to establish
an anti-missile 'shield' in Europe for a cost of over
1.6 billion dollars.
"In its edition from yesterday, the New York Times
revealed the White House's purpose of establishing ten
bases for missile interception in a European location
by 2011 with the purpose of protecting Europe and the
US from eventual attacks from Middle East countries,
"However, analysts agree that Washington's real
purpose is to broaden its presence in the old area of
influence of the Soviet Union. Actually, the 'shield'
could have huge political impact because, if
established in Poland, for example, it would be the
first permanent US military base in that country."
- "Bush is disturbed by Bolivia and Venezuela"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" reports (05/23) "In an
unusual statement, US President George W. Bush
expressed yesterday his concern about the 'eroded
democracy' in Venezuela and Bolivia, and he criticized
President Chavez's intervention in Latin American
countries' election processes.
"This is the first time Bush publicly denounces
Chavez's interference in the elections of the region -
although without naming the Venezuelan president in an
explicit way - and it is the first time he refers to
Bolivia since President Evo Morales took over last
"... Without mentioning any country, Bush pleaded for
the right to private property and free trade following
the Bolivian government's announced nationalization of
hydrocarbons and Ecuador's cancellation of an
agreement with US oil company Oxy.
"Secretary General to the OAS Jose Miguel Insulza
harshly criticized this retaliation from Washington."
- "US skepticism about Argentina's projected political
Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading
"Clarin," writes (05/23) "Washington reacted with
skepticism to Argentine President Nestor Kirchner's
proposal of pluralism and conciliation with different
political and social forces vis--vis 2007 elections.
"A USG official told this newspaper 'let's wait and
see.' And he added that for real pluralism and
conciliation to take place, Kirchner should first
change his typical style. And he suggested 'to reverse
the concentration of power' at the Argentine
Government House and 'accept criticism.' On the
contrary, conciliation would only be a 'formality,' or
worse than this, 'it would be at the service of
concentration of power.'
"Several analysts and former government officials
consulted by 'Clarin' agreed with the first source in
one way or another. Everyone believes that Kirchner
will run for re-election."
- "War technology against illegal immigrants"
Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," comments (05/23) "With
the same military strategic view and the same
technology it applies to its 'global war on
terrorism,' the Bush administration is preparing a
'virtual border' to stop the thousands of undocumented
immigrants that cross the US-Mexican border every
"According to USG officials, the US Department of
Homeland Security wants to deploy the technology used
in Afghanistan and Iraq in the desert, which ranges
from satellites and manned and unmanned aircraft to
sensors and night cameras connected to computerized
- "Latin America's potential physician"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" carries an opinion piece
by Andres Oppenheimer, who writes (05/23) "... As
proposed by Walter Russell Mead in his recent book
"Power, terror, peace and war,' the US should
negotiate preferential agreements with Latin American
countries willing to do it in order to let US citizens
who want to move to the Southern border use their U.S.
Medicare in those countries.
"... If the wall proposed by Bush is built, the only
thing he will get is that immigrants search for new
sites to cross the border or that they dig tunnels or
come through Canada.
"And if 6,000 additional troops are sent to the
border, the measure will be useless all the same. The
number of US border patrol agents has been increased
from 3,700 to 12,000 agents during the last 15 years,
and the immigration of undocumented immigrants has
doubled over the same period all the same."
- "The region will sign a deal with Israel"
Business-financial, center-right "InfoBae" reports
(05/23) "Before the end of an agitated semester in
regional affairs, Argentina needs to end its pro
tempore presidency of Mercosur with dignity.
"Its main bet consists of reaching an FTA with Israel,
which would be the first big deal of the bloc because
the deals in force up to now are limited to fixed
"Last December the two parties signed a macro deal in
Montevideo which included a schedule of negotiations.
The final purpose was to sign an FTA in the upcoming
Mercosur presidential summit, which will be held in
Cordoba on July 21."
- "Venezuela is closer to enter Mercosur"
Gabriel Buttazzoni, columnist of business-financial,
center-right "InfoBae," writes (05/23) "Argentina will
make public today its strong support for Venezuela's
formal entry into Mercosur, in the framework of
negotiations to be held among the five countries of
"... A political and strategic ally, Chavez purchased
and still purchases Argentine bonds, and offers oil
whenever there is a shortfall of oil. However, his
influence irritates even his allies, who admit that
giving a hand to him may mean to be subject to his
dictates and initiatives."
- "Decoding Castro's cash"
James Scott, contributor to liberal, English-language
"Buenos Aires Herald," writes (05/23) "Cuban President
Fidel Castro's retirement account is looking a bit
healthier than the revolutionary dictator these days,
if you believe a recent Forbes magazine ranking of the
79-year-old as the seven wealthiest world leader.
"The US financial magazine that charts the wealth of
leaders in its annual 'Kings, Queens & Dictators'
survey, estimated this month that Castro is worth
about 900 million dollars. He tops the queen of
England... and the queen of the Netherlands...
"The Forbes article prompted an angry response from
Castro, who went on TV with the head of the Cuba's
Central Bank at his side and said he would resign if
the magazine's assertions could be proven true.
"Even more interesting is how the ranking comes at a
time when the Bush administration has made cracking
down on Cuba a much bigger priority than any previous
president in recent memory."
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