DE RUEHBU #1647/01 2341924
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221924Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8993
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001647
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; BOLIVIAN PRESIDENT EVO MORALES AND
VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ; US-LATAM; CHINA; 08/22/07
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Leading international stories today focus on Bolivian President Evo
Morales' attempt to amend his country's Constitution in search of
indefinite re-election, along the lines of Venezuelan President Hugo
Chvez's "model;" a Zogby International opinion poll revealing that
Latin America is little known to the US public; and the ever
increasing economic importance of China.
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "Chvez, Morales and absolute power"
Daily-of-record "La Nacisn" editorializes (08/22) "In 1999,
Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez wanted to legitimize himself
through the amendment of his country's Constitution... The idea of
permanently ruling the Bolivarian republic... has since led a good
deal of his initiatives...
"... Facing a new constitutional reform based on an unhidden
ambition to obtain indefinite re-election, Chvez attempted to
expand his ideas through the Andean region. He managed to do so in
Bolivia and Ecuador, through the triumph of Evo Morales and Rafael
Correa, but he failed in Per with the defeat of Ollanta Humala.
"Particularly in Bolivia, Morales continues being inspired by
Chvez. Evidence of this is now his attempt to amend the
Constitution in order to ensure absolute power.
"His intention contradicts the need described by Juan Linz,
professor of Political Sciences at Yale University, to avoid the
temptation to create authoritarian regimes in Latin America. This is
to say, it goes against the democratic ideal of a 'pro tempore
government' with a legitimacy that is limited in time.
"Both constitutional amendments could leave the two presidents with
excessive powers and jeopardize 'the delicate balance of power,'
which is the basic defense of democracy against every kind of abuse
"In this way, Venezuela and Bolivia distance themselves from the
other countries of the region that adhere to the principles of
democracy, and, therefore, they get closer to the Cuban 'model,'
with just one difference - that their presidents were popularly
"The situation in Venezuela is particularly serious. Chvez already
enjoys a broad delegation of legislative faculties...
"In Bolivia, the opposition still has voice and vote at the
Constituent Assembly, although Morales' most disturbing proposals
are focused on indefinite reelection of both himself and his VP, and
on the use of 'indigenous autonomies' to dilute the committed
'territorial autonomy' of Eastern provinces.
"The reported proposal made by VP Alvaro Garca Linera to create a
diffuse fourth 'branch of Government' in charge of the 'social
control' of the government's action is also concerning.
"... The two proposals lack the democratic spirit that should be
commonplace in the region."
- "An opinion poll reveals that Americans know nothing about Latin
Ana Baron, leading "Clarn's" Washington-based correspondent, writes
(08/22) "... The US public's little knowledge about our region is
totally surprising. While practically all US homes do have a TV set
and most of them have Internet access, 90% do not know who Lula
is..., and this is not everything. Most Americans do not know even
who Mexican President Felipe Caldersn is... A Zogby International
opinion poll reveals that only 20 per cent of 7,362 Americans
interviewed said that they knew who Caldersn is and barely 10 per
cent said they knew Lula.
"As per the opinion poll, the three countries perceived as the US
top allies are Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rica. Argentina, a country
that currently raises much distrust at the US Department of State,
stands fourth, while Colombia (a country that has had a strong
alliance with the US for four years) is perceived as one of its
worst enemies, along with Cuba and Venezuela.
"... The opinion poll revealed that the only Latin American leaders
that Americans do know well are Fidel Castro, from Cuba, and Hugo
Chvez, from Venezuela, the two leaders that are in the US
Department of State's loop. Nevertheless, most Americans disagree
with US President Bush's policy on Cuba. 58 per cent said they favor
resumption of talks between Washington and Havana on future ties
between the two countries, while 56 per cent said they are in favor
of lifting the embargo imposed on the island."
- "Chinese high-technology exports increase by the day"
Business-financial "El Cronista" carries an opinion piece by Jorge
Castro, head of the Institute for Strategic Planning, who opines
(08/22) "... The structure of Chinese exports is increasingly
similar to that of highly developed countries (the US, EU, Japan),
and it is not related to the number of resources and the level of
development of the Popular Republic. This means that the per capita
income associated with Chinese exports is much higher than the
average per capita income of the country having the largest
population in the world.
"This is an increasing and accelerated trend. This means that the
range of high-technology products which G3 countries export but not
China for now, is increasingly smaller and will disappear in no more
than ten years... The change in China's exports structure is the
outcome of the multinationalization of its economy and the
increasing importance of multinational corporations in its exporting
"The main strategic point is that China's share in international
trade versus its GDP is the highest one in the emerging world and
one of the highest in the world - 75 per cent...
"There could not be a greater strategic mistake than disregarding
China's importance in the current stage of globalization."
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