International Information Programs
November 18, 2005

November 18, 2005





**  The "hemispheric future isn't promising for anybody" after the "summit sine laude."

**  Media criticism of "President of War" Bush not based necessarily on admiration of Chávez.

**  Global observers see expanding U.S.-Latam rift, but note relations "have never been easy."

**  Numerous outlets use SOA-IV to survey the "limits of American power."




The region's 'ambivalent relationship' with the U.S.--  Media saw the "dissonance" at SOA-IV signaling a "not too promising future" since Mar del Plata "didn't open the door to hemispheric hope."  A Mexican observer nonetheless declared that presenting the summit simply as a "struggle between the imperialist northern countries and the oppressed southern nations" would be scripting a news story for the "those not capable of thinking."  Business papers inclined to the view that Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, with their strong industrial sectors, would benefit from broader access to the U.S. export market through a functioning FTAA, but Nicaragua's leftist El Nuevo Diario stated Latam voters are increasingly "skeptical of policies geared towards free markets and globalization." 


'Many of us...oppose Fidel, Chávez' yet 'are against Bush'--  China's official People's Daily claimed that, since taking office, Bush ignored Latin countries and "provoked their antipathy," and as a result, U.S.-Latam "relations have become chilly."  An Indonesian outlet judged that the U.S. "tended to prefer building relationships and cooperation" with countries "far outside the American Continent and the Caribbean."  Ecuador's center-right El Universo opined that "Chávez and Fidel have taken advantage of hatred towards Bush to promote hatred towards the U.S."  An Argentine analyst posited that Kirchner chose--"for the first time since he took office"--to openly criticize Bush at Mar del Plata "in front of thirty hemispheric presidents." 


'Will the U.S. lose Latin America?'--  Turkey's Hurriyet proclaimed that U.S. authority is "in decline" in "its own backyard" and a West Bank outlet drew a "lesson from Argentina," calling for Arabs to "rise up" against U.S. policies.  China's official Xinhua Daily Telegraph added, "Washington is losing its influence in South America."  El Salvador's moderate La Prensa Gráfica held that relations between the U.S. and Latin America "have never been easy," and Chile's conservative, independent La Tercera, after asking this paragraph's opening question, stated, "It’s not too late for the U.S. to recover its political influence in Latin America." 


SOA-IV 'most recent example' of Anti-Americanism--  Numerous writers saw the U.S. role in Iraq and other world-wide events mirrored in the summit's political environment.  As they discussed the evident "anti-U.S. atmosphere" in Latam in which the promises of open markets "fail" to garner support for the FTAA, many depicted free trade schemes as favoring the U.S. especially with regard to agriculture.  A Turkish observer saw "another indication that American power has its limits" while Chile's center-left Diario Siete expressed the view that the region should not allow dissatisfaction over U.S. actions in Iraq to "become an obstacle to cooperation."


Prepared by Media Reaction Division (202) 203-7888,


EDITOR:  Rupert D. Vaughan


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 72 reports from 21 countries over November 4-16, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




CANADA:  "The Crisis Worsens Between Caracas And Mexico. The two Countries Recall Their Ambassadors"


Jooneed Khan commented in centrist French-language La Presse (11/15):  "The failure of Vicente Fox concerning FTAA, exploited by Chávez as a failure of the U.S, Canada and Central America, has weakened the Mexican head of state eight months before the general elections in his country. The dispute weakens him even more because the PRI, the former party in power, has just designated the effective Roberto Madrazo as its candidate for the presidency, and because the Conference of the bishops is calling for a model based on social justice and solidarity to replace Fox's neo-liberal economic model."


ARGENTINA:  "Venezuela And Mexico, Close To Breaking Relations"


Daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (11/15) "Yesterday, Venezuela and Mexico were in the middle of the worst diplomatic crisis in recent history after the governments of the two countries announced the withdrawal of their respective ambassadors and President Fox said he doesn’t rule out breaking diplomatic relations with Caracas. The serious bilateral conflict, which originated in the opposite positions their administrations have on the FTAA--pushed forward by the U.S.--underscores the divisions among Latin American leaders vis-à-vis Washington's commercial policy and has to do with an increasingly aggressive campaign by Chávez to counter White House influence in the region.  The escalation of tension between both countries took place after Caracas rejected Mexico's ultimatum for Chávez to apologize for his polemical declarations--after he called Fox 'empire's pup.'...  With the withdrawal of ambassadors, diplomatic ties between the two countries remain at a level of 'charge' d'affaires.'"




Pablo Biffi, leading Clarin international columnist, opined (11/15):  "There is an unwritten rule of diplomacy which says that relations between countries cannot be at the mercy of men's moods or whims. And both Fox and Chávez forgot this precept to engage in an argument, with the only purpose to please their interests.  Everybody knows that Chávez has tried to build an image of the anti-Imperialist hero, attacking George W. Bush and his hemispheric 'spokespersons', among which is Fox. And this is the scenario where he feels more comfortable. In the meantime, the Mexican President accepted the challenge, in order to improve his image--damaged in the domestic front--and turned the spat into a national issue aimed at obtaining support at home. Too many fireworks for two countries that share common economic spaces (such as G-3) and which may be Mercosur partners."


"Threat To Leave IMF Beefed Up"


Ana Baron, leading Clarin Washington-based correspondent, wrote (11/15) "The U.S. official who witnessed the bilateral meeting in which the Argentine President told his colleague Bush that Argentina will bow out from the IMF if this multilateral organization isn't more flexible, didn’t appear too concerned by Kirchner's warning, either because he believes it's part of the tactics used by the GOA aimed at obtaining concessions from the Fund, or because he believes bowing out from the IMF will damage Argentina more than the Fund. Whatever the case is, everything indicates that the White House strategy to tackle Kirchner's request for support at the IMF didn’t rule out a possible threat of leaving the IMF. And if they were taken by surprise, they downplayed the issue right away.  If Argentina steps down from the IMF, it will also have to bow out from the World Bank. Moreover, this would also complicate its situation with the IDB. Wall Street analysts said this would be very negative for investments.  In fact, within the office of Hector Torres, the Argentine representative at the IMF, the priority is continues to be 'obtaining an agreement'. The de-affiliation is only scheduled if IMF demands contradict the economic plan of the GOA and no agreement is reached. 'Nobody wants to leave the Fund,' said Torres. 'But if conditions are unacceptable, that is a very serious possibility. It's not desirable, it's not something to be negotiated, but in order to have an agreement, we need the determination from both sides,' he added."


"A Deteriorated Relationship with Washington"


Political analyst, Joaquin Morales Sola, wrote in daily-of-record La Nacion (11/13):  "There won't be another bilateral meeting between Bush and Kirchner. At least, in the present circumstances, according to reliable Washington sources. For the first time since he took office, Kirchner criticized the U.S. He did so before President Bush and thirty hemispheric presidents. His relationship with the only living superpower is now seriously deteriorated. Many sectors of his administration support the need for an immediate reconstruction of this relationship.... The crisis that broke out in Mar del Plata also undermined the intellectual and diplomatic circles in Washington that defended Argentina and Kirchner within the Bush administration....  Among them, A/S Shannon, was publicly ill-treated by Kirchner, when he said at the Summit 'stop bullying us!'....  Disappointment. This is the most usual word in Washington, among academic and political circles, when they make a balance of the Bush visit to Argentina and the Summit of the Americas. Without beating the bush: it was the worst of the three Bush-Kirchner bilateral meetings and the worst hemispheric summit of the last decade. All in all, Bush was--among U.S. officials--the one who was in a better mood when he left Argentina. 'Because his expectations were never too high,' they said in Washington....   The IMF already took note, internally, that Argentina 'already lacks Washington's support.' The result: an agreement with the IMF is 'impossible' in the present circumstances, according to Argentine officials. They now hope for Rato's good will.  A new problem that cropped up in Mar del Plata is that Kirchner moved away from practically all Latin America, which had previously supported him at the Fund. Latin American presidents felt their ideas were underestimated by the Argentine president... In fact, many of his domestic allies agree with his claims at the Fund, but not with the method of confrontation he used... State Department officials said 'Kirchner was closer to Chávez than any other Latin American president.'.. Rice couldn't conceal her anger vis-à-vis Argentina's actions. 'Argentina missed a golden opportunity to seduce investments with a different action,' they said In Washington."


"Latin America Between Two Nationalisms"


Political analyst Mariano Grondona remarked in daily-of-record La Nacion (11/13)  "If Fox is accused of giving up Mexican sovereignty, well, he sides with his two predecessors and the other three presidential candidates who wish to succeed him. Mexico's entire political class--from right to left--might be accused of doing the same thing, while the direction marked by NAFTA and which FTAA wants to continue, was supported, also by 29 of the 34 leaders that met in Mar del Plata.  If Fox is a traitor then he's supported by the majority of the people in his country and also, in the region.  Saying that these Latin American presidents other than those of Venezuela and Mercosur are part of a conspiracy of traitors responds to the most exaggerated rhetoric of Chávez, rather than an objective analysis of reality....  In 1994, when Salinas de Gortari signed the NAFTA, Mexico exported for 35 billion dollars a year. But this year Mexican exports totaled 200 billion dollars a year. A policy that has multiplied Mexican exports by six and has reduced unemployment to less than 4% in 10 years, thanks to the penetration in the huge U.S. market, can't be seriously called 'anti-national.'"


"A Deteriorated Relationship with Washington"


Political analyst, Joaquin Morales Sola, wrote in daily-of-record La Nacion (11/13):  "There won't be another bilateral meeting between Bush and Kirchner. At least, in the present circumstances, according to reliable Washington sources. For the first time since he took office, Kirchner criticized the U.S. He did so before President Bush and thirty hemispheric presidents. His relationship with the only living superpower is now seriously deteriorated. Many sectors of his administration support the need for an immediate reconstruction of this relationship.... The crisis that broke out in Mar del Plata also undermined the intellectual and diplomatic circles in Washington that defended Argentina and Kirchner within the Bush administration....  Among them, A/S Shannon, was publicly ill-treated by Kirchner, when he said at the Summit 'stop bullying us!'....  Disappointment. This is the most usual word in Washington, among academic and political circles, when they make a balance of the Bush visit to Argentina and the Summit of the Americas. Without beating the bush: it was the worst of the three Bush-Kirchner bilateral meetings and the worst hemispheric summit of the last decade. All in all, Bush was--among U.S. officials--the one who was in a better mood when he left Argentina. 'Because his expectations were never too high,' they said in Washington....   The IMF already took note, internally, that Argentina 'already lacks Washington's support.' The result: an agreement with the IMF is 'impossible' in the present circumstances, according to Argentine officials. They now hope for Rato's good will.  A new problem that cropped up in Mar del Plata is that Kirchner moved away from practically all Latin America, which had previously supported him at the Fund. Latin American presidents felt their ideas were underestimated by the Argentine president... In fact, many of his domestic allies agree with his claims at the Fund, but not with the method of confrontation he used... State Department officials said 'Kirchner was closer to Chávez than any other Latin American president.'.. Rice couldn't conceal her anger vis-à-vis Argentina's actions. 'Argentina missed a golden opportunity to seduce investments with a different action,' they said In Washington."


"Latin America Between Two Nationalisms"


Political analyst Mariano Grondona remarked in daily-of-record La Nacion (11/13)  "If Fox is accused of giving up Mexican sovereignty, well, he sides with his two predecessors and the other three presidential candidates who wish to succeed him. Mexico's entire political class--from right to left--might be accused of doing the same thing, while the direction marked by NAFTA and which FTAA wants to continue, was supported, also by 29 of the 34 leaders that met in Mar del Plata.  If Fox is a traitor then he's supported by the majority of the people in his country and also, in the region.  Saying that these Latin American presidents other than those of Venezuela and Mercosur are part of a conspiracy of traitors responds to the most exaggerated rhetoric of Chávez, rather than an objective analysis of reality....  In 1994, when Salinas de Gortari signed the NAFTA, Mexico exported for 35 billion dollars a year. But this year Mexican exports totaled 200 billion dollars a year. A policy that has multiplied Mexican exports by six and has reduced unemployment to less than 4% in 10 years, thanks to the penetration in the huge U.S. market, can't be seriously called 'anti-national.'"


"Who Benefits From FTAA?"


Julio Sevares, leading Clarin economic columnist, opined (11/14):  "FTAA sparks passions, but in everyday debates it’s not clear which sectors benefit or suffer from it. The U.S. and its NAFTA partners believe that the FTAA will favor them, as was clear by the pressure they exercised at the Summit. But if regional trade opens up, maintaining U.S. farm subsidies, Mercosur and particularly Argentina, will suffer because the U.S. would have an exporting advantage vis-à-vis those countries that don't subsidize.  Both in Argentina and Brazil there are industrial sectors that already export to the U.S. and with the FTAA they would have broader access to that market.  What's hard to define is what the final balance will be."


"Gossipy Column III"


Business-financial Ambito Financiero stated (11/14)  " A source said that Bush was very angry when he left Argentina, with his collaborators (State Department and Security Council) rather than with his Argentine host. He was upset because he hadn't been informed in detail on what was expected to take place in Mar del Plata, and he conveyed his annoyance at Condoleeza Rice herself--perhaps the official who's closer to the Bush family. Some imagine that there might be changes following this, even at certain embassies. At least, this is what Robert Novak said in his 'Chicago Sun' column, regarding the U.S. President's anger (more upset when he found out that Chávez aired on his TV program in Venezuela, images and speeches of the recent Summit of the Americas in which President Bush was ill-treated.'"


"Summit Sine Laude"


The Liberal, English-language Buenos Aires Herald editorialized (11/8) "The U.S. clearly lost from the lack of consensus over FTAA but those blocking the consensus--chiefly the Mercosur countries and Venezuela--also emerged as losers because they stood alone in a hemisphere where almost everybody yearns for FTAA.  U.S. President Bush might be unloved in Latin America but Venezuelan President Chávez was a far more isolated figure beyond the protest throng of 40,000....  The host must shoulder his responsibility for the failure of any party and the Mar del Plata Summit was no exception.  If everybody lost, it was partly because President Kirchner--torn between Bush (his chief support in debt talks) and Chávez (his main oil supplier)--lacked the hemispheric vision or the diplomatic skill (especially with an improvised, lame duck foreign minister) to throw the chairman's weight behind anybody or to steer the agenda in a more promising direction."


"Summit Teaches Kirchner Two Lessons"


An editorial in business-financial El Cronista read (11/8): "The Mar del Plata Summit taught the GOA many lessons. But two are the most obvious ones: first, regarding the ways in which the Argentine President expresses himself and acts, and second, the lack of coordination with Brazil on foreign policy issues even though they are part of a common market....  If the idea is to integrate through Mercosur, then we must first strengthen our ties with Brazil.  Lula is equally--or more--convinced that an FTAA with farm subsidies of industrialized countries is harmful for the economies of Argentina and Brazil.  Nevertheless, he let Kirchner pay the cost for opposing the U.S. offensive on FTAA."


"Not Too Promising Future"


An editorial in independent La Prensa read (11/8): "Bush left Argentina as scheduled, but deep inside, very upset and pessimistic regarding an understanding with Argentina, and elliptically in Brasilia, he warned that Latin America must choose between a democratic future or the view of the past that certain hemispheric leaders have....  The future isn't promising for anybody.  Buenos Aires didn't open the door to hemispheric hope. America is even more divided than it was. In Washington they are reviewing the pre-Summit drafts to compare them with the results of the Summit and prove that what had been expected to happen, finally did, and are satisfied that they're right, while we are trying to adapt what occurred, to an interpretation that's full of arguable subtleties. The mistakes one makes out of conviction, never lead to success."


"Growing Impression That Brazil Used Argentina"


Business-financial Ambito Financiero stated (11/8): "There's the growing impression that, 50 hours after the conclusion of the Summit, the Argentine leader was used, manipulated in his already known weaknesses. The Brazilian's spectacular reception of George W. Bush, the mutual words of praise with Lula da Silva and the final agreement signed by both leaders (where they only reflected the 'soft' and conventional side of FTAA but not the 'hard' one by five separate countries in Mar del Plata), confirm that impression....  More on the personal than the political side, George Bush was upset when he left Argentina. He can't understand how a serious government can organize a Presidential Summit and another one of activists where no more than 200 people destroyed and looted, only to appear on TV and be part of comments around the world aimed at fuelling hatred against the U.S. and Bush himself....  Argentina lost money in Mar del Plata. Among the Bush delegation in Brazil, they already say 'leave them alone' or rather, let Argentines work things out on their own; but the U.S. won’t do anything, either for or against, in case of a negotiation with the IMF....  Therefore, Argentina is very isolated, or with the company of Hugo Chávez, who is an international counterbalance...."


"Another Spat With Mexico: Fox Criticizes Kirchner's Role In Summit"


Maria Luisa MacKay, leading Clarin columnist on diplomatic issues, wrote (11/8):  "As he returned to his country, Mexican President Fox set aside the conciliatory tone he had used at the Summit and said 'the impression of several of us is that the vision of the leader of the event, in this case President Kirchner, was more oriented towards satisfying Argentine public opinion and his image as President of Argentina, than to achieving a successful summit in terms of Latin American integration....  In an interview to a Mexican radio on board the plane that took him back to his country, Fox said that at a summit, the purpose of a host country--in this case Argentina--is to 'clearly mark a responsibility, the responsibility of making the summit a success.' He made clear that, in his opinion, Kirchner didn’t meet this goal. And he also referred to an 'ideological position' that prevented agreements."


"GOA Changes Tune On FTAA"


Liberal, English-language Buenos Aires Herald stated (11/8):  "Argentina said yesterday there is nothing wrong with seeking to create a FTAA but that the 'context' is not suitable to open talks yet. The comment by Cabinet Chief Alberto Fernandez appeared to tone down the government's staunch anti-FTAA stance during last week's Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, which failed to resolve the differences on setting up the trade zone linking the Americas from Canada to Patagonia.  There is nothing wrong with the FTAA. The problem is trying to implement it in this context under these conditions,' said Fernandez on radio....  Brazil has not changed its position. The Lula administration played a key role in the decision taken in the Summit,' said Fernandez."


"GOA Denies Washington Is Upset After Summit"


Micaela Perez, business-financial El Cronista political columnist, stated (11/8):  "Yesterday, the GOA denied that Argentina's decision to face the U.S. and say 'no' to its intention to revive FTAA during the Summit had damaged the bilateral relationship and ruled out an eventual White House retaliation in the future.  A day after the alleged anger of President Bush with President Kirchner for his confrontational attitude as host of the Summit and during the bilateral was leaked to the press, Cabinet Chief Alberto Fernandez reiterated the meeting was 'positive' because they presented their positions 'frankly' and reiterated that Argentina will only accept free trade if the U.S. resigns its interventionist policies. 'I saw him enjoy his meeting,' he said on Bush.  Nevertheless, a U.S. diplomatic source said Kirchner's attitude 'had a negative impact.'  Siding with Fernandez, Argentine Ambassador to the OAS, Rodolfo Gil, and Agustin Colombo Sierra, from the Foreign Ministry, agreed that the U.S. understands 'the defense of interests' made by Kirchner and, therefore, we shouldn't expect retaliation measures' from their part."


MEXICO:  "Multilateralism"


Economist Rogelio Ramirez de la O. wrote in nationalist El Universal (11/14):  “One of the reasons South American questions to possible benefits of the FTAA is precisely the same agricultural formula that the U.S. applied in the NAFTA with Mexico: the U.S. would maintain agricultural subsidies while its partners would be unable to impose countervailing measures....  Mexico should have at least let the objections of our Latin American neighbors be heard.  Had they succeeded in softening the U.S. agricultural subsidies, Mexico could benefit in the long run.”


"Useless Debate"


Editorial in business-oriented El Financiero opined (11/14):  "The verbal clash between Presidents Fox and Chávez not only undermines their nations’ foreign policies, but also widens the distance that separates hemispheric nations.  This would only favor (President) George W. Bush’s hegemonic interests....  The economic and trade policies that the White House has promoted have only deteriorated most of the peoples from this region.”


"The Burial Of The 'Monroe Doctrine' And The 'Texan' Influence Of Fox"


Alfredo Jalife-Rahme commented in business-oriented El Financiero (11/7):  "Bush's unilateralism failed again in its efforts to control international politics….  Even though President Fox became the best spokesman for 'Baby' Bush's interests before Latin America… he was pathetic and submissive in Mar del Plata when he tried to defend what cannot be defended: the FTAA....  Even though he was aware about the clinical death of the FTAA, 'Baby' Bush paid a visit to Lula in Brasilia--who was the actual gravedigger of the neo-liberal mercantilist agreement.  Bush is only trying to do some damage control and to avoid becoming isolated from South America."


"The Summit’s Losers"


Ricardo Medina Macias wrote in business-oriented El Economista (11/7):  “In spite of what the mass media informed, the Summit was not about a struggle between the imperialist northern countries and the oppressed southern nations, whose champion slapped the face of the representative of the empire. That would be a news story for the retarded, not for people capable of thinking. The Summit served to find out if all of the Western Hemisphere would bet for regional free trade or if we would remain cloistered in our particular regionalisms…Neither Bush nor the vast majority of Latin American countries that wanted free trade were the losers at the Summit. The true losers are the millions of poor people in the hemisphere for whom free trade would have become the most secure, steadfast and effective way to come out of poverty.... Another victory for populism. Another setback for the poor.”




Hector Vazquez Tercero expressed the view in the business-oriented El Financiero (11/7):  "The Fourth Summit of the Americas...was a failure for George W. Bush's efforts to promote the FTAA....  For the time being, suspense surrounds the FTAA until the next WTO ministerial in Hong Kong...this was a defeat for the fans of the integration with the United States, and a victory for those who see it with resentment and fear, like Brazil and Argentina....  In contrast to Vicente Fox--who became a spokesman for the Bush administration--Nestor Kirchner was brilliant and courageous criticizing the Untied States’ responsibility in the application of economic policies in Latin America that have resulted not only in hardship, poverty and terrible social problems, but also in great institutional instability and in the fall of several democratically elected governments."




Roberto Zamarripa asserts in independent Reforma (11/7):  “What prompted President Fox to bet on a lost cause (the FTA), and to act as if he were an ignorant pawn…?…. President Bush attended the summit without concrete proposals.  The popular rejection and the division of the hemisphere over the FTA are the outcome of the fact that he has not paid attention to the region. President Bush did not go to Argentina to promote only the FTA, and his popularity is diminishing both domestically and abroad. This is a bad moment for him.  Thus the Mexican President’s defense of the FTA is even more bizarre,”


"An Expanded NAFTA, Not An FTA"


Jose Yuste writes in sensationalist Milenio (11/7):  “President Fox was unable to convince Mercosur members and Venezuela of the benefits of promoting the FTA.  He failed because those nations saw Mexico’s position as a mere continuity of that of the U.S.  President Bush’s speech on democracy and open markets was mere demagoguery because his administration’s economic mistakes, namely high debts and the implementation of protectionist measures to favor U.S. producers, particularly in the agricultural sector.  The U.S. has been one of the most protectionist nations in the WTO Doha Round, as well as in the implementation of the NAFTA vis-à-vis Mexico.”


"Summit’s Outcome: Two Americas"


Columnist Andres Oppenheimer opined in independent Reforma (11/7):  “The Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata ended amidst disagreements.  It was actually the first time in 11 years that the 34 hemispheric nations were unable to agree on how to promote the FTA negotiations.  What we are about to witness--if next year’s Ministerial fails--is for the continent to be divided between the block formed by Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay, and the block of the rest of hemispheric nations....  Brazil and its neighbors are right in demanding a reduction in the obscene U.S. agricultural subsidies. It is o.k. if their behavior at the Summit was to hold a better negotiating ground. However, their officials would only be dreaming if they think they can compete in the world economy and to reduce poverty without having preferential access to the world’s largest economy.  The importance of these nations would diminish while their poverty levels would increase.”


BOLIVIA:  "The FTAA And 'Monkey See, Monkey Do'"


Op-ed by Juan Cariaga, Economist and author in centrist La Razón (11/13):  "In elementary school, one of the favorite pastimes of the students was playing 'monkey see, monkey do.'  Unfortunately, this seems to be the attitude that some Bolivian politicians have adopted regarding the FTAA, without seriously analyzing the advantages this partnership agreement has to offer, as an instrument to generate employment and to alleviate poverty.  There is no doubt the treatment (we would receive under FTAA) is desirable for the country, since our economy desperately needs to grow, in order to increase production and generate more jobs.  Thanks to the limited preferential customs arrangements under the ATPDEA, which concludes this year, recent Bolivian exports to the United States have reached $230 million in textiles, wood, finished wood, jewelry, and Andean agricultural products; it will be very hard to sell those products in other markets once the ATPDEA expires for Bolivia.  Unfortunately, however, in Bolivia we would rather 'play dumb' and play 'monkey see, monkey do.'  We ape the attitude of Venezuela--which does not need the FTAA, because it has immense petroleum exports that it sells to the United States--while oddly we prefer to leave our gas beneath the earth, or to join the choir of Argentina and Brazil, which have a different kind of quarrel with the colossus of the North.  What is even worse, some of our politicians show off by attending public demonstrations against the FTAA abroad...and adopt servile attitudes with heads of state who, paradoxically, would rather buy soybeans from the U.S. instead of buying from Bolivia, or who amuse themselves with the patriotic sentiments of Bolivians, regarding our maritime claim.  We cannot be anyone’s flock of sheep, much less the flock of any fellow country on the continent."


CHILE:   "Will The United States Lose Latin America?"


Chilean economist Sebastian Edwards remarked in conservative, independent La Tercera (11/14):  "It is true that the United States is not the country with the worse record in terms of agricultural protectionism...but it is also true that if the U.S. wishes to improve relations with its southern neighbors it must make important concessions....  Unfortunately the lack of progress on free trade matters is not the only element hurting relations between the United States and Latin America....  Very few Latin American countries endorsed the war on Iraq…and most governments in the region are becoming increasingly critical of the Bush administration’s foreign policy....  Furthermore, a growing number is moving to the left and Hugo  Chávez…is gaining more popularity....  People are also becoming increasingly skeptical of market-oriented policies and of globalization, which means that in the next few years…the region will be less open to foreign investment, especially to U.S. economic interests.  It’s not too late for the U.S. to recover its political influence in Latin America.  To improve relations with its southern neighbors…the U.S. must decrease agricultural protection…make sure that its immigration reform protects Latin American immigrants, and support Latin American representation to international entities such as the World Bank or the IMF.  These initiatives would show that despite appearances…the Bush administration and the United States have not put the region totally aside.”


“Results Of A Summit”


Conservative, influential newspaper-of-record El Mercurio  wrote (11/12):   "This Summit of the Americas will be remembered for Hugo Chávez....  His influence has grown in the subcontinent, aided by his financial support to some countries and especially some socialist figures that have the chances of reaching office, such as Evo Morales in Bolivia.  Chile must play a more active role in these move other countries toward a more reasonable and less leftist stance and to prevent division and setbacks"


"Anti U.S. Atmosphere In Latin America"


Conservative, independent La Tercera editorialized (11/5):  “There is unquestionably a resurgent anti-Americanism in Latin America, to which the White House has contributed with policies that highlight the asymmetry of power between itself and other international actors....  But this anti-Americanism is often an self-serving simplification often used by populist governments and politicians that blames the United States for others' inefficiency, corruption, and under-development....  The region has an ambivalent relationship with the United States, because U.S. real economic and political influence must coexist with varying expressions of independence: no one wants to appear compliant with the U.S....  Anti-Americanism --a mix of critical attitudes of what the U.S. does and represents--does not seem incompatible with consuming U.S. material or cultural goods, taking its organizational structures or even importing its political actions.  The current rebirth of anti-Americanism in the region...has concrete roots in the current situation (its foreign policy and status as the sole superpower), history (its power in different areas for two centuries), and prejudice (views the meaning of American and the appraisal of its society).  This mix is of easy political use and yields electoral results, which means that the U.S...must act with extreme care.  That the 'down with the United States’ clamor is heard louder than reasoned arguments...does not contribute to intelligent democratic debate.”


"Mar del Plata Summit"


Center-left Diario Siete expressed the view (11/5):  “If we were to be led by the summit’s external signals...we would have the impression that Diego Maradona was the protagonist who suddenly became the leader of anti-Bush demonstrations....  But the world is more complex than that.  There are always reasons to oppose Bush policies, particularly on Iraq, but we cannot let this become an obstacle to cooperation.  No summit will resolve our economic or institutional problems....  When the time comes, we must be prepared to talk with those who think differently...and find  mechanisms to end misery and poverty, strengthen governance, and increase free trade....  The view that all evils stem from the U.S. and that we are in no way responsible for our problems does not help us in any way.  One of the main elements of contention has been the prospect of resurrecting the FTAA …. This is no minor issue, because it implies finding realistic ways to trade among unequal economies…. It is a difficult path…but Chile’s experience is eloquent as to the benefits of free trade.  Despite differences among the continent’s economies, it would be beneficial for the region to take a step to create this area of cooperation. We need summits such as the one in Argentina to improve our nations' living standards.  It’s valid to have critical voices, but we must also work to strengthen that which helps integration.”


"Fourth Summit Of The Americas"


Conservative, afternoon La Segunda (11/4):  “The strong security measures surrounding the summit...are the result of Latin American domestic problems...and the tension the obvious antagonism toward President Bush’s foreign policy creates....  But the demonstrations are a greater reflection of a progressive social deterioration in a large part of South America and inconsistent leftist leaders who insist on supporting less-democratic governments and embracing programs shown to do nothing to overcome poverty and unemployment.”


COLOMBIA:  'Beginning To Be Isolated"


El Pais opined (11/15)  " Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has gone too far. Though the process has been underway for some time, the current diplomatic squabble with Mexico marks the beginning of the isolation of Venezuela. The recall of ambassadors is the result of the excesses of Chávez, who is 'all style' rather than a representative of a particular ideology.  There are increasing numbers of Latin American leaders who are bothered by him and the leaders of Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile are not amused in the least by the idea that the democratic left that they represent will ultimately be confused with the Chávez brand of politics. The divisions that Chávez is provoking are starting to take shape and without his being aware of it, his nation has begun to be isolated.


ECUADOR:  "Despite Bush" 


Manuel Ignacio Gomez Lecaro opined in Guayaqil’s (and Ecuador’s) leading center-right El Universo (11/10):   “The eternal anti-globalization, anti-free trade, anti-progress Latin Americans who believe that Cuba’s authoritarianism and repression is the future, surfaced once again....  What is worrisome about the protests to which we are becoming accustomed,  is not only that the people continue praising Fidel and buying into the populism of Chávez, but also that many of us who oppose Fidel, Chávez and company this time were partially supporting the protests, because we are against Bush and the arrogance of his government....  Bush and his disastrous government have succeeded in uniting the most diverse Latin American groups…  What is important is that Latin America understand that Bush is not the United States.  Bush is simply an eight-year blunder of a dignified and strong people that made a mistake at election time....  Latin America must not confuse Bush and Cheney’s twisted international policies with the positive ‘American’ ideals that have led U.S. institutions and society in general to be an example to follow.  Chávez and Fidel have taken advantage of that hatred towards Bush to promote hatred towards the U.S. and all the good things it represents.  Latin America should not be fooled.


“America Fractured" 


An editorial in Guayaquil’s centrist Expreso stated  (11/8):  “The IV Summit of the Americas, which had a very interesting agenda...resulted in a resounding failure because the issue of FTAA got in the way and, with it, two irreconcilable blocs were formed,...derailing the proposed objectives.”


"Unnecessary Antagonisms"


An editorial in Guayaquil’s (and Ecuador’s) largest circulating center-right El Universo (11/6): “The Summit of the Americas was threatened with becoming merely a stage for a popularity contest between the U.S. and Venezuelan presidents....  It is very unfortunate that these meetings of heads of states are allowed to take such a mistaken twist, leaving aside what really matters:  commitments and resolutions aimed at building a better future."


"Another Depressing Summit"


An editorial in Quito’s populist La Hora read (11/6):  “The prevalent feeling at the Summit of the Americas taking place this weekend in Mar del Plata was that it was a pale shadow of the ones that took place in previously gatherings designed to eradicate various scourges of humankind.  Particularly striking, is the apparent inability of the region’s so-called leaders to undertake profound reforms in each of the countries he represents....  This time, beyond the categorical ‘no’ to George W. Bush expressed in the ‘counter-summit’...there was nothing new.  Hunger, unemployment, illness, misery...were not addressed; they were simply included in ostentatious declarations that promised to erase them from the face of the earth.”


"The Summit Portrays The Continent"


An editorial in Quito’s daily of record, centrist El Comercio (11/6):   “The asymmetry between a world power and the fragmented realities of Latin America, the opportunity to complain loudly about U.S. policy, and some limited bilateral conversations marked...the scenario of yet another presidential summit....  The differences, particularly in comparison with the Iberoamerican Summit that took place few weeks ago, are noteworthy.  In the latter, the resolutions were conclusive, expressing to a large extent the political perception of the attending nations....  For a Republican administration...the room for maneuvering is very limited south of Rio Grande.  The script is reduced to demanding a more effective fight against terrorism and presenting free trade as the panacea to resolving the social maladies affecting the subcontinent.”


EL SALVADOR:  "A Summit That Leaves More Doubt Than Certainty"


The main editorial in moderate La Prensa Gráfica stated (11/7):  “Behind the basic idea of resisting the FTAA, there are power struggles as well as different perceptions of development. Words like neo-liberalism and populism are the players in this ping-pong match of a debate.  Relations between North and South--or rather between the United States and Latin America--have never been easy, nor could they be. But today’s world no longer allows the United States to act like it did in the past or the Latin Americans to react like we did in the past. Today, even with all the asymmetries that exist, we need each other, and that is a very important point to our favor, that we should take advantage of with intelligence and strategy.  When other world regions, even with all the difficulties in sight, are deepening their integration processes, it is totally unjustifiable that we, the countries of the Americas, are still entangled in disputes based on rhetorical flare, belonging to a different time.”


"Bush On The Edge Of Disaster"


Héctor Hernández Turcios commented in moderate Diario El Mundo (11/7):  “The attacks September 11th not only changed the world but they also modified the roll of Bush as a Chief of State, turning him into the 'President of War,' as he foolishly defined himself in an interview.  Bush began his administration with a favorable economic panorama. Then, one of his first measures was a tax cut that benefited the richest one percent of the United States population. The approval of the military budget for 2005 and the expenses of the war in Iraq have resulted in his government having a $ 500 million deficit.  He couldn’t fulfill his objectives in the rest of his social issues agenda....  Civil and political rights worsened with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.… International policy became unilateral.  Thus, within the United States there is a negative balance to the six years of the Bush administration.  His popularity declines more and more, his policies are rejected openly, even by Republicans of his own Administration and party, and in the international arena, one doesn’t want to measure the levels of negative perceptions, which are great even among his natural or traditional allies as well as the servile ones of Latin America.”


GRENADA:  "Reject Petro Caribe"


The Leading Grenadian Voice editorialized (11/12):   "This personal and successful model of a dictatorship, half neo-fascist and half communist is also blatantly being exported to all of Latin America.  It is time for the international community to pay more attention to what is happening in Venezuela....  Also among the many worrying stories coming out of Chávez country about the control the dictator is exercising over most of the media is the one about a journalist who vehemently opposed the attempted coup which sought to unseat Chávez after his ‘election’--about which there is mounting evidence of fraud--but who has now been imprisoned for commenting just as freely about the excesses being indulged in by the man he defended! Then there is Bird Island off Dominica which Chávez is reported to have taken over.  And one does not even have to look at a map to realize how ridiculous it is for the Venezuelan to lay claim to it and all the fishing and almost certain oil or gas deposits that go with the area concerned.  One is only left to wonder what next he will attempt to claim!  But all this brings us back to the final position we took on the Petro Caribe deal offered to the Caribbean by Chávez and which at first we welcomed.  However, in the light of our own general view of Chávez, we quickly recanted and wondered whether the apparently ‘generous’ offer was not a means of trying to win friends and influence people in the hope that they would turn a blind eye to the dictatorial tendency that was in evidence quite early! Now we would like to suggest very seriously that we seek and obtain regional cooperation and unanimity in rejecting the deal altogether for clearly Mr. Chávez is not the kind of person that we should welcome as a friend or benefactor. In any case what the deal really amounts to is just a deferred soft loan since the country is not able to go contrary to the OPEC price line and offer us lower prices for petroleum products.  And clearly, on all the evidence that is before us, we should not allow ourselves to be indebted to Chávez in any way.  Nor should we allow him to guide us along the path of eliminating the private sector as the deal provides....  We trust that our leaders in the region will wake up to the reality and prepare to reject the Petro Caribe deal and continue to source our supplies from our friends and family in Trinidad.  We must also join with Dominica in taking issue with Chávez on the matter of his acquisition of Bird Island and reject it entirely." 


GUATEMALA:  "Segundo Round Fox-Chávez" [Fox-Chávez’s Second Round]


Francisco Beltranena opined in leading La Prensa Libre (11/15:  "Although it is true that Mexico is a solid, strong partner of the U.S. through Nafta, nothing can so offend the Mexican sentiment than the accusation of being an obedient puppy of Washington.  Regardless of the nationalism that this dispute could raise in Mexico, it will not due to the proximity of the presidential elections and the momentum leaning toward López Obrador, a leader with a line much closer to Chávez.”


"El cachorro Del Imperio..." [The empire’s--The U.S.--Little Puppy]


Oscar Clemente Marroquín remarked in left-leaning La Hora (11/14):  "For the Mexican has to be sad to see now their President transformed into what Chávez called, with all property and fortitude, a puppy of such a failed empire [the U.S.].  Historically, the Mexicans had been able to manage with intelligence in difficult times.  Fox now asks Chávez for respect, but the one who first stuck his nose where he shouldn’t have and failed to provide elemental respect to the other Chiefs of State was the Mexican President....  It was the empire’s little puppy [Fox] who failed to show respect first and who opened the door to a hostile confrontation.”


JAMAICA:  "Superstar Chávez"


Columnist John Maxwell opined in the business-oriented Sunday Observer (11/13):  "For decades Venezuela has been one of the world’s largest oil producers…but the people of Venezuela never saw the benefits of their oil riches.  Under Chávez things have changed.  Oil revenues are being poured into public works and social programs.  A nationwide chain of low price supermarkets is run by the state, thousands of schools have been built, there are thousands of medical clinics staffed by Cuban doctors and university education is free and is available to almost anyone who wants one…Chávez is exchanging oil for medical and other technical assistance from Cuba and is funding, in PetroCaribe, a plan to bring cheaper fuel and the chance to invest savings to Caribbean countries…No wonder Chávez is a superstar in Latin America.  No wonder Mr. Bush and his cohorts hate him.  Chávez is to Bush the political equivalent of avian flu: enormously dangerous and extremely contagious."


"Fox Vs. Chávez In Regional Joust"


The left of center Daily Gleaner editorialized (11/12):  "With deteriorating relations between Mexico and Cuba over the past decade, Mr. Fox is unlikely to be impressed by the growing alliance between Venezuela and Cuba....  The small countries of the Caribbean and Central America are not strangers to such battles to establish and maintain influence. However, Caribbean leaders will have to determine sooner than later, the optimal economic options in these promised alliances. It is unlikely that Mr. Chávez would be happy with Caribbean countries that would accept Mr. Fox's smaller FTAA, while ignoring ALBA and benefiting from PetroCaribe.  However, the concerns that the region has about the FTAA, and repeated requests for special treatment for small, fragile economies, will be present in any economic union…with the larger economies in the Americas."


NICARAGUA:  "Chávez Tries To Instill Fear"


Center-right national La Prensa editorialized (11/14):  "Dictator Hugo Chávez has started a campaign against the editor of El Nuevo País and the owner of a T.V. channel because it hurts him that these people are putting his abuses and wrongdoings out in the open. The purpose is to shut them up and instill fear in others. In Nicaragua, the still-standing Ley Arce against freedom of press is an obstacle for the work of the press.  Also, the lack of an adequate access to information law limits the possibility of knowing all the irregular actions committed and the possibility of being able to denounce them so as to have them corrected."


"Losing Another Chance"


Sebastián Edwards from Project Syndicate stated in an op-ed for El Nuevo Diario (11/11):  "On the 4 and 5 of November, the Summit of the Americas took place in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The  chiefs of state of the democratic countries of this hemisphere met to analyze economic, political and social topics....  They also met to lose yet another chance to create a new and more healthy relation between the U.S. and its Latin American neighbors....  In fact, there were no steps taken towards the creation of the FTAA....  Moreover, there is a growing number of countries turning left in Latin America and Hugo Chávez, the warrior-like and anti-U.S. Venezuelan president, is becoming ever more popular in each and every country of the region. In all of Latin America, voters are becoming more and more skeptical of the policies geared towards free markets and globalization making it more probable that, in the future and under new leaderships, the policies of the region will open up less to foreign investment in general and  to U.S. economic interests particularly."   


"Chávez And Freedom Of The Press"


Center-right national La Prensa editorialized (11/11): "Hugo Chávez has become the worst enemy for freedom of press in Venezuela and Latin America, second only to Fidel Castro who made of Cuba the biggest prison in the world for journalists. And that phobia against freedom of information and independent journalists can be explained in that a free press is the main obstacle against the securing of a totalitarian regime....  Chávez and his admirers can believe what they want, but they have no right to suppress someone else's liberty, or trample over the sacred right of freedom of expression of one's thoughts or freedom of the press."


"An Agreement That May Not Hold"


Center-right national La Prensa editorialized (11/8):  "According to the media reports, the Summit of the Americas held recently in Mar del Plata, Argentina was a failure in every sense… An important result from the Summit was the energy agreement between Mexico and the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic. An agreement which, if it were to be put into action, could alleviate the difficult weight that the oil prices have put on Central American economies. We say 'in case it is put into action' because just one day after the agreement was signed, the Mexican presidential candidate Andrés López Obrador who, according to the polls is the favorite to win the upcoming elections, announced that he was against this agreement. One could infer that he will not follow up on this agreement if he were to win the elections... We must assume that he is rejecting this agreement just to oppose Vicente Fox; or maybe he wishes not to disturb Hugo Chávez's strategic plans to use Venezuelan oil as bait to attract allies for his campaign against the United States; or maybe he is just being petty by denying the energy cooperation that we so badly need…. What if López Obrador is like Chávez? The truth is that from Latin American politicians you should expect anything."


"Things Are Not What They Used To Be"


Augusto Zamora, international law professor at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid wrote in the leftist national El Nuevo Diario (11/8): "There is very little resemblance between the America we have today and the one that saw the birth of the first regional system, the Pan-American Union in 1910. The U.S. is not what it used to be either. The growing economy of a century ago has been replaced with a country swamped in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the largest foreign debt in the world and still hurting from the terrible image it projected during Hurricane Katrina. On the other side it has a stirring Latin America, with the greatest number of leftist and progressive governments in its history, with a low tolerance for reproducing the old patterns of submission....  This is not the only change. The political and economic fragility and fragmentation which has always characterized Latin America has been substituted by integration processes as relevant as Mercosur. The end of the Cold War and the war for the economic markets has put an end to the isolation promoted by Washington, turning the region into a battlefield for the huge economic giants, especially in the south. The U.S. is facing the challenge put forth by the European Union and China, who play with advantage because neither of them are punishing their economies with unsure wars or with exorbitant military expenditures."


 PANAMA:  "Chávez For Supporters Is Admirably Feisty, For Others A Bore"


The Panamanian news source, independent ACAN-EFE commented (11/15):   "The combative stance adopted by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez regarding his Mexican counterpart, whom he warned 'not to mess' with him, has enthused his supporters but drawn renewed criticism from detractors, who see the populist leader as an exponent of crudeness.    The official Venezuelan position is that the diplomatic crisis, which saw the mutual recall of ambassadors, was not rooted in a personal clash between Mexican President Vicente Fox and Chávez but between the economic integration models they represent....  Chávez recently labeled Fox 'a puppy dog' of the United States, calling him a person given to 'kneeling down' before Washington. He also told Fox on Sunday, 'Don't mess with me, mister.'  Fox told CNN on Monday that he would break relations with Venezuela if Chávez continued his 'aggressions.'...  any case, the crisis has allowed Chávez to keep the debate over the FTAA, which sparked the dispute with Fox, alive.   Venezuela considers the crisis to be part of a U.S. strategy to divide and weaken the Latin American bloc of nations and isolate the Venezuelan government. "


PERU:  "The Summit And Lack of Political Consensus In Latin America"


Influential center-right El Comerio editorialized (11/7):  "For the first time--and as a result of the positions of Mercosur and Venezuela--our region was unable to agree upon the final declaration of the Summit of the Americas....  The summit was tarnished by street violence and protests against U.S. president George Bush.  However, [these] were encouraged by Venezuelan president Chávez, Bolivian presidential candidate Evo Morales and other supporters of the Cuban regime....  Beyond that, however, there was no consensus and Latin American diplomacy failed to find a solution to common problems.  The absence of U.S. leadership in the region allows space for the Castro-left to gain ground.   This concerns us all and should oblige the United States to reformulate its policy towards Latin America and evaluate the relationship it wishes to maintain with this part of the world."


VENEZUELA:  "The Row With Mexico" 


Leading liberal El Nacional editorialized (11/15): "Due to the Venezuelan President's propagandistic show to bury the FTAA--completely unjustified but sponsored by Kischner (to please the Argentine left), Mexico's Fox reminded the Argentine hosts that 29 countries present at the IV Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata agreed with the FTAA.  Naturally, that set Troy on fire!  Most of the Hemisphere had isolated Chávez and had supported Fox's proposal.  This is the cause of the row and not other.  But Fox also complained that Kirchner, being the host, took sides, when the rules of diplomacy indicate that the host should foster harmony and the agreement among his invitees.  Argentines were rather in front of a political rally led by a foreign President, one of the 34 presidents attending the summit; an event that caused riots that affected a part of the city, with material damages and people wounded.  Did they need to do all this only to please one of the visitors?" 


"Puppies And Pets" 


Foreign Affairs expert, Italo Luongo-Blohm, wrote in leading conservative El Universal (11/15):  "Fox and Chávez have totally opposed political stances.  The geopolitical fight is gigantic and of hemispheric proportions and, as usual, Chávez's intentions are serious.  It is the hemispheric Bolivarian Revolution that he is after.  It is the expulsion of the U.S. economic and political influence from Latin America and the Caribbean that he wishes.  Attacking the U.S. friends is his objective.  Why Fox and no other?  Oil is the answer.  Mexico is the only hemispheric country that does not depend on Venezuela's oil and Fox can afford to criticize Chávez.  Only Fox, representative of another big oil producer in Latin America, not member of the OPEC, could do it.  Chávez is right to get mad with Fox when he says that the FTAA is not dead and that most of the economies of the Americas are in favor of the economic integration.  Chávez's calling Fox a 'puppy of the empire' and telling him not to mess with him or he'll be 'pricked' broke the norms of the International Law and made Mexicans rally behind Fox.  The last straw for Chávez is that Fox said that the FTAA was not dead and that it went on.  We can understand, then, that Chávez was defeated; and Chávez would not admit being defeated.  The fight is for the political control of the Americas by using oil as a geopolitical weapon."


"Venezuela And The Hemispheric Integration" 


Former information minister Fernando Egaña wrote in liberal tabloid El Nuevo País (11/15): "Venezuela will be left aside of the benefits of the hemispheric integration, because the disadvantages of it are already affecting Venezuela with Hugo Chávez in Miraflores.  What will 'Bolivarian' Venezuela get by attacking the local productive sector, by staying outside of CAN, by abandoning the G-3 (Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia), by sabotaging the hemispheric integration, by talking about a formal membership to Mecorsur and by favoring 'State' imports?  Very simple: It will attract all the curses of globalization and not one of its blessings.  Isn’t it ironic?"


"'Migration' Bolivarian Style"


VenEconomy expresses its view in English-language The Daily Journal (11/15): "At the beginning of 2005, the Hugo Chávez administration took the decision to force oil service contractors to 'migrate' to mixed companies, a unilateral decision that was in arbitrary breach of existing contracts.  The understanding at the time was that 51 percent of the shares of the 'migrated' company would be held by PDVSA and 49 percent would be in private hands…there are unofficial reports that, once again unilaterally, the government has been continuously increasing its demands, including its percentage share in the 'migrated' companies.  From the 52 percent proposed initially, it now aspires to have 60 percent, 70 percent and even 90 percent of the shares.  Some observers think that what is really behind so many demands is not 'migration' as such, but the intention to force some of the contractors, in particular U.S. and British companies, to take the decision on their own initiative to withdraw from the game.  If this happens, the cost in terms of lost efficiency and production will be high; a cost that the nation will pay unnecessarily."


"What Is worse: The FTAA Or The Government?"


IESA – UCAB professor, Miguel Angel Santos commented in leading conservative El Universal (11/14):  "There is no way the FTAA harms our agricultural and cattle producers, no more than what the government of Venezuela already does by overvaluing the currency, by importing (food, among other things) directly, without paying tariffs nor VAT, and without following the path of a private business in Venezuela.  Why worry about the United States being a disloyal competitor, if the Venezuelan government already works on, with relative efficiency, stifling local producers?"


"Dissonance At The Summit!"


Felix Cordero Peraza wrote in leading conservative El Universal (11/14):  "Bush is right!...  'Two rival views collided' in the IV Summit.  But he is wrong when he says that one is democratic and the other one is not.  The dichotomy was between governments that prefer the status quo, globalization, free market, neo-liberal economy; advantageous for the American economy and the governments that seek a trade treaty after integration, without subsidies; a two-way and mutually beneficial treaty and flexible to the regional asymmetries."


"A New Dialogue Is Necessary"


Lawyer Roberto Carmona-Borjas commented in leading conservative El Universal (11/14): "Without a doubt, the Summit of the Americas marked the interregional relations.  The results of the summit reflect the deterioration of the relations between the United States and Latin America.  After Chávez's attack on regional integration and, particularly, the FTAA, it is necessary to carry out an urgent restructuring of the relations among the countries of the region.  Most of the countries, in some way, support the FTAA, in its current presentation; others accept it, but after certain conditions are met, and one country, Venezuela, excludes itself from the process of negotiations.  The situation emerging from Mar del Plata is rather a reaction to the U.S. Administration's incapacity to build a framework of equal and just relations with the countries of the region.  They have shown that they don't know the Latin American reality, the role of the region in the international relations, our culture.  The FTAA is a proposal that is far from being perfect; it may be improved, adjusted to the realities, but not rejected in the stupid way the government of Venezuela has done it." 


"Which Debate?" 


Economist Domingo Fontiveros commented in leading conservative El Universal (11/13):  "Some foreign analysts consider that Latin America is the stage of a 'debate' between free market and what, vaguely, is called chavism – for there is not a better term--in Europe and in the United States.  There is no real confrontation of ideas on this topic in Venezuela.  Chávez and his followers have defined their positions only to contradict Bush's, to oppose capitalism, globalization and the pre-Chávez democratic era in Venezuela (the 'fourth' Republic).  This, of course, is not a program, but a general rejection, a denial.  Here in Venezuela there has not been a discussion on the FTAA.  The government simply rejects it without consultation.  The regime's decisions are unilateral."  


"The Empire" 


Lawyer Gustavo Linares Benzo commented in leading conservative El Universal (11/13): "Chávez started to call the United States 'an empire' about a year ago and to flare up his rhetoric against the Bush administration.  He even got to Mar del Plata in a rally to protest at the IV Summit of the Americas along with Maradona wearing a T-shirt that read Bush War Criminal.  Calling the United States an empire is a rhetorical license, otherwise Chávez's speeches and acts would be impossible…Chávez's discourse is dangerous, because a confrontation with the United States is lost before hand in the economic, military, above all, cultural areas, because even the staunchest chavistas dream of going to Disneyworld and Las Vegas and watch Warner Channel series: Venezuelans are not Vietnamese." 


"Paid By The Gringo Government"


Journalist Augusto Hernandez wrote in national tabloid Ultimas Noticias (11/14): "Súmate directors have publicly expressed that they get subsidies from NED (National Endowment for Democracy), and organization that depends on the U.S. Congress.  The peculiar thing about this affair is that they don't seem to consider the U.S. legislative branch to be a foreign governmental entity and that, by working for this organization; they receive money from another country aimed at obstructing, discrediting or exerting pressure on Venezuela's official entities, particularly the National Electoral Council.  It is very curious that gringos sponsor activities against Venezuela and other friendly governments that they don't allow to take place in their country, especially now when the Patriot Act prevails.  The National Assembly should legislate on this affair and clearly establish that anyone that receives funds from a foreign power to act in the political stage will have to register as working for another government

under pain of being labeled as a spy."


"Marxist Collectivism Advances Apace"


VenEconomy expressed its view in English-language The Daily Journal (11/14): "The Hugo Chávez administration is insistently exalting a new ownership and property formula based on the Marxist concepts of collectivism and communitarianism, the so-called Social Ownership Companies or EPS after their initials in Spanish.  The EPSs are a kind of organization that has many features of the cooperative and very few of a private company.  According to the vision of Chávez' revolutionary government, an EPS is a 'community production' unit whose purpose is to 'generate goods and services to meet the basic, essential needs of the community' and whose obligation is to hire participants in the government's 'missions' as workers; their associates have to 'strengthen the alternative people's economy' and their purpose is not to obtain profits.  The serious part of all this is that, as this Bolivarian-style entrepreneurial formula advances and becomes established, private-capital companies--companies that really do generate jobs and are based on competitiveness, productivity, free supply, and freedoms--will disappear from the Venezuelan map."


"Geopolitics Of The Conflict And Under-development" 


Economist Orlando Ochoa commented in leading conservative El Universal (11/10):  "President Chávez's government seeks the support of some regions and of some of the world's large economies, anxious to have access to our oil and money.  Billions of dollars from the oil revenue go into a strategy of international conflict against the 'empire and capitalism,' which hardly sets the stage for development to take place in Venezuela and to take advantage of its potential and to eliminate poverty and underdevelopment once and for all.  The objective of Chávez's XXI century socialism to 'eliminate' capitalism and to head the international fight against the United States seems to be the big excuse for the failure of Chávez's economic model: An external enemy of the revolution.  The same enemy Fidel Castro's communist Cuba uses to explain its misery and failure.  A sad future for Venezuela." 


"Lula, Kirchner And Chávez's Failure"


Economist Alexander Guerrero E. wrote in leading conservative El Universal (11/10): "Sabotaging the FTAA will have serious economic consequences for the countries with governments that reject the agreement of free trade with the U.S.  The opposition to the FTAA comes without arguments.  Chávez and his foreign affairs minister's arguments do not have a scientific basis.  They follow the ideological anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist rhetoric that rejects capitalist modernity.  They propose the traditional ideological framework that promotes a closed, endogenous, autarkical economic system, where the state property encloses the private property under the rules of subsidies and where trade among nations is based on barter and non-capitalistic schemes."


"And Now What?"


Former Venezuelan ambassador, Victor Rodriguez Cedeño, commented in leading liberal El Nacional (11/10): "The results of the Summit of Mar del Plata should have an impact on the United States' foreign policy towards the Latin American region.  If the Bush administration wants to recuperate some space in the region, it will have to motivate a new dialog, to make new proposals, always based on mutual respect and benefits.  Venezuela adopted a radical stance: absolute rejection of any regional integration with the presence of the United States.  A mistake that isolates Venezuela from the negotiations in which the others will surely participate.  Venezuela had a limited participation in the Summit of heads of State.  The U.S. protectionist policy would have been one of the reasons why the Bolivarian government absolutely rejects the FTAA.  However, that is only an excuse to reject the project of American integration.  The real enemy of our producers is not in the North, in the protectionism abroad, it is in our growing weaknesses, due to the Government's wrong, discriminatory and harassing policies that do not favor national farmers and producers.  The failure of Venezuela in the summit is evident.  However, paradoxically, the Government says that it was a success.  Outside any FTAA, Venezuela only has ALBA (sunrise) with Cuba and an uncertain 'sunset.'"




FRANCE:  "In The Americas, Free Trade Fails"


Christine Legrand in left-of-center Le Monde (11/8):  “The Summit is a diplomatic failure for George Bush. He was not able to convince his neighbors in South America who, for the most part, have veered to the left politically and outwardly criticized the war in Iraq… The Summit was a failure for the American continent as a whole because what should have been the main themes of the discussions; the fight against poverty and unemployment, were overwhelmingly eclipsed.”


TURKEY:  "To What Extent Is The U.S. A World Power?"


Ilter Turkmen opined in the mass-appeal Hurriyet (11/8):  “One of the main impacts of the Iraq war is the creation of anti-Americanism around the world.  The most recent example was the Summit of Americas in Mar del Plata.  It was interesting to see that President Bush remained calm despite Chávez’s provocative anti-American remarks.   President Bush apparently did not want to risk American oil investments in Venezuela, so he kept his cool. This is another indication that American power has its limits....  Currently, a majority of Latin American countries either oppose the U.S.-proposed Free Trade Agreement or are showing no interest in it.   Although the U.S. will remain the only global power for many years to come, it no longer has the power to intervene all around the world and to get its way on every issue.  Even in its own backyard, American authority is in decline.  While it might be emotionally satisfying to be pleased by the weakening of the U.S., it is also useful to consider that this development could bring chaos to the world’s political and strategic balances.”    




WEST BANK:  "A Lesson From Argentina" 


Adli Sadeq opined in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (11/8):  “Latin Americans in Argentina received Bush with slogans describing him as a terrorist, tyrant, invader and exploiter of the poor.  The American President had to enter the Argentina presidential headquarters from the backdoor where he also heard slogans denouncing his visit....  Even though Washington’s policy of being biased toward the occupying Hebrew state has generated the hatred of Arab and Muslim nations, the stand of Latin nations indicates the vanishing of the American empire, just as several strategic studies show...especially that the ideology of hatred that the White House godfathers espouse smothers itself through the recurring scandals that result from their policies and plots.  Arab-wise, a wishful thought is that [Arabs] rise up against American policies and free themselves from their leaders’ illusions that Washington is capable of invading their countries.”




CHINA:  "Is Bush's Free Trade Zone Of Americas Sentenced To Death?" 


Zhou Yijun and Song Xinde commented in the official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun) (11/8):  "Washington's model of neo-liberalism was once considered the solution for Latin America's economic crisis and its integration into the global economic system....  At the Summit of the Americas, the debate on neo-liberalism and new development theories became the focus.  Argentina and Brazil wanted to criticize the Washington Consensus and neo-liberalism in the final document of the summit.  This was rejected by the U.S.....  The U.S.'s original intention in advocating an American free trade zone was to confine Cuba politically, to consolidate the control of the U.S. backyard, Latin America, and maintain the western hemisphere economic market.  But recently, Washington is losing its influence in South America....  The bad results of neo-liberalism have continuously increased anti-U.S. sentiment in Latin America.  People have lost trust in pro-U.S. right wing government, and are turning to support the left wing's reign.  In the economic and political fields, 'de-Americanization' has gradually started in South America.  Secretary Rice sighed, 'Latin American is no longer the one of the past,' when she encountered cold treatment during her visit....  A 'South American Community' that could possibly replace the American free trade zone is becoming real.  This is a necessary road for Latin American countries to become stronger independently in order to end dependence on developed countries and to deal with the challenge of globalization."


"Divergence Is Severe, U.S. Disappointed: No Consensus On Free Trade Zone, U.S.-Venezuela Relations Stiffen"


Fan Jianqing commented in the official Communist Party People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (11/8):  "The prominent issue at the Summit of Americas was the severe divergence between the North and South America....  The U.S.-Venezuela contradiction was another dark shadow influencing the summit.  The U.S. has carried out a political siege on Venezuela in the second term of the Bush administration.  One of the important goals of Bush's trip to South America this time was also to pull in Brazil and Argentina to contain Chávez.  But the U.S. policy of high-pressure did not gain the support of the two countries....  The failure of the summit has shown the many differences of North and South America regarding politics and economics.  It is also a failure of the U.S. Latin America policy.  Since Bush took office, his ignoring Latin American affairs and hegemony against them have provoked their antipathy.  At this time, Latin America's political thoughts are turning leftwards and U.S.-Latin America relations have become chilly.  During this year, Rumsfeld and Rice separately visited Latin America.  But from the summit's failure, it shows their goal hasn't yet been fulfilled.  The U.S. still has many troubles in its backyard."


INDONESIA:  "U.S. Failure In Summit Of The Americas"


Leading independent  Kompas commented  (11/8):  “U.S. has been complained (against) for not giving attention to the economic and political development of its neighboring countries in Latin America, which the U.S. describes as its backyard.  It was also highlighted that the U.S. tended to prefer building relationships and cooperation with far countries outside the American Continent and the Caribbean.  If we take a look at the Monroe Doctrine initiated by President James Monroe in 1823, the main idea emphasizes ‘America for America.’  A doctrine that emphasizes such spirit of cooperation, in fact, really hurts since, in practice, the U.S. has never showed any concern over countries in the American Continent.  Even though, as we recall, in some cases the U.S. used to support insurgents in Latin America.”


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