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LATIN AMERICA: Argentina



A previous posting called attention to the ten assessments from around the world of the importance of the ten top stories of 2000, as quoted in the March 2001 issue of the World Press Review. Latin America was conspicuously missing. The two US lists mentioned only the Elián González custody dispute, which the AP rated the third most important story of the year!!! La Nación of Costa Rica listed in sixth place the election of President Fox of Mexico. that was all. The Daily News of Bangkok mentioned in ninth place the exile of Fujimori of Peru in Japan, more on account of Japan than of Peru. For the world, including the US, Latin America scarcely exists. Not even ETA violence won Spain a place on any list. Happy the countries without history: Canada was not mentioned because life there is so uneventful.

On 15 February 2001, the Council on Foreign Relations held a general meeting in New York City hosting four former National Security Advisors: Henry Kissinger (1968-1975), Brent T. Scowcroft (1975-1977, 1989-1993), Richard V. Allen (1981-1982), and Robert C. "Bud" McFarlane (1983-1985). The session was moderated by Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Dwight Peterson has forwarded to me a summary prepared by Col. John Wissler. The only mention of Latin America in the debate was concern about Plan Colombia

Mail from WAISers in different countries shows that they have different concerns. The Argentine diplomat, Raúl Estrada-Oyuela, who will be prominent in the WAIS conference session on climate, has sent me several alarming messages about a banking scandal involving US banks, a scandal about which we had heard little. Now Argentinos@Stanford has posted a report on this money laundering, which looms large in the Argentine vision of things and has damaged US-Argentine relations. On February 28 a US Senate Subcommittee published a 111-page report on the affair. Three Argentine financiers, one of them wanted by the Mexican Department of Justice for laundering drug money for the Juarez cartel, were charged with illegal operations involving almost $4,500 million, with the complicity of the City Bank of New York and the regime of former president Carlos Menem. The result has been an upheaval in the government of President Fernando de la Rúa, which has been discussed in Latin American TV, but not in that of the US. Actually, this is understandable. US concerns about Latin America decrease as one goes south. The main Latin America problem for the US is Mexico, followed by Colombia and Peru. Argentina and Chile scarcely register in the US vision of things.

Ronald Hilton - 3/5/01


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