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Drip, drip, drip…

29 November 2010

Drips and drabs of updates in century font.

Speaking only of Latin America, the new batch of Wikileaks, and the discussions on them, have been mostly confirmations of what has been known, or suspected, about U.S. relations with the region.

Inca Kola is, por supuesto, a site for people who invest in mining, which means moving tons of stuff you can’t use to find the stuff you can.  That includes data mining, but so far,  “apart from that and the usual US paranoia about hezbollah in Paraguay*, there doesn’t seem to be much about LatAm in the leaked documents…” with a few notable exceptions.

That “so far” needs to be emphasized.  The Devil’s Excrement (an anti-Chavez Venezuelan site) takes glee in the fact that Venezuela merits less attention than Iran in the leaked documents.  However, that’s about 4000 documents to look at.  Mexico merits a mere 2000 or so mentions, but, unlike Jorge Casteñeda (noting that 85 percent of the Mexico related documents are not secret), the effect is likely to be more than of merely academic interest, especially with growing mistrust of U.S. intentions regarding “Plan Mérida” and lingering suspicions of interference in the last presidential election.  Setty’s Notebook also wonders about what’s been seen so far, since access to Latin American mineral resources have been a overwhelming interest of the United States since the 1820s, but there seems to be little interest … which seems to reflect the Wikileaker’s own priorities rather than those of the Untied States.

A French diplomat thinks Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is crazy**, and Hillary Clinton is “concerned” with the mental health of Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, but that seems more in the realm of gossip (high-level gossip to be sure) than anything substantial.

There are several mentions of Mexico, in relation to the United Nations.  Other than the fact that spying on the Mexican U.N. delegation seems to be on-going, no surprises as yet.    Mexico had a seat on the security council during the build-up to the U.S.-British-Spanish intervention in Iraq, and Adolfo Aguilar Zinzer, the Mexican Ambassador to the United Nations at the time, had been talking about the spying at the time of his death in a car accident (that we have no reason to believe was anything but a car accident) in June 2005.

Otto, at Inca Kola News, reprints the cables regarding the Honduran coup. What is eye-opening is that the U.S. Ambassador, Hugo Llorens, concluded the coup was a coup… just adding to the sense that the Obama Administration’s spin on President Zeleya’s removal (and the subsequent strain on U.S.-Latin American relations) was for domestic political reasons.

El Duderino (Abiding in Bolivia) is anxious to read the cables from La Paz, in relation to the attempted coup in that country while I would like to see what was said in 2005-2006 about the Mexican presidential elections — the questionable activities of U.S. based political operatives aside, the “rush to judgement” in legitimizing the Calderón election and the blatant U.S. interest in the outcome would have been, at the very least, scrutinized from the corner of Danubo and Reforma … and what else they were up to not to speak of their present activities under the rubric of “Plan Mérida”.

I suppose if the leakers are the prospectors, then Cable Viewer and others are the miners, Inca and Abiding and others the smelters refining the stuff the scholars can turn into jewelry.  Which I’m slogging up and down to offer to the gringos, as they say here,  “for you, almost free.”

* As in an unclassified cable dated 2009-12-31 from the U.S Embassy in Brasilia:

The Brazilian government is achieving visible results from recent investment in border and law enforcement infrastructure that were executed with a view to gradually control the flow of goods-legal and illegal-through the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, the proceeds of which could be diverted to support terror groups.

Or, to other smugglers? Geeze, it’s not like the Paraguayan borderlands haven’t been a smuggler’s paradise for some time now, has it?

** General Jorge Armando Felix, Brazil’s Minister for Institutional Security (i.e, head of the secret police and Presidential security advisor), is non-committal, as a good bureaucrat should be. (Secret cable from Ambassador John J. Danilovich, dated 2005-05-06):

… Ambassador raised Venezuela and its president Hugo Chavez and noted that Chavez was disrupting Brazil’s efforts to play a leading role politically and economically in South America. General Felix nodded his head and appeared to be very carefully measuring his response. He then said that he had his own personal opinions about Chavez (which he did not share) that were different from the Brazilian Government?s position. That being said, General Felix said that he preferred keeping in line with the official position (though he did not elaborate on it either). Felix noted that whether one was pro- or anti-Chavez, he had become very much a part of the “Latin American” reality.

The general comes out rather good here… at least trying to inject a bit of that “Latin American” reality into U.S. policy.

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