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Papa Francisco y la “Guerra Sucia” en Argentina

POR MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 20, 2013

El cónclave del Vaticano ha elegido el Cardenal Jorge Mario Bergoglio como Papa Francisco I

¿Quién es Jorge Mario Bergoglio?

En 1973, había sido nombrado “Provincial” de la Argentina por la Compañía de Jesús.Por este cargo, Bergoglio era el jesuita de más alto rango en Argentina durante la dictadura militar encabezada por el general Jorge Videla (1976-1983).

Más tarde se convirtió en obispo y arzobispo de Buenos Aires. El Papa Juan Pablo II lo elevó al rango de cardenal en 2001.

Cuando la Junta Militar entregó el poder en 1983, el presidente debidamente electo Raúl Alfonsín creó una Comisión de la Verdad respecto a los delitos vinculados a la “Guerra Sucia”.

La junta militar había sido apoyada secretamente por Washington.

El Secretario de Estado norteamericano, Henry Kissinger tuvo un papel detrás de la escena en el golpe militar de 1976.

El lugarteniente de Kissinger en América Latina, William Rogers, le dijo dos días después del golpe de Estado que “tenemos que esperar una buena cantidad de represión, probablemente una buena cantidad de sangre, en la Argentina en poco tiempo“…. (National Security Archive, 23 de marzo de 2006)

“Operación Cóndor”Irónicamente, un importante juicio comenzó en Buenos Aires el 5 de marzo de 2013, una semana antes de la investidura cardenal Bergoglio como Pontífice. El juicio en curso en Buenos Aires busca: “considerar la totalidad de los crímenes cometidos bajo la Operación Cóndor, una campaña coordinada por varias dictaduras apoyadas por Estados Unidos en América Latina en las décadas de 1970 y 1980 para perseguir, torturar y asesinar a miles de opositores de esos regímenes”.Para más detalles, consulte Operation Condor: Trial On Latin American Rendition And Assassination Programde Carlos Osorio y Peter Kornbluh, 10 de marzo de 2013La junta militar encabezada por el general Jorge Videla fue responsable de asesinatos, incluyendo el de un sinnúmero de sacerdotes y monjas que se opusieron al dominio militar tras el golpe de estado del 24 de marzo de 1976, patrocinado por la CIA, que derrocó al gobierno de Isabel Perón:

“Videla fue uno de los generales culpables de crímenes contra los derechos humanos, incluyendo las “desapariciones”, torturas, asesinatos y secuestros. En 1985, Videla fue condenado a cadena perpetua en la prisión militar de Magdalena.”

Wall Street y la agenda económica neoliberal

Una de las citas clave de la junta militar (bajo instrucciones de Wall Street) fue el ministro de Economía, José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz,miembro de establishment comercial de la Argentina y gran amigo de David Rockefeller.El conjunto de medidas macro-económicas neoliberales medidas adoptadas por Martínez de Hoz eran una “copia” de las impuestas en octubre de 1973 en Chile por la dictadura de Pinochet bajo el asesoramiento de los “Chicago Boys”, tras el golpe de Estado del 11 de septiembre 1973 y la muerte del presidente Salvador Allende.Los salarios fueron congelados inmediatamente por decreto. El poder adquisitivo real se desplomó más de un 30 por ciento en los 3 meses siguientes al golpe militar del 24 de marzo de 1976. (Estimaciones del autor, Córdoba, Argentina, julio de 1976). La población argentina se empobreció.

Bajo el mando del Ministro de Economía José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz, la política monetaria del Banco Central fue determinada en mayor medida por Wall Street y el FMI. El mercado de divisas fue manipulado. El peso fue sobrevaluado deliberadamente para conducir a una deuda externa impagable. La economía nacional se precipitó a la bancarrota.

Wall Street y la jerarquía de la Iglesia Católica

Wall Street estaba firmemente detrás de la junta militar que libró la “Guerra Sucia” en su nombre. A su vez, la jerarquía de la Iglesia Católica desempeñó un papel central en el mantenimiento de la legitimidad de la Junta Militar.

La Orden de Jesús – que representaba la facción conservadora más influyente dentro de la Iglesia católica, estrechamente relacionada con las elites económicas de la Argentina – estaba firme detrás de la junta militar, en contra de los llamados “izquierdistas” del movimiento peronista.

“Guerra Sucia”: las acusaciones contra el cardenal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

En 2005, la abogada de derechos humanos Myriam Bregman presentó una querella criminal contra el cardenal Jorge Bergoglio, acusándolo de conspirar con la junta militar en 1976 en el secuestro de dos sacerdotes jesuitas.

Bergoglio, quien en ese momento era “Provincial” de la Compañía de Jesús, había ordenado a dos sacerdotes jesuitas “izquierdistas”, “terminar su trabajo pastoral” (es decir, que fueran despedidos) producto de las divisiones dentro de la Compañía de Jesús respecto al papel de la Iglesia Católica y sus relaciones con la Junta militar.

Condenar la dictadura militar (incluyendo las violaciones de derechos humanos) era un tabú dentro de la Iglesia Católica. Mientras que las altas esferas de la Iglesia apoyaban a la Junta militar, las bases de la Iglesia se opusieron firmemente a la imposición del régimen militar.

En 2010, sobrevivientes de la “guerra sucia”, acusaron al cardenal Jorge Bergoglio de complicidad en el secuestro de dos miembros de la Compañía de Jesús, Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio, (El Mundo, 8 de noviembre de 2010)

En el curso del juicio iniciado en 2005, “Bergoglio dos veces invocó su derecho en virtud de la legislación argentina de negarse a comparecer en audiencia pública, y cuando finalmente testificó en el año 2010, sus respuestas fueron evasivas”:

“Por lo menos dos casos involucran directamente a Bergoglio. Uno se relaciona con la tortura de dos de sus sacerdotes jesuitas – Orlando Yorio y Francisco Jalics – que fueron secuestrados en 1976 en los barrios pobres donde abogaban por la teología de la liberación. Yorio acusó a Bergoglio de haberlo efectivamente entregado a los escuadrones de la muerte… al negarse a decirle al régimen que apoyaba su labor. Jalics se negó a hablar de ello después de mudarse a reclusión en un monasterio alemán.” (Los Angeles Times, 1 de abril de 2005)
Las acusaciones dirigidas contra Bergoglio respecto a los dos sacerdotes jesuitas secuestrados no son más que la punta del iceberg. Así como Bergoglio era una figura importante en la Iglesia católica, ciertamente no era el único que apoyó la Junta Militar.Según el abogado de Myriam Bregman: “las declaraciones del propio Bergoglio demostraron que funcionarios de la iglesia sabían desde el principio que la junta estaba torturando y asesinando a sus ciudadanos, y sin embargo, respaldaron públicamente a los dictadores.” La dictadura no podría haber funcionado de esta manera sin este apoyo clave“. (Los Angeles Times, 1 de abril 2005, énfasis añadido)La jerarquía católica entera estaba detrás de la dictadura. Vale la pena recordar que el 23 de marzo de 1976, en vísperas del golpe militar:
Videla y otros conspiradores recibieron la bendición del arzobispo de Paraná, Adolfo Tortolo, quien también se desempeñó como vicario de las fuerzas armadas. El mismo día de la toma de posesión, los líderes militares tuvieron una larga reunión con los dirigentes de la Conferencia Episcopal. Al salir de esa reunión, el arzobispo Tortolo declaró que si bien “la iglesia tiene su misión específica… hay circunstancias en las que no pueden abstenerse de participar, incluso cuando se trata de problemas relacionados con el orden específico del Estado.” Él instó a los argentinos a “cooperar de manera positiva” con el nuevo gobierno“. (The Humanist.org, enero de 2011, énfasis añadido)
En una entrevista con El Sur, el general Jorge Videla, quien actualmente cumple una pena de cadena perpetua confirmó que:
Mantuvo a la jerarquía católica del país informada sobre la política de su régimen de “desaparecer” a los opositores políticos, y que los líderes católicos ofrecieron consejos sobre cómo “manejar” dicha política.
Jorge Videla dijo que tuvo “muchas conversaciones” con el prelado de Argentina, el cardenal Raúl Francisco Primatesta, sobre la guerra sucia de su régimen contra activistas de izquierda. Dijo también que hubo conversaciones con otros obispos importantes de la Conferencia Episcopal Argentina, así como con el nuncio papal en el país en ese momento, Pío Laghi.
Ellos nos aconsejan sobre la manera de hacer frente a la situación“, dijo Videla” (Tom Henningan, Former Argentinian dictator says he told Catholic Church of disappeared, Irish Times, 24 de julio de 2012, énfasis añadido)
Al apoyar a la Junta militar, la jerarquía católica fue cómplice de los asesinatos y la tortura en masa, un estimado de “22.000 muertos y desaparecidos, desde 1976 hasta 1978… Miles de víctimas adicionales fueron asesinados entre 1978 y 1983, cuando los militares fueron depuestos.”(National Security Archive, 23 de marzo 2006).

La Iglesia Católica: Chile versus Argentina

Vale la pena señalar que, a raíz del golpe militar en Chile el 11 de septiembre de 1973, el cardenal de Santiago de Chile, Raúl Silva Henríquez, condenó abiertamente la junta militar encabezada por el general Augusto Pinochet. En marcado contraste con Argentina, esta postura de la jerarquía católica en Chile fue fundamental para frenar la ola de asesinatos políticos y violaciones de derechos humanos dirigidas contra partidarios de Salvador Allende y opositores al régimen militar.Si Jorge Mario Bergoglio hubiese adoptado una postura similar a la del Cardenal Raúl Silva Henríquez, miles de vidas se habrían salvado.

La “Operación Cóndor” y la Iglesia Católica

La elección del cardenal Bergoglio en el cónclave del Vaticano para servir como Papa Francisco I tendrá repercusiones inmediatas en el presente juicio contra la “Operación Cóndor” en Buenos Aires.

La Iglesia estuvo involucrada en el apoyo a la Junta Militar. Esto es algo que emergerá durante el curso de las actuaciones judiciales. Sin duda, habrá intentos para ocultar el papel de la jerarquía católica y del recién nombrado Papa Francisco I, quien se desempeñó como jefe de la orden jesuita en Argentina durante la dictadura militar.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio: ¿”El Papa de Washington en el Vaticano”?

La elección del Papa Francisco I tiene amplias implicaciones geopolíticas para toda la región de Latinoamérica.

En la década de 1970, Jorge Mario Bergoglio apoyó a una dictadura militar de patrocinio estadounidense.

La jerarquía católica en la Argentina apoyó al gobierno militar.

Los intereses de Wall Street se mantuvieron a través de la oficina de José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz en el Ministerio de Economía.

La Iglesia Católica en América Latina es políticamente influyente. También posee control sobre la opinión pública. Esto es conocido y comprendido por los arquitectos de política exterior estadounidense.

En América Latina, donde varios gobiernos están ahora desafiando la hegemonía de Estados Unidos, uno podría esperar – dada la trayectoria de Bergoglio – que el nuevo Pontífice Francisco I como líder de la Iglesia Católica, jugará de facto, un discreto rol político “encubierto” a nombre de Washington.

Con Jorge Bergoglio, el Papa Francisco I, en el Vaticano (que sirvió fielmente a los intereses estadounidenses en el apogeo del general Jorge Videla) la jerarquía de la Iglesia Católica en América Latina puede volver a ser efectivamente manipulada para socavar a los gobiernos “progresistas” (de izquierda), no sólo en la Argentina (respecto del gobierno de Cristina Kirchner), sino en toda la región, incluyendo Venezuela, Ecuador y Bolivia.

El restablecimiento de un “Papa pro-estadounidense” se produjo una semana después de la muerte del presidente Hugo Chávez.

¿El Papa de Washington y Wall Street en el Vaticano?

El Departamento de Estado norteamericano presiona rutinariamente a los miembros del Consejo de Seguridad con miras a influir en la votación relativa a las resoluciones del Consejo.

Operaciones encubiertas y campañas de propaganda estadounidenses se desarrollan rutinariamente con objeto de influir en las elecciones nacionales en diferentes países alrededor del mundo.

¿El gobierno estadounidense habrá intentado influir en la elección del nuevo pontífice? Jorge Mario Bergoglio era el candidato preferido por Washington.

¿Hubo presiones encubiertas ejercidas discretamente por Washington, dentro de la Iglesia Católica, directa o indirectamente, a los 115 cardenales que son miembros del cónclave del Vaticano, para llevar a la elección de un pontífice que fielmente sirve a los intereses de la política exterior estadounidense en América Latina?

Nota del Autor

Desde el comienzo del régimen militar en 1976, fui profesor visitante en el Instituto de Política Social de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. Mi principal objetivo de investigación en ese momento era investigar los efectos sociales de las letales reformas macroeconómicas aprobadas por la Junta Militar.

Impartí clases en la Universidad de Córdoba durante la primera oleada de asesinatos que también apunto a miembros del clero católico de base progresista.

La ciudad norteña industrial de Córdoba era el centro del movimiento de resistencia. Fui testigo de cómo la jerarquía católica activa y sistemáticamente apoyó a la junta militar, creando un clima de intimidación y temor en todo el país. El sentimiento general era en ese entonces que los argentinos habían sido traicionados por las altas esferas de la Iglesia Católica.

Tres años antes, al momento del golpe militar del 11 de septiembre de 1973 en Chile, que llevó al derrocamiento del gobierno de la Unidad Popular de Salvador Allende, era profesor visitante del Instituto de Economía de la Universidad Católica de Chile, en Santiago de Chile.

Inmediatamente después del golpe de Estado en Chile, fui testigo de cómo el cardenal de Santiago, Raúl Silva Henríquez, actuando a nombre de la Iglesia Católica, se enfrentó a la dictadura militar.

Michel Chossudovsky es autor galardonado, Profesor de Economía (Emérito) de la Universidad de Ottawa, Director del Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), y Editor de globalresearch.ca. Es el autor de Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) y America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). También es colaborador de la Enciclopedia Británica. Sus escritos publicados se encuentran en más de veinte idiomas.

 

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Is Pope Francis I Washington’s Pope?

By MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY | GLOBAL RESEARCH | MARCH 14, 2013

The Vatican conclave has elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I

Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio? 

In 1973, he had been appointed “Provincial” of Argentina for the Society of Jesus.

In this capacity, Bergoglio was the highest ranking Jesuit in Argentina during the military dictatorship led by General Jorge Videla (1976-1983).

He later became bishop and archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope John Paul II elevated him to the title of cardinal in 2001

When the military junta relinquished power in 1983, the duly elected president Raúl Alfonsín set up a Truth Commission pertaining to the crimes underlying the “Dirty War” (La Guerra Sucia).

The military junta had been supported covertly by Washington.

US. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played a behind the scenes role in the 1976 military coup.

Kissinger’s top deputy on Latin America, William Rogers, told him two days after the coup that “we’ve got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long.” … (National Security Archive, March 23, 2006)

“Operation Condor”

Ironically, a major trial opened up in Buenos Aires on March 5, 2013 a week prior to Cardinal Bergoglio’s investiture as Pope. The ongoing trial in Buenos Aires is:

“to consider the totality of crimes carried out under Operation Condor, a coordinated campaign by various US-backed Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s to hunt down, torture and murder tens of thousands of opponents of those regimes.”

For further details, see Operation Condor: Trial On Latin American Rendition And Assassination Program By Carlos Osorio and Peter Kornbluh, March 10, 2013

Henry Kissinger and General Jorge Videla (1970s)

The military junta led by General Jorge Videla was responsible for countless assassinations, including priests and nuns who opposed military rule following the CIA sponsored March 24, 1976 coup which overthrew the government of Isabel Peron:

 ”Videla was among the generals convicted of human rights crimes, including “disappearances”, torture, murders and kidnappings. In 1985, Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment at the military prison of Magdalena.”

Wall Street and the Neoliberal Economic Agenda

One of the key appointments of the military junta was the Minister of Economy, Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, a member of Argentina’s business establishment and a close friend of David Rockefeller.

The neoliberal macro-economic policy package adopted under Martinez de Hoz was a “carbon copy” of that imposed in October 1973 in Chile by the Pinochet dictatorship under advice from the  “Chicago Boys”, following the September 11, 1973 coup d’Etat and the assassination pf president Salvador Allende.

Wages were immediately frozen by decree. Real purchasing power collapsed by more than 30 percent in the 3 months following the March 24, 1976 military coup. (Author’s estimates, Cordoba, Argentina, July 1976). The Argentinean population was impoverished.

Under the helm of Minister of Economy Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, central bank monetary policy was largely determined by Wall Street and the IMF. The currency market was manipulated. The Peso was deliberately overvalued leading to an insurmountable external debt. The entire national economy was precipitated into bankruptcy.

Wall Street and the Catholic Church Hierarchy

Wall Street was firmly behind the military Junta which waged “The Dirty War” on its behalf. In turn, the Catholic Church hierarchy played a central role in sustaining the legitimacy of the military Junta.

The Order of Jesus –which represented the Conservative yet most influential faction within the Catholic Church, closely associated with Argentina’s economic elites– was firmly behind the military Junta, against so-called “Leftists” in the Peronista movement.

“The Dirty War”: Allegations directed Against Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

In 2005, human rights lawyer Myriam Bregman filed a criminal suit against Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, accusing him of conspiring with the military junta in the 1976 kidnapping of two Jesuit priests.

Bergoglio, who at the time was “Provincial” for the Society of Jesus, had ordered two “Leftist” Jesuit priests “to leave their pastoral work” (i.e. they were fired) following divisions within the Society of Jesus regarding the role of the Catholic Church and its relations to the military Junta.

Condemning the military dictatorship (including human rights violations) was a taboo within the Catholic Church.  While the upper echelons of the Church were supportive of the military Junta, the grassroots of the Church was firmly opposed to the imposition of military rule.

In 2010, the survivors of the “Dirty War” accused Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of complicity in the kidnapping of  two members of the Society of Jesus Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio,  (El Mundo, 8 November 2010)

n the course of the trial initiated in 2005, “Bergoglio twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court, and when he eventually did testify in 2010, his answers were evasive”:

“At least two cases directly involved Bergoglio. One examined the torture of two of his Jesuit priests — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads… by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.” (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2005)

The accusations directed against Bergoglio regarding the two kidnapped Jesuit priests are but the tip of the iceberg. According to lawyer Myriam Bregman:

“Bergoglio’s own statements proved church officials knew from early on that the junta was torturing and killing its citizens, and yet publicly endorsed the dictators. “The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support,” (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2005 emphasis added)

The Catholic hierarchy was tacitly complicit in torture and mass killings, an estimated “22,000 dead and disappeared, from 1976 to the [1978]   Thousands of additional victims were killed between 1978 and 1983 when the military was forced from power.” (National Security Archive, March 23, 2006)

image right: Jorge Mario Bergoglio grants communion to General Jorge Videla (1970s)

The Catholic Church: Chile versus Argentina

It is worth noting that  in the wake of the military coup in Chile on September 11,1973, the Cardinal of Santiago de Chile, Raul Silva Henriquez openly condemned the military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet. In marked contrast to Argentina, this stance of the Catholic hierarchy in Chile was instrumental in curbing the tide of political assassinations and human rights violations directed against supporters of Salvador Allende  and opponents of the military regime.

Had Jorge Mario Bergoglio taken a similar stance to that of Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, thousands of lives would have been saved.

Operation Condor and the Catholic Church

The election of Cardinal Bergoglio by the Vatican conclave to serve as Pope Francis I will have immediate repercussions regarding the ongoing “Operation Condor” Trial in Buenos Aires.

The Church was involved in supporting the military Junta.  This is something which will emerge in course of the trial proceedings.  No doubt, there will be attempts to obfuscate the role of the Catholic hierarchy and the newly appointed pope Francis I,  who served as head of Argentina’s Jesuit order during the military dictatorship.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio:  “Washington’s Pope in the Vatican”? 

The election of Pope Francis I has broad geopolitical implications for the entire Latin American  region.

In the 1970s, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was supportive of a US sponsored military dictatorship.

The Catholic hierarchy in Argentina supported the military government.

Wall Street’s interests were sustained through Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz’ office at the Ministry of Economy.

The Catholic Church in Latin America is politically influential. It also has a grip on public opinion. This is known and understood by the architects of US foreign policy.

In Latin America, where a number of governments are now challenging US hegemony, one would expect –given Bergoglio’s track record–  that the new Pontiff Francis I as leader of the Catholic Church, will play de facto, a discrete “undercover” political role on behalf of Washington.

With Jorge Bergoglio, Pope Francis I  in the Vatican (who faithfully served US interests in the heyday of General Jorge Videla)  the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Latin America can once again be effectively manipulated to undermine “progressive” (Leftist) governments, not only in Argentina but throughout the region, including Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

This instatement of  “a pro-US pope” occurs a week following the death of  president Hugo Chavez.

Washington’s Pope in the Vatican?

The US State Department routinely pressures members of the United Security Council with a view to influencing the vote pertaining to Security Council resolutions. US covert operations and propaganda campaigns are routinely applied with a view to influencing national elections in different countries around the World.

Did the US government attempt to influence the election of the new pontiff? Were undercover pressures discretely exerted by Washington, within the Catholic Church, directly or indirectly, on the 115 cardinals who are members of the Vatican conclave, leading to the election of a pontiff who will faithfully serve US foreign policy interests in Latin America?

Author’s Note

At the outset of the military regime in 1976, I was Visiting Professor at the Social Policy Institute of the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina. My major research focus at the time was to investigate the impacts of the deadly macroeconomic reforms adopted by the military Junta. 

I was teaching at the University of Cordoba during the initial wave of assassinations which also targeted “progressive” members of the Catholic clergy.

The industrial city of Cordoba was the center of the resistance movement. I witnessed how the Catholic hierarchy actively and routinely supported the military junta, creating an atmosphere of  intimidation and fear throughout the country. 

Three years earlier, at the time of Chile’s September 11, 1973 military coup, leading to the overthrow of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende,  I was Visiting Professor at the Institute of Economics, Catholic University of Chile, Santiago de Chile.

In the immediate wake of the coup in Chile,  I witnessed how the Cardinal of Santiago, Raul Silva Henriquez –acting on behalf of the Catholic Church– confronted the military dictatorship.

British Government has nukes in Falkland Islands, says Argentina

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 26, 2013

Argentina accused the United Kingdom of sending submarines carrying nuclear weapons to the Falklands and thus violating international treaties that establish that this region should be nuclear free. “We are in a precarious stage of implementation of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which prohibits nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean. This precarious implementation is challenged by the UK,” said Eduardo Zuain, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Argentina to the Conference on Disarmament of the UN.

Argentina also blamed the United Kingdom of an unjustified and disproportionate military presence in the South Atlantic, “which includes movement of submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons on a nuclear-free zone.” The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, which took effect on April 25, 1969, is an international agreement that establishes the denuclearization of the territory of Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Argentina is particularly concerned about the possibility, confirmed for the first time by the British Government in 2003, that the state was introducing nuclear weapons in the South Atlantic,” said Zuain, adding that the Argentine government deeply regrets that the United Kingdom ignores the complaints about this situation.

“We regret that the British Government has not provided clarifications requested on reported incidents. The UK has offered no information to corroborate or refute recent displacements of nuclear submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” he said.

Furthermore, Zuain criticized the fact that the Falklands is among some of the world’s most militarized territories, with more than 1,500 British soldiers and 3,000 civilians. “This deployment includes the presence of a powerful naval fighter aircraft, an important center of command and control, and an electronic intelligence base that allows ‘monitoring’ of air and sea traffic in the region,” he added.

Zuain said the important British presence in disputed areas of the South Atlantic concerns not only to Argentina, “but also countries in the region and beyond, as evidenced by statements of the Ibero-American Union of Nations (UNASUR) , Mercosur, the Rio Group and the Summit of South America and Arab Countries (ASPA). ”

Argentina urged the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, to overcome the impasse in which it has been for 15 years so they can advance on different topics including the ones raised by the Government of Buenos Aires.

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Argentina freezes food prices to avoid higher inflation and mass hunger

By ALMUDENA CALATRAVA | AP | FEBRUARY 5, 2013

Argentina announced a two-month price freeze on supermarket products Monday in an effort to break spiraling inflation.

The price freeze applies to every product in all of the nation’s largest supermarkets — a group including Walmart, Carrefour, Coto, Jumbo, Disco and other large chains. The companies’ trade group, representing 70 percent of the Argentine market, reached the accord with Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, the government’s news agency Telam reported.

The commerce ministry wants consumers to keep receipts and complain to a hotline about any price hikes they see before April 1.

Polls show Argentines worry most about inflation, which private economists estimate could reach 30 percent this year. The government says it’s trying to hold the next union wage hikes to 20 percent, a figure that suggests how little anyone believes the official index that pegs annual inflation at just 10 percent.

The government announced the price freeze on the first business day after the International Monetary Fund formally censured Argentina for putting out inaccurate economic data. The IMF has given Argentina until September to bring its statistics up to international standards, or face expulsion from the world body in November.

President Cristina Fernandez and her economy minister, Hernan Lorenzino, responded over the weekend with a flurry of attacks on the IMF, saying the agency’s data-gathering efforts had lost credibility in the lead-up to Argentina’s historic 2001 debt default. They said IMF advice is leading Europeans astray by favoring big banks over measures that can grow economies out of crisis.

However, Lorenzino also said that the government will begin using a new inflation index starting in fourth-quarter 2013 — just in time for the IMF’s decision.

Mercosur Opens the Doors to Socialism

The MERCOSUR alliance officially welcomed Venezuela as a permanent member.

By ALONSO SOTO | REUTERS | AUGUST 1, 2012

On his first foreign trip since undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba earlier this year, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hailed his country’s welcome by fellow South American leaders into a troubled regional trade bloc on Tuesday.

Ignoring criticism that Venezuela’s entry could eventually cause greater dysfunction among the Mercosur trade bloc’s members, Chavez cast the event as a continuation of his self-styled revolution and a sign of greater ascendance for South America as a whole.

“Our north is the south,” the Venezuelan president said, evoking Simon Bolivar and other revolutionaries who wrested the continent from colonial rule. “Mercosur is, without a doubt, the most powerful engine that exists to preserve our independence.”

Chavez, who recently declared himself cancer-free, stood at a podium throughout his 20-minute speech in Brazil’s capital and spoke in a clear, strong voice. Later, after a meeting at Brazil’s foreign ministry, he jigged and declared that his health “is very good, as you can see.”

The meeting was overshadowed by controversial events that enabled Venezuela’s entry into Mercosur, which also includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The grouping now accounts for about $3.3 trillion in combined gross domestic product, and the leaders said it would be the world’s fifth-largest economy if it were a single nation.

The expansion of Mercosur was criticized by many who see a paradox in the protectionist policies and leftist slant that increasingly have come to dominate a bloc originally created to liberalize trade.

After years of stalled negotiations with Caracas, the group hastily accepted Venezuela despite the objections of Paraguay, a marked absence at Tuesday’s meeting. The other three countries made their invitation to Chavez after suspending Paraguay in June because of the controversial impeachment there by conservative legislators of leftist president Fernando Lugo.

That move troubled critics, who said it was emblematic of the decline of a bloc that was founded in 1995, at a time when a group of free-market reformers was dominant in the region.

“What was once an economic bloc has now been reduced to a political sideshow,” said Mario Marconini, a former Brazilian trade secretary who is now a business consultant in Sao Paulo. The inclusion of Venezuela despite the veto of a full-fledged member, “is a fatal blow to its economic credibility.”

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday that Paraguay’s suspension is justified until the country “normalizes” its internal politics. Brazil and other neighboring countries have argued that Paraguay must proceed with its regularly scheduled presidential elections next year before they consider its government to be stable.

FOCUS ON CHAVEZ

Most of the other leaders present glazed over the Paraguay controversy, and focused instead on criticizing the orthodox economic policies of the developed world. They cited Mercosur as a vehicle that could further regional goals of fair trade, equitable growth and social inclusion.

Chavez said construction companies from Mercosur countries should take part in ongoing projects to build millions of subsidized homes in Venezuela. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said the region would continue to produce all-important raw materials for the global economy, but demanded “financial stability” in return from richer countries.

Mercosur, she said, could “make this new pole of power indivisible, indestructible.”

Chavez, who has spent more than 13 years in office, has pursued a personality driven government that has scared away foreign investors and crippled productivity. His acceptance by Mercosur, opponents say, will give him one more thing to boast about as he campaigns for another six-year term ahead of Venezuela’s presidential election in October.

Officially, the leaders hailed Venezuela’s strengths as a major oil producer and an important market for everything from Brazilian machinery to Argentine wheat. In practice, though, Venezuela can’t fully participate in the bloc until it agrees to accept a common tariff adopted by Mercosur, common agreements with third-party countries and other prerequisites that Chavez has failed to embrace since talks for inclusion began in 2006.

In a statement Tuesday, Brazil’s National Industry Confederation, a powerful business group, reminded Venezuela that “the new member has obligations to fulfill.” Citing the common tariff and other existing bloc conventions, the group urged Mercosur to establish a timeline by which Venezuela must comply.

Mercosur, the group added, “should focus on reinforcing the stability and predictability of the economic bloc.”

BLOC IS ALREADY TROUBLED

Many fear Venezuela will only complicate relations in an already dysfunctional grouping. “The bloc is a mess,” said Rubens Barbosa, a former Brazilian representative to Mercosur who is now a consultant.

“Just imagine if you start adding Venezuela and others,” he said, noting recent discussions to include Bolivia and Ecuador, two countries with close ties to Chavez.

Tuesday’s ceremony was accompanied by a trickle of business as Chavez and Rousseff formalized a previously disclosed plan by Conviasa, the Venezuelan airline, to purchase 100-seat jets made by Embraer, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer. Under the terms

of the agreement, Conviasa will pay about $270 million for six Embraer 190 jets, with an option for 14 more.

Meanwhile, Venezuela and Argentina signed an agreement for greater investment in each other’s oil sector. PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-run oil producer, will invest in Argentine petrochemicals, and YPF, its Argentine counterpart, will invest in Venezuelan oil fields, according to the agreement.