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Argentina's Kirchner tries unsuccessfully to declare war on Finland

By Tony Pagliaro

24.04.06 | The uncivil president of Argentina, Néstor Kirchner, always tries to impose his will by intimidating an bullying his counterparts. Domestically, up to now he has been successful, Argentine political opposition leaders are semi-silent, and the Argentine business community full of fear, since it is always exposed to Mr. Kirchner’s administrative, tax and pension fund “inspections” and charges, unless they behave as Mr. Kirchner wants, particularly in the area of determining the prices for their goods and services where they do not have any freedom at all.

Mr. Kirchner needs enemies, and since his controversy with Uruguay on the installation of two big pulp and paper mills on the Uruguayan side of the border river seems to be going down the drain, he has tried to create a new enemy: Finland.

Completely out of the blue he went public calling Finland responsible for what a Finnish private company is undertaking when building one of the two on-going pulp and paper mills in the Uruguay river. According to Kirchner’s gospel everything is part of the Finnish plot, consisting on exporting pollution to the Southern part of the world. In his opinion, the modern and state of the art mill under construction by Botnia, a Finnish firm, will pollute the international river, and therefore construction has to stop. Uruguay, and the rest of the world, do not agree with Kirchner’s point of view and maintain that the mills will not damage the environment. By the way, they point out the usual Kirchner’s contradictions, i.e. that Argentina has in operation half a dozen very old pulp and paper mills, which in fact do pollute international rivers, so much so that Paraguay is requesting that they be closed down, to no avail.

“Wise” Mr. Kirchner challenged the President of Finland, a lady, Taria Halonen, to request Botnia to stop the project. Mrs. Halonen replied by simply stating that Finland is not a part to the conflict Mr. Kirchner is trying to create and refusing to intervene in what essentially a project in Uruguay, and not in Argentina. In addition she instructed another lady, Minister Paula Lehtoniäki, her Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Corporation, who is on her way to South America, to skip Argentina and maintain her program of visiting Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. She pointed out that her Minister “will not be welcome in Argentina”. She is definitely right. Her concern probably was that her Minister was to be involved in the same kind of trap Mr. Kirchner prepared for George W. Bush in the latest Continental Summit, held in Mar del Plata, where massive demonstrations against Bush were organized by Kirchner who pretended his government had nothing to do with them and ended up by insulting Mr. Bush in his speech delivered as host of the Summit.

Mrs. Halonen was careful enough not to expose her Minister to a similar kind of devious “welcome”.

More and more the world is beginning to realize who is Mr. Kirchner, understanding his psychological need for enemies, and unavoidable uncivil behaviour and manners. Finland elected, smartly, to side-step him. Mr. Kirchner’s war against Finland will be very hard to materialize. In the meantime his conflict with Uruguay continues to grow and President Tabaré Vázquez, of Uruguay, has gone public saying that his country does not want to receive natural gas if it has to be transported through Argentine territory. Mr. Kirchner has already cut gas deliveries in an existing gas pipeline to Uruguay, and has defaulted in all his export obligations to deliver gas to Chile.

The real Mr. Kirchner is in the open and the world certainly does not like what it sees.



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