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Showing posts from October, 2005


(Oct. 7, 2005) President Ricardo Lagos criticized Chile’s national television station (TVN) yesterday for airing sensationalist news stories. The president questioned why 48 percent of TVN’s news coverage on Tuesday evening dealt with crime and delinquency.

“The first five and most important stories [on TVN] were about delinquency” said Lagos, “this is absolutely inadequate.”

This controversy has grown out of Independent Democratic Union (UDI) presidential candidate Joaquín Lavin’s criticism of the government’s new crime initiative. Lavin has spoken out against Lagos’ Socialist Party (PS), as well as their presidential candidate Michele Bachelet as being too soft on crime.

“I assure you that criminal offenders prefer to vote for Michelle Bachelet because they know that she will have the same soft hand that President Lagos has had” said Lavin last week.

The UDI candidate has been trying to put forth a platform to differentiate himself from the other right-wing presidential candidate Sebast…


Judge Links Huber’s Death To Pinochet’s Arms Trafficking

(Oct. 6, 2005) Investigations into illegal weapons sales to Croatia and the mysterious death of Colonel Gerardo Huber have surged forward as new discoveries from the Riggs Bank case shed light on the motives behind decades of arms purchases, bribes, and murders.

Judge Claudio Pavez, lead investigator in the Huber case, asked for the appointment of a civilian judge to his military panel of investigators on Sept 27. New evidence discovered by Pavez has conclusively linked Huber’s 1992 death to the Riggs Bank case, an inquiry into former Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s private fortune, some of which is hidden in offshore bank accounts.

Col. Huber disappeared on January 29, 1992, two months after United Nations (UN) officials in Hungary seized a Chilean shipment of weapons bound for the Balkan state of Croatia. The country was then under a UN arms embargo for its part in the Balkan War.

Col. Huber was the Chief of Acquisitions for Chile’s army …


Celco chiefs met with European Union (EU) members of Parliament in Santiago on Wednesday after Chile’s government decided no to let them visit the environmentally hazardous pulp and paper plant in Valdivia.

At the meeting, Celco presented the EU officials with their plans to minimize the environmental impact the plant would have on the area. Europeans had raised concerns that weak environmental laws in Chile gave an unfair advantage to Chilean exports.

Celco has become the poster child for Chile’s environmental policy after industrial waste from the plant contaminated the Cruces River. In the aftermath of the contamination, environmentalist and community groups accused the government of being complicit in the pollution by not enforcing higher standards (ST, Jan 13).

The issue has yet to be decided, but EU officials have expressed concern over claims that Celco’s effluent contaminated the City of Valdivia’s water supply and caused a drastic reduction in rare black-neck swan population in …


Government Expected Contentious Debate Over Rights To Loot

(Oct. 5, 2005) A new twist in the story of buried treasure on Robinson Crusoe Island that has kept Chile and the world in suspense for the last three weeks surfaced Monday after Wagner Technologies renounced all claims to the treasure supposedly worth US$10 billion.

Wagner Technologies, the company who claims they discovered the treasure, met late Monday with government officials in Valparaíso in what was expected to be a contentious debate over the rights to the treasure.

According to Fernando Uribe-Etxeverría, lawyer for Wagner Technologies, the company does not believe it is capable of excavating the treasure; all the company wanted was the free press.

This abrupt turn of events surprised government officials who were prepared to discuss excavation permits and decide how to partition the treasure with the company. Wagner instead agreed to turn over the coordinates to the government on the condition that if the treasure is …