Monday, December 13, 2010

Part 1 - After 12 days of WikiLeaks cables, the world looks on US with new eyes

Reaction across the globe to the leaked US embassy cables has ranged from anger and bitterness to extreme indifference

Pakistani demonstrators burn a US flag in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange during a rally in Multan. Photograph: Mohammad Malik/AFP/Getty Images

South America



Brazil

President Lula says he is to register his protest at Assange's arrest on his blog. "This chap was only publishing something he read," he said. "And if he read it, it is because somebody wrote it. The guilty one is not the publisher, it is the person who wrote [these things]. Blame the person who wrote this nonsense because there would be no scandal if they hadn't." Many leaks relate to the security situation in Rio de Janeiro. A 2009 cable warned that pre-Olympic attempts to expel drug traffickers from some of the city's most violent favelas could resemble "the battles in Fallujah more than a conventional urban police operation".

Argentina

In Argentina the Wikileaks revelations have focused on apparent US concern about a new invasion of the Falklands islands and over president Cristina Kirchner mental health. In one cable Hillary Clintonmused over whether the current occupant of the Casa Rosada was "taking any medications."

"How do Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's emotions affect her decision-making and how does she calm down when distressed?" one cable asked diplomats in the Argentine capital.

The English-language Buenos Aires Herald, however, pointed out that "the snickering about the President's mental health comes at a time [when] she is perceived by much of the public, including those who oppose her, as having shown tremendous strength immediately after her husband's death."

Venezuela

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, has called on Hillary Clinton to resign in the wake of "all of this spying and delinquency in the State Department".

"Look at how they treat the leaders of powerful countries," Chavez told state TV channel Telesur, describing the cables as proof of the "dirty war of Yankee embassies in the whole world".

"Look how they are mistreating this great friend of ours, Vladimir Putin. What a lack of respect!"

Ecuador and Bolivia

The Ecuadorian government has been Wikileaks' most vocal supporter in the region, offering the under-fire Julian Assange residency "without any conditions". Bolivia has also expressed its irritation at its portrayal in the US diplomatic cables. The country's vice-president, Alvaro Garcia Linera, this week posted Bolivia-focused Wikileaks cables, in full, on his official website in response to what he called "insults" and "third rate espionage".

US authorities have been lampooned by much of the Bolivian press.

Juan José Toro Montoya, a columnist for the Cochabamba newspaper Los Tiempos newspaper described the accusations against Wikileaks' founder as "laughable".

"Julian Assange may be under arrest but he has been transformed into a hero and will go down in history as being the first human being to massively reveal the dirty-tricks of government," he wrote yesterday.

by guardian

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