IS THE NEW YORK TIMES Madrid correspondent trying to help Zapatero reach out to Bush? One would think so after reading his report on the visit of Evo Morales, Bolivia president-elect, including his fashion faux-pas
. Red carpet
for him, as the English version of the government-owned news agency says. Prensa Latina has very upbeat reports on how this signals a new era (see here
). The local press has gone gaga over the latest folk hero, in his fight against imperialism and against Bu$hitler, and has been meeting everyone and his uncle
And how does the NYT correspondent portray the situation
? Well, presenting Zapatero as a mature leader, surely in the hope that the clipping arrives to the White House press service.
After receptions in Cuba and Venezuela this week and last that included marching bands, red carpets and praise for his stand against American "imperialism," Evo Morales, the president-elect of Bolivia, encountered a chillier welcome in Spain on Wednesday as he began a three-nation tour of Europe.
Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain refused to appear with Mr. Morales at a news conference here after their meeting on Wednesday, and Mariano Rajoy, the main opposition leader in the Parliament, declined to even visit with him.
Mr. Morales, who was elected in a landslide on Dec. 18, has raised concerns in the United States and Europe and with his pledges to decriminalize the cultivation of coca, the plant used in cocaine, and to increase government control of the energy industry, where foreign companies have significant investments.
In explaining Mr. Zapatero's absence from the news conference, Spanish officials said it would violate diplomatic protocol for a president-elect to have a joint news conference with a sitting prime minister.
That didn't seem a problem for a meeting between King Juan Carlos; maybe because the real reason is that the King and Morales are both heads of state, while Zapatero is prime minister, that is the chief of government. In protocol, he's one step below.
And Morales got a nice debt relief
; incidentally, it will be in exchange of education programs. That is, basically in textbooks and know-how. Oh, and who's the biggest Spanish company and therefore the one that will cash on the contracts surrounding these education programs? Santillana publishing company, which belongs to the Prisa media group, owner of the newspaper El País, the SER radio station (biggest in Spain), Cuatro broadcast network, and has the monopoly on satellite digital TV. A well-greased machinery that acts as a virtual house organ for the Socialist party. (you'll remember
them because they were the ones leading the agit-prop and disinformation campaign
between March 11 2004, the day of the terrorist attacks in Madrid, and March 14 2004, the day of the general election that Zapatero won by surprise)
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