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Cablegate: Gates Foundation Sends Team to Install ‘Free’ Software in the Health Ministry

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


“There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”

Bill Gates, April 2008

Summary: Cable in Cablegate mischaracterises the role of the Bill Gates lobby (calling proprietary software “free software”)

THE Gates Foundation is more like a lobbying group and, according to this Cablegate cable, it is allowed to control health systems through software, too. “He spoke of assistance from the Gates Foundation,” says this cable, “in developing the province’s e-government capacity, including a team that was arriving to install free software in the health ministry for the management of medication supplies.” Is it anything like those Microsoft applications that Gates puts inside libraries before leaving those libraries stranded? And schools too? We have addressed this subject in posts such as:

Here is the full cable.


DE RUEHBU #0609/01 1282137
R 072137Z MAY 08
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1. (U) The Ambassador reaffirmed the USG commitment to strengthening 
bilateral ties with Argentina and discussed investment, drugs, and 
local issues during an April 30 meeting with Buenos Aires Governor 
Daniel Scioli and series of meetings in the provincial capital.  The 
Ambassador visited a parish school serving disadvantaged children; 
met with La Plata municipal leaders and officials from the 
Universidad Nacional de La Plata and the Universidad Catolica de La 
Plata; opened the U.S. Embassy sponsored photo exhibit "Landmarks of 
New York"; and visited the La Plata Natural History Museum during 
his first official trip to the capital of Buenos Aires Province.  La 
Plata's universities are the second largest employer after 
government and have an influencial role in local policy making.  END 
¶2. (SBU) Scioli said he was looking to develop agreements with other 
countries' states and provinces facing similar challenges in 
generating jobs, protecting the environment, improving education. 
The Ambassador agreed that international relations were no longer 
the exclusive domain of national governments but increasingly 
involved a growing range of subnational actors.  The Ambassador 
mentioned several state trade delegations coming soon to Argentina, 
including missions from Alabama, Florida, and Texas. 
¶3. (SBU) Scioli expressed great interest in the U.S. elections and 
said he had attended Democrat and Republican conventions.  As on 
previous occasions, Scioli stressed to us his admiration and 
sympathy for the U.S., claiming these feelings dated back to his 
first job as a Frigidaire salesman.  He noted that business and 
sports had taken him frequently to the U.S., and once he entered 
politics he continued looking to the U.S. for inspiration. 
¶4. (SBU) Scioli, preoccupied throughout the lunch by the previous 
day's disappearance of human rights activist Juan Puthod (who 
reappeared several hours after the lunch ended), said he was struck 
on a recent visit to Miami by Mayor Manny Diaz's presentation on 
inroads they had made against crime, and he was particularly 
impressed by the importance that Police Chief John Timoney gave to 
rebuilding the trust and confidence of citizens to gain their 
cooperation and participation in stopping crime.  The Ambassador 
noted that Baltimore had also made dramatic strides in curbing 
violent crime and offered embassy assistance to identify best 
practices and lessons learned there. 
¶5. (SBU) Scioli's brother Jose Antonio, the Secretary General for 
the provincial government, summoned some statistics to show the 
Ambassador what the Scioli administration's law enforcement had 
accomplished in the first four months of government with tips 
provided by citizens calling in to a new, well-advertised hotline. 
They had recovered 15,000 stolen vehicles, confiscated over 5,000 
unregistered weapons, seized 159 kg of cocaine and 1,612 kg of 
marijuana, leading to 7,864 arrests. 
¶6. (SBU) Scioli noted his strong interest in improving highway 
safety.  He believed strongly in the utility of imposing heavier 
sanctions on infractions, greater enforcement, and new legislation 
to enhance vehicle registration and facilitate infrastructure 
improvements.  The Ambassador noted California's positive results 
from higher fines as well as broader use of radar by highway 
patrols.  The Ambassador also offered embassy assistance in seeking 
statistics and best practices from the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the U.S. Department of 
¶7. (SBU) Scioli said investment promotion was high on his agenda, 
even though his province already produced 40% of Argentina's GDP. 
His government had recently enacted new incentives to attract 
investment, and he was looking for public-private partnerships in 
strategic areas such as the ports.  The Ambassador pointed out that 
AES and other energy generators and distributors were balking at 
additional investment until tariffs were adjusted.  Scioli said he 
was impressed by the diversity of U.S. investments in Buenos Aires 
province, and he was pleased by recent news of R.C. Johnson & Son's 
intention to invest $65 million in an aerosol production plant in 
Buenos Aires.  He spoke of assistance from the Gates Foundation, 
agreed in Miami recently, in developing the province's e-government 
capacity, including a team that was arriving to install free 
software in the health ministry for the management of medication 
supplies.  Scioli expressed interest in attracting foreign 
investment to develop tourist infrastructure.  He also asked for 
assistance in identifying U.S. companies that could help the 
province tackle its growing garbage problem, particularly with waste 
treatment and incineration. 
¶8. (U) The Ambassador was warmly welcomed by students wearing 
colonial period costumes and a cannon salute on his visit to Colegio 
San Vicente de Paul School, a private Catholic school serving 
disadvantaged children in La Plata.  The Ambassador met with dozens 
of school children, visited a woodworking and metal workshop, and 
made a book donation to the school's library.  The school complex 
has five schools, including a kindergarden, primary, secondary and 
technical schools and together has 2,500 students, most of whom are 
poor children from the neighboring community.  The school also 
provides free meals to over 1,000 children daily through its 
"comedor" or kitchen meals program. 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
¶9. (SBU) The Ambassador met with two university leaders and visited 
the La Plata Natural History Museum where he discussed expanding 
exchange opportunities between the United States and Argentina, 
intellectual property and scientific advances.  University Nacional 
de La Plata's (UNLP) Vice Rector Raul Anibal Perdomo and UNLP's 
Museum of Natural History Director Dr. Silvia Ametrano hosted the 
Ambassador and gave a brief private tour of the university's museum 
which is currently closed for repairs.  The UNLP is a leading 
educational institution and currently has over 75,000 students 
(Note: Current Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner 
and former President Nestor Kirchner are former alumni at this 
liberal institution, the third largest in Argentina.  The meeting 
was held in the museum instead of the main campus).  Both Perdomo 
and Ametrano noted that UNLP has strong scientist-to-scientist 
exchange programs with museums and other institutions worldwide, 
including the Smithsonian, but specifically requested the Embassy's 
assistance in securing intellectual property rights training for its 
museum staff.  Ametrano noted that the museum needs help in 
registering its collection, exhibits and replicas, and has sought 
UNESCO assistance in this endeavor.  The museum's varied collections 
are vast, and include one of the largest collections of dinosaur 
reproductions in the world. 
¶10. (U) Next to UNLP, the Universidad Catolica de La Plata (UCALP) 
is La Plata's second largest university and the Ambassador met with 
UCALP Rector Rafeal Breide Obeid to discuss the university's 
curriculum, the U.S. Speaker Program, and cultural exchanges.  The 
Ambassador also answered questions about the state of 
Argentine-American relations, anti-American perceptions in Argentina 
and U.S. foreign policy with students from UCALP's Institute of 
Argentine-North American studies (CESPAN).  CESPAN was created in 
November 2006 to reach out to post-graduate students in an attempt 
to provide them with information about U.S-Argentine relations and 
to develop deeper social ties with academic and cultural 
institutions.  The students were critical of U.S. foreign policy but 
were well aware of the ambassador's and Mission's programs to change 
the negative perceptions of Argentines about the United States 
through outreach, community engagement, and increasing the number of 
exchanges between the two countries. 
¶11. (U) The Ambassador opened an Embassy-sponsored photo exhibit 
titled "Landmarks of New York" in the Darda Rocha Cultural Center 
which was attended by many of the city's dignitaries, including 
mayor Pablo Bruera.  A lawyer by training, Bruera was previously a 
Provincial legislator before being elected mayor of La Plata in Fall 
¶2007.  In his meeting with the Ambassador, Bruera stated that the 
city is having tremendous difficulties in disposing of provincial 
garbage due to the closure of several garbage dumps but noted that 
he recently returned from Boston where he met with city officials 
and visited a U.S. recycling plant.  Bruere had participated in a 
several week program for young leaders at Harvard's JFK School.  He 
also mentioned that the city's problems included a lack of public 
transportation and security for its citizens, but he was optimistic 
that the city's garbage woes could be resolved without giving 
specific details.  The Ambassador closed the meeting by stressing 
the importance of increasing cooperation through cultural exchanges 
and offer

We also wrote about Argentina early this morning. Separately, we showed how Gates was milking Argentina for patent money. Just PR and profit, that’s what it’s all about. Attack on the competition (Free/libre software) is a bonus. They wish to pretend to donate (to make more sales) and Apple intends to try that one too. Apple could really use some PR after its militant behaviour, which has just come under police investigation and had Conan O’Brien make a lot fun.

“Samsung spends 6.5% of sales on R&D. Apple spends 2.2%,” points out this analyst, but Apple keeps trying to block this Linux-based competition from Korea.

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