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Cablegate: President Venetiaan's Visit to the Special Summit

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS PARAMARIBO 000080

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR WHA/CAR MSEIBEL
BRIDGETOWN PLEASE PASS TO RROHRER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAGR ECON KHIV NS
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT VENETIAAN'S VISIT TO THE SPECIAL SUMMIT
OF THE AMERICAS GARNERS LOCAL ATTENTION

REFS: 03 PARAMARIBO 735

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY.

1. (U) THE VISIT OF PRESIDENT RONALD VENETIAAN AND OTHER
SURINAMESE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, INCLUDING MINISTER OF TRADE
AND INDUSTRY MICHAEL JONG TJIEN FA, TO THE SPECIAL SUMMIT OF
THE AMERICAS IN MONTEREY, MEXICO, RECEIVED MUCH PRESS
ATTENTION IN SURINAME. ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS, UPON HIS
RETURN FROM MEXICO, PRESIDENT VENETIAAN MADE THE FOLLOWING
POINTS:

-- SUMMIT TALKS WERE "DIFFICULT" AS COUNTRIES WITH SMALL
ECONOMIES LIKE SURINAME WERE UNSUCCESSFUL IN THEIR BID
TO POSTPONE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FREE TRADE AREA
OF THE AMERICAS (FTAA).

-- THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE IS LOSING
FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS BECAUSE
THE PROMISE OF DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ECONOMIC REFORMS AND
FREE TRADE HAS NOT MATERIALIZED.

-- POLITICAL LEADERS NEED TO EFFECTIVELY HARNESS THE
HEMISPHERE'S MULTI-CULTURAL POPULATIONS TO PROMOTE
MUTUAL RESPECT AND INTERESTS.

2. (U) ABSENT IN VENETIAAN'S COMMENTS WERE CONCERNS VOICED
JUST PRIOR TO VENETIAAN'S DEPARTURE BY FOREIGN MINISTER
MARIE LEVENS, WHO DID NOT TRAVEL TO MEXICO DUE TO BACK
PROBLEMS, THAT THE UNITED STATES' PREOCCUPATION WITH THE WAR
AGAINST TERRORISM AND OTHER SECURITY INTERESTS MAY INTERFERE
WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF FTAA AND THE CARIBBEAN SINGLE
MARKET ECONOMY.

3. (U) ON A MORE CONCRETE NOTE, VENETIAAN DECLARED THAT
SURINAME HAD TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THE SUMMIT'S MARGINS TO
FORWARD ITS AGENDA ON TWO KEY FRONTS: RICE EXPORTS TO
MERCOSUR AND THE CANDIDACY OF A ONE-TIME SURINAMESE DIPLOMAT
FOR A KEY ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS) POSITION.
DETERMINED TO SECURE MARKETS FOR SURINAME'S MOST IMPORTANT
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT (RICE), GOS OFFICIALS SOUGHT THE
SUPPORT OF THEIR URUGUAYAN COUNTERPARTS FOR SURINAMESE RICE
EXPORTS TO BRAZIL AND OTHER MERCOSUR COUNTRIES. THEY ALSO
LOBBIED VARIOUS REPRESENTATIVES FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF
ALBERT RAMDIN, CURRENTLY AN ADVISOR TO OAS HEAD CESAR
GAVIRIA, TO THE POSITION OF OAS ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL.
(SEE REFTEL.)

4. (SBU) MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AMERICAS DEPARTMENT
HEAD TERENCE CRAIG (PLEASE PROTECT) INDICATED TO THE EMBASSY
THAT CARICOM MEMBERS HAVE INFORMALLY AGREED TO ENDORSE
RAMDIN'S CANDIDACY AND THAT THIS POSITION WILL BE MADE
OFFICIAL DURING A CARICOM COUNCIL OF FOREIGN AND COMMUNITY
RELATIONS IN MAY. CRAIG ADDED THAT AS FAR AS SURINAME-
UNITED STATES RELATIONS ARE CONCERNED, HIS GOVERNMENT LOOKS
FORWARD TO TAPPING INTO PRESIDENT BUSH'S FIVE-YEAR 15
BILLION USD HIV/AIDS EMERGENCY RELIEF PLAN.

5. (U) COMMENT. FOR ISOLATED SURINAME, THE SUMMIT PROVIDED
A RARE OPPORTUNITY FOR PRESIDENT VENETIAAN TO RUB ELBOWS
WITH OTHER POLITICAL LEADERS IN THE AMERICAS. IT ALSO
RESULTED IN AN EXCELLENT PHOTO OP. SEVERAL LOCAL DAILIES
PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED ON THEIR FRONT PAGES THE SUMMIT'S
FAMILY PHOTO, WHICH FEATURED VENETIAAN PLACED BEHIND
PRESIDENT BUSH. END COMMENT.

BARNES

NNNN

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