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Cablegate: Regional Drugs Summit Calls for Increased U.S.

VZCZCXYZ0011
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDG #0597/01 0782025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 192025Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7707
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1639
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0742
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE PRIORITY 4524
RUEHSP/AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN PRIORITY 1777
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0016
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCOWCV/CUSTOMS CARIBBEAN ATTACHE MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEFHLC/HQS DHS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMISTA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SANTO DOMINGO 000597

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR WHA DAS DUDDY, WHA/CAR SEARBY,
INL/LP AARIAS; DEPT PASS DEA FOR APLACIDO; PASS ONDCP FOR
PATRICK WARD; SOUTHCOM FOR JIATF SOUTH, ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SNAR KCRM CO HA VE TD DR
SUBJECT: REGIONAL DRUGS SUMMIT CALLS FOR INCREASED U.S.
SUPPORT IN CARIBBEAN

1. (U) Summary. On March 16, OAS Secretary General Insulza,
President Preval of Haiti, President Uribe of Colombia, and
Prime Minister Manning of Trinidad and Tobago joined
Dominican President Fernandez to sign a non-binding
declaration on measures to counter threats posed by the
trafficking of drugs through the Caribbean corridor. Though
the Declaration itself carefully avoided reference to the
United States, Preval and Manning utilized the summit to
criticize the United States bluntly for a perceived reduction
of aid in the fight against narcotrafficking. Fernandez,
too, noted a perceived reduction in aid, while President
Uribe stood out as strong supporter of U.S. efforts in the
region and a critic of European resistance to aerial
spraying. Representatives from the United Nations, the
Organization of American States, the European Union
(Germany), Venezuela, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the
United States were invited attendees. End Summary.

------------------
Summit Declaration
------------------

-- Academics criticize the United States

2. (SBU) While the declaration drafting process began on
March 13, it was underpinned by the March 12 presentations of
eight academics and experts speaking in their individual
capacities. By and large, this group proved critical of the
United States. Typically, presenters noted the United States
to be the source of demand driving the drug trade, suggested
the USG was inappropriately fixated on interdiction and
supply reduction, and claimed that the USG was reducing the
amounts of counter-narcotics assistance (including funds for
U.S. demand reduction) in order to fund U.S. military
commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Particularly noteworthy
for his criticism was University of Miami Professor Bruce
Bagley, a recognized expert in international narcotics
trafficking. Bagley has been examining the
Colombia-Dominican Republic drug nexus since at least 1998.

-- Declaration drafts

3. (SBU) The Haitian technical delegation headed by National
Security Minister Martin Joseph submitted a moderately worded
draft the morning of the 13th, which was set aside. The
subsequently submitted Dominican draft declaration
(Spanish-language text only) was examined by drafters.
Participating vigorously in the drafting process were
representatives from the Dominican Republic, Haiti,
Venezuela, Columbia, the United States, and the OAS
Inter-American Drug Control Commission (CICAD), as well as
independent expert Diana Pardo of contracted organizing
entity Newlink Political Consulting and Research. Also
present during negotiations were representatives from
CARICOM, France, and MINUSTAH.

4. (SBU) The Bagley presentation influenced the initial
Dominican draft, which focused on the reduction of bilateral
aid to the region, as well as the issue of demand. While all
delegations ultimately proved flexible in finding consensus
on Declaration language, the Haitian delegation was notable
for its initial insistence on the inclusion of language
regarding the reduction of bilateral aid. The Dominicans, in
turn, were slow to come off their initial language suggesting
the need for "state of the art" technology, specifically
radars and wiretapping equipment. Last-minute delays were
caused by Colombia's attempt to rephrase the entire
trafficking issue as a "global drug problem," given their
representatives' concern that draft language targeting
"trafficking" was implicitly directed at Colombia. Organizer
Pardo was resistant to the inclusion of language regarding
supply reduction. Notably, Venezuelan representatives were
generally non-political and cooperative, with the U.S. and
Venezuelan delegations mutually reinforcing many of each
others' points. (Note: This cooperation should be looked at


with an eye toward future regional events. The Venezuelan
delegation spoke privately of a hoped-for future regional
drugs summit involving President Chavez. End note.)
Interestingly, Venezuelan negotiators acknowledged the
transit of narcotics aircraft through their territory, but
attributed this to Venezuela,s lack of technical means
(i.e., radar) and pledged future improvement.

---------------
Summit Speeches
---------------

-- Venezuela

5. (SBU) The public remarks of Venezuelan Drug Czar Nestor
Luis Reverol Torres re-emphasized the non-confrontational
approach. Reverol's remarks and accompanying PowerPoint
presentation stressed expected future improvements in
Venezuelan interdiction, largely through the introduction of
new coastal radar systems and special maritime interdiction
units, while stressing existing efforts to screen cargo at
Venezuelan ports. He did not once mention the United States.

-- Prime Minister Manning

6. (U) Manning took rather the opposite tact in his remarks,
pointedly criticizing the United States directly for
"abandoning the eastern Caribbean." He declared Trinidad and
Tobago in dire need of external funds, as it is "willing but
unable to patrol its territory," given grinding poverty
caused by "loss of preferential market access and changing
patterns in trade." Calling himself a "voice in the
wilderness," he said that U.S. policy in the region does not
support U.S. rhetoric that the eastern Caribbean is the
"third frontier" in the fight against narcotics. In specific
support of this contention he cited the recent trip of
President Bush to Latin America -- and said "the fact that
the President did not visit a single Caribbean country forces
us to pose the issue of how we are seen." Manning also noted
the country,s supply of significant amounts of liquefied
natural gas, ammonia, and methanol to the United States, with
little U.S. reciprocity in terms either of attention or of
funds.

-- President Preval

7. (U) Preval began his remarks by quoting from sections of
the latest USG report on narcotics (INSCR) regarding Haiti,
to the effect that "Haiti is a privileged land for
traffickers" and a "weak state." This led to a plea to the
Haitian people for peace, as "political violence breeds
impunity." Unlike Manning, Preval continued by stressing the
regional responsibility for increased cooperation and the
need for governments to improve education systems, youth
prevention programs, and opportunities for civic
participation.

8. (U) Preval highlighted his suggestion of a greater role
for the United States as a "larger consumer country." Preval
insisted that the United States must mobilize additional
resources to attack demand (termed as "consumer networks")
within its own territory. He further called on the World
Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union,
and the United States for increased direct assistance, and he
asked U.S. religious communities and human rights
organizations to motivate the U.S. government toward action.
His final call was for all to "work together without
hypocrisy" and "without accusing each other."

-- President Uribe

9. (U) Speaking forcefully and extemporaneously for roughly
thirty minutes, Uribe repeatedly expressed Colombia's "will
to beat illicit drugs in all their dimensions." He spoke at
length and favorably regarding aerial spraying, noting "what

is dangerous is not the scientific protocol of spraying
itself, but rather the exploitation of the jungle to plant
drugs (illicit crops) and the chemical precursors used in
processing."

10. (U) In speaking on spraying, Uribe referenced U.S.
assistance, asked CICAD for additional studies to demonstrate
the safety of spraying, confirmed that the Colombian people
were not against the practice, and challenged the European
Union to fund manual eradication, should they not be able to
overcome their objections to aerial application of
herbicides. He further challenged citizens of "sister
nations" to come forward with claims regarding
extra-territorial spraying, stating that "our decision is to
eradicate drugs, not to have arguments with our neighbors."

11. (U) Uribe,s remarks strongly backed Plan Colombia and
suggested that alternative development, while useful, is not
a prerequisite for eradication operations, as "drugs cause a
displacement of Colombians abroad that impoverishes the
nation." A first step must be the "democratic application of
force" (alternately described as authority or coercion) which
he finds "necessary to get the people accustomed to drug
trafficking to stop."

12. (U) Part of this democratic application appears to be
the air bridge denial program, which he commended and
suggested be expanded throughout the region. Another part
would be the criminalization of narcotics possession, which
he intends to submit to the Colombian legislature as a
proposed constitutional reform. A further component is the
frequent use of the extradition process, which he asserts the
Colombian people do not reject (as opposed to drug
traffickers whom he directly calls "terrorists.")

13. (U) For Uribe, the best application of force is
coordinated. Accordingly, he calls on the United States to
coordinate interdiction activities with both Colombia and
Venezuela and calls on the OAS to help prepare an
inter-American convention dealing with interdiction.

14. (U) Again reiterating Colombia's commitment to eradicate
narcotics trafficking, Uribe concluded with an outright
rejection of legalization, using an ecological argument ("Who
can guarantee that they won't cut down the entire Amazon
jungle?"), before promising to share whatever Colombian
resources possible with the region in the fight against drugs.

15. (U) Uribe's remarks brought a partial standing ovation
and were so well received that both Manning and Fernandez
rose from their seats to shake Uribe's hand.
HERTELL

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