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Cablegate: Minustah Positive On Bolivian Visit

VZCZCXRO2474
PP RUEHQU
DE RUEHPU #0742 1102014
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 202014Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5895
INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1505
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 0065
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 1328
RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC PRIORITY 0784
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1196

UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000742

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR
DRL
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO HA BL XM
SUBJECT: MINUSTAH POSITIVE ON BOLIVIAN VISIT


1. (U) This message is sensitive but unclassified -- please
protect accordingly.

2. (SBU) Summary: MINUSTAH's director of political affairs
Gerardo Lechevallier told Poloff on April 18 that the
Bolivian Minister of Defense had reassured SRSG Edmond Mulet
that Bolivia would maintain its troops in Haiti. The
Brazilian Ambassador told Ambassador Sanderson that he was
pleased with the visit and that the Brazilians will continue
to encourage the Bolivians to stay. MINUSTAH political
officer Louisa Loreda explained that in preparation for the
visit, anti-MINUSTAH news reports from La Paz that called for
a Bolivian troop withdrawal from Haiti had caused concern.
The visit results were positive, however, and the Bolivians
were impressed by the UN operations. End summary.

3. (SBU) The Bolivian delegation visited Haiti to assess its
participation with UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti and the
DRC. Reportedly, the defense minister, Walker San Miguel,
said that the issue will be discussed in the Bolivian
parliament, but that he and President Evo Morales support
Bolivian participation in UN peacekeeping missions. Minister
Miguel assured SRSG Mulet that the Bolivians will remain in
Haiti, despite earlier news reports stating otherwise. The
Bolivian delegation included the defense minister, military
commander, the president of the senate foreign relations
commission (the lower house's president canceled at the last
minute), and six journalists, according to Loreda.

4. (SBU) The Brazilian Ambassador to Haiti told Ambassador
Sanderson that the Bolivian delegation was impressed by the
UN operations in Haiti. The defense minister reportedly met
with Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, who charmed his
audience and convinced the Bolivians of the importance of
their participation in MINUSTAH. The Brazilian Ambassador
reported that the Bolivian defense minister, in a show of
support for the troops, slept in the barracks with the
Bolivian troops in Port-au-Prince on his second and final
night in Haiti.

5. (SBU) Loreda recounted recent events and news out of La
Paz in preparation for the visit. She said that beginning in
late 2006, there had been numerous anti-MINUSTAH
articles/letters published in Latin America. Bolivia's
energy minister published an article in November, 2006
calling MINUSTAH a "U.S. occupation force." Later, President
Evo Morales suggested prohibiting war in Bolivia's
constitution and asked if a country with such aspirations
should contribute to MINUSTAH. Also, three Bolivian UN
soldiers reportedly denounced the GoB for giving the troops
only US $700 of the US $1028 that the government receives for
each individual troop contribution. (MINUSTAH officers claim
this is a standard amount.) In response, the SRSG wrote a
letter to the editor for publication in La Razon, a Bolivian
newspaper, highlighting the importance of Bolivia's
contribution to MINUSTAH. Loreda could not confirm that the
letter was published in its entirety, but said that at least
other articles in Bolivia referred to the content of the
letter.

6. (SBU) Comment: According to U.S. Embassy La Paz, the
defense minister announced that Bolivia will maintain its
troop presence in Haiti. The important contribution of Latin
American countries to the UN force here cannot be overstated.
Bolivia's withdrawal of their 218 troops would be a blow in
numbers and moral, and the first crack in the bulwark of
solidarity among Latin American countries contributing troops
to MINUSTAH.
TIGHE

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