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Cablegate: Brazil: Inl a/S Patterson's Meeting With

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 001000

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2017
TAGS: PREL PINR SNAR PGOV BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: INL A/S PATTERSON'S MEETING WITH
INSTITUTIONAL SECURITY MINISTER FELIX

Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR DENNIS HEARNE. REASONS: 1.4 (B)(D).

1. (C). Summary. INL Assistant Secretary Patterson and
Ambassador Sobel, accompanied by DCM, Embassy Regional
Affairs Chief, and PolCounselor, met on 14 May with General
Jorge Armando Felix, chief of the ministerial-level Office of
Institutional Security (GSI) in Brazil's Presidency. Felix
was accompanied by Paulo Uchoa, head of Brazil's National
Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) and other senior officials.
Discussion focused on the threat posed to Brazil and the
region by Bolivia's expanding coca production, and the
violent organized crime gangs that threaten civil order in
Rio and Sao Paulo. Felix provided detailed analysis of both
problems. He enthusiastically welcomed A/S Patterson and
Ambassador Sobel's proposals for Brazil to send a team to
study new U.S.-Mexico initiatives in cooperation in law
enforcement, and for reinvigorating the U.S.-Brazil law
enforcement working group. He also welcomed expanding
intelligence cooperation and appeared supportive of possible
Brazilian naval contribution at JIATF in Key West. Details
are provided below. End summary.

2. (C) Felix, a retired army general, combines within his
office functions analogous in the U.S. system to the Director
of National Intelligence and the White House ONDCP. He
oversees Brazil's civilian intelligence service (ABIN), as
well as the national drug prevention program (SENAD), and his
office houses an interagency crisis management and strategic
research nucleus, the only center of its kind in the GOB. He
opened the meeting with warm welcoming remarks and
expressions of his interest in continuing and expanding
intelligence cooperation with the United States, which he
characterized as "already excellent." The meeting then
moved to specific discussion of key threat issues confronting
Brazil.

BOLIVIAN COCAINE AND BRAZIL

3. (C) General Felix said Brazil had, for many years, viewed
itself as primarily a corridor country for narcotics outbound
to other countries. The brutal reality of violent,
drug-driven crime in Brazil's cities has shattered that
outlook, Felix said, and huge quantities of cocaine and other
drugs appear in large and small Brazilian communities
throughout the country. In that context, Brazil is viewing
developments in Bolivia with growing alarm. "We are clearly
the target" for the low-grade coca based narcotics produced
in Bolivia, which are flooding Brazilian cities, with
"devastating" social consequences, he said. The GOB has
attempted various "indirect channels" as well as policy
suggestions (e.g., crop substitution) with the Bolivians to
address Brazilian concerns about increasing coca production,
but the Bolivians always fall back on the "traditional crop"
argument, which shuts down further discussion, Felix said.
SENAD Director Uchoa, who chaired the most recent OAS CICADE
meeting, added that Bolivia remained intransigently committed
to this position and seems to eschew alternative development
proposals, despite the vociferous appeals and complaints of
almost all of the countries represented at the meeting.

4. (C) A/S Patterson said the USG continues also to watch
with deep concern the increase in coca production over the
past year in Bolivia, and noted statistics that supported the
perception that much of the narcotics produced were heading
to Brazil. Hence Bolivia poses a threat most immediately to
its neighbors, but the U.S. is also deeply concerned that
Colombian and Mexican cartels may move into Bolivia, as they
flee pressures in their countries and seek Bolivia's more
inviting environment. A/S Patterson also outlined mounting
USG concern that Venezuela -- which once had rigorous
counter-narcotics enforcement -- has now become a virtual

BRASILIA 00001000 002 OF 003


open house for narcotics trafficking, with the U.S.
estimating that 90 percent of the drugs transiting Venezuela
are bound for the United States. Ambassador Sobel added that
possible FARC-Venezuelan collaboration, as well as the
increase in trans-Venezuela trafficking activities should be
a concern of all nations in region, along with the increase
in Bolivian coca production. Ambassador Sobel and A/S
Patterson both stressed the importance of Brazil's government
speaking out forcefully about these concerns, since U.S.
influence over Bolivia is limited. Ambassador Sobel noted as
an example that Felix's recent testimony on Bolivian
narcotics before Brazil's congress had received wide
attention in Bolivia, pointing up the influence of Brazilian
views.

ORGANIZED CRIMINAL VIOLENCE

5. (C) A/S Patterson indicated the USG's interest in
cooperating with Brazil in its efforts to combat the large
and violent organized crime groups that terrorize some
Brazilian cities, especially Rio and Sao Paulo, and she asked
Felix for his views. Felix observed that the main organized
crime gangs -- the PCC in Sao Paulo and Red Command in Rio --
are not structured on a traditional "mafia" paradigm seen in
the U.S. and elsewhere. Rather, the groups are more diffuse,
and operate in a cellular structure that works on three
levels -- small-time criminals, their suppliers (drugs, guns)
and the commanders -- but in a loose and non-linear fashion.
This can make penetrating and combating the groups difficult,
Felix said.

6. (C) Narcotics, as well as extortion rackets and robbery,
fund the gangs but various factors -- beyond the evident
issue of wide-spread poverty -- contribute to their growth in
Brazilian society, Felix said. Brazil's prison system is
"fragile and flawed," with over-crowding, poor facilities
and insufficient control. Moreover, the experience of
military dictatorship in Brazil had led the society in the
early years of democratic rule to place, at times, a high
value on liberties and rights of prisoners, at the expense of
the prime mission of prisons -- protecting society from
criminals, Felix opined. Constitutional and legal guarantees
permitting prison conditions in which gang leaders can openly
recruit cadres, intimidate guards and officials, and command
major criminal operations outside the prison walls have to be
re-assessed and changed, he said. Brazil's police are
another part of the problem, Felix said. Lacking sufficient
pay, training and resources in many states -- and with the
quality of the forces varying vastly depending on states'
wealth and commitment to order -- they are often ineffective
and vulnerable to corruption and intimidation. Insufficient
government force in "ungoverned spaces" and lack of public
engagement in combating crime are other challenges, Felix
added.

7. (C) Felix said the recent request from Rio's governor for
federal assistance -- including use of the Brazilian army --
to deal with Rio's rampant violent crime offers an
opportunity to try to construct a model for federal
intervention in intense crime scenarios that, if successful,
can have broader application. The GSI, the federal Public
Safety Secretariat (SENASP), Federal Police and Brazilian
defense ministry are all involved in an effort to develop
this model, Felix said. A/S Patterson asked about use of the
Brazilian military in law enforcement missions, and Felix
explained that there are legal and constitutional issues, but
the army can perform public order missions. The developing
federal-state approach in Rio will likely feature army troops
taking over "visibility" and routine public order missions
from state police, freeing the police to devote more
personnel and resources to "chasing the bandits," Felix

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explained. In a chilling observation, Felix opined that
there is some reluctance in the GOB to fully committing the
army to the law enforcement fight, "because the army is our
last resort, and if it fails, what do we do then?"
Information sharing among law enforcement agencies and the
military also needs to be improved and streamlined, he said.

8. (C) A/S Patterson compared the Brazilian crime crisis with
Mexico's experience, and steps that the GOM is taking to
enhance police effectiveness and curb intense violence,
especially in border areas. The U.S. is working with the GOM
in innovative new ways to support this effort, A/S Patterson
and Ambassador Sobel asked Felix whether Brazil would be
interested in studying Mexico's plans, and offered to
facilitate such a project. Felix responded very positively,
and said he would put together an appropriate experts group
for the project, and then be prepared to discuss it further
with the USG and GOM. (Note: Emboffs learned subsequently
that Felix's office has already contacted the Mexican Embassy
to follow up on this proposal bilaterally. End note.)

9. (C) Ambassador Sobel also offered to work with the GOB to
re-invigorate the bilateral law enforcement working group,
focusing it on contemporary crisis issues and more robust
cooperative programs, and to discuss further the possibility
of increased Brazilian navy participation at JIATF in Key
West. Felix responded enthusiastically to both proposals,
and indicated his availability for further engagement.

10. (U) This message was cleared by A/S Patterson.

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