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Cablegate: Ollanta Humala - the Benefits of Social Unrest

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6086
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 1709
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C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 002323

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2016
TAGS: PE PGOV PHUM PINR PREL SNAR
SUBJECT: OLLANTA HUMALA - THE BENEFITS OF SOCIAL UNREST

REF: A. LIMA 2000
B. LIMA 2009
C. LIMA 2126
...
id: 114649
date: 7/6/2007 23:31
refid: 07LIMA2323
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 07LIMA2000|07LIMA2009|07LIMA2126|07LIMA2236
header:
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DE RUEHPE #2323/01 1872331
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 062331Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6086
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 1709
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4840
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7443
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2964
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0528
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUL LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1326
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1371
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC


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C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 002323

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2016
TAGS: PE PGOV PHUM PINR PREL SNAR
SUBJECT: OLLANTA HUMALA - THE BENEFITS OF SOCIAL UNREST

REF: A. LIMA 2000
B. LIMA 2009
C. LIMA 2126
D. LIMA 2236

Classified By: Classified By: A/DCM V. Wunder, for Reasons 1.4 (c,d)

1. (C) Summary: Ambassador Struble paid a cordial
farewell call on Ollanta Humala, president of the
Nationalist Party of Peru (PNP) on July 3. Humala said
the Garcia administration's indifference to Peru's social
problems was causing mounting unrest in the country.
Humala noted his growing alliance with striking workers,
protesting regional defense fronts and other frustrated
Peruvians, predicting he would soon lead a broad-based
political movement in favor of his goal of radical change.
The nationalist leader said it would be bad for the country
if Garcia were pushed out of office early, but the
President was risking such an outcome by turning his
back on electoral promises. Humala admitted his party
had experienced growing pains. He lamented the
coalition with the UPP and said his nationalists had no
interest in proposals by the center-right Unidad Nacional
for opposition control of the Congress. Reflecting a
continued anti-systemic outlook, Humala said he would
not hesitate to walk away from the nationalist
Congressional bloc if they discredit his movement. He
expressed concern that his reputation had become
entangled with the fate of Puno regional President
Fuentes because of the latter's strong embrace of Hugo
Chavez. Humala said he was trying to rally leftist
support for Fuentes and to advise the regional president,
but was uncertain whether he would succeed.
(Ambassador's comment: Humala exuded an excited
belief that things are moving his way. Many of the
movements now flocking to him, however, are
opportunists angling for a deal. I expect many of them
will be peeled off by the GOP in coming weeks. Humala
retains most of the advantages he brought to last year's
strong electoral showing -- confidence, conviction,
charm, credibility with the poor and a handsome dark
face in a country where most national leaders look
unmistakably European. He also, however, is still
burdened with the same disadvantages. Those include a
military-molded personality that demands complete
obedience and eschews compromise, association with the
locally unpopular Hugo Chavez, and a certain naivet,
about the motives of some who rally to his banner. End
Comment.) End Summary.

--------------------------
The Cause of Social Unrest
--------------------------
2. (C) Ambassador Struble met with Ollanta Humala and
his wife Nadine Heredia, the PNP's head of international
relations, for one hour on July 3. The tone of the meeting
was cordial and open. Humala said social tensions in
Peru's interior are rising, prompted by the recognition that
the GOP is unable -- or perhaps unwilling -- to fulfill
campaign promises to address the social crisis in the
countryside. Little had been done, for example, to fix
crumbling roads, reform corrupt courts, or address Peru's
twin problems of discrimination and exclusion.
According to Humala, the GOP had focused instead on
advancing the narrow self-interests of the ruling elite; in
the words of Heredia, the governing party "was not
Aprista but Alanista." Ollanta said that it would not be
good for Peru if Garcia were forced out of the Presidency
short of term. However, Humala seemed to believe that
Garcia was doomed to fall unless he changed his ways.

3. (C) Humala cited congressional approval of the PTPA
as an example of how the GOP pandered to the rich. Free
trade, he argued, benefited only a portion of Peruvian
society and created hardships for small agricultural
producers. The treaty, moreover, lacked legitimacy in
Peru because it was passed without public debate and was
the creation of a party -- former president Toledo's Peru
Possible -- that had practically ceased to exist.

4. (C) Humala saw public frustration at the gap between
governmental rhetoric and reality as the fuel for a
growing number of protests throughout Peru, with
historically inarticulate groups -- workers, campesinos,
and indigenous communities -- forming for the first time
coalitions across regional, ethnic, and economic lines. In
the midst of this ferment, PNP party members were
working at the district level to shape a common agenda
that would unite protesters into a broad-based political
movement. For Humala, GOP dithering in addressing
social problems in the mountains and in the jungles was
creating an army of potential recruits for the PNP.
Nadine Heredia noted that political observers had made
much of Humala's failure to win regional presidencies in
the November 2006 regional/municipal elections. She
suggested that the various regional "defense fronts"
leading strikes and protests now underway in the jungle
and highlands represented popular power. They were
seeking out Humala, as were some regional Presidents,
the striking miners in Casaplaca and other aggrieved
groups. She predicted that they would coalesce into a
new national opposition led by Humala. Both Ollanta
and Nadine were visibly excited by these strikes and
protests

-------------------------
The Problem of Governance
-------------------------

5. (C) Humala admitted that organizing and
administering a national political party was hard work,
and he said that "criticizing is one thing, managing
another," as evidenced by the fate of fellow radical
Hernan Fuentes, regional president of Puno. Humala said
Fuentes faced stiff challenges in delivering good
government in Puno -- a lack of talented technocrats,
regional infighting, and a restive and extremist Aymara
community -- but Fuentes had made the situation worse.
Though Fuentes was not elected on the PNP banner,
Humala admitted that nationalists would be tarnished
by the Puno President's failure; Fuentes strong embrace
of Bolivarianism (reftels A and D) and Hugo Chavez led
many people to identify him with Ollanta. (Humala said
that his own identification with Chavez was exaggerated,
though he added that he admires the Venezuelan leader
and considers him a friend.) Humala said that he would
soon meet with Fuentes to advise that he spend more time
fixing broken public services. Humala had also called
Jose Quintana, who lost to Fuentes by only one
percentage point, to urge that he help Fuentes in the name
of leftist solidarity; there was too much bad blood
between the men, though, and a rapprochement seemed
impossible.

6. (C) Humala said that the PNP erred by aligning with
the Union for Peru (UPP) after the 2006 elections. The
UPP was better organized and more experienced than the
PNP and represented both groups in the Congress'
governing body. UPP used those advantages to mislead
and betray the PNP, pushing the nationalist agenda to the
side. Relations were much better now that the parties had
ended their formal coalition. As a result of the earlier
experience, Humala said, he was completely disinterested
in proposals by the center-right Unidad Nacional that the
opposition form a joint slate to take the Presidency of
Congress. What do we have in common with Unidad
Nacional?, he asked rhetorically. Humala recognized that
the PNP could fall prey to the same public discontent
directed at the traditional parties and said he would not
hesitate to walk away from his deputies if they discredit
the movement. All the same, he argued that only the PNP
offered a genuine ideological choice within the Peruvian
Congress and predicted that the PNP's focus on grass-
roots organization would prevent his party from ignoring
broad sectors of the society.

------------------------
Radicalism not Extremism
------------------------

7. (SBU) Humala characterized himself as a radical, but
not an extremist, defining the two terms as follows: A
radical believes the status quo is unjust but offers
concrete proposals to remedy the situation. An extremist
likewise believes society is unjust, but only tears down
and does not seek to build up. Ollanta reiterated his
support for free elections and democracy. He said he had
a positive political program that sought, for example, to
redefine the relationship between the state and foreign
capital and to promote economic development -- as long
as regulations protecting the environment and the rights
of workers were enforced. In his view, the GOP's
counter-narcotics program needed to be redesigned to
find markets for legal coca, a solution that would
undercut the appeal of both the Shining Path and narco-
traffickers. If those kinds of reforms were not made,
extremist groups -- who oppose any kind of economic
development -- would grow stronger. Humala
maintained that he was not anti-US -- though he opposed
aspects of US policy -- and that he recognized the
preeminent role the US plays in Latin America.

8. (SBU) Comment: Humala's sweeping analysis of
Peruvian politics sometimes stumbled over facts. The
Ambassador pointed out, for example, that the PTPA had
been debated extensively in congressional committees.
Humala's claim that regional protests are coalescing also
is suspect and ignores both the wide difference over goals
in disparate social movements and the government's
success in addressing local complaints (see septel).
Humala's endorsement of electoral democracy was
welcome, but there may be more than a little opportunism
in his stance: many observes suspect he has already been
eclipsed in the nationalist movement by his brother
Antuaro, whose political platform is racist, violent, and
anti-democratic (reftels B and C). The Humala family
remains an important force within Peru's radical left, and
the Humalas have shown a willingness to talk to Embassy
officials. Post plans to continue to take advantage of their
garrulousness. End Comment.
STRUBLE

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