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Cablegate: Ambassador's November 1 Meeting with Former

VZCZCXYZ0019
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #8045/01 3180010
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 140010Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0096
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9530
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 9049
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5622
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA PRIORITY 2084
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 0814
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1111
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6249
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4165
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1512
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0017

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 008045

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2017
TAGS: ETRD PGOV PHUM PINR PREL PTER KJUS FR NU VE
CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S NOVEMBER 1 MEETING WITH FORMER
PRESIDENT ANDRES PASTRANA

Classified By: Ambassador William R. Brownfield.
Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d).


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1.(C) Former President Pastrana told the Ambassador on
November 1 that U.S. Congressional failure to approve the
bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would isolate Colombia
and leave it vulnerable to pressure from Venezuela. He
criticized Uribe's decision to allow Chavez to play a
facilitator role in humanitarian talks with the FARC, and
voiced concern that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC) has exploited the process to regain
international political space. Pastrana said a third Uribe
term would damage the Colombian Constitution's checks and
balances, and sought USG support, as appropriate, to refute
charges that he created a safehaven for narcoterrorists
during his presidency. END SUMMARY.

--------------------
FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
--------------------

2.(C) The Ambassador paid a courtesy call on November 1 on
former President Andres Pastrana.
Pastrana said U.S. domestic politics complicate prospects for
U.S. congressional passage of the FTA. The Congress will not
consider the agreement in 2007, and 2008 has the Presidential
election. Moreover, President Uribe made a mistake in
polarizing the issue with the opposition Polo Democratico
Alternativo (PDA). Pastrana said he persuaded Bogota Polo
Democratic Mayor LuchoGarzon and leftist Valle de Cauca
Governor Angelino Garzon to support the agreement. In the
current polarized climate, however, they would no longer do
so. Still, Pastrana said that with various Latin American
countries "tilting" towards Venezuela or the United States,
FTA passage remains key. U.S. congressional failure to act
would isolate Colombia and leave it vulnerable to Venezuelan
pressure.

------------------------------------------
PRESIDENT CHAVEZ AND A HUMANITARIAN ACCORD
------------------------------------------

3.(C) Pastrana labeled Uribe's decision to accept President
Chavez as a facilitator in humanitarian exchange talks with
the FARC an "error." Chavez wants to exploit the process to
gain international prestige, and cannot be trusted. He added
that the FARC has exploited the process to date to regain
some of the international space it lost after the collapse of
theCaguan peace process. Pastrana fears that the FARC will
demand to open offices in Caracas, Managua, and Quito as part
of the humanitarian exchange talks. If Uribe refuses to
accept this, he would leave himself open to blame for the
lack of progress. Pastrana said Uribe should propose that a
humanitarian accord address the plight of all of the FARC's
kidnap victims--as well as the group's continued use of this
practice--to put the FARC on the defensive.

4.(C) Asked about other international participation in the
process, Pastrana said the FARC traditionally distrusted
foreign participation in its talks with the GOC. He
believed, however, that the FARC changed its view of the
international community after European and UN intervention
averted the breakdown of the Caguan process in January 2002.
Since then, the FARC has felt it could use the international
community to advance its goals. Pastrana said that, the FARC
may think that with French President Sarkozy and Chavez
involved, it does not need to talk directly with the GOC on a
humanitarian exchange.

-------------------
AN URIBE THIRD TERM
-------------------

5.(C) Pastrana said a second constitutional amendment to
enable Uribe to run for a third term would severely damage
the checks and balances built into Colombia's Constitution.

The amendment process would also heighten polarization and
discourage good candidates from running. Uribe has done much
for Colombia, but he needs to understand that it is time for
someone else.

--------------------------------
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
--------------------------------

6.(C) Pastrana voiced concern that the International Criminal
Court could attempt to prosecute him for allegedly creating a
safehaven for narcoterrorists through the Caguan process.
The Colombia media reported several false accusations that he
facilitatednarcotrafficking and terrorist acts. Pastrana
asked for USG support, as appropriate, to refute these
allegations. (Note: Pastrana sent a letter, dated October 18,
addressing these concerns which Post forwarded to the
Department.)
Brownfield

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