Cablegate: A/S Shannon's Meeting with Italian Ambassador To
DE RUEHBR #0005/01 0031114
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 031114Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0755
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6474
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5197
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3916
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 5844
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7150
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0338
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0062
RUEHROF/AMCONSUL FLORENCE 0002
RUEHMIL/AMCONSUL MILAN 0023
RUEHRON/AMCONSUL NAPLES 0003
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 7545
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 5626
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 1397
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000005
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2017
TAGS: PREL ETRD IT BR XM XR VE UNSC
SUBJECT: A/S SHANNON'S MEETING WITH ITALIAN AMBASSADOR TO
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Phillip Chicola, reasons 1.4 b and d.
1. (C) Summary. Michele Varensise, Italian Ambassador to Brazil, told WHA A/S Thomas Shannon on December 13 that Brazil is the centerpiece of Italy's South American strategy. Italy sees Brazil playing an increasingly larger role in maintaining stability, economic growth, and integration. He praised President Lula's performance, calling him "a compromiser, not a maximizer." He said Brazil's aspiration for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council is divisive within the region, and the G-4 line may be losing support. Varensise said the Senate's rejection the previous day of an extension of the tax on financial transactions was a "slap in the face of remarkable proportions" for President Lula, and compared the "normal, more mature" Brazilian reaction to the "completely different" Venezuelan reaction after losing the constitutional referendum. He said he did not note much change in the last few years in outlook or receptivity to foreign overtures within Itamaraty, the Ministry of External Relations, saying they are good professionals and wait patiently. While administrations come and go, Itamaraty remains. End summary.
Brazil is Italy's South American Centerpiece - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (C) Michele Varensise, Italian Ambassador to Brazil, told A/S Shannon, accompanied by EEB A/S Daniel Sullivan, Ambassador, and poloff (notetaker), that Italy has a "beautiful" relationship with Brazil, there are 30 million Brazilians of Italian origin, and the Italian government feels it can be frank with Brazilians. While Chavez sees himself as the alternate regional leader, Varensise said, Brazil will emerge as the region's leader, and Italy looks to Brazil to play an increasing role in maintaining stability and fostering economic growth and integration. Brazil is the centerpiece of Italy's South American strategy, along with Chile and Argentina, he said. Varensise said bilateral trade between the two countries has increased, and Brazilian trade with Italy has grown more than with any other EU member.
Brazilian UNSC Aspirations - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (C) According to Varensise, the GOI has told Brazil that it does not share Brazil's view on UNSC reform. The chief problem with the Brazilian approach is that it does not propose changes in the overall structure or representativeness of the Council. Italy is negotiating openly with Brazil in New York on reform, and the Italian concept is that it would be better to promote regional consciousness. Brazil's proposal, its "self-nomination as one of 18," to represent Latin America is divisive, since countries such as Argentina and Mexico could arguably make a claim to represent the region, Varensise said. While Brazil is undoubtedly an important part of the area, it creates many problems for itself, he noted. Varensise concluded that there is a "creeping process of disaffection" in which the G-4 line is losing popularity.
CPMF Defeat: Brazil Compared with Venezuela - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (C) Varensise said the Senate's rejection the previous day of an extension of the tax on financial transactions (CPMF) was a "slap in the face of remarkable proportions" and a "political earthquake" for President Lula. He compared the "more mature" Brazilian reaction with the Venezuelan reaction after losing the constitutional referendum: even though the Brazilian government was beaten, Varensise said, the reaction here was "completely different," "more normal," as demonstrated by the government's immediate response that it would simply try again. He praised President Lula's performance, calling him "a compromiser, not a maximizer." Lula has always sought balanced solutions, and that is a virtue in regional terms, he concluded.
BRASILIA 00000005 002 OF 002 Itamaraty's Patience
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5. (C) Asked whether he had noted any change in Itamaraty's receptivity or support for foreign overtures during his three years as ambassador in Brasilia, Varensise said he had not. He observed that Itamaraty gives the Presidential Palace a great deal of leeway in the conduct of policy within Latin America while it concerns itself with other areas, "so long as the nothing bad happens," and takes this approach out of a conviction that eventually the government, unlike Itamaraty, will change, allowing the diplomats to ensure continuity.
Mercosul - - - - -
6. (C) Varensise noted that the discussion of accession to Mercosul has changed: whereas in the past people used to admire the EU's detailed accession rules and want the same for Mercosul, no one talks about strict accession criteria any more. (Comment: This probably reflects the Lula government's view that it is more important to "anchor" Venezuela in Mercosul than to demand strict compliance with Mercosul accession conditions. End comment.)