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Cablegate: Ambassador Brownfield's December 19 Meeting With

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P 092036Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0865
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9752
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 9165
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5769
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 1063
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6474
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4256
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 000119

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/09/2017
TAGS: KJUS PGOV PINR PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR BROWNFIELD'S DECEMBER 19 MEETING WITH
COLOMBIAN SENATE PRESIDENT NANCY GUTIERREZ

Classified By: Ambassador William R. Brownfield Reason: 1.4(b,d)

1. (C) Summary: Senate President Nancy Patricia Gutierrez
told the Ambassador there is much support for the United
States and the bilateral Free Trade Agreement in the
Colombian Congress. She criticized opposition party members
who attack the Uribe administration and the United States,
but do not offer constructive alternatives to address
Colombia's problems. Gutierrez said some Colombians felt the
USG was only preoccupied with its own hostages. She
appreciated the institutional-building efforts made during
Congressman David Price's visit in August, but encouraged
more exchanges to enhance relations between the Colombian and
U.S. Congress. End Summary.

2. (U) Senate President Nancy Patricia Gutierrez (Cambio
Radical party) told the Ambassador on December 19 she would
like to strengthen institutional relations, including more
exchanges and visits, with the U.S. Congress. She expressed
appreciation for Congressman David Price's visit to Bogota in
August to fortify these efforts. Gutierrez stressed that
despite opposition criticism of the United States, most
Colombian legislators recognize the importance of U.S.
support for Plan Colombia and want closer bilateral ties.

3. (C) Gutierrez judged that Senator Piedad Cordoba was
using the media and political allies in Washington to put
pressure on President Uribe. It would have been more
appropriate if Cordoba had made her public accusations that a
senior GOC officials had threatened to kill her to the
Colombian Congress or security forces instead of during her
visit to Washington. Gutierrez also criticized Senator
Gustavo Petro (opposition Polo Democratico Alternativo party)
for fanning anti-free trade and anti-Uribe flames during his
trips to Washington.

4. (C) The Senate president said some analysts accuse the
USG of only being concerned about the three Americans held by
the Revoluationary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and not
the Colombian hostages. The Ambassador assured her we hope
for the release of all hostages, regardless of nationality.
He also underscored USG acceptance of various channels to
reach a humanitarian solution and viewed positively the roles
played by Latin American and European leaders, as well as the
Catholic Church, as long as they enjoy GOC support. The USG
will continue to back GOC efforts to obtain the hostages'
release.

5. (C) On the proposed bill regarding the legal status of
18,000 demobilized paramilitary, Gutierrez doubted it could
pass in the new year, even with modifications. There was no
motivation to approve it. If the GOC presents a new
proposal, Congress would consider it. She said some Congress
members feel uneasy about overstepping the authority of the
Supreme Court and getting pulled into a legal battle between
the Court and President Uribe. The bill responded to a July
Supreme Court ruling which left the legal status of 18,000
rank-and-file paramilitaries in limbo.

6. (SBU) Gutierrez expressed concerns over language on
intellectual property laws in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA),
but agreed the FTA was both economically and politically
important for bilateral relations. She said she would be
happy to meet with visiting Congressional delegations and
hoped to visit Washington in the near future.
Brownfield

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